Chef Wanted: Anne Burrell Talks About Potential Candidates and Her Own Job Interviews

by in Food Network Chef, Shows, June 27th, 2012

anne burrell
This Thursday night on Food Network (10pm/9c), Anne Burrell will be putting her mentor hat back on as she helps top restaurants find an executive chef — the critical employee who can make or break a restaurant — on Chef Wanted. Each week, Anne Burrell will put four candidates through the toughest job interview of their lives, testing everything from their culinary mettle to business acumen. It all ends with the biggest test of all: running the restaurant.

We recently chatted with Anne about being a mentor: identifying red flags on resumes, the hard questions she has to ask and even her own toughest job interview.

What is the best question to ask a potential candidate?

AB: There are a few questions I always ask. The first really important question is why do you want this job? This is to see if they’re looking for any job or if they’re actually interested in this particular job. Second, why did you get into cooking? I want to find out if this is their passion or just a job to them.

What are your long-term goals? I want to see if they’re committed to the job or if this is a stepping-stone to something else. If I’m going to go through the interview process with them, I want someone who will stay for the long haul.

Lastly, I ask, “What’s your favorite ingredient to cook with?” Because I’m curious.

What’s the biggest difference between being a mentor on Worst Cooks and being a mentor on Chef Wanted?

AB: There’s a huge difference because on Worst Cooks in America, the people know they’re terrible and they’re trying to learn and improve. On Chef Wanted, I’m dealing with experienced chefs so it’s a tough comparison. But one thing that is always similar is the tough-love component. I always want to push people to dig deep and strive to do their best.

What was your own toughest/most memorable job interview?

AB: When I was interviewing for Lidia Bastianich. She told me to go to the basement kitchen and grate seven fresh roots of horseradish; after five minutes, my eyes and nose were watering and I could barely see. Even worse, after 10 minutes everyone else’s eyes in the kitchen were watering, too, and they were yelling at me asking what I was doing there. I was just following Lidia’s directions!

What’s the best piece of advice for a job-seeking chef?

AB: Decide what you want to do and what job you want to have and go for it. Don’t just try for anything. Be respectful, be humble, don’t have an attitude and make really good food.

What’s the biggest red flag on a chef’s resume?

AB: Someone who has a big gap in time of unemployment and someone who has jumped around a lot and only worked at places for a short time.

Since we’re full-swing into the summer months, what’s your after-work summer drink suggestion?

AB: Vodka gimlets on the rocks.


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Comments (70)

  1. Tom Thompson says:

    I would like this show better if Anne Burrell was not on it. This is a good concept and I love 90+% of foodnetwork TV shows. I have been watching since 98 foodtv,

  2. Susan says:

    When watching the Secrets to a restraunt chef…Anne put cooked and uncooked meat on the same plate. That is a big NO NO. I have to admit, I was a little surprised she would do this on a TV show.

  3. Donna Volpicelli says:

    This is a comment about the episode of the Met-Back Bay. I was totally shocked the way that episode was aired the girl who won that by serving a handful of greens and raw fish. She should have been cut right then and there. I sure the hell wouldnt want to eat raw fish and a sloppy handful of greens. The only chef that looked like he had finese and style was the guy from Boston Joshua Breen. The owner of that restaurant was crazy especially when she made the comment about he was a chef in a small restaurant, while the other 2 chefs were into catering. I have been in the Terramia Restaurant many times and that place rocks!!!! I heard even that winner didnt take the postion , hmmmm I wonder why. That owner must go through executive chefs like she goes through toilet paper she is so full of herself. Ann I think you should have had more of a say to who was the better chef. I also heard that Chef Joshua was called after and was offered the job and said NO WAY!!! His reatuarant was named the 15th best Italian restaurant in the country, and also won the best Italian Food in Massachusetts in 2012.

  4. Mizzy says:

    So I guess someone made a big mistake and not picking the up and coming star in the culinary world. Ann I did have a lot of respect for you , when the show first started airing but, when you say in the beginning "my name " is on the line, I really think you messed that one up royally. Congrats to Chef Joshua Breen see that you are very passionate and class with your food.

  5. When I first saw this title Chef Wanted With Anne Burrell | FN Dish – Food Network Blog on google I just whent and bookmark it. I’ve used to read this blog all the time, truly i love and i still do.

  6. Margaret Copeny says:

    My wife cooks with love and passion for what she does in the kitchen.To me thats whats needed to be a true chef. She does church functions,some events, family get togethers and open houses. She patterns herself after the Queen of cooking – Anne Burrell.

  7. Show says:

    She has smart managerial ability, she should interview execlusively for her own restaurants or at least have the final say on her show!

  8. Show says:

    Gosh, is managerial a word?!

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