Chef Wanted: Ola Update

by in Shows, March 14th, 2013


Chef WantedOla restaurant is located at Turtle Bay Resort on the north shore of Oahu, Hawaii. Chef/owner Fred DeAngelo opened the restaurant eight years ago with his wife, Cheryl. Fred was looking for an executive chef who could relieve some of the pressure from his workload, as he has a new restaurant to run. His hope was to find a chef who could expertly work with the local island ingredients and who shares his philosophy for the restaurant, which is reflected in the name Ola, meaning “life.” 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 Casey Barnes.

Casey is an unemployed chef from Los Angeles — he actually quit his job with a Michelin-rated chef just to interview at Ola. He recently got engaged to his girlfriend and is ready to move to Hawaii to start fresh with this new job.

For the first test, the chefs were told to create an upscale version of the Hawaiian comfort food loco moco, a rich dish with a beef patty, gravy and a fried egg. Chef Barnes reinterpreted the dish with fish. Cheryl called his dish of seared opah with a crispy rice cake and tomato jam a good departure from tradition, and Fred thought the fish worked really well with the jam. The second test, however, proved to be much more difficult for some — it required the chefs to make an entree using disjointed ingredients. They had to choose a fish (ono, kampachi or onaga) and then pair it with at least one of the following ingredients: sea asparagus, Kona coffee or breadfruit. Chef Barnes decided to take on all three of the ingredients to create a coffee-crusted grilled ono with breadfruit curry and sea asparagus. Fred really appreciated the butchering and cooking of the fish, as well as Chef Barnes’ use of all the ingredients.

When it came to service, Chef Barnes showcased his creativity with the local ingredients — only one dish made with a charred taro leaf pesto needed revising. Unfortunately by the time service had started, Chef Barnes was so preoccupied with fixing his pesto that he let a bunch of tickets pile up. Throughout service, Casey remained strangely calm, which alarmed the owners. At one point he even gave up control of the tickets to the expeditor. After Anne straightened him out, he improved his focus and took back control of the kitchen. Ultimately, Fred and Cheryl were very impressed with how Chef Barnes’ dishes embraced Hawaiian ingredients, so they offered him the position of executive chef.

FN Dish caught up with Chef Barnes after the show taped. Watch the video above to find out how he’s been doing since taking the executive chef position at Ola restaurant. In the video Casey says that the fact he got the job — and in a place like Hawaii — is still sinking in. His philosophy is to make the experience of eating, which is a necessity for life, amazing and wonderful. Fred couldn’t be more excited to see where Casey takes the restaurant.

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Comments (55)

  1. Denise says:

    Casey, I was rooting for you & am so glad you won!

  2. pat says:

    Why isn't he listed as the chef on the Ola website?

    • lyssandri says:

      If this show works like most reality shows do, they want to keep the names of the winner(s) under wraps until after the episode airs. This may mean that the restaurants that participate are asked not to publish the name of their new chef until it's been announced on TV (otherwise, as soon as you find out what restaurant the episode is taking place at, you could just look up the winner and there'd be no suspense and less incentive to actually watch the show.) At least that's my best guess….

    • nea says:

      Found this on Facebook hope it helps Ola at Turtle Bay shared a link.
      Mar 15 at 2:39pm ·
      Mahalo to everyone that watched our episode of "Chef Wanted" last night. We are grateful for all of your positive messages, tweets, phone calls, reservations and aloha for OLA. We know the right decision was made and our new Chef has been adjusting great to life in the kitchen here and living in Hawaii (I won't say who it is just yet, in case you've still got it DVR'd). His new menu for lunch and dinner rolls out today!

      For an update on how he's doing, click the link below to watch the video.

      Happy Aloha Friday, Mahalo Piha. OLA is Life!
      Chef Fred and Cheryl DeAngelo

  3. john says:

    This is just a show recap….. The video doesn't say anything about how he has been doing since the show.

  4. 808 State says:

    Is this another episode where the chef wins and isn't working at the restaurant…???
    Still have to say the episode from last week is my favorite! It is culinary drama…Unreal but entertaining. I'd like to see updates on the all the contestants.

  5. Bonnie says:

    Low key? This guy was wasted. Hope he gets help for his problem. Until he does, don't know how he could be an executive anything.

  6. melissa says:

    I'm not sure if I am more upset with The Food Network or myself. I used to blame Anne for her poor, poor selection of chefs to interview for jobs WAAAAAAY too advanced for them. Then I thought she was a typical playground bully whose parents (food network) ignored her bad behavior. Now I realize I am the dumb one for continuing to watch this show.
    I am almost jealous of Anne because she gets to travel the world, not do a good job, get fed and then get paid.
    Don't worry… I realize it is MY fault for watching this bully''s stupid show. Shame on me, not food network. My bad. Won't happen any more.

  7. Pattii says:

    He did appear to be stoned. Looked like a lot of stoners I knew in college. His half closed eyes and a bit not with his surroundings reactions spoke volumes. But that said his food appeared to be absolutely amazing, so I hope I'm wrong and he was just overtired.

  8. relaxit'sjustfood! says:

    The chefs arent the only ones going through a "grueling test" during any of these shows….we viewers are, as well. This is the first time I've ever seen Anne smile with a sort of nervousness when meeting a restaurant owner. Most of these owner's are an intimidating,uptight lot. Guess you have to be to run a successful restaurant but I wouldn't work for any of these people if you paid me a million dollars.

    Anne,I absolutely admire and love you,but is it really necessary to yell so much at these poor rattled chefs? I understand you want them to do well but I would enjoy this show much more without it.
    As for Casey…there was something definately wrong there. I know drugs/alchohol ran rampant through the restaurant business…been there,seen that. The stress…the long hours….pretty self explanatory. Whether it was the camera lights in his eyes, lack of sleep, nerves or a toke of something the dude's vibe and reactions were odd.

  9. Peg says:

    Are the owners required to hire "the winners?" Was surprised Casey won, and can only figure it was because his food tasted so much better than the runner up, who had a bit more command presence. If Casey had shown up to an interview for a job in my shop and was the top candidate. I would re-advertise the position… all i'm sayin…

  10. ChefAnneWatcher says:

    I think Casey might suffer from A.D.D. – I do, and when I'm overwhelmed, I have to get 'in the zone' and concentrate (otherwise I'll freak). With all those tickets coming in at once, that is enough to rattle anyone's nerves! Plus, Casey had to fix a sauce for an appetizer, before service, and that was when all the orders were coming in…

    It seems to me that ALL the chefs, in all the shows so far, have had some kind of meltdown, some moreso than others. Also, why is it that ALL the sous chefs in every episode act stupid, and are not helping the contestants at all???

    • Pattii says:

      I agree, it seems like in many episodes, the owners throw a real curve at one of the chefs and demand something ridiculous for themselves or their immediate family while this poor chef is already going crazy in an unfamiliar kitchen under pressure. That shouldn't be allowed. Unless they do that to BOTH chefs, not just one. The owners demanding he make some specific sauce right when he had to start the service was unfair.

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