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.


More posts from .

Similar Posts

“Get Ready to Be Blown Away” — Valerie Bertinelli Speaks Out About Kids Baking Championship

Find out what mentor and judge Valerie Bertinelli had to say in our interview with her about Kids Baking Championship, the competition's challenges, t...

Comments (70)

  1. Colleen Randazzo says:

    Anne rocks as a strong, powerful woman who pushes peoplemtomexcellence. I love this show.

  2. Barbara says:

    I think the show is fixed, How low could you get Anne????

  3. Kim says:

    Todd English acted like a fool. Can you say discrimination when he announced he wanted a YOUNG chef!! Will no longer buy his products, eat at his establishments, or watch him on any show. Shame on him and FoodNetwork for allowing such appalling behavior to be aired!!!!

    • Karen says:

      What do you expect – he dated Martha Stewart – that was such a shock that they were an item once – can't tell who was the desparate one – although since Martha's demised – she has become more likeable

  4. Miz_Fit says:

    On the Steakhouse episode – So the owners "participated" because they wanted update or go in a new direction or something to that effect. Yet they pick the guy who does things they way usually do? Huh?

    What a waste of time.

    • Karen says:

      I thought that was odd also, but you could tell from looking at them that they were old school. (No insult intended)

    • Doug says:

      I totally agree and could Anne have possibly found 4 worse potential chefs for the job? Good God, 2 extremely obese (one with 9 kids to boot), 1 that has bounced all over the place and even 1 who had quit his prior cooking job because he wanted to spend more time with his kids???? WTF? I have friends that through no fault of their own have, over the last several years, lost their jobs and any one of them would have made not only a more interesting executive chef candidate, but better qualified (even if their only prior experience was backyard grilling) and certainly more desiring. And you were out of line Anne when you chewed Mike out about his vegetarian dish. I too would have told you to get your ass and hair out of my kitchen. This show and Around the World in 80 Plates (man, just listening Curtis talk is like listening to someone scratching on a chalkboard) are the 2 most ridiculously phony shows the Food Network has foisted on us to date. Certainly new faces and new plots are needed but these show do not cut the mustard.

  5. jen says:

    Please wear a hairnet! Your hair in the kitchen is gross

    • Karen says:

      I agree – the network shouldn't allow this kind of silliness – her hair is just so distracting that I can not watch her cook – and all she does is grunt on her cooking show – just can't watch her cook – but I do like her in the latest show but her hair – someone needs to show her how to have that look without looking like she stuck her head in a blender and sprayed her hair – really Anne – you need to look professional in the kitchen.

  6. Not The NFNS says:

    As was said earlier, who goes into a steakhouse and order vegetarian? Unless the vegetarian was a plant by the producers to create drama, which it did. The chef should have told Anne to shut up and get the eff out of his kitchen and sent word to the veg that there were no vegetarian choices on the menu for a reason….IT"S A STEAKHOUSE, MORON. Oh, and it was funny seeing Tom from Restaurant: Impossible as a diner who sent his steak back. Did the producers think no one would catch that? No more of that show for me.

    • Miz_Fit says:

      I know. What part of "steak" in "steakhouse" did the diner not understand?!?!?

    • Karen says:

      I can't find the update on how they are doing; which I hate that they did this instead of just telling us. Anne is different – but honestly I don't watch her cooking show – she grunts and her hair, for a restaurant, is so offensive – think lots of blonde hair in the food – she should look professional instead like an un-made bed. I just can't watch her cook but like this show because she isn't cooking.

      • LISN says:

        Well, you're certainly entitled to your opinion. I agree that hairnets in professional kitchens would make me feel more at ease to dine. However, Anne's show has only herself eating her creations. Do you wear a hairnet when you're cooking the family meal or when entertaining? Doubtful.

    • KRA says:

      Yes, it was insane. Lets all go to a vegetarian dining spot, and ask for steak !

  7. Karen says:

    I like Chef Anne. She can be funny and entertaining, but this show really gives her nothing much to do. And if these are the best chefs she can find to compete – America we are in trouble! I do feel like there are one or two viable candidates on each show but usually it's pretty clear who will get the job.

    I think Chef Hunter was a much better show.

  8. LULU3 says:


    • April says:

      wow I just watched that episode on demand today and I was just saying he's drunk look at him he was a mess. lol

      • Melissa says:

        Agreed! That poor chef needs an apology! You could tell Anne knew it too but she was too afraid to stand up to Todd English and jeopardize her new show. She may need him in her career one day as well.

  9. G E says:

    I really wanted to continue watching the show, but with the recent episode "Met Back Bay" there was so much profanity and barely any editing that I will not be putting this into my Food Network repertoire. I stopped watching Top Chef for this exact reason because it became a show about chefs ranting in the kitchen with filthy mouths and not about the food. That’s exactly what your recent episode portrayed. Seriously, you can do a better job of editing and highlighting the competing chef’s skills. Sad that you feel you have to resort to having profanity make the cut.

  10. Carla says:

    What is going on with the revisits. There are several episodes missing

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>