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Oakland Eatery Offers Chefs A Taste Of Restaurant Business

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Guest Chef restaurant in Oakland. (CBS)

Guest Chef restaurant in Oakland. (CBS)

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OAKLAND (CBS 5) — Plenty of good cooks dream about owning their own restaurant. Now, an Oakland eatery is giving them a taste of what the business is like.

Guest Chef, in Oakland’s Rockridge neighborhood, offers two-week trials to people who want to see if they can cut it in the restaurant business. Individuals with cooking skills and a concept are encouraged to apply for a stint in the kitchen. Those accepted choose the music, create the menu and prepare the food at the 20 seat restaurant.

Owner Scott Cameron said the idea came to him while taking a shower. The real estate developer was trying to figure out how to utilize some vacant storefront space, when he dreamed up the idea.

“It does require us to reinvent ourselves every two weeks,” Cameron said.

Cameron said applicants have come up with some unique ideas. Among them: a completely gluten-free menu and $100 a dinner ramen with fancy sake pairings.

For guest chefs, it’s a low-cost, low-risk preview of the food business. It is estimated that three out of five restaurants fail or change hands in their first three years.

(Copyright 2012 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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