Chef’s Table

Bradley Ogden raises the culinary bar in Solvang

First came the wine. Then the movie about wine, and the wine-soaked crowds scrambling to connect with the Santa Ynez Valley. Now chef Bradley Ogden launches Solvang into the New World of cuisine. A contemporary space in the heart of “Little Denmark,” just blocks from the Wine Valley Inn, his Root 246 restaurant gives the local food scene the culinary kick we’ve been waiting for.


You now call the Santa Ynez Valley home. What was the draw?  I fell in love with the area. It’s gorgeous, and it has so much potential. I view this area as where Napa was in 1980, just sort of starting out. It’s already got great wineries, and that’s a growing element as well as the food community.


How is sustainable agriculture part of the menu at Root 246?  It’s all about how I’ve cooked for the last thirty years. It has a huge input on the day-to-day menu, cultivating local growers and farmers. … We are trying to do that hundred-mile radius thing as much as possible.


How does Root 246 stack up to your other restaurants?  The philosophical approach doesn’t change: the commitment to ingredients and products. What does change is the creativity of the menu and the ingredients that are supported by the local area. The creative end here is different that what I would do at Caesar’s [Palace in Las Vegas] or One Market in San Francisco. … You have to realize where you are.


What goes into your creative process, conceiving new dishes?  Sometimes it’s just me walking through the farmers market. And sometimes it just comes to me, or I see an old recipe in a magazine … I don’t know where some of this stuff comes from; it just sort of comes, like a tune on a piano.


Any cooking tips?  Cook what you know best and have fun with it. And if you’re going to a market, grab a cooler and put it in your car.


Root 246, a restaurant by Bradley Ogden

420 Alisal Road, Downtown Solvang