395 Santa Monica Place
Santa Monica, CA 90401
LA Chef Conference—the West Coast’s preeminent hospitality industry event featuring expert panels, restaurant business workshops, cooking demos with top chefs, pop-up dining experiences, and more—returns May 20, 2019 with an unprecedented lineup of talent. Presented by Brad Metzger Restaurant Solutions, a Los Angeles-based hospitality recruitment firm, in tandem with the Los Angeles Times, LA Chef Conference is one of many events in the publication’s annual LA Times Food Bowl, a monthlong celebration of the city’s dynamic food scene.
Panel guests includes celebrity chef and TV personality Curtis Stone; acclaimed chef/restaurateur Suzanne Goin; sustainable seafood advocate and decorated chef Michael Cimarusti; Will Guidara of famed hospitality group Make It Nice (Eleven Madison Park, Nomad); entrepreneur, philanthropist, and restaurateur Kimball Musk; award-winning chef Jeremy Fox; Bravo “Top Chef” winners Brooke Williamson and Richard Blais; Spago Co-Founder Barbara Lazaroff; culinary icon Jean-Georges Vongerichten; pop-up impresario, chef, and TV personality Ludo Lefebvre; former Santa Monica Farmers’ Market Program Manager Laura Avery; Johnny Ray Zone of the famed Howlin’ Rays Nashville Hot Chicken; renowned pastry chef Sherry Yard; and many more.
This year’s event lineup expands upon content featured in the inaugural 2018 event, offering a robust itinerary including:
- Expert Panels – topics range from “Boiling Point” (an honest discussion of mental health, wellness, and maintaining balance in the restaurant industry; moderated by Los Angeles Times Food Section Staff Writer Amy Scattergood) to “Chefs, Drugs, and Rock & Roll: How Food Lovers, Free Spirits, Misfits, and Wanderers Created a New American Profession” (inspired and moderated by acclaimed author and podcaster Andrew Friedman).
- Cooking Demos – hosted by Los Angeles Times Cooking Editor Genevieve Ko and Cooking Columnist Ben Mims, demonstrations feature legendary chef Josiah Citrin, culinary mastermind Tetsu Yahagi, award-winning chef Ricardo Zarate, and acclaimed mixologist and author Matt Biancaniello, among others.
- Restaurant Workshop Series – a four-session entrepreneurial track for those interested in opening a restaurant with featured topics including branding and marketing, construction and design, financials, and HR/morale/culture. Workshops are led by and include innovative industry leaders Jeffrey Goodman (CEO of Pitfire Artisan Pizza and Superba Food + Bread), Ellen Bennett (co-founder of the handcrafted, cult chef gear brand Hedley & Bennett); Tiffany Stith (President & COO of Lawry’s); Natasha Case (CEO of the architecturally inspired ice cream brand Coolhaus); Lee Maen (Innovative Dining Group Founder); and Colby Goff (Co-Founder and CFO of Rustic Canyon Group) to name a few.
- Chef-Driven Lunch – coffee and pastries by Bakers Kneaded and Caffe Luxxe; lunch provided by Tim Hollingsworth’s C.J. Boyd’s Fried Chicken, Christina Tosi’s Milk Bar, Puesto, Paperboy Pizza, Supertoro, and Superior Seafood Co., with a craft beer bar from The Dudes’ Brewing Co.
“The LA Chef Conference is a passion project of mine,” says Brad Metzger, event producer and president of Brad Metzger Restaurant Solutions. “With 30 years of experience in the Los Angeles restaurant industry, I wanted to create an event on par with the American Express Restaurant Trade Program at the FOOD & WINE Classic in Aspen or the StarChefs Congress in Brooklyn; an event where the West Coast restaurant community could come together to learn, network, and share creative ideas and solutions to the growing challenges in the industry.”
Events are held at ArcLight Cinemas and The Gourmandise School, located on the third floor of Santa Monica Place in Santa Monica, CA. The all-day event (kicking off at 8:30 a.m., wrapping at 4:00 p.m., and moving to the Viceroy Santa Monica for a celebratory after party) offers attendees the choice of several ticketing options, ranging from access to all nine industry panels, cooking demos, restaurant workshops, complimentary lunch, and the after party ($85 per person if purchased by April 20 or $110 per person thereafter). Five percent of ticket sales support charity partner C-CAP LA, an organization providing careers through culinary arts programming in Los Angeles. Tickets are live now and available at www.lachefconference.com. Follow @BMRSFoodJobs on Instagram for the latest updates.