They say too many cooks spoil the soup. So how about five chefs -- each with a distinct style -- all making burgers in the same kitchen, at one time? It's not a plot to ruin dinner, but rather the newest incarnation of Test Kitchen, happening Saturday, Feb. 25, from 9 p.m. to 1 a.m. at Short Order. It marks the return of the wildly popular Test Kitchen after about a year's hiatus. (The last meal was in December 2010.)
Test Kitchen is perhaps best explained as a "concept." Although it originated in an actual restaurant called the Townhouse (now home to Picca and Sotto), it currently lacks a home. Nor does it have anything close to a regular menu; kitchen command plays out like a game of musical chef. During its five-month run at the Townhouse, more than 50 chefs participated, lending their talents usually just for a few days at a time.
One of the few constants has been Bill Chait, the restaurant entrepreneur profiled in the L.A. Times last week, who was one of Test Kitchen's founders. Two of Chait's restaurants will be represented Saturday via burger. Short Order's chef Christian Page will make a sand-dab burger with tartar sauce and American cheese. Ori Menashe of Bestia, a trattoria planned for downtown's Arts District, will present an aged beef patty with porcini mustard, Parmesan aioli, arugula, pancetta and tomato.
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Other participating chefs include Kris Morningstar of Ray's and Stark Bar. His beef burger comes with mortadella bites, beets, pistachio, yogurt and mint. Adam Horton of Raphael will do a Korean barbecue version with galbi and kimchi. The final variety -- Vietnamese pork burger with pickled radish and spicy sauce -- comes from Walter Manzke of the upcoming République and Factory Baking Company. (He also cooked at the Food GPS Lamb Showdown yesterday.)
Four mixologists will be on hand, too. (Don't worry, they won't spoil the punch.) Expect drinks from Julian Cox (Picca, Sotto, Rivera, Playa), Daniel Warrilow (Son of a Gun), Paul Sanguinetti (Ray's & Stark Bar) and Chris Parke (Raphael).
Reservations are recommended (email firstname.lastname@example.org).