Chef Wanted: Oceano Update

by in Shows, February 17th, 2013


Chef WantedOceano is a restaurant and nightclub located right on the beach in Puerto Rico. Owner Todd Berman was looking for an executive chef who could match the elegance of the restaurant with a culturally charged menu. Anne Burrell and the Chef Wanted team were brought in to help with the search. After two difficult tests and two very different dinner services, an offer was extended to Chef Austin Henry.

Chef Henry considers himself the James Bond of the kitchen. He’s traveled the world and is familiar with many different cuisines and languages. Oceano is the perfect opportunity for Chef Henry to move up in his culinary career.

At first Chef Henry had a rough start. He almost served his mofongo dish with undercooked pork, but rectified the issue just in time. For his second “sexy” dish, he had to change course from scallops to shrimp when he realized the scallops wouldn’t sear properly. When it came to dinner service, he succeeded at rallying support from the restaurant staff, and except for getting frustrated over frozen pork and some expediting problems, the service was successful. Despite his lack of experience with Puerto Rican cuisine, his menu incorporated characteristic island flavors and got rave reviews from the guests. In the end, Chef Henry was offered the executive chef position because of his great food and natural leadership in the kitchen.

FN Dish caught up with Chef Henry since the show taped. Watch the video above to find out what he’s been doing since getting the job, what competing on the show was like and what it means for him to finally be an executive chef.

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Comments (35)

  1. estelle says:

    My husband and I greatly enjoyed our dinner prepared in Chef Austin Henry's kitchen at Oceano last week. I never watched Chef Anne's show but based on the reviews in this site about her screaming I definitely won't be watching her show and shame on producers for allowing it.

  2. Paul says:

    Rediculous that 3 Puerto Rican Chefs would be bypassed for a Gringo in PR. Sure they all had problems but it appears to me that the problem is more and more restaurants are taking the approach of what they interpret the local food to be but not what it actually is. It's a watering down of culture and food to justify higher price tag but not high quality food. I would challenge any gringo chef out of his element and totally in mine to beat me in this Puerto Rican challenge.

    • steve says:

      How racist of you! Do education, experience and hard work mean nothing to you? One should get the simply simply because they are Puerto Rican? This is reverse discrimination. Keep your ludicrous comments to yourself.

      • Paul says:

        Do the math gringo owner + gringo chef do not = real Authentic Puerto Rican food. Its like an American opening a Sushi restaurant in Japan and hiring an American Sushi chef. Think about that and your Reverse discrimination will have you going for an all Authentic Japanese experience on your next vacation to Osaka !

        • Paul says:

          I would like to see you eat a Puffer Fish arranged by anyone that is not Japanese EG. A Mexican or Puerto Rican for that matter. All I can say is culinary WUSS !!!

      • Paul says:

        It comes down to a Gringo wanting to make money on food we make better and more Awesome with less money in our kitchens daily !

    • Paul says:

      Remember I said I Challenge !!!

    • Paul says:

      You know I went back and watched the show and picked up on certain things. The Lesbo (no disrespect just fact )refers to gandules as an un sexy bean but wants them to make a sexy dish ! Are we cooking with sexy or taste and originality ? It appears to me that this is the cuisine that a Gringo wants but not what a Local would want .Again a watering down of local cuisine for the sake of the profit. Make the food how its supposed to be and the profit will come !

    • Paul says:

      Keep in mind that if this was a Japanese sushi restaurant you would want a real Japanese chef.

    • Elaine says:

      Totally agree! I guess they wanted a chef that could throw food all over the kitchen.

    • T.cook says:

      Paul – you are totally if not completely out of control – I would never hire you even if you were the last chef on earth even w all ur expertise in Latin cuisine….I. Feel you would have a walk out in the kitchen just like Chef Robert did…

    • Mee305 says:

      Why does everything has to come down to race. I am a Puerto Rican I was born there in Humacao. These restaurant owners are entitle to hire who ever they want. Is not our decision to make or our money to pay them. I cook Puerto Rican food, Italian food and American food very good food. If one knows what they are doing it doesn't matter where you come from. If you have a problem with who they hire don't go there to eat.

  3. Carmen Weddle says:

    Just want to say We had the pleasure of dinning last night at Oceano,it was our last evening in Puerto Rico my friend watched the show and said we must go.Warm breeze waves crashing softly on the beach. Chef Austin , was a great surprise for us to see.I had his grilled pineapple salad which was crisp sweet and wonderful,then came my entree Diver scallops with prosciutto on a purée of sweet potatoes to die for . Chef Austin , Bravo thank you for your wonderful dishes !

  4. PR Girl says:

    It was very hard to listen to this interview….since neither the owner, nor the chef can pronounce the NAME of the restaurant correctly!… Changing the stress of the name changes the meaning of the name … it goes from OcÉano (stress on the e) meaning Ocean… to OceAno… meaning "I mean, ass (as in anus!)

    • steve says:

      I am a Spanish teacher and I too couldn't believe that both the owner and the chef couldn't pronounce the name of the restaurant correctly. O say ah no…with the stress on "say."

  5. ray says:

    I would rather be without a job than work for a drone, ahole like Todd Berman…talk about annoying!!

  6. Foodiegirl says:

    I LOVE Chef Anne! if anyone can get the point through to these nuckleheads Chef Anne is the one for the job!! GREAT show, Chef Anne! I think Chef Robert Pagan's flavors AND attidude should have won!

  7. Lance says:

    Chef Anne is a pig, Let's put her back in the kitchen in NYC with Mario cooking pasta and other Italian specialties which is her forte. Enough woth a screaming unattractive chef.

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