Chef Wanted: James Beach Update

by in Shows, July 1st, 2012

Chef Wanted James Beach

At James Beach in Venice, Calif., owners James Evans and Daniel Samakow called in Anne Burrell to find a new executive chef for their modern comfort food spot. Anne brought in four candidates, and after two grueling challenges and exhausting nights of service, James and Daniel extended an offer to Vincent Walker.

Vincent, a three-time cancer survivor, impressed the owners and Anne with his determination and delicious food. “This kid is a fighter,” Anne said. “He’s ready to resume his dream of becoming an executive chef.” Several weeks after the show was filmed, we checked in with the owners to see how Vincent is doing in his new job.

Right after Chef Wanted was filmed, Vincent got married. “We gave him time to wed and leave his prior position,” the owners explain. “He has been meeting with us throughout, but has officially started this week.”

The owners are thrilled that James Beach is having a record year in terms of sales, and they only expect things to get better: “Summer , our busy season, is right around the corner, and with the new chef and the show, we expect it to be off the charts.”

Vincent has already hit the ground running by rearranging the kitchen for greater efficiency. His camaraderie with the kitchen staff was apparent during his night of service on the show and it has continued now that he’s their full-time chef: “The staff appreciates having someone with his spirit and knowledge working with them. He’s shown that he looks and listens to the staff before he acts.”

As Vincent gears up to launch his new menu, the owners have been tasting new dishes from him every day. “Yesterday he added thyme and buttermilk to our fried calamari and grilled the lemon. We loved it and James just heard customers at the next booth rave about it,” says Daniel. Vincent has also been playing with the restaurant’s classic mac-and-cheese, adding a confit of Nueske bacon: “It was a revelation.”

The beet panzanella salad, grilled asparagus salad and mesquite-smoked lamb chops that Vincent prepared on the show will also be featured on his new menu, which is set to roll out in early July.

James and Daniel are confident that Anne Burrell found them a great new hire: “He is an amazingly hard worker and team player. We could not be happier as we start going down this road together.”

More from Chef Wanted:

Mucho Ultima (June 28)

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Comments (53)

  1. Meghan says:

    I love this show!!!!!!!!!!! Vincent did awesome, I'm not a "chef" but I'm pretty sure that I would probably run a kitchen like Vincent, somewhat scattered but in the end pulling it off.. with people liking what I sent out and my coworkers having a good time while we're cooking! Great job!! Can't wait to see who else gets hired!!!!

  2. amie says:

    Love this show! So happy Vincent pulled through and won.

  3. Roberta Lee says:

    OMG I SO wanted you to win. 'Congrats and many long years of success. You seem like a wonderful person and also congradulations on the marriage.

  4. Pixpertine says:

    What an awesome show Food Network and Anne. I practically lived on Food Network channel and a Food Network junkie…lol
    It was a tough choice between Vince and Kris. They both were really good with their dinner service. But I'm glad Vince got the job, congratulation Vince! You're such an inspiration not just as a chef but as a cancer fighter patient. You have proven so with your come-back while under the pressure, you are a fighter! I'll be looking forward to dine at James' Beach.

  5. cha-cha says:

    Aaaaawwwwww Baby boy got married aaawww I’m sooo happy for u n ur wife!!!! Congratulations Vincent on ur new job n ur marriage. N yes I was hoping u would get the job n I was saying to myself please don’t give up Vinc , when u went to the restroom. N I was like go ahead n do what u gotta do n get back in the game , well kitchen lol. N when they said ur name I was yaaaaaaaay!!!! I’m proud of u vicent n remeber to trust in God! Jesus will never leave u or forsake u n yes he does supply all ur need. U have people who care for u n praying for u n we love u ok. Many blessing ur way ! I bless u in Jesus name amen! Praise God! N I’m glad God has healed u from cancer. Trust in the lord always .

  6. gil alcala says:

    WOW!!!!!!!!!!!! Vinnie you are so talented and so full of life and passion. I can see how James Beach will now have better food… Because its made with LOVE…. We are all proud of you… God Bless

  7. Mr Grub says:

    Fun show, but sloppy, sloppy, sloppy editing. 3 Chyron misspellings — vinegrette, chardonay, brussel sprouts. Really?? on a FOOD Network show?

  8. Betsy says:

    The sloppy editing is really distracting, especially on a Food Network show. First it was vinegarette, then vinegrette, Chardonay and Brussel sprouts. If I hear one more restaurant owner described as a restauranteur, I'll just give up. if you're going to present yourself as an expert, you have to demonstrate your expertise. Yes, spelling counts.

  9. @Lizp2T says:

    Anne, what a fun, funny and awesome show. Look forward to more chefs getting hired and raising the bar. Your grat Anne keep it up , hope to hear your famous growl when your excited ;) knock them dead and I will be visiting James Beach next time I'm in Venice to experience Vincent's creations well deserved!

  10. Rick says:

    Vincent, what you have been thru is amazing, your story moved me, i was totally pulling for you to win the spot and really glad you did congrads on the wedding and i cant wait to get out there to come try your food, keep it up and best of luck. anne GREAT FIND on your part

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