Benjamin Harrison


Apicius Alum: Ben Harrison

Currently owns a catering company called Torricella Catering in California.


Ben Harrison graduated in the Culinary Arts Program at Apicius in 2013. Fast forward to January 2018 and he has returned to Florence for FUA’s first ever Alumni Week. Mattia delle Piane from the FUA Alumni Association caught up with him to learn about the catering business he founded.


Hi Ben, it’s great to see you back in Florence. What do you do now?

I have a catering company called Torricella Catering that involves pizza and grilled wood-fired cuisine. We cater for different locations without kitchens and also provide meal plans to university students from California Polytechnic State University.

Do you have a favourite memory from FUA?

I enjoyed being able to work with Chef Andrea Trapani, I really admired his culinary expertise, and he is definitely someone who has great confidence in his food. His palate was impeccable; I’ll never forget, I put a little an ounce too much wine in the risotto and it’s an 18-minute cooking process, so I thought “whatever, it’s just a little bit more wine,” but he knew I had added too much because he tasted the acid in the risotto. I thought, “how do you even pick that up?” It was so impressive to me, and just one of the things that I really tried to model after him in my career.


In what way did studying abroad at FUA change your life, and do you have any advice for future FUA students?

Studying in Florence gave me a completely different perspective on the culinary arts, and on Italian cuisine in particular. My suggestion is to break away from the traditional scene of what you get back home, wherever that may be. A lot of people stick to what they’re comfortable with because it’s easy. If you break away from that and try to really experience the culture here, you find something really beautiful. It’s not a given that you will live like a Florentine just because you’re in Florence, you have to make the effort to seek out the cultural aspects that make the city so fantastic.


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Photograph courtesy of Benjamin Harrison


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