Chef Wanted: Culina Update

by in Shows, March 7th, 2013


Chef WantedCulina, Modern Italian is a restaurant located in the Four Seasons Hotel Los Angeles at Beverly Hills. General Manager Mehdi Eftekari was looking for a new executive chef because the former executive chef, Ashley James, was promoted to oversee the entire hotel. The two men were in need of someone who could cook innovative Italian food, lead a large staff and be comfortable with their customers. 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 Mette Williams.

Mette Williams is an executive chef from Los Angeles and a single mother of a 14-month-old boy. The position at Culina would give her the stability that she wants for herself and her son.

For the first test, the chefs were challenged with creating a pizza (a specialty of the restaurant), but not just any pizza — a seafood pizza. Chef Williams made a pizza with a bagna cauda sauce, shrimp and clams. Mehdi and Ashley had nothing but compliments for Chef Williams’ successful dish. The second test challenged the chefs to create a simple dish using only four ingredients. Chef Williams’ rack of lamb with fennel puree, roasted fennel, roasted garlic and olive tapenade went over very well, but Anne wasn’t happy with the raw garlic used in the tapenade, which she warned the chef about earlier. When it came to service, Chef Williams was successful at putting out flavorful food in a modern Italian style, but a few missteps gave Mehdi, Ashley and Anne some things to worry about: there wasn’t enough fresh pasta to serve everyone who ordered the dish and the chef had trouble plating consistently and uniformly. She did, however, redeem herself through her positive interactions with customers, including the hotel owners. In the end, Mehdi and Ashley were impressed overall and, instead of waiting any longer, surprised Chef Williams by announcing to the entire dining room of guests that she was the new executive chef of Culina.

FN Dish caught up with Chef Williams since the show taped. Watch the video above to find out how she’s been doing since taking the executive chef position at Culina. Mehdi recounts that Chef Williams’ first few days were all about learning the philosophy of the restaurant through observation to ease her into the new role. As the new executive chef, Mette is making it her goals to bring a more rustic flair to the Culina menu and to set the restaurant apart from the hotel so it’s more relaxed and welcoming. She wants to use produce that’s in season and cook with a focus on simplicity.

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Comments (35)

  1. Tim says:

    Holy cow a winner actually took the job?! That's as rare as, well, Ann not yelling and causing massive distortion on the audio track.
    STOP YELLING!

  2. EZ Bake Oven says:

    Loved Chef Mette. She seems to be a very competent chef and passionate about her food. She and Culine appear to be the perfect fit. So happy for her and her little boy! Great candidates for this episode. Thank you Chef Ann.

  3. Tim says:

    Holy cow a winner actually took the job?! That's as rare as, well, Ann not yelling and causing massive distortion on the audio track.

  4. John says:

    First off I have to say I am prejudiced for Mette, she is a cousin of mine, but I thought she far outdid the other three chef's and made a fine presentation. From talking to her she is still there and plans to stay a while. The show was taped last December.

    Congratulations to Chef Mette

  5. Diane says:

    I like the show and thought that Chef Mette was the right chef for the job, but Anne really needs to stop screaming.

  6. Really??? says:

    Hmm…How much of this show is real?? Bad Chef and Good Chef? I work in the business and all I see is Hollywood drama. BTW Anne what is up with the hair?

  7. joey says:

    Would the food network allow another chef to call brown bits crud. That does not make people salivate to eat food when part of is called crud. Would that be an acceptable term used in the next food network star contest or would that go against a contestant for being unprofessional.

    Who can concentrate on anything when she always screams like a banshee on worst cooks and this show. Her hair is so out there and distracting and in a kitchen near food. Someone needs to demean her and Robert Irvine as they constantly demean others so they can see how it feels like Robert did to one husband on RI. By the way it is not fun to watch that ugly behavior. We have to much of that in the world already and it is not necessary to have a steady diet of telling people your not good enough.

  8. @Robyn12173 says:

    I'm so tired of her screaming "I'm not a ma'am, I'm a chef". She sounds very insecure when she says it. It's a sign of respect to be called ma'am but she feels old when she hears it. Should not be the young chef's problem to fix her issues! I can't watch the show because she's on it.

  9. @Robyn12173 says:

    Ok I just heard her say "I don't usually think of fine dining and Mardi Gras going together". She's uninformed completely.

    I figured it was time for me to watch one of these and yes, all I can stomach is one of these.

    It's just food. haha

  10. alltatters says:

    This episode really captured my attention because it showcased 4 chefs who really really! really!! needed the job and knew what they were doing in the kitchen. The life of a professional chef seems to be one where you change jobs alot and therefore job security and healthcare become major motivating factors for finding a great restaurant, if not corporate restaurant, to work for those benefits. The yelling, stress, and simple organization of your kitchen staff and front of the house staff selling your menu all came together on this show. Calmness prevailed with Metta winning. It looks like a beautiful restaurant (Four Seasons brand never disappoints in that department) and it looks like Metta will really fit nicely. Good luck to her and her family of co-workers and her cute son.

    • ZenKing says:

      I agree with alltatters. Life as a chef isn't an easy one! Job stability,long hours, no family life, stress form the BOH and FOH, and no insurance. Good Luck to Metta. She is lucky to land a great job. Hope the other contestants get a chance at another place.

    • Vitus says:

      How does she expect to be an executive chef while being a single mom? And when did it become a badge of honor to be a single mom as opposed to being a poor choice and a mistake. I give her a week until she calls in that she can't work because of her kid. It's a career or having an illegitimate kid, can't do both.

      • Miz_Fit says:

        Not that it's anyone's business, but I don't recall it being mentioned why she is a single mother. Maybe the father got killed. Perhaps in that war we seem to be fighting forever. Or maybe he's a jerk. Of are those beyond your reason up there on your high horse.

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