Executive Chef, Oceana Restaurant
Executive Chef of NYC's Oceana restaurant, Ben Pollinger blends the finest seafood with the best ingredients from a global pantry. Under his watch, Oceana has earned a Michelin star since 2006, and Pollinger has received praise from New York Post's Steve Cuozzo and Crain's Gael Greene. Other accolades include a three-star review in The New York Times and Esquire's "Rising Star Chef."
A native of New Jersey, Pollinger graduated from Boston University with a degree in economics. After realizing his passion for cooking, Pollinger attended the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, NY, where he graduated as class valedictorian and moved to Monte Carlo to work at the world-renowned Le Louis XV under Chef Alain Ducasse. Upon returning to New York, Pollinger worked for Chef Christian Delouvrier at Les Celebrites and Lespinasse. He spent more than seven years expanding his repertoire with Chef Michael Romano at Union Square Café and Chef Floyd Cardoz at Tabla. Throughout his early career, he developed his particular passion for seafood, intrigued by the broad variety of possibilities and the challenge of preparing delicate ingredients with subtlety and aplomb.
Through his work and extensive travels in France, Italy, and Spain, Pollinger has deepened his appreciation for seasonal ingredients and regional flavors. He gained a profound respect for the complexities that go into creating a stellar dish: the devotion of farmers to the soil and the fishermen to their day's catch; the thoughtful application of precise techniques to pure ingredients; and the exchange between chefs and the diners they host. As an avid gardener, Pollinger also finds inspiration in his 300-square-foot organic garden at home in New Jersey. When he joined Oceana as executive chef in 2006, he brought with him the skills and desire to create an extraordinary dining experience based on this philosophy. Coupled with his kitchen leadership, Pollinger reflects the Livanos family's commitment to professionalism and excellence in hospitality.
Pollinger, a father of three children, donates his time to various charitable organizations outside of the kitchen, such as City Harvest, Share Our Strength, Autism Speaks, and the James Beard Foundation. He also serves on the Curriculum Advisory Committee at The International Culinary Center and is an advisor to the Alaskan Seafood Marketing Institute and the Gohan Society.
Ben Pollinger's Cookbook: School of Fish