Three months into the job in December 2018, Simona Oliveri, arrived at the restaurant for her usual sous chef shift, only to find the executive chef had quit abruptly.
Faced with a full dining room later that night, Oliveri, the only woman on the culinary team of 16, did the only thing she could think of — she immediately called up all her vendors to start placing orders for the ingredients that would be needed that day.
And with that, she became the head chef of the restaurant, as well as the entire 63-room boutique hotel.
“I never imagined I would be doing this,” Oliveri, 42 says. “I’d never worked for a hotel before or run a restaurant before. But I know how to feed people.”
Since then, Chef Bradley Ogden’s attention had been focused mostly outside of the region, as he opened restaurants in Las Vegas with his son, Chef Bryan Ogden, and one in Solvang.
But now, following a move to the South Bay two years ago, Ogden is back — in a big way.
Three weeks ago after a year of construction, the James Beard Award-winning chef opened the doors to Bradley’s Fine Diner in Menlo Park. He’s also working on opening three restaurants in Houston. They’re all part of his Bradley Ogden Hospitality group, run with son Bryan, and business partner and industry veteran, Tony Angotti. The projects are being financed by investor Chris Kelly, Facebook’s first general consul, who first met Ogden when he asked the chef to cook a dinner he was hosting for then-President Bill Clinton.
Chef Bradley Ogden in the kitchen at his new restaurant.
Bradley’s Fine Diner or BFD for short is pure Ogden. Situated across from the Caltrain station, it’s an artsy roadhouse with plenty of natural wood, plus fun and funky touches like silverware chandeliers and a decorative wall with old knives stuck into it as if a knife thrower had just left the building after a practice spree.