Staff Spotlight: Flik’s Benjamin Solivan
by Shira Golub on Friday, October 25th, 2013
In 2006, Benjamin “Benji” Solivan joined Milton Academy’s Dining Services. With over twenty years of an extensive culinary experience, he now feeds the community as Milton’s Executive Chef.Benji came to Milton after receiving a Bachelor of Science degree in Culinary and Business at Johnson and Wales University and an MBA at Curry College. Before finding a place at Milton, Benji worked for “à la carte restaurants, large banquet facilities, fine dining, and hotels.”
Benji explains that he left his Sous Chef job at Starwood Hotels, “looking for a new challenge in the foodservice industry.” After hearing about an opening in Milton’s Flik program from a friend, he applied for the position, as he “liked the idea of working for a great school.” Benji’s transition to Milton offered its own set of challenges. In the past, Benji received orders from wait personnel for individualized meals. Therefore, the transition to Milton was a big shift for Benji. In contrast, Milton requires Benji to prepare a vast amount of food with a strict time constraint. “A chef at Milton needs to understand quantity and production,” states Benji.
Benji says that the Executive Chef position ranges from “creating menus, ordering food, and overseeing food production on a very large scale, while following strict health and safety guidelines.” However, as demanding his daily duties are, Benji believes what he does for the Milton community has “been very fulfilling.”
Benji names “satisfied clients and accolades on a particular meal” as some of the reasons that motivate him to serve Milton Academy to the best of his ability. The positive responses to his culinary artistry are accompanied by “a great team of people who directly influence the success of the operation.” Although he thoroughly enjoys all the food he creates, “some of [his] favorite cuisine is Continental Asian cuisine” and “Caribbean cuisine.”
Benji has many plans and aspirations for the future of the Milton Dining Services. He proposes a possible remedy to the difficulty of having many different locations to serve food across campus. If he could make changes, he says, “I would love to have one centralized location for everyone to eat at every night.”
Another aim of Benji’s “is to increase the amount of locally produced ingredients we buy from our farmers, fishermen and women, meat producers, and artisanal food crafters.” Flik already purchases “95 % of all the apples see[n] in the dining hall from growers in Massachusetts and Vermont. [The] Boston scrod… is caught locally. Potatoes, carrots, red beets, parsnips, squash of all varieties are from Massachusetts right now,” he explains. Nevertheless, Benji still wishes to further improve on this principle.
Next time you head to Forbes to grab a bite to eat, be sure to say hello to one of Milton’s unsung heroes, who brings delicious yet healthy meals to the entire community everyday.
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