Chef Wanted: Precinct Update

by in Shows, March 28th, 2013

Chef WantedThe Precinct in Cincinnati is a former police station from the early 1900s that was converted into a steakhouse by owner Jeff Ruby in 1981. Jeff, with the help of his daughter Britney, was looking for a new chef who could meet three criteria. They wanted a chef with tremendous culinary depth, who knew beef as well or better than Jeff himself and could make everyone in the kitchen better at their jobs. 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 Rahman “Rock” Harper.

Rock left the restaurant business about three years ago to work for D.C. Central Kitchen, a nonprofit in Washington, D.C., that helps rehabilitate homeless people and gives them the skills to enter the culinary field. Rock wants to re-enter the professional kitchen and sees Precinct as the perfect opportunity.

For the first test, the chefs were tasked with creating a high-end dish using inexpensive cuts of beef. To achieve that, they each had to break down a 200-pound hindquarter to get to the cuts of meat. Rock ended up making braised beef shank, which Anne and Jeff thought was very ambitious, but Britney thought the dish lacked visual appeal. For the second test, the remaining chefs were asked to create a seafood dish worthy of being named after Jeff. Rock decided to make another ambitious dish, using lobster, crab and sea bass. He had trouble cooking the fish through and ended up serving only one half of the fillet. Jeff and Britney found the dish had great flavor, but they thought it was too small a portion.

Before Rock could start his dinner service, an issue came up with one of his side dishes during pre-service: Jeff didn’t like the macaroni and cheese, so Anne told Rock to replace it with potato gratin. Rock had to start the new dish from scratch at the last minute. It ended up setting back service and lowering the quality of dishes going out. In fact, many of Rock’s shrimp scampi dishes were sent back because they were overcooked. Rock got very frustrated and even snapped at the managers and wait staff coming into the kitchen. After a chat with Jeff, Rock calmed down and regained focus. Later Rock had a moment to visit the dining room to greet an 8-year-old boy who said he wants to be a chef when he grows up. Service ultimately ended up going smoothly. In the end, Jeff and Britney chose Rock because of his leadership skills and what he can bring in terms of mentoring the staff.

FN Dish caught up with Chef Harper after the show taped. Watch the video above to find out what he’s currently doing. Chef Harper didn’t end up taking the job at Precinct because he felt he couldn’t leave behind his hometown community and all that he’s doing for the nonprofit in D.C.

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Comments (42)

  1. Part 1 of Post:
    I am SO disappointed to see you didn't take the job. Rock you rocked on this show! You WON! Maybe you just needed to prove to yourself you could do it and you did! I think I know why you decided to stay where you are because you feel more comfortable. Where as being in a restaurant making food for certain people is not your game. However you need to realize to watch your language! People who do not use profanity do not appreciate those who do, it shows low class and lack of restraint on your part. It does not set a good example especially if your job is teaching any chefs period.

  2. I think it is really rude of this site to not allow FULL comments. I had so many GOOD things to say about this and yet you won't let me post. So you make me look like an ogre now.

  3. George may not have taken the job even
    after being offered because after pre searing ALL the proteins 52 of them, this is just NOT
    the way things are done at this high level restaurant.AND George evidently does not feel
    comfortable enough working in such as fast paced environment where each and every dish has
    to be prepared individually fresh and flawless.

  4. So he chose to go with a different type of
    restaurant where perhaps the pre searing might be allowed. We all need to realize too that
    people who apply for jobs even getting them don't always follow through and take them for any
    number of various reasons. It ultimately IS up to the individual how he/she wants to live their
    life. Only they know as they have to be on the job often more than 40 hrs. a week slaving over
    a hot stove!

    • P Suemnick says:

      actually it was Chef George who did all the pre-searing of food.

      I knew this was Rock from Hell's Kitchen which means he ran a casino restaurant for a year, I wonder if he left that job for the DC job or what. What gets me is he said at the end of Chef Wanted he said it would be hard to give up DC but he was ready for Cincinnati. Seems he wasnt quite as ready as he thought

  5. OK just watched the video! Rock got an ownership opportunity at Fat Shorty's Sausage Grill so he liked that better than just working for someone else. So there you go. Between wanting to stay where he felt comfortable in his home town as he said Washington DC and his job he already knew and loved along with this ownership he made the choice that was best for him.

  6. Did you see Chef Rock in the video with President Obama? How much higher can you get for accolades than that for his DC Central Kitchen!

  7. Carolyn says:

    Here we go again! Chef Rock does wonderful work, and I'm sure the people he helps are glad he decided to stay at his old job. But when we watch Chef Wanted we want to know who actually gets the job. It's one thing when the chef they hire doesn't work out, but this is the second episode in which the chef never took the job in the first place. According to the Cincinnati press the chef they hired wasn't even on the show, which I guess explains why that wasn't mentioned on the show or in this blog. Food Network needs to reconsider playing episodes involving chefs who never take the job before the show loses its credibility–if it hasn't already.

  8. EZ Bake Oven says:

    Great show Chef Anne! The chefs were all creative and talented! Good job!

  9. barbj says:

    Getting frustrated with the premise of the show…especially when chef selected does a 360 on taking the new venture. Comes off looking like doing it for the recognition, not the job. Chefs should have done their homework and made a decision on the move before taking on the competition. I can understand failed negotiations for salary/terms as in any job negotiation…but so much emphasis on moving on from the non-profit and then waxing on it's glories after…not so much. It doesn't reflect well on the screening process for contenders.

    And I guess it would be boring, but can't see why there aren't more experienced Executive chefs out there who can handle getting slammed in prime time service more smoothly.

  10. putzruss says:

    Not going to watch anymore if the chefs picked as the new chef keep turning down the job-whats the point. We tune in later to see how he is doing and he never took the job-big deal seems like a set-up!

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