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. StephnJax says:

    I don't know who is in charge of programming for FN but they need to be replaced….FAST!!! The majority of us are not interested in shows where the host is continually yelling, screaming & demeaning. This is not what we want to watch while we are trying to unstress and certainly not for the same shows on end for days on end. Loved the new Bobby Flay show, Battle of the Neighborhood but after a few shows, it went off the air. FN better wise up or it is going to lose their following.

  2. Iliana says:

    My daughter is a chef and she says this is the reality not the shows that show niceness and calm and all rosy. The stress from the patrons is inmense and the diners are always always primadonnas. Specially in a 4 star restaurant. What Anne is trying to do is see who can handle the stress as it really is, she does not want to be super nice and then the chef is not ready for the stress that comes.

  3. richard souza says:

    all of you saying chief ann should stop yell , let's see you in that kitchen and go for that job and have the person be so nice that when the pressure hit's you like a ton of bricks and you get knocked out cause you can't handle anyone yelling at you . shut the hell up. chief ann and robert give it to you straight . congrats to chief Mette for being a single mom and doing the job she likes to and be able to get her son anything she wants . kudos to chef Mette .

  4. Chris says:

    She cant be sweet and hold their hands because In the real world the chef will have cranky customers,screaming owners,yelling expiditers and a hustling,noisy kitchen .If they cant deal with Chef Anne in their face perhaps they should try another line of work and you should just change the channel

  5. joe yevoli says:

    how can she cook on tv with wild hair no hair net thats Nuts

  6. 30 years manager says:

    Ann in most cases is not really yelling if you ever get a chance to be in a busy high volume kitchen the noise levle is way obove average the range hoods over the stoves and fryers are sucking air andt rate of 20,000 cubic feet per minute theres are dish machines that are not whisper quiet like your s at home if you notice even the expiditer calling the tickets to the line has to raise his voice to be heard. when a Chef really yells you know it . and Anns hair its a tv show she knows she cant be behind the line without a hat cheef hat or hair net . and the style of her hair is her problemn not yours show me your hair do ok

  7. MHF says:

    Happy to see Chef Mette doing well. As for all the comments about Anne, she is doing her job to balance coaching the aspiring executive chefs and her responsibility to the restaurant owners to provide them with a qualified chef that can handle the stress of a busy kitchen. I enjoy all of Anne's shows and Chef Wanted is one of the shows on Food Network I make an attempt to always watch. Keep it up Anne. You are an inspiration to all female chefs.

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