Chef Wanted: Abel’s on the Lake Update

by in Shows, February 21st, 2013

Chef WantedAbel’s on the Lake is a popular open-air restaurant in Austin, Texas. Owner Ellis Winstanley was looking for an executive chef who shares his vision for the restaurant and can keep up with the demands of the busy establishment. Anne Burrell and the Chef Wanted team were called in to help with the search. After two tests and two dinner services, an offer was extended to Chef Jon Gaboric.

Chef Gaboric was born in Seoul, South Korea, was left on the doorstep of a police station and ended up in an orphanage. At 5 years old he was adopted by an American family and grew up in New England. As a kid he fell in love with food. He’s been cooking professionally for 20 years but was looking for a new job with the potential to grow so that he can give his son the life his adoptive family gave him.

Chef Gaboric was successful at creating a dish for the first test, which challenged the chefs to work with blue crab. Unfortunately, for the second test, Chef Gaboric didn’t create a dish that Ellis was happy with — the grilled swordfish with fennel salad was not the right style for Abel’s and the fish was sliced and cooked inconsistently. When it came to dinner service things looked promising during prep, but once service began, everything started to go downhill fast. Ticket times were extremely long and Chef Gaboric found himself out of his element in cooking for a large volume. He tried to take shortcuts but Ellis reprimanded him. In the end, Chef Gaboric was able to turn out a successful dinner service with food that everyone loved. Ellis offered Chef Gaboric the job of executive chef, believing he embodied the future of Abel’s on the Lake.

FN Dish caught up with Chef Gaboric since the show taped. After accepting the executive chef position at Abel’s on the Lake, the job didn’t turn out to be the right fit, but Chef Gaboric is thankful for what he’s learned from the experience. Watch the video above to find out what Chef Gaboric is currently doing.

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Comments (26)

  1. Babs Burris says:

    Seems that the restaurant owners are not really looking to hire from this show. How many were hired and are still in the jobs?

  2. T.cook says:

    I didn't want to watch any of the shows when announced because of all the yelling displayed by Chef Anne. Her cooking shows have always been a more mentor / inspirational, but my curiosity got the best of me so I did. And then I thought I would follow up on line to see what was the outcome of them. So far the only Chef that seems to have the most success is Chef Anthony De Palma from the Tuscan Kitchen episode ( and from what I read recently, he's in the market part of this business baking now. At least he's still employed). The one from Oliver's in NewYork episode was a total sham and forget about the one in Massachusetts, Sea Dog Steak & Ale that closed down. Whew !! Sad… Being a Chef for many years myself, my heart goes out to all the contestants. Their talents exceed way above what any of these restaurant owners deserve.

  3. SFraley says:

    I just watched that episode & got curious about the reviews & menu for the resturant. The first thing that struck me when I watched the show, was the fact that the owner wanted to use it for his wedding venue & couldn't so, he bought the place. Can't get what I want, I'll buy it. Then, Jon tried to fix something alittle different, & Chef Anne was like, I can get this anywhere Around The World. Ok, yes You probably can, but us Texans, don't get to travel the world, and we can get grilled bass from our back pond to our backyard.

    • SFraley says:

      sorry I had to break my discussion into two parts, they said it was too long. This is the first part & above is the second. I have a tendency to write a book in my explanations.

  4. SFraley says:

    Then I started reading the reviews, & the main thing that stuck out, Lots of Beer on Tap & TV's. This Restaurant really sounds more like a Sports Bar too me. Brunch and Happy Hour. I thought this show was about finding an Executive Chef for a Nice Dining Establishment. Yes, you do want to have Texas Flare for a Texas Restaurant, we like our spices and bar-b-cue sauce, the quail sounded great!!! Looking at the menu's, for dinner, the cheapest dinner plate is $8.99, for fish tacos (yuk-this is not California). 14-oz Ribeye-$18.99, I can get a 20-oz for that price at Logan's Roadhouse in my little East Texas town. Prices seem a little high to me. If the portions fit the prices, well then maybe. Granted, Austin is a party town, you have college kids & government. But, from what I saw on the show, Abel's looks like a nice establishment, it sits on a beautiful lake, and that seems as far a Nice Dining Establishment, goes.

  5. James D says:

    I never felt like Jon was losing control of the service. I imagine chefs deal with this stress on a daily basis. I doubt a few words of encouragement really made the difference. As for Abels, it seems like a cool place to hang out, drink beer and eat good bar food. Restaurants should stick with what they are good at and not be everything to everyone.

  6. a fan says:


  7. gferg48 says:

    Curious who are the chefs for the two latest that did not work out. Do they go back to the runner up?

  8. Sam says:

    I agree with those who call out Anne Burrell on her treatment of the chefs. As a veteran of fine dining restuarants for many years, I know that chefs can be assholes, but that kind of yelling would never go over. It is obvious some producer thins yelling makes good TV.

    I watch the first two segments to see what the chefs come up with, then turn it off so I don't have to watch the kitchen get weeded. Been there too often!

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