Justin Cogley Won Best New Chef At Aubergine, Carmel, CAWhy He’s Amazing Because he combines ultra-seasonal ingredients with flavors from his world travels, creating a menu that changes nightly and that’s purely Northern California.Born 1978; Erie, PACulinary School The Western Culinary Institute (Portland, OR)Background Charlie Trotter’s (Chicago)Quintessential Dish Abalone and oyster with pickled sea beans and wild sea lettuce on a braised pig’s tail cakePrevious Career In his early 20s, Cogley toured the world as a professional figure skater with Disney on Ice. “We had so much downtime when the show was being transferred to different cities—it could take as long as a month. We’d eat out wherever we could.”On His Transition From Skater To Chef “It was very natural. I was so used to working long hours. Restaurants were a natural fit for me.”Takeaway From Charlie Trotter’s Precision and spontaneity: Cogley’s dishes look like tiny scenes from nature—seemingly unscripted but composed.Story of Discovery“Before he became a chef, Justin Cogley was a professional ice skater who toured the world and ate everywhere, keeping a record of the most interesting flavors. He clearly hasn’t forgotten them: The international influences on his $98, four-course prix fixe menu are astonishing. He garnishes a Monterey Bay abalone steak with slivers of the tart pickled Japanese fruit umeboshi, local sea grapes and imported fresh hijiki. I was knocked out by the boldness of just-cooked Japanese kanpachi (amberjack) with peeled dates and a vanilla-and-Sichuan-peppercorn broth. I would never have guessed that a skating career would be the key to such remarkable food.”—Kate Krader About Food & Wine Food & Wine, a Dotdash Meredith Brand, is an award-winning online resource for anyone passionate about the culinary world. With rigorously tested recipes and the most trusted restaurant, drinks, culinary travel and home coverage, we inspire and empower people everywhere to discover, create, and devour the best in food and wine. Learn more about us and our editorial process.