Chef Wanted: Zengo Update

by in Shows, February 28th, 2013


Chef WantedZengo is a high-volume restaurant located in New York City that’s famous for blending Latin and Asian cuisines. Restaurateur Richard Sandoval is looking for a new executive chef who can meet three criteria: understand Latin and Asian cuisines, command respect from a demanding kitchen and keep consistency in every dish. 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 David Sears.

David Sears lives in Orlando, Fla., with his Peruvian-Chinese wife, two sons and is expecting a baby on the way. Growing up in the Bahamas as the son of a parliament member, David was expected to behave a certain way but ended up rebelling and turned to a life of crime. His turning point came when he found a passion for food and cooking. He recently was going to be the executive chef of a restaurant venture, but the project fell through. Chef Sears sees the opportunity at Zengo as a way to rebound his career and be able to provide again for his family.

On his first test, Chef Sears had it easy, creating a fusion dish that combined influences from both Peruvian and Chinese cuisines. Richard and Anne loved the dish. Unfortunately David couldn’t keep the momentum going for his second test. The challenge was to use two fermented ingredients to create a dish, but Chef Sears’ use of black garlic and Shaoxing wine were found to be almost unnoticeable. When it came to service, Chef Sears took on too much and lost track of time during prep. During pre-shift with the wait staff, he broke down emotionally when Richard and Anne found fault with all of his dishes. During service, the expeditor got into a fight with the general manager, which slowed down service even more. But in the end, the flavors that Chef Sears was able to convey in his dishes received nothing but praise from the diners and Richard. Chef Sears was offered the job of executive chef of Zengo because he was able to meet all of Richard’s conditions.

FN Dish caught up with Chef Sears since the show taped. Watch the video above to find out what he’s currently doing. Chef Sears didn’t end up taking the job at Zengo because the move would have been too much stress on his family. He instead took a job at a resort closer to home. He’s thankful for the experience of being on the show and all the confidence he gained from competing.

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Comments (35)

  1. jen says:

    So – who got the job? Did they hire the other chef or place an ad somewhere?

  2. Emily says:

    Well, I hope that they offered the position to the other chef. He also seem to needed the job.

  3. Emily says:

    Well, I hope that they offered the position to the other chef. He also seem to needed the job.

  4. Katherine Parker says:

    Zengo episode was amazing!
    I feel that the choice was made for Chef Sears before the competition even began! He was also my first choice before the competition. He had the brains, brawn and looks! Even Chef Ann shed a tear over his breakdown! I knew he had a comeback because of his CHARISMA!! Isn't that what TV. Looks for anyway? I think it would be cool to notice people because of their Charisma. lol Maybe my son Mike, 10 year Army Vet. might stand a chance at life. He suffers with sever P.T.S.D. But he is a damn good artist as well as tattoo artist. He has AMAZING charisma.. He can make even the most sad people you know laugh! He's a natural that way!! I appreciate others that have suffered hard times. Yet, still shine with charisma!!
    Thank-you for letting me speak my mind.
    A proud Mom. Katherine :)

  5. Kim says:

    News to Ann, put on a flipping hair net. I love watching you on tv, but you r really letting that hair get in the way of me wanting to eat at your restaurant.

  6. Kim says:

    I think you we're both wrong! The expediter needs to be replaced and they should both get a fair chance!

  7. T.cook says:

    After experiencing several disappointments on Chef Wanted ( the yelling, conflicts with hiring and closings) I felt this show was a total fiasco. However, this episode turned it around for me. When initially introduced to the contestants, I too sensed that Chef Sears was going to excel. When presented with his pre- shift challenge and was not able execute, I truly felt his anguish and frustration. But then with encouragement from Chef Anne Burrell & support from the kitchen staff ( with the added unexpected drama between the Expiditor and the rest. Mgr. – which gave Chef S. a chance to make good), he pulled it off like a true and genuine professional.
    I was sincerely impressed . I commend the owner, Richard Sandoval and his staff at Zengo Restaurant – It appears like a true supportive family type atmosphere exists here which welcomes employees as well as guests, not to mention the food that looks amazingly insane, innovative & delicious. I look forward to eating there someday. Good luck to Chef Sears in his future career ventures.

  8. EZ Bake Oven says:

    I'm happy for Chef Sears. It sounds like his decision to stay in Palm Beach and work as a resort chef was the right choice. I feel bad for the chef with the new baby who lived in New York who did just as well as Chef Sears but did not get the job. Maybe he was offered the position once Chef Sears told them he would not be taking the position.

  9. KCSteinle says:

    Has anyone taken the job or stayed employed in the position on this show? I don't remember one but then again, maybe it's just rare.

    • todd says:

      Agreed No one actually works in the restaurant.
      A hole owners?

    • Vin says:

      I also have not seen any chef who keeps the job after it has been offered to them..there is always some lame excuse for them turning it down.. I feel cheated from watching this show because of that.. I can't understand why they go thru all of this nonsense to only give up the job that they say they need so badly.. I'm guessing they do it for their 15 minutes of fame from being on T.V.

  10. Diane says:

    I think Chef Ann needs to cover her hair, as well as her chest, thst she always has exposed. That
    woman is very unprofessional looking. She seems to do an awful lot of yelling at people, and thinks
    nothing of embarrassing them. I truly feel thst this network is going down the tubes morally, where
    are they heading??????

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