Food & Wine Festivals/Conventions & Shows

LA Chef Conference on May 20th highlighting Brad Metzger, 2019 part of LA Times Food Bowl


Featuring a veritable “who’s who” of culinary talent, the star-studded conference is the main industry event of the Los Angeles Times’ Food Bowl celebration, offering expert panels, restaurant business workshops, cooking demos, and more

L: Chef Curtis Stone (credit: Ray Kachatorian); LC: Chef Brooke Williamson (credit: Ryan Tanaka); RC: Chef Timothy Hollingsworth;

R: Chef Suzanne Goin

(LOS ANGELES; April 11, 2019)—LA Chef Conferencethe 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.

Brad Metzger, LA Chef Conference event producer and president of Brad Metzger Restaurant Solutions. Brad began his career in the restaurant industry working as a server for the Grill on the Alley in Beverly Hills, after over 30 years of experience in the industry he has teamed up with the LA Times to brings the LA restaurant community together for one of the biggest West Coast industry events of the year.

The conference includes a truly star-studded lineup of chefs comprising the expert panels, cooking demonstrations, and restaurant workshop series. The “Boiling Point” will be a conversation surrounding mental health and wellness and maintaining balance in the restaurant industry – led by LA Times’ Amy Scattergood and featuring discussions with Richard Blais, Jeremy Fox, Daniel Patterson, and Nyesha Arrington.

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 Follow @BMRSFoodJobs on Instagram for the latest updates.


About Los Angeles Times Food Bowl

In its third year, the festival will continue to raise funds to fight food insecurity and hunger as well as promote waste reduction and sustainability through charity partners and participating events. Los Angeles Times Food Bowl charity partners include L.A. Regional Food Bank, Food Forward and Midnight Mission. Festival sponsors include founding partner Citi. For additional information and festival updates, visit Connect on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram @LAfoodbowl (#LAfoodbowl #31daysoffood)


About Brad Metzger Restaurant Solutions

Brad Metzger Restaurant Solutions (BMRS) is an exclusive Southern California-based hospitality recruitment and placement firm. BMRS is relied upon to find top culinary and management talent for many of the most acclaimed Celebrity Chefs, Restaurant Groups, and Boutique Hotels in the US, including many of the chefs and groups represented at the LA Chef Conference. BMRS is the only recruiting firm in the country with a Test Kitchen that is utilized as a confidential place for chef tastings and special guest chef dinners. BMRS clients and candidates include Food & Wine magazine Best New Chefs, James Beard Award-winners, and Michelin-starred restaurants. BMRS was founded in 2003 by Brad Metzger who had worked in the industry in many FOH and BOH- operational positions for over 20 years, starting at the original Spago on Sunset when he was 16 years old, followed by subsequent positions at Vincenti, The Grill on the Alley, Granita, Chadwick, Ruth’s Chris, Chaya, I Cugini, The SF Hilton, and El Encanto.