About Food Lab

Produced in partnership with The University of Queensland, Food Lab by Ben Milbourne will take viewers on a culinary journey through the world of science.

Imagine transforming the taste and texture of food through molecular gastronomy, or preparing dinner in your kitchen kettle using particle theory.

With help from some of UQ's most engaging teachers and researchers, Ben will explain and demonstrate common scientific principles in a way that's fun and easy to understand - through cooking!


Meet Ben

From science teacher to MasterChef finalist and entrepreneur, UQ graduate Ben Milbourne is an outstanding example of the diverse career pathways that can result from studying at UQ.

After graduating, Ben taught science in high school, and his students nominated him for the hit television series, MasterChef. It was the platform to a career as sought-after chef, media personality, brand ambassador, and founder of his own production company.




Biography

Ben attributes his love of food to his grandmother, she baked for the 40 plus tradesmen employed by the family business each morning for a number of decades. He remembers making scones with her after school and her cookie jar full of ANZAC biscuits.

“She was an amazing cook, a true grandmother. Before you said hello to her you’d be in the pantry looking at what she’d baked.”

Family is important to Ben. Growing up on the North West coast of Tasmania, Ben was the second of four children. “As a child we used to go on family camping trips and we would take out Dad’s boat, go fishing and cook the fish. We would go diving for Abalone and cook it on the campfire. We still go diving for abalone throughout the year.” Cooking has always been a passion for Ben. "Cooking with friends, is always better.

Cooking has always been the way I open up, if mum, dad or my brothers and sister ever wanted to have a deep and meaningful chat they would get me in the kitchen". Ben's looking forward to sharing time in the kitchen and foraging in the great outdoors with his two young children as they grow.

But cooking wasn't where Ben headed initially with his career; teaching beckoned. "I used to use food to teach chemistry, there are just over 100 elements on the periodic table, that is your pantry, and with that we have built the world around us. There are thousand of ingredients in the world of food, imagine the things we can create with that, some just like the world of chemistry won’t go together but some will create flavours and textures that make life worth living."

Masterchef Season 4 was a turning point for Ben and his passion for food. The experience allowed him to refine his skills, immerse himself in food and be taught by some of the most experienced chefs in the business. Since the show, opportunities to continue working with food has been widespread with Ben appearing on national morning breakfast shows, guest appearances on 'Ready, Steady, Cook' and 'Everyday Gourmet'. Ben now hosts his own show, Ben's Menu currently in it’s third season on Channel 10, hosts Tasting Tasmania (Foxtel) and co hosts Andy and Ben Eat the World (SBS) and has a regular cooking segment on The Off Road Adventure Show (Channel 10).

Ben Milbourne on MasterChef

Ben is proudly the Tasmanian Schools Canteen Association Ambassador and is working on a multitude of projects to encourage healthy eating and cooking with local produce.

Ben’s strengths are in Mexican and Seafood cooking however he is always keen to explore new, fresh ingredients and combinations of flavours.

Ben's first cookbook, Mexican Craving, was launched in November 2013. His second book, Tasmanian Trail based on Tasmanian producers was released in September, 2014. In 2013 and 2014, Ben has traveled to Mexico, Spain and Portugal with mate Andy Allen, filming their food exploits for Andy's YouTube channel and gathering footage for Andy and Ben Eat the World; a 6 episode mini series that aired on Channel 10 during winter, 2015.

Further Andy and Ben projects are in the production phase which will focus on Ben's food ethos of finding local providence, farmers and providers who work with nature’s elements to produce food that is fresh and of the highest quality.

In 2016 Ben and his wife rebranded and now work to grow their company, The Cultivate Group which includes Cultivate Productions. They partnered with University of Queensland for their first fully produced show, Food Lab by Ben Milbourne, which is due to air early 2017 (Channel 10).

Ben's personality and down to Earth approach has made him popular with people of all ages. His philosophy is unassuming;

"My food style is simple; take ingredients and recipes that will bring people together, combine them in a way that is interesting but achievable. Above all cook it because you love it. You have to fall in love with the process. The process of discovering the ingredients, developing the idea, creating the dish, sharing the flavour and discussing the outcome; this is what food is all about".