Invitro Restaurant preps pop-up chef series showcasing unsung heroes of Vancouver's pro kitchens

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Invitro Restaurant has had a taste of success since its launch last year, and now chef and owner Sarah Kashani wants to open up her kitchen to talented local chefs looking to grow their culinary careers.

“I want this space to be a creative space for people,” Kashani explains. Her plan is to let local professional chefs and kitchen staff, be they sous chefs or line cooks, have a crack at being executive chef for the night and cooking their own menu and showcasing their own concept using the Invitro space.

It’s a fitting notion, certainly, for a restaurant that includes “food lab,” in their full name to serve as an incubator for Vancouver’s up-and-coming chefs.

Kashani says since her restaurant opened in 2014 she’s been asked by several local chefs about how she got her business off the ground. Some of these talented culinary pros, working hard as the often unsung heroes in some of the city’s best restaurants, are mulling launching their own restaurants or food trucks, and Kashani wants to give them a platform.

“It’s a win-win,” describes Kashani of the program, which would find interested chefs submitting their own menu, paying a small fee, and bringing in their ingredients, but having the Invitro space, staff, and Kashani for guidance, for a lunch or dinner service, or both. Kashani adds that she’ll help out only as much as the evening’s guest chef wants.

Another win for Kashani is that creating a space where talent can be nurtured is not only part of what inspired the chef to open her own restaurant, but also the act of doing so is creatively rewarding for Kashani herself, and her cooking.

“I really think that more minds are better, and more creativity is better, and this way I can be inspired by what [the guest chefs are] doing as well,” says Kashani.

Right now Kashani is setting up chefs for the inaugural installment of the plan, but she urges any professional chefs wanting to see what it’s like to run their own restaurant for the night to get in touch with her. Diners interested in heading to Invitro for a taste of something different courtesy a talented up-and-coming chef can keep their eye on Invitro’s website and social media (Facebook, Twitter) for details of who will be popping up when.

Invitro Restaurant

Address: 2211 Manitoba Street, Mount Pleasant
Phone: (604) 992-6224
Website: invitrorestaurant.com

Featured image: Chef in restaurant kitchen/Shutterstock

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Lindsay William-Ross Lindsay is a Senior Editor at Vancity Buzz, and currently runs the site's Food section. A fourth generation Vancouverite, she spent the last two decades in Los Angeles, where she was EIC of the city's top blog, earned her MA, attended culinary school, and was an English professor (among other things). Lindsay's first published piece was December 1980 in The Province; it was her letter to Santa. E-mail: lindsay@vancitybuzz.com
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