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. mebostonian says:

    Anne's track record for the show isn't really that good, but it's not her fault. I truly don't understand the Chefs that waste everyone's time appearing on the show, telling how it's such a great opportunity, getting the job, and then not taking it. They really need to tighten up the control on that aspect of the show.

  2. Joanna says:

    I love Chef Burrell but this show is way to formulaic. I mean really? Get some chefs that are actually going to do the job. There is maybe ONE of the entire season thus far that has actually stayed at the restaurant?

    • lucy says:

      It's not about that. It's about the fact that they're not actually guaranteed the job once they win. It's in the contract. They're basically stringing these people along making them believe they'd get the job when they most likely won't. You really think these top restaurateurs would consider hiring someone that tried out for a television show? They've clearly been able to get amazing executive chefs before this show existed. It's all for entertainment and publicity. Don't be so naive. I'm pretty sure he just wasn't given the position and this is a statement to cover it up. Trust me, people don't just turn down opportunity's to work at top restaurants. Maybe some people would, but not this many.

  3. Briguy says:

    I actually thought David, the 2nd guy out was good enough for this position! I thought they chose the wrong 2 guys for the final competition. George was on ok choice for the final, but I was never impressed with Chef Rock. They should have bumped him after the 2nd competition. I thought David's entree looked better than Rock's. I have no respect for Rock what so ever. Especially, if he was endorsed by that piece of garbage who pretend's to be the President of the United States! Rock cost 2 very qualified chefs an opportunity to work for a highly respected Restaurantuer. I live in the area of The Precinct, and am very aware of Jeff Ruby. He also owns a high end steak house called, Jeff Ruby's. He's well known in Cincinnati. I feel Rock did him a very bad dis-service. Perhaps, Chef Wanted is partly to blame, since I've seen this happen quite a bit. Why go through all this stress for nothing? It does no one any good. To anyone who is considering trying out for a job this way, please make sure beyond the shadow of a doubt, it would be what you want, should you win. Don't go, if you think in your heart, it's not for you! k Thanks!

    • DebWill says:

      That piece of garbage that pretending to be president? Really dud? It seems like you could use your time better for your political agenga than commenting on the Food Network page.I think I'll go to the Animal Planet page to see what political tidbits you left there.Get a life!!!!!!

    • Elizabeth says:

      If you check out the other 'after the offer" you will see that only about 3 chefs are working at the resturants. Everyone declined the offers after. Im convinced they pay some of these chefs to come on and pretend. By the Way…Chef Rock was Season three Winner of Hells Kitchen. He left Gordon Ramseys to work in Non-Profit.

  4. julie booth says:

    I am soo impressed with Chef Rock's decision to go back to what really is in his heart. The folks that he is helping should be forever greatfull. Best of all to you!

  5. conigs says:

    rock was on hells kitchen and won. rock is a great chef and teacher. he did not do Jeff a dis service he had a much better opportunity to own his own restaurant and still teach and be the executive chef at the dcck. i think is is better to work for your self then to work for some one else if you have the chance.

  6. conigs says:

    as a matter of fact i just assisted rock Harper at a event in d.c to raise awareness on colen cancer and he got great revues.

  7. RDJames says:

    The writing in this blog is awful. (Congrats gov't education! Double negatives are grammar no no's)

    "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"

  8. Morgan says:

    Doesn't appear that people get what this or any other reality show is about. It is about exposure. Everyone on here gets what they want. Ruby got free publicity for his restaurants. Ruby shed no tears from being turned down and likely already had someone tapped for the job. Rock gets even more exposure (he already won Hells Kitchen) and was able parlay it into restaurant ownership and more high profile jobs. If this show was really about employing chefs, they wouldn't pick people from previous shows. As much as they present it as such, rarely do people sign up intending to take the job. It's a resume builder for the participants and an hour long commercial for the establishment. The sooner people accept that then the sooner you can just sit back and either enjoy watching pros cook or watch something else.

  9. eE love says:

    I am impressed with the owners of this restaurant. Jeff Ruby and his daughter were giving POSITIVE feedback and encouraging at the hardest moments instead of coming into the kitchen to yell at the chef of the moment at their most difficult moment like Anne Burrell loves to do.
    I think Anne Burrell needs help choosing chefs for the interviews. This is a program with great potential but I think many of the chefs chosen are not good enough for the restaurants. (obviously many of them are and I enjoy watching very much).
    I wish Anne Burrell would stop yelling.

  10. Rob says:

    Chef Hunter was a much better show!

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