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)

  1. LISN says:

    I thought Phil was a nice, hard working, serious person. However, when he presented a dish that was rejected by Chef Burke, I really believe that was cause for rejection. He didn't seem to do that great of a job overall. It almost seemed like nepotism. Burke liked to hire from within, period.

  2. Gabrielle says:

    Anne is one of the most talented FEMALE chefs in America?????? Excuse me!?!

  3. wrightgang says:

    On the Fromagerie episode, Anne so obviously favored the female candidate that she couldn't even bring herself to congratulate Phil when he won. But the topper of this episode was, "Whoa, dude, you're not a chef yet, just a sous chef." Please! Like she wasn't a sous chef until about 5 minutes ago! Burrell is treading that dangerous ground where it''s more about her persona than her cooking ability (see Guy Fieri, Paula Deen.) She didn't win Chopped or The Next Iron Chef, so she fulfills her ego by big-timing up-and-comers who are trying to make their way onto the national scene with cooking skills instead of a hair comb and a bottle of bleach. Enough.

  4. Disgusted Viewer says:

    David Burke is a fat ass

  5. G Kaplan says:

    Where is the update for last week?! Is Tully still the chef? Also, why are there so many spelling errors on the Chef Wanted show? Every week so far, something on the screen has been spelled wrong. Not acceptable!!

  6. Tully Wilson says:

    Will be soon have not made it to the restaurant yet.

  7. Reid says:

    This show is really a disappointment. Everything comes across incredibly scripted and fake….mostly because it is. I really like Anne as a chef and coach, but not in this form. Leave the elimination contest cooking show to Chopped!!!

  8. foodiesue says:

    It's TV people… entertainment. I think some of the derogatory statements made towards any of the chefs is silly. TV is for vegging out and numbing the brain. Fantasy. Sit back relax and enjoy!

  9. Karen says:

    Anne, if you're going through thousands of resumes and asking all of your chef friends for recommendations, surely you should be able to find some strong,female chefs to compete on your show. I also agree that David's "best female chef" comment was unbelieveable. It's 2012!!

    I like Anne Burrell but I'm almost out of patience with this show. Bring back Chef Hunter!

  10. Dennis says:

    This show is TERRIBLE, Ann is so rude and mean! I n the steak house episode she was screaming so bad, you could see evil in her face. Food network, get Ann off, get her help! The network is out of their tree if they think this is entertainment.

    • MLb says:

      Did anyone else notice that Tom from restaurant impossible was a customer there? I had a feeling that this show was scripted, and after seeing that, I have no doubt.

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