Chef Wanted: Fromagerie Update

by in Shows, July 5th, 2012

This week on Chef Wanted, star Chef David Burke called in Anne Burrell to help him find a new executive chef for Fromagerie in Rumson, N.J. Among Anne’s four candidates was Phil Deffina, a six-year veteran of David’s restaurants. This was Phil’s chance to prove himself to his boss and mentor and to finally make the jump from sous chef to executive chef. He did just that, serving an ambitious menu and keeping the kitchen under control during his trial night of service. “I knew coming into this that David has high expectations of me,” Phil said. We checked in three months later to see how he’s doing at Fromagerie.

David says his veteran sous chef (from David Burke Kitchen in Manhattan) has proved to be a great fit for Fromagerie: “Phil has fresh insight into cuisine for this community of affluent and discerning tastes.” He says Anne’s influence really helped Phil shine in his interview: “Anne is one of the most talented female chefs in America. Pushing the chefs motivated them to turn up the burners and perform at new levels of creativity.”

The restaurant is improving every day. Phil is working with David on new menu items and several promotions, including burger night on Tuesday, lobster night on Wednesday and steak night with special wine pairings on Thursday. Phil is also running a seafood special, focusing on local Jersey ingredients this summer. “Sales are slightly up from 2011 and we are working to make it an upward trend,” says David.

Much of what impressed David about Phil’s dinner service was his successful leadership in the kitchen, and this has continued in his new role: “Phil is great with the kitchen staff and a workhorse. He never stops trying to improve.” He educates the staff about dishes every night and has created a menu explanation sheet so that everyone on his team understands the necessary ingredients and mise en place for each dish.

Overall, guests have been “very positive and excited” about the new chef and his menu offerings. David is confident that Anne Burrell found him a great new chef – right in one of his own kitchens.

More from Chef Wanted:

James Beach (July 1)

Mucho Ultima (June 28)

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Comments (181)

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  2. gingerfirebird says:

    So, how is Phil doing now (2013)? While I am at it, I am so glad to know that others saw what I saw. David Burke did himself NO favors. His bias for men being leaders was bluntly obvious. This show was my first introduction to this series and all I could think was 'is this how this whole series is…fixed, and with gender bias ruling the chef owner's decisions'.

    • Michele M says:

      I will say it was interesting that he says “Anne is one of the most talented female chefs in America.
      Whar was wrong with saying she is one of the most talented CHEFS period..

    • Phil Deffina says:

      I am well.. thanks for asking. its been a tremendous journey and loving every minute of the ride. pd

  3. acummings53 says:

    Cringe! If David Burke is going to give his restaurant a pretentious-sounding French name, "Fromagerie", then he certainly should know how to pronounce it correctly. The last syllable does NOT sound like the letter "A"; it sounds like the letter "E". (Phonetically: "Fromageree"). Just like the French saying "la vie en rose" sounds like la "vee" en rose, not la "vay" on rose. It's an embarrassment. Pass the word on to David Burke, please, so he can stop sounding like an American hick on national TV. I wonder if Mr. Burke knows what a fromagerie is–it's a store that sells various types of cheeses, hardly an appropriate name for a fine dining restaurant in the first place. Has he never been to France?

  4. strona says:

    I enjoy your producing style, do continue writing! I will be back again!

  5. I actually like the round robin and no championship game. Everybody plays everybody else and the regular season champ represents the conference. Of course cash will rule. If there are more $$$ to be made with a game, they will play it.

  6. MW, I understand your analogy, but the Big 12 isn’t holding a stacked hand. I would rather him either say something or say nothing. Doing both makes him look foolish, and from his career at Stanford and other stops, we know that is not the case.

  7. Gibba says:

    Well, is was sure nice of them to waste the other Chiefs time!! All Mr. Burke wanted was publicity, he had no intention of hiring anyone other than the guy that worked for him … it was kinda telling when he 86'd the rabbit and then had to have the other entree refired … what a joke!!

  8. Barb says:

    I was totally turned off with the David Burke edition. I felt it was a waste of my time to have even watched the show. The outcome was pre-ordained. Nicole did not stand a chance.

  9. denalimum says:

    I watch most episodes of Chef Wanted. I just watched the episode with David Burke at Fromagerie. I am shocked Anne Burrell would even air an episode so one-sided like this. Anne kicked David Burke out of the kitchen for Nicole’s service and it seemed like the staff went on break by standing around or giving interviews. Ann did not kick David Burke out of Phil’s service and the staff noticeably kicked it into high gear. In watching David Burke on Top Chef, he is in his own world when it comes to food. Nicole is clearly the winner here just not being hired by David Burke.

  10. Kiki says:

    He did it for the money! I wonder how much he was paid?

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