Chef Wanted: Christy’s on Broadway Update

by in Shows, October 17th, 2013

Chef Wanted chefsOn tonight’s Chef Wanted, Christy’s on Broadway, a popular restaurant that has been in operation in Long Beach, Calif., for more than two decades, needed a new executive chef to replace its former executive chef who was moving on. Owner Christy Bono and general manager Cori Cauble were looking to find a talented individual who could revamp the menu and take it into the next decade. Anne Burrell had 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 LaJuan Ramsey from Venice Beach, Calif., was offered the position of executive chef. Using his experience as a former football player, LaJuan was able to lead a strong dinner service overall. He did run into expediting problems and many orders did get backed up, leaving diners anxiously waiting for their meals, but after things caught up, LaJuan was able to finish on top. Christy and Cori were impressed with his leadership skills and offered him the position of executive chef at Christy’s on Broadway. FN Dish caught up with Chef LaJuan to chat about his time on the show and his future with the restaurant.

For your second test you presented a really creative version of a classic Christy’s dish, but the fish was overcooked. Did you think you were going to be sent home for it?
Actually, I wasn’t worried if I was going to make it through to the next round or not. Although I really was disappointed that I overcooked my fish, I felt that overall my dishes exemplified what Christy and Cori were looking for.

LaJuan RamseyExcept for some issues with the expeditor and a backlog in getting orders out, you ran a pretty strong dinner service that showed your leadership skills, which inevitably impressed Christy and Cori. Do you think your background in football helped? And what were you expecting from your staff?
I definitely think my football playing career helped me a lot in dealing with the pressures of dinner service. I’m used to playing in front of 100,000 fans, so cooking in a kitchen wasn’t that intimidating. I enjoyed the overall dinner service, however, I was getting a little frustrated from the expediter because I knew what kind of control and approach he needed to take in order to run a smooth ticket time and dinner service, but he just wasn’t comfortable in the beginning with barking out orders and controlling the food runners and wait staff.

How was it working with Anne Burrell?
It was great working with Anne. She is someone I look up to and respect highly. She’s not a fabricated cookie-cutter food personality; she’s an actual chef. On top of that, she had great advice and she was on point with everything she said.

What has the experience of doing the show taught you?
Being on the show has taught me that I have what it takes to be an executive chef, despite the fact that I just started in the culinary industry three years ago. It also helped me realize that all of my hard work, passion and dedication is paying off.

You started your culinary career much later than most chefs. Coming from playing football, what did you find most appealing about the culinary world when you decided to make that your next career?
You know, my NFL career ended abruptly, and I was searching for ANYTHING to do that I loved, and then it just hit me, I LOVE to COOK. So I just dove in and dedicated myself. I have experienced marginal success in it so far.

Can you give us an update on your job at Christy’s on Broadway?
I ended up not taking the job at Christy’s. Although it was a great opportunity, I felt that it wasn’t the right fit for me at this time in my career, and instead of starting and becoming consumed, I declined the offer.

What advice would you give to other chefs coming into Chef Wanted?
I would tell the other chefs: Go with your gut. If you want to do something and you believe in what you want to do or present, then do it, but also be coachable. And mainly just enjoy the experience. YOU’RE ON FOOD NETWORK, BABY!

Watch the finale of Chef Wanted next Thursday, Oct. 24 at 8pm/7c and come back to FN Dish for an update with the winning chef.

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Comments (34)

  1. Del says:

    FN did it again..Another no interest show. Lets get real, if things do not improve I will be another not to watch Food Network shows.

  2. Steven says:

    This seems to be a usual thing: Chefs on "Chef Wanted" don't take the job, and the restaurants on "Restaurant Impossible" either go out of business or sell their restaurant after all the help. So what's the point of running these shows? They seem to be out of date ten minutes after they air.

    • I don't see that at all. I follow both shows and I wouldn't say it's the "usual thing" at all. For example, out of the 27 restaurants featured on CHEF WANTED, 13 of the chefs have taken the job. Given the artificial and arbitrary nature of the interview process, I don't think 45% placement is that low, and when you note how many of those were in the current season, it seems to me that the system is becoming more refined.

  3. Leidy says:

    Guess making minimum wage and not being able to support his family is his long term goal after all.

  4. wesley cauble says:

    dear chef anne burrell, I recently watched your episode of christy on the broadway and much to my surprise one of the co- owners name was like my last name. i forgot her first name becaused i was surprised to see a person who had the last name as me. miss cauble, my name is wesley cauble and i live in south east missouri, and i have never heard of anyone who had or shared the same last name as me, to be frank i almost fell out of my chair. they where very charming ladys, mybe i could come work for her busing tables or even be a dish washer for her, or anything. i would truely love to meet these two ladys especialy the lady with the same last name as i. yours truely wesley cauble.

    '

  5. wesley cauble says:

    Corey is her name i just found it, to me this is just awesome, and anne burrell you sure can get on those chefs, you would make a great drill sargent in the u.s army. i watch your show every time it comes on, and hate it when i miss it. so i try not to.

  6. wesley cauble says:

    sorry cori cauble, i didnt want to miss spell your name, hope your business is booming after chef anne burrell has been there. thanks for reading this, iwould be gone in a instant if i were even get a dish washing job, or busing tables as i said before.

  7. carmen ayala says:

    my name is Carmen I love to watch chef wanted every Sunday and this morning it wasn't there, this last show that I watched I recognized one person who played with the NFL (RAMSEY) I was sad when they let him go I always watch NFL Sunday. when it was his turn to run the kitchen, he took charge like if he was on the football field. I am glad he won the position executive chef. I hope chef wanted comes
    back soon!!!!!!

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