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About The Bay: Dinner Lab Is Private Club For Creative Chefs And Hungry ‘Food Nerds’

SAN FRANCISCO (KCBS) — So what sort of wine do you pair with a peanut butter and jelly sandwich?

How about a Charles Smith Reisling—not overly sweet, of course. It’s an adult beverage for an adult PB&J sandwich.

“Instead of the bread, we’re going to have an aerated Wonderbread. Instead of peanut butter, we have a Thai peanut sauce,” Chef Heroman says.

Obviously, this isn’t mom’s kitchen, this is Dinner Lab—a members’ only, pop-up supper club in San Francisco’s Dogpatch neighborhood that in a tech space. The way it works is Diners pay a yearly fee of $175 and about $75 dollars per meal to taste the experiment—then rate it.

For one night, foodies gather here for the next big thing.

“I don’t like being called that,” says LeeJay Victor, who helps run Dinner Lab. “I prefer the term food-nerd.”

Well, pardon me.

“There is not kitchen here. We came with all our own equipment. We build this kitchen. We are basically going to build a restaurant that will exist for one nigh only and then tomorrow this will all go back to what it is during the day.”

Chefs fly here from all over the country for one meal, cooking food they couldn’t at their day job.

“It means that I’m happy to be alive, I can’t image a more fun way to spend my time,” Heroman says. He named his menu,“King of the Playground.” It’s kids’ food for the adult palette.

“The third course is a happy meal, so we are having veal sweetbread nuggets with Coca-Cola barbeque sauce and horseradish-honey mustard sauce,” he says.

One diner called it “delicious.” The instant feedback gives chefs a real sense of how their meal is received.

“If you imagine chefs as musicians, Dinner Lab gives them a venue to play in,” Heroman says.

Dinner Lab here has, in just two months, already gained more than 700 members, primarily though word of mouth. In other cities, there’s a waiting list—that’s expected here, too.

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