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Abel’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.