Justin Cogley’s first career may have been as a professional figure skater with “Disney on Ice.”
But these days, you can find him spinning circles around haute cuisine as executive chef of Aubergine at L’Auberge Carmel.
Cogley, who started his culinary career working at Charlie Trotter’s in Chicago, developed a passion for fine food and wine as his skating career took him all over Asia, Australia and Europe. At Aubergine, a jewel-box of a restaurant in Carmel-by-the-Sea, he’s so dazzled diners that he was even named one of Food & Wine magazine’s “Best New Chefs 2013.”
He’s all about local ingredients, even going diving with his cooks to gather their own seaweed for beautifully composed dishes.
Late this summer, I had a chance to experience his skills when I was invited as a guest to stay overnight at the inn and enjoy dinner.
Housed in a three-story, European-style building constructed in 1929, the charming inn features 20 guest rooms set around a brick courtyard with a bubbling fountain and plenty of patio chairs for lounging.