Ben Ellsworth has dedicated over two decades to the restaurant industry, creating memorable experiences through food. His approach to cuisine is rooted in his passion for learning about other food cultures, as well as the history behind different dishes and cuisines. Through his positions as an executive chef and a restaurant consultant, Ellsworth recognized that the overwhelming task of keeping each restaurant adequately staffed often took away from the focus on the food and the guest experiences. As a result, the idea for GigPro was born.
Born in North Carolina and raised in Georgia, Ellsworth was immediately drawn to the hospitality industry and the people working alongside him. Shortly after, he honed in on his passion for food cultures and unique flavors – a passion and talent that eventually lead him to a sous chef position at Good Food Catering in Charleston, South Carolina. In 2006, while working at Mercato, a popular downtown Italian restaurant, he enrolled at The Art Institute of Charleston and earned his Associate’s Degree in the Culinary Arts in 2009. Following graduation, he was eventually promoted to executive chef at Mercato, where he was employed for over 7 years. In 2014, he left the kitchen and followed his passion for restaurant consulting, allowing him to experience a different side of Charleston’s booming restaurant industry.
In 2018, while working to launch a new menu at a client restaurant, a dishwasher called out at the last minute. As Ellsworth and the other back-of-house staff scrambled to find someone to wash dishes for the evening, Ellsworth received a notification from AirBnb that a room in his rental property was booked. After saying aloud to the other kitchen staff that he wished the guy was booking to wash the pile of dishes in front of him, a metaphorical lightbulb moment ultimately led to the conception of GigPro. In November 2020, Ellsworth launched GigPro in Charleston, South Carolina, the app that seamlessly bridged the gap between open shifts in and around the Charleston area and hospitality workers looking to pick up extra shifts. The app has since expanded its services to upstate South Carolina, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, North Carolina, Tennessee, Texas and Virginia.
When not working to solve the restaurant industry’s staffing issues, Ellsworth is the proud father to Nathan, 15, a varsity wrestler, and Lulu, 9, a budding gymnast and scholar.