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Since age 28, Kurt Metzger had already made a big impact on Los Angeles and San Diego fine dining scene and continues to receive national attention for his catering and successful farm to table restaurant. As one of the top San Diego chefs, Metzger’s vibrant, simple flavors that draw on products from Southern California’s exceptional farmers have captivated diners and critics alike.
Born in the Pasadena area, Metzger knew at a young age that he wanted to be a chef. Encouraged by his mother, whom he describes as “a great cook,” Metzger tried as many recipes as he could from chefs like Julia Child and Nathalie Dupree. One day after school, Metzger’s mother came home to find her 12-year-old son de-boning a leg of lamb. Metzger took his first professional job in the kitchen of a local restaurant after moving to Houston, Texas.
While in San Francisco Metzger did a stint as chef for Roxxi’s. While at Roxxi’s, Metzger received tremendous critical acclaim for his California-inspired French cuisine. Though he eschews labels, Metzger describes his style of cooking as “ingredient-inspired and ingredient-driven,” which results in pure, clean flavors grounded by flawless classic technique. His daily morning trips to the farmer’s market and longstanding relationships with local growers like Chino Farms are reflected in his constantly changing menus.
Now a San Diego chef, caterer, and restaurateur, Metzger cites his time working alongside mentor Mark Wexler at Bistro 45 as a major defining experience. “Mark taught me how to create relationships with purveyors and make ingredients shine,” he says. After Wexler left his executive chef position in 1996, Metzger was asked to fill his role, which led to a string of successes. Before leaving Bistro 45, his cooking propelled the restaurant into the Nation’s Restaurant News Fine Dining Hall of Fame. As the executive chef for his self owned catering company, Concept Catering by CK, and chef/owner of Kitchen 4140, Metzger says that he has “more opportunities than ever before.” Focusing primarily on his San Diego restaurant his freedom is expressed in his Chef’s Whim dinner and always-changing recipes. “There’s a lot more I can do here,” he says, “and I have more potential here.” Considering all that Metzger has already accomplished, that’s saying a lot.
Kitchen 4140 is a San Diego restaurant that boasts its very own organic gardens and uses as many local, fresh ingredients as possible. With the recent addition of beer and wine to the menu, Chef Kurt is excited to host wine dinners with different winemakers. Creating several coursed meals with wine pairings is just one of the new things going on at The Kitchen.