Weeks ahead of opening his eagerly anticipated debut restaurant, Speck, Shola Olunloyo has already started booking StudioKitchen dinners, the lavish nine-course-plus chefs tastings he will serve to just eight guests five nights a week at his kitchen’s counter. As of yesterday, seats for what’s undoubtedly to become one of the city’s most coveted reservations are being filled quickly, and Saturdays are booked solid through December, Meal Ticket’s Anthony Sica reported. What’s curious is that Olunloyo isn’t booking StudioKitchen until October, when Speck is on track for a September opening. Grub Street caught up with Olunloyo to find out why. “We would like StudioKitchen to be a flawless dining experience that is entirely different from eating at Speck,” Olunloyo told Grub Street via email today. “The immediate goal after Speck opens is to get the kitchen and staff running smoothly and work out any kinks in the kitchen. We are basically giving ourselves 3-4 weeks to sort it all out.”
The StudioKitchen experience will vary from Speck’s, Olunloyo said. “Part of the experience is the visual and vocal connection to the kitchen staff in close proximity,” he added. “We therefore have to make sure the sight lines are not cluttered and the place is spotless even when busy. It is not an easy challenge.”
The StudioKitchen menus will change weekly, and no dishes will be repeated, Olunloyo said. The constantly changing menus will also be cataloged for a forthcoming cookbook, he added. The first two will be served free of charge; the first eight seats will be filled with randomly selected from StudioKitchen’s Facebook, and the other eight will go to local chefs who helped with creating Speck.