Chef Nate Bonner is bringing his passion for teaching and cooking to a new venue. Bonner, who most recently was a chef instructor at Schnucks Markets' Schnucks Cooks Cooking School in Des Peres, is premiering Chef Nate's Table, located at the AUTCOHome showroom in Westport. Bonner will be offering cooking classes as well as providing private dining experiences. The new project will have its grand opening on Thu., Oct. 13.

"I've had the dream for years of having a facility or restaurant where I got to cook in front of the people," Bonner says. "One of my first internships at school was in an open kitchen, where people could sit and watch."

The cost of trying to open his own facility, though, was prohibitive, so Bonner got creative. He'd done small events at AUTCO previously and loved the space, so he approached the owners with the idea of renting space at their location.

He gets use of the space and kitchen facilities, and AUTCO gets the advantage of having a professional onsite using their equipment and answering questions. Bonner will also be doing periodic product demonstrations in the showroom.

"It's a fun experience for people who are going in to shop, now they have action going on, things are on fire and the place smells good," Bonner says.

"It's really nice to have that feeling of home,when someone's in the kitchen and things smell good," says Joan Hart, vice president-appliances for AUTCOhome. "It really helps everybody, by driving more business for us and introducing (Bonner) to clients who'll use a private chef. It's such a mutually beneficial situation."

While he'll continue to do cooking classes, Bonner says his bread and butter will most likely be private dining for both lunch and dinner, which will be served in a separate space in the back of the AUTCO showroom.

"You literally come in and it's like having your own restaurant," according to Bonner. "There's a little wine room with flat screen TVs, and we can even have live music in there."

Service will be BYOB, at least initially, he says. Bonner will be taking reservations every day but Sunday, and he has sample menus available on his website to give potential clients a feel for what he can do, though he's not limiting himself to any particular dishes or types of cuisine.

"I'm very open to pleasing people, so if they want me to come up with something I'm more than happy to do that," he says. He also has his personal library onsite, which he's opening up to the public.

"If anybody just wants to come by and grab a recipe, I have some really cool old cookbooks. I just want to be a really good resource for everybody in town," he says. Bonner says he'll be retailing custom-made Japanese knives in the near future as well.

Those interested in attending the grand opening on Thursday can RSVP on the Chef Nate's Table Facebook page," target= "_blank">

Chef Nate's Table at AUTCOHome, 11610 Page Service Dr., Westport, 314.373.2026,," target= "_blank">

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