A graduate of CIA Hyde Park, Benno worked under Michael Mina at Aqua. Following, Benno relocated to Napa Valley and joined Thomas Keller at The French Laundry.
Keller became an important influence in Benno’s life by helping to shape his philosophy on the dining experience and to foster a drive for excellence. While California played a pivotal role in his evolution as a chef, Benno decided to return to Manhattan.
Benno focused on French cuisine, working in the kitchens of Restaurant Daniel and Les Celebrités. Following, Benno headed to France and worked under Gilles Goujon at his Michelin one-star restaurant, Auberge de Vieux Puits in Corbieres.
Returning to the United States, Benno joined Tom Colicchio at Gramercy Tavern and later joined Claudia Fleming in the pastry department. Benno opened Craft as Sous Chef with Marco Canora.
Under Chef Collichio, Benno developed core principles: superior, raw materials and thoughtful preparation are essential to creating excellent cuisine. It was the pursuit of these culinary ideals that brought Benno back to The French Laundry for eighteen months to prepare for the opening of Per Se.
Per Se debuted in February 2004. Since its opening, the restaurant has consistently received the highest of accolades from both National and International press. At launch, Per Se received 4 stars from The New York Times. Per Se received "Best New Restaurant" from the James Beard Association, 2005. Food & Wine recognized Benno as "America's Ten Best New Chefs" in 2006.
Most recently, the 2008 Michelin Guide of New York City awarded Per Se the prestigious honor of three stars for its third consecutive year.