Still, out of the heat of the kitchen, Cogley’s own lifestyle seems idyllic. Aside from all that outdoorsy activity, he forages locally, especially for whatever the sea can offer. He’s big on crab, salmon and squid, but also sea-grapes, sea lettuce, mermaid’s hair, seaweeds and other algae: a potentially transformative foodstuff in which he’s something of a pioneer.
“Guests really enjoy it as it’s something they most likely haven’t had before,” says the man who launched Rediscovering Coastal Cuisine, an event for which he invites chefs to collaborate on a 12-course tasting menu that explores California’s coastal biodiversity. “But I think, with the way the world is going [in terms of food pressures and growing populations], seaweed and algae will now always have a place on menus.”
He says he likes the discipline of working with seafood, despite the care it needs. “You can cook meat a little over or a little under and it doesn’t really matter, but do that with seafood and it’s ruined: that can be tricky to work with.”