Justin Cogley joined Aubergine in 2011. As Executive Chef he oversees Aubergine and all of L’Auberge Carmel’s culinary programs. Cogley comes to Carmel by way of Chicago, Illinois, where he was instrumental in opening the Elysian Hotel’s new kitchen as Executive Sous Chef.
We asked Chef Cogley about how he got started cooking and what his personal style is and below are some excerpts from the interview.
ment’or BKB: What inspired you to start cooking?
Chef Cogley: Living in New Mexico, even as a toddler I was inspired by flavor.
ment’or BKB: When did you start?
Chef Cogley: My mom would say at the age of 2.
ment’or BKB: Who is your biggest culinary inspiration?
Chef Cogley: My friend Bob. I would cater his dinner parties at the age of 16.
ment’or BKB: How did you develop your personal cooking style?
Chef Cogley: Traveling around the world.
ment’or BKB: How has your personal cooking style changed over the years?
Chef Cogley: I am constantly perfecting, growing and learning. Inspired by local ingredients and all those flavors I have tasted around the world.
ment’or BKB: Who was your first memorable mentor?
Chef Cogley: My figure skating coaches, they taught me discipline. Chef Matthias Merges, he really showed me patience and skill in the kitchen through the long nights.
ment’or BKB: Why do you think mentorship plays such an important role in the culinary profession?
Chef Cogley: Everyone needs to be inspired and have a leader that can help them grow.
ment’or BKB: What advice do you have for young chefs or restauranteurs who are just getting started?
Chef Cogley: It is a tough industry. You have to find your groove.
ment’or BKB: What does “American Cuisine” mean to you?
Chef Cogley: Local ingredients that could satisfy many palates
ment’or BKB: Why is the Bocuse d’Or competition important in the grander culinary world?
Chef Cogley: It brings us all together.
ment’or BKB: What makes a great chef?
Chef Cogley: Dedication, commitment, and passion
\ment’or BKB: Now that we’ve won Silver at the Bocuse d’Or, what do you think winning means for the US?
Chef Cogley: Winning the Silver was such huge news, and I know from watching all of the updates online how much work went into that. All the detail over the years and what the team accomplished this year is truly amazing. I knew they would do well this year with the dream team of coaches and mentors they had available.
ment’or BKB: And lastly, what are your upcoming plans?
Chef Cogley: I am open to many new adventures and plan on keeping going, and going strong.
Thank you to Chef Cogley for taking the time to answer our questions. To learn more about him, check out georgesatthecove.com.