Chef Wanted: Nikki Beach Update by Joseph Erdos in Shows, April 25th, 2013
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Nikki Beach is a high-profile restaurant and resort concept with 10 international locations that cater to the wealthy. Jack and Lucia Penrod, who opened their first location in Miami Beach in 1998, were looking for an executive chef for their new location in Ibiza, Spain. Anne Burrell and the Chef Wanted team were called in to help with the search. After two grueling tests and dinner services, an offer was extended to Chef Jouvens Jean.
Jouvens Jean is a chef from the Bahamas who has worked as an executive chef in Miami for the past 10 years. He’s counting on the opportunity at Nikki Beach because he wants to get better medical attention for his ailing father.
The first test the chefs were tasked with was to create an extravagant platter for the restaurant’s high-end clientele with no expenses spared. Chef Jean made a “fire and ice” seafood platter with lobster, osetra caviar, oysters, scallop ceviche, foie gras and langoustines. Jack and Lucia were impressed with his plating and execution. For the second test, the chefs had to use a local fish to create a dish that captured the restaurant’s transition from day to night. Chef Jean made poached black grouper with a Florida lobster tempura roll, shaved white asparagus and truffled osetra caviar. His biggest difficulty was cooking the fish using a makeshift sous-vide method, which ultimately wasn’t successful even on the second try. Jack and Lucia thought the presentation was beautiful but found the flavors disagreeable, as the truffle oil overwhelmed the dish.
Except for some nervousness, dinner prep went well for Chef Jean. His pre-shift was very successful, and he received high praises from Anne and the owners on his flavors. But once dinner started, he found himself in trouble when the tuna appetizer ran out. Chef Jean ended up taking all of his chefs off the line so they could prepare more of the appetizer. This resulted in very long wait times for main courses, but once the chef regained control over the kitchen, things went smoothly until the end of service. Jack and Lucia were impressed with Chef Jean’s control of the staff, good attitude and exceptional flavors, and they offered him the job of executive chef at Nikki Beach Ibiza.
FN Dish caught up with Chef Jean after the show taped. Watch the video above to find out what he’s been doing. Chef Jean didn’t end up taking the job at Nikki Beach because he didn’t want to leave his current chef position. But he says he learned a lot about himself from competing on the show.