The ultimate test kitchen, where top chefs and restaurants connect

One of the hottest tables in town isn’t at a restaurant. New York chef Marcus Samuelsson of Aquavit has cooked here. So have local chefs Susan Feniger of Border Grill and Street, Evan Funke of Rustic Canyon, and Church & State’s Joshua Smith.

The culinary team behind Red O by Rick Bayless served sopes and ceviche here weeks before the restaurant opened on Melrose Avenue. And former “Top Chef” contestant Jamie Lauren recently cooked chermoula-rubbed lamb loin and seared scallops with favas, mint and bacon for dinner guests including Wilshire restaurant owner Steve Levine and Grace partner Richard Drapkin.

All of this has been going on not at an underground supper club or the latest trendy pop-up, but at the modest Santa Monica home of restaurant recruiter Brad Metzger.

Last year he decided to build a kitchen, not just any kitchen, but a place where top chefs could come try out for prospective employers. In the few months since it has been finished, it’s become an unlikely regular venue for a revolving cast of insiders. Chefs such as Samuelsson and Feniger have conducted cooking demos; others have cooked in the souped-up kitchen just to check out the equipment.

Continue reading . . .