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. coral })i({ says:

    why can't they take a few early pre-shift minutes and accustom the chefs on the ticketing system, layout of the kitchen, introduce the staff and their knowledge base/roles, etc.? really tired of that lack of training that anyone in the real world would get before getting the keys to the owner's kitchen.
    i love this show, but i also wish Chef Anne would be a bit less dramatic, like she did when talking to the young woman chef, that was fantastic. yell when you gotta, but not when you don't, i say.

  2. Kimberly says:

    I think the fact that the owners went with the chef that let tickets pile up twenty deep and then walked around the kitchen in a daze for an hour as their EC shows that THEY might be experimenting with different ingredients in their moco loco.

  3. joe yevoli says:

    I don't understand how she can have a bird's nest on her head,and not use a net.If I was going to eat somewhere and the cook had wild uncovered hair I,m out of there,is there any health Codes?????????????

  4. carefree99 says:

    From the start of the start of the show I thought Casey was the fit but I have to agree – I think he was stoned when he came for the service. He so dropped the ball. The other chef – Jared – I think – should have gotten the job. I guess time will tell. I really think they will be calling the alternative!! Love the show!!!

  5. Hoff says:

    This was just poor reporting. Come up with some new content.

  6. Ccc says:

    Chef Casey's calm during the storm was impressive, actually. He was teachable, talented, humble, and confident. Would have been my pick as well.

  7. Heidi Yeadon says:

    This us a tv show. Anne Burrell can wear her hair any way she damn well wants…she's earned that! ;-)
    I was impressed by Casey from the beginning. He seemed calm, driven, motivated, and put his whole life, and his new fiance's I might add, on the line to prove himself….on TV! The owners were impressed by his chef capabilities and his willingness to cook outside the box. That's huge. I was rooting for him. If he had not changed that sauce that would have tainted his otherwise amazing food. That's the kind of chef I'd want at my restaurant. I'm not sure what happened at the start of the night and I find it rude that others assume that he was stoned. I think he freaked out. I'm glad the owner spoke to him. He had no one their to do that for him otherwise, right? That's television. I was thrilled to see he pulled it together. I am sure he realised exactly what was at steak….pun intended. I want to hear/read some follow ups on him and his new career at Ola and his new life in Oahu with his new everything. I expect there will be great things to come from Chef Casey Barnes!! No ka oi!

  8. Duckmandzadeh says:

    The Food Network has embraced the same philosophy as MTV did once it gained its popularity. Both networks decided to cater more to Reality TV and the lazy consumer that has a two-minute attention span. Food Network has supplanted their historical excellent programming (e.g. Emeril, Tyler Florence) with hacks like Anne Burrell The fact that she is a "star" on this network tells you all you need to know about how the mighty have fallen. She may be an excellent chef, but she is unwatchable. Secrets of a Restaurant Chef is terrible given her odd way of communicating with the viewer and the deep guttural sounds she makes . As for Chef Wanted, like one other viewer noted, she is a bully. She is rude and obnoxious toward aspiring chefs trying to advance their careers. I am all for tough love, but at least have the common decency to remember where you came from. Lastly, when she appears as a guest on, for example, Food Network Star, she is condescending and cold. Chef Robert Irvine is firm but fair, tough but compassionate. If it wasn't for chefs like Robert Irvine and Guy Fieri, this network would be in utter dismay.

  9. RVT says:

    I used to love watching Chef Hunter because the show was about the owner of the restaurant and the chefs competing for the executive chef's position.

    Chef Wanted is about Anne Burrell. I would still probably enjoy the show if she din't yell so much. This show is like a tacky talk show. I'm very disappointed in how they morphed this show into drama rather than quality.

    Finally, what's the point of the show when over 90% of the chefs who win don't take the job. Wouldn't it be more believable if they actually wanted to relocate to further their careers????

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