The recently opened Test Kitchen, from Bill Chait and Brian Saltsburg, continues to be in the news — though that will happen when your restaurant features a constantly developing lineup of big name chefs. In fact, several local television stations are already in the process of sending over their crews. But on the heels of a recent report naming Walter Manzke and Michael Voltaggio as upcoming Test Kitchen chefs, we checked in with Brian Saltsburg to see what's really going on.

“We announced Walter Manzke on our Twitter page,” said Saltsburg, who confirmed that the former Church and State chef would be manning the stoves from August 25-28. But what about Michael Voltaggio? “Michael is not signed on.”

Might he be? “Look,” Saltsburg continued, “Thomas Keller might be too. There's different levels of 'might.' Yeah, I know Voltaggio. Yes, I talk to Voltaggio. No, he's not signed. Maybe he will, but no, at this point, there's no Voltaggio.”

We also spoke about John Sedlar's upcoming stay at Test Kitchen, but his dates have not yet been locked down. He did tell us, though, that starting Tuesday, every chef will have his own tapas menu to go along with the cocktails.

But while the identities of some of the chefs are still being kept a secret, many other names and dates are still not set. “There are a lot of guys who have given us menus, but not signed paperwork yet. Then there are guys who want to come by, but haven't proposed a menu, or a price, or paperwork, or anything.”

From the sound of it, there doesn't seem to be any concern about filling those dates. “The level of interest from chefs is overwhelming. I had three chefs contact me during dinner service last night,” he said, adding, “the place seems to have a good vibe. We've had 12 or 14 chefs that have come to dine, and they've been really impressed. We've also had bartenders coming in wanting to know what to do to be invited.”

So with all this early success, is there any chance in opening up a permanent version of Test Kitchen? “I think part of the fun of Test Kitchen is that it's temporary. There's a certain excitement in only having Jordan [Kahn]'s food for four days, Walter [Manzke]'s food for four days, Ricardo [Zarate]'s food for one day. If we were permanent we would just be another restaurant with a changing menu.”

Test Kitchen: 9575 West Pico Boulevard, L.A.

Dinner available Tuesday – Saturday, 6:00pm to 10:30pm. Reservations accepted via Test Kitchen's website and Open Table.

LA Weekly