“I can be pretty clumsy. I’ve tripped over tablecloths, chairs, and even dropped a few dishes while shooting them. And I vaguely recall dropping my camera into a bowl of hot chili oil once. Only once though.”
I pretty much grew up in the restaurant industry. My mom has owned a Chinese restaurant my entire life and would take me to work instead of hiring a babysitter. When I was physically big enough to work, she would assign me to different stations within the restaurant: cashier, host, waiter, busboy, bartender, takeout packer, delivery boy, manager, you name it. The only thing she didn’t let me do was cook because she thought I would burn the place down.”
Ben Hon is the voice and vision behind @StuffBenEats. Born in New Jersey, Ben spent a good amount of his childhood at his mom’s restaurant, aiding in the many tasks that were required to keep it up and running.
After graduating Rutger’s University with a degree in Finance, Ben worked in the investment banking industry for many years. In 2016, he switched careers and became a Licensed Real Estate Salesperson. It was also at this time that Ben decided to take photography more seriously. His first camera was a Fuji X-T1. These days, he doesn’t go anywhere without his Sony a9. With his camera and passion for the food and hospitality industry, Ben dove mouth first into food photography. Shooting all the places that he had eaten, Ben hoped to share his love of food with others and take the best pictures he could to represent the restaurants in the best way possible.
Ben recalls a certain moment in which his Instagram began to gain traction. It was during the soft opening of Taiyaki NYC in September 2016. He was one of the first Influencers to arrive and photograph the fish-shaped insta-worthy desserts. Soon after he posted on his own Instagram, he was reposted by @beautifulcuisines and then received a call from Refinery 29 to be featured as one of the New York Foodies You Need To Follow On Instagram. After appearing in Refinery 29’s article, the restaurant invites and product promotions began to flood into his inbox.
Since then, Ben has created many magical moments for himself through his love of food and hospitality. Some of his most memorable highlights from this past year include covering the NYC Michelin Guide Awards, going to the United Kingdom to promote Great British Food, and being honored as one of the top foodies in the first annual Zagat Foodie Awards.
Nowadays, Ben has a pretty packed schedule. A typical day begins with him checking his Citi Habitats work email to deal with current clients and/or any new clients looking to rent/buy/sell/lease a home. Lastly, he’ll check his StuffBenEats email to filter through all the restaurant invites and companies looking to collaborate with him. He typically plans his schedule three weeks in advance, with most of the appointments being restaurant reservations. On average, Ben eats out 12-14 times a week.
Despite having over 40k followers and many accolades under his belt, Ben remains extremely humble. He doesn’t do what he does to become insta-famous or to eat free food every day. He does it because he’s passionate about photography, connecting people, helping small businesses, and sharing what he loves.
I don’t have a desire to be a full-time Influencer. I’m very blessed to be in the position I’m in. I’m able to meet chefs, owners, and all the people behind the makings of a great restaurant. I’ve also met some of the most kindest, caring, and creative people through this little Instagram app. They truly inspire me to be better every single day. In the end, I just want to be able to help restaurants and other small businesses to get their name out there and also connect people who would enjoy these types of things.”