This season’s living legend is the one, and only, Ben Lenart. Founding chief and apple counter at Almighty Beverages.
We don’t let the accountants do the squeezing, however, Ben tends to wear a multitude of hats (and a signature grin) much of the time. This cool, calm and collected character began his entrepreneurial journey in his early 20’s when he opened Wellington institution, Milk Crate cafe, in 2005.
Finishing up his BCom in accounting and international business in Copenhagen, Denmark, provided inspiration and put Ben in good stead to set up new ventures (and juice companies) when he returned to New Zealand. Ben is partial to the odd Sichuan chilli dumpling, mountain bike adventure and crisp glass of Chardonnay on most given days.
Read on to hear more about life in Ben (aka Fen)’s shoes in the interview below.
What’s your connection to Almighty?
I’m one of the directors at Almighty - I do a little bit of everything - sales, production, marketing, logistics, finance, gardening etc.
Where are you based?
Currently in Auckland but I spend lots of time all over the show. I love getting out to different parts of New Zealand to visit growers, customers and stakeholders all over the place.
Fennel. I regularly get given a fair bit of shit for this, including the recent nickname of bennel and/or fen, but I just love it. It goes nicely raw with olive oil, lemon juice and fresh orange. Or a quick one is slightly boiled, drained then baked with a touch of garlic and heaps of parmesan. Delicious!
It’s hard to go past a juicy, sun beaten, fresh orange from the tree.
Thoughts on gardening?
I love gardening. While my home garden could do with more attention, I’m lucky enough to spend a bit of time in a few school gardens on a regular basis. At home it’s a little bit of escapism, I think there is something quite meditative about being in the garden at home. But the best part is the bounty, cooking with your own produce is pretty special.
Ideal weekend out with Mamma Nature?
Getting out to somewhere extremely remote in New Zealand with good food, drinks and company I reckon. Throw in a roaring fire and a chilly swim and that’ll probably be the perfect weekend for me.
What would you choose to have as your last supper?
Well obviously there would be fennel involved. How many courses? I would definitely go for some fresh kaimoana and bread and butter. But it’d be hard to go past that Cumulus 8 hour lamb with some kind of grainy salad and minted yoghurt. And lots of Chardonnay.
Fave Almighty juice?
Carrot, Orange and Turmeric