Chef Wanted: Dos Caminos Update

by in Shows, September 19th, 2013

Chef WantedOn tonight’s Chef Wanted, corporate Chef Ivy Stark and vice president of marketing Donna Rodriguez were looking for a chef de cuisine for the Las Vegas location of Dos Caminos, a Mexican restaurant with six locations on the East Coast. They needed someone with a strong culinary side who could also be the face of the brand on the West Coast. Anne Burrell brought in four candidates for the job opportunity, but only one was offered the position. FN Dish has the exclusive interview with the winning chef.

In the end, Chef Venoy Rogers from Oceanside, Calif., was offered the position of chef de cuisine. Even though his first two tests didn’t go as well as he hoped, including when he forgot to take avocados to a guacamole demonstration, Chef Venoy proved through his dinner service that he was the best chef for the job. He created flavorful food that the diners loved, and he presented himself in a manner that showed Chef Ivy and Donna that he could represent the brand well. FN Dish caught up with Chef Venoy to chat about his time on the show and to get some news about the restaurant’s closing.

Your first two tests didn’t show you at your best, especially the guacamole presentation. When you found out you would be going on to the dinner service, what was going through your mind?
When I found out I made it through to the final test, I couldn’t believe it. I just knew that I was done. I figured that I had gotten my chance and I blew it. After the initial shock I just began to thank God and my mother in heaven. I then was thinking that I have to crush dinner service for myself and everyone who believes in me. I also had to prove to Chef Anne, Chef Ivy and Donna that they made the right decision putting me through.

During dinner, a few dishes came back, and Chef Anne pointed out a lack of detail in plating. Other than that, it seemed you had a successful service. What was the hardest part for you?
The hardest part was not knowing exactly what to expect. As chefs we are always having to adapt and think on the fly, so I just relied on that experience and got to work.

Chef VenoyHow was it working with Anne Burrell?
Chef Anne was amazing to work with! I am a huge fan of hers and I have the utmost respect for her. I have worked for some great chefs in the past, but to work with Chef Anne and have her giving me advice and talking with her off camera was priceless.

What has the experience of doing the show taught you?
It taught me that everyone in my life, from parents, teachers, coaches, chefs, friends and family, who says “hard work pays off” is right!

Unfortunately Dos Caminos in Las Vegas has closed since the episode taped. Is there any news you can tell us about your future with Dos Caminos?
Unfortunately at this point I have no future with Dos Caminos. I spoke with Chef Ivy about maybe taking the position at the Florida location or maybe New York, but it’s not going to happen. I wish them all the best and am very happy that they selected me after the competition. I am now getting settled into my new job as executive sous chef at the W in San Diego.

What advice would you give to other chefs coming into Chef Wanted?
Do WORK! Don’t think you are too cool. Manage your time like you’ve never managed it before. Listen to Chef Anne and the people you are interviewing for. Remember that you are on an interview. Most of all, DON’T FORGET THE AVOCADOS!

Watch Chef Wanted on Thursdays at 10pm/9c and keep coming back to FN Dish for updates with the chefs.

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Comments (51)

  1. Chris says:

    I'm sorry for the chef that won his chance to be head chef during their newly created lunch service-(and for anyone that thinks differently u r wrong-that's exactly what the position was going to be) but the cat didn't know how to make a tortilla!! He is better off anyway than working for those dumb broads acting as if they are big time. Show is fake and done watching.

  2. Olive Oil says:

    Congratulations to Chef Vanoy! I liked the Mexican chef too. I thought he would have been the perfect fit. Too bad the restaurant closed. I feel bad for Chef Vanoy! Sounds as though he has moved on. Good luck to him and all the chefs that competed. This was quite an "unusual episode."

  3. Shandy says:

    Congrats Chef Venoy!!! Extremely proud of you! I will pray for your success… Peace and blessings!

  4. Jim says:

    Neither one of the "owners" knew anything about Mexican cuisine. Just because Donna's last name is Rodriguez does not make her an aficionado of Mexican cuisine. I thought Chef Julian was the best choice, but he was not prepared to put out McDonalds style Mexican food. What is with the preoccupation with guacamole and chips? If I want that, I can go to any dumpy Mexican restaurant and get it. Chef Julian was attempting to bring an authentic Mexican cuisine, from a variety of regions to Dos Caminos. That is not what Ivy and Donna wanted. They wanted cookie cutter Mexican. This is far below Chef Julian's repertoire. It is no wonder this dump closed. Goes to show you never know what life has in store. Chef Julian going to Dos Caminos would have been a mistake. Best of luck in the future Chef Julian with owners that know W T F they are doing.

    • Kim says:

      Very well said. "McDonald's style Mexican food" captures the extent of those "owners" knowledge of Mexican cuisine. The sad part is that they were so utterly close-minded to learning anything new or going beyond their ignorance.

  5. Maria Moreira says:

    Congratulations cousin Venoy Rogers III,I am very happy for you,and very proud also,all this success is thanks to your dedication,who wants always reaches!

  6. Sonia says:

    I was really offended by Chef Ivy. Granted, Chef Julian was a bit condescending, but for a blond haired blue eyed of European descent to stand there and tell a native Mexican how to make guacamole was beyond belief. (BTW, I'm pretty sure that most dips like guac and salsa are supposed to improve with age, as the ingredients blend.) But she's the chain's executive chef (of course, Taco Bell has an executive chef, too) and it was her choice to make him tow the corporate line. What put me over the edge, though, was when Chef Ivy called African-American Chef Venoy the dark horse. How about some sensitivity training for the executives of Dos Caminos? I'm delighted that Chef Venoy has found a position with W. He deserves much better treatment than was dished out by Dos Caminos.

    • Kim says:

      So would the comments be less offensive if Chef Ivy were a person of dark-haired, dark-eyed European descent? While I agree, as my previous comments have said, that it was pretentious and ludicrous for her to try to instruct a chef with Chef Julian's background and expertise in Mexican cuisine, your comment belies the fact that there are Mexicans who are naturally blond and blue-eyed and their coloring would not make them anymore naturally less knowledgeable of Mexican cuisine than someone dark-haired and dark-eyed. A European country, Spain, colonized Mexico and heavily influenced both the people and cuisine of Mexico today.

      And while I definitely didn't care for Chef Ivy, I don't think she meant her comment of "dark horse" as in any way referencing Chef Vernoy's color. I think, in fact, she was speaking to him as she would have to spoken to anyone else, and simply speaking of him as Chef, and not specifically looking at him as a "black" person. This is actually a positive thing in my mind, and something that I wish we could focus less on what color a person is, and simply see them as a person…a Chef, etc.

      • David says:

        Whether you want to acknowledged it or not racism exist. I'm fed up with people that think if you ignore it it doesn't exist or those who point it out are somehow the cause of it. Not that that's what you're doing. The fact that she had so little respect for someone of Mexican heritage shows she could just as easily have the same disrespect for someone african american decent.

    • islandantoinett says:

      You are SO RIGHT Sonia! The Dark Horse comment did not slip by me either. See why Paula Deen was in such hot water!

    • I don't know about salsa, but I do know from much personal experience that unless it's pumped full of preservatives, guacamole doesn't do well sitting around. Avocado is not like tomato.

  7. Rebecca says:

    Congrats Chef Venoy…!  I’m really proud of you on achieving this awesome position! I will keep praying for your success for future goals. Godspeed…!!!

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  9. Donna says:

    I think it is insane to ask a chef, or anyone for that matter to make guacamole one order at a time! There is a HUGE difference in making it hours ahead of time, and making IN time. I agree Chef Julian was not given a fair chance on that. But I do also believe e had some other issues. None the less, my biggest gripe is that of ALL the restaurants that Chef Anne has had on the show it is an incredibly low number of Chefs who actually work at the restaurant when the show airs. Some close as Dos Cominos did. But this is NOT reality TV. I'm sorry, it's not. There is a massive difference between being Chef de Cuisine in a restaurant full time, and cooking/planning a restaurant for a camera crew audience! The proof is in the pudding. Not even 10 percent of the shows that have aired have the chef employed at the time of airing, muchless continued to be employed six months after airing! Chef Anne needs to stick with what she's great at, cooking, menu planning, and teaching people how to be very good at putting flavor profiles together!

    • Where have you been? Fresh-made guacamole is STANDARD in anything but fast food places or cheapy places, because without preservatives, guacamole that sits around just isn't that appetizing. A lot of places have it actually made tableside!

      And where do you get your figure of less than 10%? 13 of 29 have taken the position, according to FNGossip. That is 45%. If you have some source for your different info, please present it. Otherwise, it's just slanderous.

  10. Eileen says:

    Really shitty that they knew this restaurant was not making it and ran this show hired this chef and then closed within 2 months. Another Anne Burrell blunder she has got to go.

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