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. PssttCmere says:

    Congrats Vince, but I was pulling for Chris. AND don't ever walk out of the kitchen like you did….when the going gets tough, the tough get going. Best of luck.

    • Stareyes says:

      What do you know about tough?? Have you had cancer 3 TIMES and survived? I'm glad you won Vincent!!! As for Psstt you should be ashaned of yourself you don't know about that kind of courage!!!

    • xwiseguyx says:

      I don't think he really walked out Iof the kitchen since he was using the grill in the other kitchen to prepare some of the food.

    • vince says:

      I didn't walk out of the kitchen. The show made it look like it but in reality at that moment I was prepping and was at the other kitchen grilling lamb before the service started. Please I would never walk off the line in the middle of service like that either

      • tthomasnw says:

        Come on…It is all about the drama of having us cling to the edge of our seats and working up the emotions of the television audience…(perfect example is some of these posts…lol)

        Vince…even though you both had great contributions as Chefs, it was obvious that you remembered how important it is to build that team. You were the Chef but also a team player and that gained you so much respect from the staff. They knew who would be the best Chef for James Beach.
        Congratulations on your win and your nuptials!

    • SalmonLover says:

      Yes, I absolutely knew the editors of the show had cut the clip and snipped it together to make it look like that! They'd done this to my boss in the past. It is their way of creating drama when a true professional like Vincent doesn't show anything but overseeing his crew and trying to meld them all together to work quickly and efficiently. Way to go Vin.

  2. LISN says:

    Vincent, Your story is incredible. When you walked out, I actually thought you would keep walking. Luckily, you got yourself together. Although you seemed frazzled, your food was well received. Good luck and stay well!

  3. Altaira says:

    Who wouldn't be happy for the winner, Vincent Walker, seemingly talented, determined, and a nice guy.

    HOWEVER: I will not be watching any future episodes for the same reasons I stopped watching Masterchef and Hell's Kitchen. Anne Burrell leaves a horrible aftertaste in my proverbial mouth.

    Anne was clearly biased, hand holding Vincent when he walked out of the kitchen.
    Meanwhile, Anne heaped verbal abuse to Christianne Uy in front of the staff, humuliating her and the camera caught this poor woman's facial response.

    I'd like to know how was it possible for Vincent's performance to be good when he walked out? Wouldn't he have come back to an avalanche of orders?

    Maybe Chris should have walked out and gotten a break as well.

  4. Duck says:

    Vincent, congratulations! You have always been one to stick with it. I’m glad that it paid off for you, during your big moment in the spotlight.

    I have not made it to a reunion yet but plan on being at the next one. Hope to see you there.

  5. Drew says:

    Pa-Freeking-Thetic! I am sure that FN thinks that the American public is guillable but this one was about as rigged as the game shows of the 1950's! Not since Ina Garten and the Make a Wish controversy have I seen anything so wrong. Good luck FN you really need to get some talent in the brains department, your attempts at reality shows are really becoming transparent.

  6. peachy4me says:

    Enjoyed the show of all the talented Chefs. Vincent was my choice hands down. There are times when one has to take a few minutes to gather their thoughts, to regroup for excellence. All participants had issues, but Vincent was the best choice of the four hands down.
    Peachy4me to enjoy his hard work and attention to detail someday soon.
    Best to you VIncent.

  7. Courtney says:

    He got married?! Dang he was too cute to be married :( lol congrats to him though love the show

  8. SalmonLover says:

    Congrats Vincent! I love this show and I am so very happy for your success and on your marriage as well. You are a fighter and I knew all along you could win, with talent and a kind heart. My sister told me that she spoke with your Aunt and she in turn told us about your milestone. I am so pleased they repeated this show on the Food Network Channel for everyone to view and become inspired by you, and the other competitors as well. Your uncle and aunt in San Diego can't travel to your new venue but indeed Mary and I will be visiting James' Beach in Venice Beach, CA real soon. ~ Your Cousins in Southern CA, Mary and Anna Marie

    • vince says:

      i look forward to it. let me know ahead of time and I set you up with a special dinner. Hope you are both well and I will see you soon.

      • peachy4me says:

        We look forward to meeting you most of all. Congrads on wedding bells!!
        You are a Walker first, but I see the Kerner in you at first glance. Best to you and look forward to meeting you soon. Peachy4me.

  9. lanatanner says:

    Again…predictable…Am I the only one who sees this is bogus? The second person of the final round is picked as the winner AND the decision was made the night of the second person's service. How is that fair? The owners really should have the evening if not a whole day to digest it and make a decision. It just seems that coming off a good service they forget how good the service was the night before. They need to switch up the final two contestants in terms of the order they are aired, and they need to do a better job of editing to show there is no favoritism.

    • vinny says:

      Lana why do you have to be a hater. Didn't your parents ever teach you that if you don't have anything nice to say, don't say anything at all? =(

    • Benny says:

      Were we watching different shows? I seem to remember Vincent went first and came in when Khristianne's night was over. Makes the victory all the more impressive! Congrats!

  10. Joy says:

    Awesome Señor Vince I am extremely proud of you and applaud you for your hard work and amazing talent

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