PHOTO/DAVID ROBERT: Chef Jacob Burton: “Every single day, we are in our kitchens creating—but it is then lost to the ether. The dish is created, sent out, eaten and then gone.”

The Renaissance Reno Downtown Hotel and Spa has launched a brand-new, state-of-the-art culinary lab complete with broadcast-capable equipment to digitally capture the events that happen there.

The innovative culinary lab and special-events venue, R\LAB, is located in the space that had been a Johnny Rockets before sitting empty for more than five years. Chef Jacob Burton’s enthusiasm for the culinary arts is the driving momentum behind the project.

“Every single day, we are in our kitchens creating—but it is then lost to the ether,” Burton said. “The dish is created, sent out, eaten and then gone. There is no real history of it, and you can’t turn it into content that can then be educational and help the next generation of cooks.”

This lab is set up to allow the entire creative process to be shot and bundled into a professional video that will be easy to upload and share online. Not only can professional chefs capture their process and use it to market their restaurant or products; home cooks can rent the space to film the creation of their recipes to share with family and friends.

Burton said he and his team originally thought they would simply turn the space into a special-events venue; however, while they were developing things, it naturally evolved into a restaurant studio. For years, Burton has been doing online programming and training from a studio/green room he built in his office on the property—which wound up being his proof of concept.

His objective, with both the new space and his culinary bootcamps, is to teach people who are passionate about cooking professional techniques.

“We have created a fully immersive and interactive space to celebrate Reno’s food scene—for anyone who loves a culinary experience,” Burton said.

Burton and co. decided to keep the 1950s retro décor, which meant the team at the Renaissance had fewer modifications to make to get the space ready. These upgrades included completely removing the traditional pass window, updating appliances and cookware, installing eight high-definition cameras and five lavalier microphones, and putting in a live switching station to allow high-definition broadcasting to any platform on the internet.

“It’s a win-win all the way around. We get to help the community throw some awesome events while capturing content that is natural marketing.” r\Lab creator jacob burton

“When you come in for your event, you can watch the chefs up close or through our big screens, as they explain each step of prep, cooking and plating,” Burton said. “Then you get to eat what they’ve prepared, and receive a video of the entire process so you can re-create it at home.”

Burton and his team hope to use the space to promote the Reno-Tahoe culinary scene as a whole, and are looking forward to creating new events.

“We are so excited to launch this space,” says Burton. “It’s a win-win all the way around. We get to help the community throw some awesome events while capturing content that is natural marketing.”

For the last several months, the team at Renaissance Reno has been shooting videos in the space, working out the angles, finding the proper lighting and presenting to various groups. They have already done some cooking demonstrations and will do some additional test classes to get a feel for the space and work out the kinks. The team is also currently working on putting together a 2023 schedule of events.

R\LAB is available to the public for special events, from birthday and holiday parties to real and simulated cooking competitions and demonstrations. Those interested in brainstorming or booking an event at R\LAB can contact Burton at

Cheree Boteler is the founder of Hungry in Reno, a brand created to support local food and drink establishments by sharing reputable, interesting, innovative and exciting food and drink experiences with...

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1 Comment

  1. It is truly an awesome space and revolutionary for RENO!👍🎊❤️
    Chef Jacob Burton has such a passion and culinary expertise as well as media knowledge to make this a successful and inspiring event space! 👌🎉
    Bravo and kudos to all who have worked on this wonderful project! 👏👏👏❤️

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