Ben Prior

Ben Prior fell into catering by chance, while working part-time in an award-winning restaurant earning money to pursue a golfing career.

Spending time as a kitchen porter at the highly-regarded Le Talbooth, in Dedham, Essex, Ben developed an interest in cooking through working alongside people with a passion for fine food and decided he wanted a part of that.

With 20 years’ catering experience since he left school, Ben has no official training but has learnt all he knows through working his way up from porter to waiter to bar staff and eventually into the hub of the kitchen during his seven years at Le Talbooth.

After moving around the country, then spending a year travelling, Ben decided to settle in Cornwall. Cornwall has a strong family connection – Ben’s grandfather owned a hotel in Cornwall and it was a favourite summer holiday destination. Ben also loved the fresh produce served up in the seaside county.

Ben is now owner and head chef at Ben’s Cornish Kitchen, near Penzance, where he works alongside his sous chef brother Toby, and mother Jayne. His family restaurant offers a small but perfectly formed menu that has won the restaurant several awards including: 2 AA rosettes, South West Restaurant of the Year in the Waitrose Good Food Guide 2016, The Trencherman’s Guide best restaurant 2016, and was named in The Times Top 100 restaurants 2017.

Ben’s Cornish Kitchen, Cornwall
Creative dishes made with seasonal, locally sourced produce in a pared-back setting on 2 floors.
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Lobster & Crab Ravioli

Served with a lobster bisque & tomato jam
By chef Ben Prior of ben’s Cornish kitchen, Cornwall.


Soak the saffron in 1tbsp boiling water for 5 minutes. Sift the flour and fine sea salt into a food processor. Add the eggs, egg yolks and olive oil. Strain in the saffron water. Whiz to combine, stopping to scrape down the sides of the machine twice. The mixture should form small lumps, which will hold together as a smooth, firm paste when pressed with your fingers. Tip onto a lightly floured surface and knead for a few minutes until smooth and slightly springy. Wrap in cling film and leave to rest for at least 30 minutes before using. For the filling. Put salmon into a food processor with some sea salt and pepper and whiz to a firm purée. With the motor running, slowly trickle in the cream. Transfer to a bowl, cover with cling film and chill for 20 minutes. Finely dice the lobster and crab meat, mix together and chill for 20 minutes. Fold enough salmon purée into the diced lobster mixture to bind it, then add the lemon juice, herbs, salt and pepper. To check the seasoning, blanch a little spoonful of the filling then taste. Chill the mixture for 20 minutes or until firm, then shape into neat balls, about 80g each. Place on a plate, cover with cling film and chill again. (This can be done a day in advance.)

To make the ravioli, roll out the pasta dough into thin sheets using a pasta machine. Transfer to a lightly floured surface and cut out 12cm rounds with a pastry cutter. Place a ball of filling in the centre of half of the pasta rounds, then brush the edges with egg wash. Place another pasta round on top of each one and press the edges together to seal, stretching the dough slightly and moulding it around the filling with your fingers to make sure there are no air gaps. Use a pair of kitchen scissors to cut around the ravioli to neaten the edges.

For the bisque, smash the lobster carcasses with the back of a pan to obtain small morsels. Sear them in a large saucepan, on a medium heat with a tablespoon of olive oil. Then add a couple of tablespoons of butter and roast the carcasses. Once the butter begins to foam, add the roughly chopped celery, shallot, spices and garlic clove. When the vegetables are tender, incorporate the diced tomatoes. Deglaze the pan with Cognac and add the fish stock; simmer for 25 minutes. Add mix to a blender & blitz. Strain, making sure you recuperate the maximum amount of bisque by pressing the carcasses. You might need to reduce the bisque a further 5 minutes to obtain the right consistency. Heat the red onion and chopped tomatoes in a large heavy-based saucepan over a low heat. Add the chillies, ginger, star anise, vinegar and sugar. Bring the mixture to the boil, then simmer for about 30 minutes, or until very thick and you can draw a wooden spoon across the base of the pan so that it leaves a channel behind it that does not immediately fill with liquid. Add the fish sauce and cook for 2-3 more minutes.

To serve, warm the bisque and cook a little spinach. Blanch the ravioli for 7 minutes in boiling water. Put the spinach in a bowl place the ravioli on top, nap it with the bisque and put a teaspoon of the jam on top.

Ben’s Cornish Kitchen

This recipe is featured in our book Signature Chefs South West & Channel Islands. Click here for more information. 

Ingredients for four servings:

Saffron Pasta Dough 

  • Large Pinch Of Saffron Strands
  •  500G Italian ‘00’ Pasta Flour
  •  ½Tsp Fine Sea Salt
  •  4 Large Eggs
  •  6 Egg Yolks
  •  2Tbsp Olive Oil

Pasta Filling

  •  300G Skinned Salmon Fillet
  •  50Ml Double Cream
  •  300G Lobster Meat (From 1 Lobster Tail And Claws)
  •  150G White Crab Meat
  •  Squeeze Of Lemon Juice

Lobster Bisque 

  •  2 Cups Of Fish Stock Or Water
  • Half A Vanilla Pod
  •  2 Tbsp Cognac
  •  3 Cardamom Pods
  •  2 Tbsp Butter
  •  Pinch Of Chilli Flakes
  •  1 Roughly Chopped Celery Stick
  •  1 Star Anise
  •  ½ A Roughly Chopped Shallot
  •  Pinch Of Fennel Seeds
  •  2 Chopped Tomatoes
  •  1 Crushed Garlic Clove

Tomato Jam 

  •  2 Red Onions Finely Chopped
  •  800G Ripe Tomatoes Chopped
  •  3 Large Mild Red Chiles, Deseeded, Finely Chopped
  •  5cm Piece Fresh Root Ginger, Grated
  •  1 Star Anise
  •  250Ml White Balsamic Vinegar
  •  300G Soft Light Brown Sugar
  • 2 Tsp Fish Sauce

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