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Best New Chefs

Joe Ogrodnek and Walker Stern

2014 Best New Chef Award Profile
Joe Ogrodnek and Walker Stern
Photo © Gabi Porter

Restaurants: Battersby and Dover

Location: Brooklyn

Why They're Amazing: The two use their phenomenal training (they both cooked at Alain Ducasse) to serve exceptional dishes in a modest Brooklyn space. They have an uncanny ability to improve on classics, for instance, revamping a watermelon-and-feta salad by adding charred shishito peppers and Korean chile.

Quintessential Battersby Dish: Crisp kale salad with kohlrabi, brussels sprouts and peanuts.

How Kale Can Taste So Good: Some leaves are raw; others are flash-fried until crisp. They're all tossed with a dressing made with bird chiles, palm sugar, lime juice and fish sauce.

Culinary School: Both: The Culinary Institute of America, Hyde Park, NY.

Restaurant CV: Ogrodnek: Union Square Café, Alain Ducasse at the Essex House, Gramercy Tavern, New York City; Anella, Brooklyn; Stern: Mix, Las Vegas; Alain Ducasse at the Essex House, Blue Hill, New York City; The Vanderbilt, Anella, Brooklyn.

Dream Piece of Cooking Equipment: Stern: A set of Mauviel pans, the luxe copper cookware. "It keeps the heat even, and it's thick on the sides. A lot of pans aren't insulated, and the sides burn. In a Mauviel pan, if you're cooking a vegetable and it's almost ready, you can turn off the heat and put the lid on, and it's almost like it has its own little oven."

Inspiration: Ogrodnek: "I love discovering a random pasta shape, one I've never seen before—or making one I've never made before. It inspires me to make a sauce, a garnish. Coming up with pasta dishes is one of my favorite things to do. At Battersby, we've probably done 200 shapes. We change them all the time."

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