Chefs have fans who follow their careers, just like movie stars, or sports figures. One of my heroes is Bradley Ogden, whose career I have followed, since I met Brad in 1997. Chef Ogden creates "New American Cuisine", classic American food with a sophisticated twist, using only the freshest and highest quality ingredients. He was a pioneer in the "farm to table" movement, years before it became PC.
Chef Ogden’s awards include:
"Best Chef of California," by the prestigious James Beard Foundation
"Who's Who of American Cooking" by Cooks magazine
“Great American Chefs” by the International Wine and Food Society
The "Golden Plate" by the American Academy of Achievement
“Chef of The Year Award” in 2000 by the Culinary Institute of America
“Restaurant of The Year” by the James Beard Foundation’s in 2004 for Bradley
Ogden at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas
“Star Chef of the Year” for 2004 by the California Culinary Academy
"Best New Restaurant of 2003" by Zagat for Bradley Ogden
Epicure’s "Best New Restaurant of 2003"
Epicure’s "Best Chef – Bradley Ogden”
With 11 restaurants, he is DEFINITELY doing something right! We wanted to share another of our favorite dining spots with Jerry and Paul, and saved it for our last evening together in Las Vegas.
After our HUGE breakfast, I really couldn't face another whole meal, so I chose to have have 2 appetizers for dinner, and what wonderful choices they were! I began with my FAVORITE item on the menu: The Twice Baked Maytag Blue Cheese Souffle! This dish is magical to me! It is my favorite appetizer ANYWHERE (including Italy)!
Several years ago, Brad and I had Thanksgiving at Bradley Ogden in Las Vegas. After Brad spoke to our waiter about being such a fan of the chef in the Bay Area, he asked if we would like to visit the kitchen, and meet Chef Odgen in person. WOULD we? Remember, it was Thanksgiving night, and I'm sure he was tired after a long day, anxious to get home to his own family. He was SO kind and gracious, actually chatting with us for 10-15 minutes, and posing for a photo. What a nice guy! I have been drooling over this appetizer ever since.
(Jerry finds the recipe the next day and emails it to me!) I have not decided if I really want to break the magic spell this dish has over me by making it myself. I want to savor the memory of this perfect bite and know I will be back to Las Vegas to have "the REAL thing" with its perfect presentation with pears, crumbled blue cheese, candied pecans and pear puree. It just wouldn't be the same at home. We shall see...
Brad's first dish was a "Farmer's Market" salad... a salad he is STILL raving about. There was pesto on the plate, and those beautiful pink things are watermelon radishes.
My second appetizer was the roasted foie gras with a macademia "cookie", fresh figs, huckleberry jam, and ESPRESSO creme. OMG! BEST foie gras I ever ate. (and I've eaten a few...)
Brad had a shrimp and crab plate with another beautiful dish and presentation:
A couple glasses of lovely wine, and we were done! But Jerry and Paul didn't disappoint us. They found room for desserts!
But we were not left out! Along with our coffee, we were all served a shot glass of butterscotch pudding with toasted pumpkin seeds for a great finish to a great meal.
If you are ever near any of these locations, check out a Bradley Ogden establishment:
Root 246 in the Hotel Corque, Solvang
Anthology, in the Little Italy area of San Diego
Arterra, at the San Diego Marriott, Del Mar
Bradley Ogden, at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas
The Lark Creek Inn, in Larkspur
One Market, in San Francisco
Lark Creek, Walnut Creek
Lark Creek Steak, in San Francisco
Yankee Pier, in Larkspur
Yankee Pier, in Santana Row
Parcel 104, at the Santa Clara Marriott