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. Sandy says:

    It is so disappointing to watch this show,which I love and the winning chefs not taking the job. What is up with that? Last night's show did it for me no longer going to watch. Love Anne though.

  2. cabinkat says:

    I cannot believe another chef didn't take the job, well maybe I can. I hate all these sob stories & then they decide the job isn't the right fit. I quit, not watching anymore.

  3. Kate says:

    Getting suspicious of Food Network with these shows that are contrived and disappoint the viewers when the chef does not take the job or something else happens. Mystery Diner is another fake show, do not believe what goes on is real, believe most of the negative stuff on that show is staged. Who is in charge here?

  4. Jan says:

    Why is it the the cook staff tries to sabotage the chef's? They have worked there for years but act like it is thier first day on the job.

  5. Momof4inTexas says:

    I have always enjoyed this show and will continue to enjoy it. It is a television "game show, if you will. Anne Burrell is the host, so she, of course, will have the most to say. I was sad to find out that most of the time the chef does not take the job, but I don't care because I enjoy the show for what it is–entertainment. I like to see the plates they put out and the way each dinner service goes. Last weeks show with the guy who was being so disrespectful to Anne and would only talk to the owners–that one took me by surprise (in a good way) and if you watch Anne's face you can tell it took her by surprise as well!! And this weeks chef that had the temper tantrum during service…that one surprised me too. Another thing about this weeks show–I do not agree that the tears were manufactured. Anyone who watched the show without a negative attitude could tell that Ramsey's tears we're real and heartfelt. So I will continue to DVR the show and enjoy it each week for the entertainment value if nothing else.

  6. Sandra says:

    Totally agree with LPC. I'd love to see why these chefs don't take the job. Why interview in the first place? They know they'll have to move, etc. Food Network please please please update us on as many chefs as possible as to why they didn't take the job. I'd understand if maybe a better offer came up. I'll probably be taking this show off my DVR list also.

  7. Beth says:

    I agree with others, it seems that looking at the updates very few chefs end up taking the job. It is causing me not to want to continue watching the show. It appears that both the chefs and the restaurant owners are going on the show just for exposure.

  8. I don't understand why people are still whining about chefs not taking the jobs when most of them this season DID! These commenters are a bunch of whiners. Although, maybe a "Behind the Scenes" episode would be a great way to kick off next season, and maybe address why, in previous seasons, so few chefs stayed. I would bet that is a lot more the norm in the culinary world than most people think.

  9. LPC says:

    Thank you – for the link

    I'm starting to think this is Anne's new personality now.

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