Celebrated Las Vegas chef to open restaurant with tribe

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By Dale Rim -- Santa Barbara News-Press, Calif.

SANTA BARBARA, Calif. (MCT) - Bradley Ogden, whose restaurant of the same name at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas won the 2004 James Beard Foundation award as Best New Restaurant, is partnering with the Santa Ynez Band of Chumash Indians to open a restaurant at the Royal Scandinavian Inn in Solvang, it was announced March 24.

Ogden, chef, co-founder and co-proprietor of the Lark Creek Restaurant Group, has been guided in his success by creating dishes using American Indian ingredients.

''Coming from the Midwest, I grew up eating freshly caught trout, free-range chicken and hand-picked fruits and vegetables,'' Ogden said on his Web site. ''As my culinary training exposed me to new techniques and ingredients, I never lost my appreciation for those basic tastes.''

Tribal Chairman Vincent Armenta said that the new restaurant will have the Bradley Ogden brand and all that it entails - high quality, signature regional flavor and extraordinary cuisine.

''We are looking forward to a long-term relationship with Chef Ogden,'' Armenta said in a statement.

The Chumash purchased the Royal Scandinavian, Solvang's largest hotel with 133 rooms, for $19.46 million in April 2007. The purchase included the hotel, the Meadows Restaurant and Bar, and a parcel of land at 400 Alisal Road.

The Chumash plan to upgrade the 25-year-old facility to bring it up to a four-diamond rating.

''From redesigning the interior, to completely redesigning the kitchen, to hiring the executive chef to developing the menu, [Ogden's] role in reworking the restaurant will be critical to ensuring that the restaurant meets the high level of quality our guests have come to expect from Chumash,'' said Armenta. ''Based on his track record, we know that he will execute his plan with passion, inspiration and commitment.''

It is anticipated that Ogden will be moving to the Santa Ynez Valley to oversee the restaurant and to establish relationships with area farmers, ranchers and fishmongers.

''I am looking forward to working with the Chumash team to create a restaurant that will bring unprecedented recognition to the Santa Ynez Valley as a dining destination to be taken seriously,'' said Ogden in prepared remarks. ''What we create will be contemporary, airy, warm, exciting and inviting with a culinary flair that includes quality, fresh ingredients.''

Throughout his 30 years as a chef and restaurateur, Ogden has won numerous accolades for his restaurants, which include One Market Restaurant in San Francisco, Lark Creek Walnut Creek, Yankee Pie in Larkspur, Parcel 104 in Santa Clara, Arterra in San Diego, Bradley Ogden at Caesars Palace and Lark Creek Steak in San Francisco.

Armenta said the tribe will retain ownership of the restaurant.

Tribal spokesman Frances Snyder said there is no time frame set for the new restaurant; however, she said the remodeling of the hotel will be finished by the end of the year.

Copyright (c) 2008, Santa Barbara News-Press, Calif. Distributed by McClatchy-Tribune Information Services.