Who's cooking? It could be you, if you've ever had a yen to don a chef's hat and cook for a crowd.
Shay's Café, a breakfast and lunch spot at 2711 Encinal Ave., will soon open its doors in the evening for “Who’s in the Kitchen?” — a pop-up style restaurant for professional chefs or amateur cooks who want to try running a restaurant for a night, co-owner Wendy Shay announced in a press release Wednesday.
The guest chefs will create their own menus, shop for all their ingredients, prepare their meals and handle clean-up, Shay said. Shay's Café will provide two staff people (including a cashier) as well as wine and beer service. Shay's will take the beverage proceeds, the guest chef will deduct food costs and the remaining take will be split 50/50.
Since the cafe is already permitted to operate until 10 p.m., there's not a lot of red tape involved in adding the dinner service, Shay said. Visiting chefs will need to meet one Alameda County Health Department requirement — taking, and passing, a food handling course. That can be done online for about $15, Shay said.
The pop-up restaurant trend started in London and has become very popular all over the Bay Area, Shay said. Perhaps the best-known example in the East Bay is Guest Chef in Oakland's Rockridge district. There, visiting chefs — who have ranged from firefighters to experienced caterers — rotate every two weeks.
At Shay's, “Who’s in the Kitchen?” will be available seven evenings a week. The demand from chefs will determine how many nights a week or month dinner will be served, Shay said.
First up will be Paul Skrentny, an Alameda resident who's known for his paella, Shay said. Skrentny has already done a stint at Guest Chef, she said. Skrentny will be dishing up dinner on Oct. 18, 5:30 to 9 p.m., and on Oct. 19 and 20, 5:30 to 10 p.m.
The pop-up concept will utilize empty space in the evening and offer Alameda residents a greater diversity in cuisine, Shay said.
Shay and co-owner (and husband) Shawn Shay are looking for more chefs to participate. They hope those will include non-profit groups that could utilize the cafe for fundraising dinners. For fundraisers, Shay said, the cafe would donate a portion of its profits to the group. Individuals who just want to try their hand in a commercial kitchen are welcome as well.
If you're interested, contact Wendy Shay at (510) 748-0423 or email@example.com.
For more information about “Who’s in the Kitchen?” click on "event" at shayscafe.com/blog.