Why He's Amazing: Because from Battersby's tiny Brooklyn kitchen, he and his co-chef Walker Stern are turning out creative, market-fresh dishes that outshine those at many high-end Manhattan restaurants.
Culinary School: The Culinary Institute of America (Hyde Park, NY)
Background: Union Square Café, Alain Ducasse at the Essex House, Gramercy Tavern (New York City); Anella (Brooklyn)
Quintessential Dish: Crisp kale salad with kohlrabi, brussels sprouts and peanuts at Battersby
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.
Aha Moment: "At the start of 2011–end of 2010, Walker was briefly working with me at Anella. It was so different from any other restaurant we had worked in: not in Manhattan, a really small restaurant with a minimal budget. So we were like, 'We could do this. It's the direction restaurants are going in anyway.' We could have had a big restaurant in Manhattan in a long time or we could do this immediately."
On Working at Alain Ducasse: Says his co-chef Stern: “In that kind of kitchen there’s one guy who just cooks fish. That’s it. He just cooks fish.” Ogrodnek continues: “There’s another guy who just does the fish sauce. That’s it. Sometimes there are two guys doing nothing but the fish sauce, because it’s a crazy sauce. Which is kind of crazy when you think that here we do everything ourselves.”
Congratulations to Mei Lin, winner of Top Chef Season 12.