Carmel Magazine

Spring-Summer 2019

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216 C A R M E L M A G A Z I N E • S P R I N G / S U M M E R 2 0 1 9 T here was a time when Chef Justin Cogley found himself sprinting through life with the weight of the world on his shoulders. Today Cogley treats life not as a sprint, but an ultramarathon, with steep climbs, plunging depths, precarious trails and dramatic scenery. He runs hard, but pauses for mindfulness and gratitude. In the process, the acclaimed executive chef at Aubergine in Carmel has found life-balance. A former professional figure skater, Cogley now spends time away from the kitchen traveling the world to compete in ultramarathons: off-road races that extend to 100 miles or more over punishing terrain. "Running is the one time I get to allow my mind to wonder on the beauty I am surrounded by, be inspired by nature and take my creativity to a new level," he says. Cogley arrived at Aubergine in 2011 from Chicago, where he worked as chef de cuisine for the tempestuous, demanding and uber-talented Chef (the late) Charlie Trotter. In 2013, Cogley earned the prestigious title of Grand Chef Relais & Châteaux, and Food & Wine magazine named him "Best New Chef, West." In 2015, the James Beard Foundation nominated Aubergine for three awards. In Carmel, he's grown as a chef and a person. "Chicago was a different stage of life for me, busy hours, late-late nights, and I rarely saw my wife," he says. "In Carmel, I have more of a life balance since I have started running and focusing on friends and family, too." While Chicago blessed him in the culinary world, Cogley says he's learned a lot about priorities and what matters in life. "I love Carmel and how I am inspired by it daily," he says. Q: How does running help you as a chef? A: Running takes me out in nature where I can appreciate all the beau- ty that surrounds me. Running is the perfect inspiration for new dishes, events and overcoming challenges I'm facing. I am a better chef, father and husband because I run. Q: What is your go-to source of inspiration? A: OUTSIDE! Q: Where does your self-discipline come from? A: It's a part of me now. It comes from being humbled and getting back up and trying again. It comes from training in figure skating, school and life. My time under Chef Trotter, led by Chef Matthias Merges, taught me so much. I am so thankful for the people that have been in my path and the places I have gone. Truth be told, if it is hard, it is probably worth doing and persevering through. Q: What is your favorite childhood food memory? A: Mmm, when I close my eyes I can still smell the fry bread from when I lived in New Mexico. Q: What was your first real job? A: My first contracted job was with Feld Entertainment's "Disney on Ice," touring as a professional figure skater. My first cooking opportunity was at a high-volume restaurant in Portland, and I still remember being excited when they promoted me to the grill. Q: How did ice skating shape you as a person? A: The long hours, training, intense schedules and, of course, the travel with amazing people opened my eyes to cultures, flavors and honestly gave me a true appreciation for life. There was always someone so talent- ed who inspired and humbled me to be a better person, try harder and appreciate something new. Q: What do you cook at home on a day off? A: That is the hardest question. I cook for my family, and they all have different dietary requests and allergies. Each member of my family has Adventures on the Mountain and in the Kitchen Auber gine Chef Justin Cogley Approaches Life with Zest B Y L A R R Y H A R L A N D

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