When we decided to open Saltbox Kitchen, we envisioned a café where we could share our love of cooking, local food and craft beer-making with our friends and neighbors by using as many ingredients as possible from Saltbox Farm, the farm started by Chef Ben's grandparents in the 1940s. By using our own vegetables, honey, eggs, lamb and hops, we are honoring Concord’s long agricultural tradition while ensuring a sustainable future for the farm that has been a key source of inspiration throughout his life.
Ben Elliott, Chef/Farmer
As Chef, Farmer and Owner of Saltbox Farm, Ben oversees all elements of the farm-to-table journey – playing an active daily role in planting, harvesting, preparing and serving their cuisine.
Prior to Saltbox Farm, Ben's 20 year career includes time spent at La Folie and the Fifth Floor under Chef Laurant Gras in San Francisco and the famed Locke-Ober in Boston. His most recent restaurant post was with chef Barbara Lynch in Boston as Chef de Cuisine at No.9 Park, opening Lynch’s demonstration kitchen Stir, and launching Lynch’s catering company 9 at Home as Chef de Cuisine. In addition to fine dining, Ben also worked with some of the area’s most well-known gourmet shops, Hi-Rise Bakery and Formaggio Kitchen, which influences the quality of the prepared foods at Saltbox Kitchen.
A native of Wayland, MA, Ben has called Saltbox Farm and Concord, MA home since 2004. Before moving to the farm, Ben spent summers tending to it alongside his grandparents, the original owners. Ben attended Hartwick College in New York, where he met his wife Julia. He and Julia have 2 children, Sam and Maggie.
Ralph Fiegel, Operations Manager & Head Brewer
As Operations Manager and Head Brewer for Saltbox Kitchen, Ralph helps ensure smooth processes for the restaurant and catering operations. A member of the Saltbox team since 2012, Ralph has been instrumental in building up the farm infrastructure, while growing the catering business and assisting with the cooking school at Saltbox Farm, including teaching beer-making classes and beginning Saltbox's brewing operations. Most recently, Ralph has led the establishment of Saltbox Kitchen’s craft brewery, utilizing ingredients grown at Saltbox Farm.
Ralph’s culinary career began under world-class chefs Odette Fada in New York City and Dan Smith in the Berkshires, leading him to Chef Barbara Lynch, where he spent nine years working his way up from line cook to back-of-house controller for all Barbara Lynch restaurants. It was through Lynch’s No. 9 Park that he met Ben Elliott.
Born and raised in Pittsfield, MA, Ralph is a graduate of the Culinary Institute of America and an avid fisherman in his free time. He and his wife Nikki live in Grafton, MA.
Emily LeSuer, Catering Chef
An invaluable member of the Saltbox Catering team, Emily joined the Saltbox team in 2013 after receiving her degree with high honors from Le Cordon Bleu in Cambridge, MA.
At Saltbox Farm, Emily’s love for the idea of growing your own food and caring for animals has been reaffirmed. When not preparing food for events, you might find her with her “girls” in the chicken coop or harvesting crops in the field. She is also excited to be able to translate her background in business operations and leadership to the kitchen.
Emily grew up just down the road from Concord in Hudson, MA in a large family where sitting down to dinner was not just about food, but also about sharing and being present in the moment. One could say that her inspiration to become a chef came from her father (a chef himself) or even the food on her plate, but the driving force that ignited such passion was how food can bring people together. Laughter, conversation, and the memories created at the table with family and friends have been, and continue to be, one of the most important aspects of her life.
Emily currently lives in Hudson with her husband Jim, daughter Fiona and their dog Kaiah.