Chef Wanted: Cité Update

by in Shows, October 3rd, 2013

Chef Wanted chefsOn tonight’s Chef Wanted, the owner of Cité, a restaurant on the top of the Lake Point Tower in downtown Chicago, needed a new executive chef to replace the preceding chef of 30 years, who was retiring. Owner Evangeline Gouletas and general manager Sami Mikhail were looking for someone who could innovate their outdated menu to bring in a new generation of diners. 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 Maxime Michaud from Savoy, France, was offered the position of executive chef. Maxime showed great innovation during the two initial tests and went on to cook in the dinner service. Except for problems with one of his appetizers, which needed an immediate fix, and a special request for a vegan dish, which threw him off-guard, Maxime had a successful service. Both Evangeline and Sami felt that Maxime was the right person for the job, and they offered him the executive chef position at Cité. FN Dish caught up with Chef Maxime to chat about his time on the show and get an update on his job.

When you found out you would be going on to the dinner service, what was going through your mind?
I was extremely excited and ready to battle, but at the same time I knew it was going to be very hard. I needed a game plan. So to prepare I locked myself in my hotel room and put my menu together, taking into consideration all the details that would be very important: delicious food, an executable menu, learning to work in the unfamiliar kitchen with the staff. I took a full night to organize myself, put together recipes and get ready for a service that was like no other!

Except for a few dishes that got sent back and a special request that put you behind, the dinner service seemed to go well. What was the hardest part for you? And when did you feel you had found your stride?
The beginning of the dinner service went well and the cooks put out some really nice food. I went in confident because everyone seemed to know their duties well. The organization was successful and the flow was good! But then Anne showed up asking for special requests, including VIP dishes, dietary restrictions, and luckily I was able to accommodate them. The hardest part for me was definitely when a lot of my shrimp appetizers came back to the kitchen. That shook up my morale. But thanks to an awesome team, and a good sense of positivity, we got through it and found our pace again.

How was it working with Anne Burrell?
Working with Chef Anne was an amazing experience. You can tell that she has worked in some of the finest restaurants. She’s a great chef and has a great sense of refinement, but she’s also an amazing leader, and she knows how to push you in the right direction. You almost feel like she knows what people are capable of doing, just by looking at them. It was truly enriching working with her.

Maxime MichaudWhat has the experience of doing the show taught you?
This show was my first time on TV. I was very excited but also under a lot of pressure because I wanted to do well and show everyone what I’m capable of achieving. I also learned how intense it is doing such a show on top of an already difficult competition. In the restaurant industry, we consider our jobs some of the hardest around, but now I see a TV show is way more demanding. I want to acknowledge the entire production team for such an amazing job they do.

Can you give us an update on the new job?
Since I don’t have U.S. citizenship or a green card, the owners have to provide me with a visa, and unfortunately it’s taking much longer than we thought. I’ve been in contact with Sami and Evangeline since the show, and I’m looking forward, when the time comes, to taking on the new challenge of executive chef at Cité.

How did your family in France take the news of you winning the job?
My family was very proud of me, especially my dad. He had always pushed me to do the right thing in my career, and he’s the one who taught me the culinary basics, so he’s really happy to see where I am today.

What advice would you give to other chefs coming into Chef Wanted?
Do it, but do it right! Think about your strategy, go there to win and don’t stop fighting. Also, get some good sleep the week before because you are not going to sleep for two or three days!

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 (20)

  1. Sherryl M says:

    I admire Chef Maxime's focus during the interviews and the dinner service – he was calm during the storm and he deserved to win! I hope that his work visa goes through – I wish him much luck and success!

  2. wry1 says:

    Hmm, but yet again for whatever reason, The winning chef on the episode is not working in the kitchen… seems to be a reoccurring problem of this series.

  3. Chequer says:

    Another week and for some lame reason, the chef does not accept the job. The visa issue should have been addressed prior to his appearing on the show. I doesn't matter anyhow, the restaurant has shitty reviews. Who do the arrogant restaurant think they are charging
    $60-80 for an crappy entrée. Delusional!

  4. Varvara says:

    Anne Burrell is possibly the worst chef on Food Network. She's not only an obnoxious bully, she's also a mediocre chef. If you've followed her on FN, you've noticed that she has always lost when she's had to cook. On a different note, how in the world do producers allow a basically unattractive person, such as Burrell, to appear on any program? Her over-bleached, teased hair makes my teeth hurt! Her foolish mimicking of Mario Batali's (orange) red clogs only reminds me how little she's grasped from a master. Others have pointed out the fraudulence of the program when many of the "winners" didn't take the positions. Please continue the concept, but axe the phony, belligerent and seriously unattractive Anne Burrell.

    • Joe says:

      Did Anne run over your puppy or something? Anne was the runner-up on Chopped All-Stars and did well on Next Iron Chef. If anything, her competitive cooking on the FN has shown (from the reaction of the people eating her food) that she's a brilliant chef. It's pretty petty of you to attack her looks. She's not mimicking Batali's style; many chefs wear clogs because they're on their feet all day. Anne happens to be a creative, well-rounded chef. She's graduated from the CIA, she's worked and trained in Italy, she worked under Batali and Lida Bastianich, she's run her own successful restaurant… and what exactly have you done in the culinary world?

      • portia says:

        Thanks, Joe! Among all of the FN cooking show hosts that I've watched over the past 20 years, Anne Burrell is one of the most well-trained and talented. I'm in my 60s and consider myself to be an above average cook but I learn something new each time that I watch Anne's "Secrets of a Restaurant Chef". I have also gleaned many tips from her premiere cookbook, "How To Cook Like a Rock Star" and have pre-ordered her new edition, "Own Your Kitchen". Who cares what a Chef looks like? Anne Burrell is a master!

  5. Olive Oil says:

    Congratulations Chef Maxime! I hope the visa goes through although I agree that the visa issue should have been taken care of beforehand, but then again he did not know he was going to win. Cite' is a beautiful restaurant and I hope Chef Maxime is able to get there ASAP! Chef Anne you did a fantastic job in finding four great candidates! The best to all of them!

  6. Bob says:

    Chef Anne is okay. A bit pompous, but so are a lot of FN chefs. She is no worse than average.

    But the producers need to get their act together, So many shows the winner ends up not taking the job for one reason or another.And I think the level of chef she brings is WAY below what I expect. How can a chef with poor sanitary skills even make it on the show? And then they get passed to the next round. It does not inspire confidence in that restaurant.

    I have skipped some episodes, and am about to remove it from my DVR list. Time for this show to die

  7. Greg says:

    I like the show, but I honestly don't why they bother. I think in the last two seasons only three chefs have actually taken the jobs. The rest just come up with some poor reason why they can't even though they rant and rave at the beginning how much they need/want the job. This episode probably was the worst. This clown who won can't even work in the U.S. They really need to rework this format.

    • FNGossip says:

      Stats for the show are at my site. 13 of 29 accepted the job, which isnt too good

      • It's not good in the "real world," but what about the culinary world? Also, this is NOT exactly a normal job search process.There are artificial, arbitrary limits; for example, does anyone think that in a normal chef interview experience, you have four (and ONLY four) candidates to choose from, all of whom are interviewing at the EXACT same time, racing against a countdown that loses them the opportunity if they go a few seconds over? I'm not surprised that it may not produce the best matches. Now, don't get me wrong, I enjoy the show as-is, and won't stop watching it. But I wonder if it would still work as a TV show without the arbitrary time limits. If they were timed, but not make it so you have to stop right at the end. Maybe that would take the drama out and ruin it as a TV show. I, for one, accept it for what it is, though I would be interested as well if the format changed a bit so as to find the truly best fit that would actually stay. I think I represent the views of a majority of the FN audience in this.

  8. Bev says:

    I like Anne Burrell. She seems like loads of fun. Very knowledgable. However am stopping watching this show. Why have chefs try out who cannot take the job or the restaurant is on the verge of closing. Anne I will watch you on other shows.

  9. Glenn says:

    This show might not be completely scripted like other reality shows (Duck Dynasty, Jersey Shore etc…), but it is just as much of a fraud. I too no longer watch. If the producers, restaurant owners and contestants can't take it seriously, why should viewers?

  10. Katie says:

    If you're in the mood for Duck A l' Orange but you can't get to the restaurant that serves it, bring the dish to your table.

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