Chef Diaries: Justin Cogley

An Instagram Takeover from the Award-Winning Gastronome Inspired by the Big Sur Coast

Stumbling across starfish while foraging for sea lettuce and wild mussels, Justin Cogley translates the nourishing splendor of the Californian coast onto a plate. Named as this year’s Best New Chef by Food & Wine magazine, Cogley is Head Chef at Aubergine, a diminutive, 12-table restaurant in Carmel-by-the-Sea, situated to the north of Big Sur. The natural beauty of the surrounding coves and tidal pools informs his cooking as much as the area’s sparkling seafood does, and has been documented by Cogley for NOWNESS’ week-long Chef Diaries Instagram series. The freshness and simplicity of Aubergine’s current tasting menu sits in stark contrast with his previous lives as Chef de Cuisine at the famed Charlie Trotter’s in Chicago, and, more incongruously, as a touring professional ice skater. These days, the gastronome is sought-after for his Asian-influenced preparation of the iridescent delicacy, abalone. “We work closely with the Monterey abalone farm and watch the long journey from when they’re a couple of months to five years old. The hatchery had seven million seed but only two per cent made it to the farm, which just blows my mind,” says Cogley. “Being a city chef, you can get access to any product at any time, but you don't usually have the advantage of watching them grow before handpicking your selection.”

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    Sergei Polunin: The Fragile Balance

    Jem Goulding’s New Film Captures the Inner World of the Restless Prince of Ballet

    Leaving Ukraine at the tender age of 13 to join London's Royal Ballet School, Sergei Polunin became the youngest-ever principal dancer in the history of the Royal Ballet at 19, earning him comparisons to 20th century greats Mikhail Baryshnikov and Rudolf Nureyev. In this touching portrait by artist and director Jem Goulding, Polunin reflects on early triumphs, autonomy and “playing with journalists” while performing at Moscow’s Stanislavsky Theatre. Known for his visceral, adrenaline-charged technique and emotive style, the dance prodigy is making a return to ballet since his controversial departure from London's Royal supertroupe last year. Goulding assembled footage from a week spent with Polunin on and off the stage in Moscow, where he is currently under the mentorship of Igor Zelensky, the artistic director of the Stanislavsky Ballet. “Sergei was in the middle of an intense rehearsal schedule for his tour of Coppelia, and I sat in on rehearsals every day,” explains the filmmaker, “though I always planned to catch him outside of ballet; sometimes we would be at a restaurant, other times he was fresh out of the shower after training, and tired.” Shooting on Super 8 and her 16mm Bolex camera, Goulding depicts a seldom seen side of Polunin: From candid moments in Red Square to a spontaneous tour of the Bolshoi. “Sergei is an adrenaline junkie, a thrill-seeker and fearless in many ways,” she adds, “even if some of it comes from youthful naivety, it's still compelling.”

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    Margot Henderson: Burning Bush

    Five Days of Food, Part One: The British Chef Celebrates All Things Auburn with a Fiery Banquet

    Kicking off our one-week culinary extravaganza, redheaded restaurateur Margot Henderson prepares an orange-hued feast in Kim Gehrig’s dramatic short, narrated by actress, model and fellow ginger Lily Cole. “I feel my coloring has formed part of my character,” says the spirited Henderson, co-founder of the British culinary gem Rochelle Canteen, housed in a converted school bicycle shed in east London. “I wonder when my hair fades as the grey comes if you will see me sitting quietly in a corner?” Having risen to international prominence alongside husband Fergus Henderson of St. John’s restaurant and “nose-to-tail eating” fame, Margot hosted a luncheon during Frieze London 2012, exclusively for the art crowd’s ruddy-haired members. “People in the past have referred to my gingerness as ‘freaky’, so this seemed like an opportunity to celebrate the gorgeousness and oddity of the color.” Here Henderson selected Spaghetti Bottarga as the highlight of her autumnal menu, a creation featured in her latest book, You’re All Invited. The Italian dish uses dried mullet’s roe, the so-called “gold of the ocean,” alongside dazzling, phosphorescent sea urchins, which the chef washes down with a classic Negroni as she wickedly watches her fantasy banquet table erupt into flames. 


    Duration of shoot
One full day.


Number of pyromaniacs keeping the set alight
Total of five: three for the flames, one for making ash and one for burning tissues


    Fuel used

    Hundreds of bottles of turpentine and lighter fluid


    Safety precautions
    Five fire extinguishers and a pile of wet towels


    Number of ginger people on shoot
Eight (including Margot’s son, Hector)


    Number of Negronis drunk by Margot
    That would be telling…

    Number of Negronis drunk by the crew

    Jugs, not glasses.
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