On 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.
How 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.