Chef Wanted: Tapenade Update

by in Shows, October 24th, 2013

Chef WantedOn tonight’s Chef Wanted, Tapenade, a recently opened Mediterranean-influenced restaurant located in Los Angeles, needed a new chef de cuisine. Chef/owner Ressul Rassalat and general manager Chuck Craig were looking for an individual who could immediately jump into the role so that Chef Ressul could take on running the restaurant in front of the house to ensure its overall success. 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 Suzanne Williams from San Diego, Calif., was offered the position of chef de cuisine. Even though her pre-shift started out shaky with issues that needed to be addressed before dinner service, Suzanne was able to go into the dinner service strong. Though she did run out of one dish during service and had trouble with the expeditor, Suzanne showed she could lead a staff and deliver strong dishes that diners loved. Ressul and Chuck offered Suzanne the position of chef de cuisine at Tapenade. FN Dish caught up with Chef Suzanne to chat about her time on the show and her future with the restaurant.

For your second test you presented a dish without the key component because you ran out of time. Were you surprised that Anne asked you to bring out the tapenade? Do you think it saved you from elimination?
I was definitely heart broken when I realized that I had left off my tapenade on the dish. I was shocked when Anne asked me to bring out my tapenade for her and the owners to try. I thought okay I might still be in this. I’m absolutely positive that it saved me from elimination.

What was going through your mind when you found out you would be going onto the dinner service?
I was extremely excited but anxious for what was about to come. Honestly I thought okay now I have to write a dinner menu!

Going into the dinner service, you had a bunch of changes to the menu to address from pre-shift, and you ran into issues with your expeditor, but by the end everything came together. What was the hardest part of service for you? And what got you through it?
The hardest part of dinner service was working with a kitchen staff that seemed as if they really didn’t want to work with me. They all worked hard but it took a minute to motivate them to do what I needed from them. I work the line every night so a fast-paced dinner service is a challenge that I face regularly, but this was different. What got me through it was knowing that no matter how slow the food might have been coming out, that ultimately the customers would be happy with the meal that I was serving them.

Anne and SuzanneHow was it working with Anne Burrell?
It was exciting working with Anne. She definitely gave me some great advice when I needed it. After my menu was torn apart during pre-service she came into the kitchen to help me with the final finishing touches, which was awesome. I would love to work with her anytime she needs me!

What has the experience of doing the show taught you?
The experience definitely taught me to be more detailed in terms of what I expect from my employees.

Can you give us an update on your job at Tapenade? What have you been doing since the episode taped?
Ultimately I did not take the position at Tapenade. As much as I wanted to and can’t wait to move up to Los Angeles to be with my family, I still have some obligations here in San Diego. I am currently Chef de Cusine of Solterra Winery and Kitchen in Encinitas, Calif., and love my crew and have creative freedom over the menu which is very gratifying.

What advice would you give to other chefs coming into Chef Wanted?
Take time to formulate a game plan. Stick with your gut and try not to let the camera throw you off your game!

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Comments (32)

  1. FNGossip says:

    Surprise, surprise… Another one doesn't take the job.

  2. Myk says:

    Yet ANOTHER chef who didn't take the job (not the right time or right fit, prior obligations, etc). Here's an idea, Anne: don't bring people to an interview who DON"T want the job. Are you actually trying to find the right fit for these restaurants, or is this simply an hour-length advertisement disguised as a "reality show"?

    I stopped watching after last season due to so many "winners" not wanting the position, and decided to see how this season was going while waiting for 'Chopped' to start. Looks like I made the right decision regarding my viewing habits.

  3. Olive Oil says:

    She did not take the job???? Shocker – NOT! Ha!

  4. JHB says:

    She is currently Chef de Cusine at another place but at the end of the show she says how excited she is because she is finally been given a position of Chef de Cusine. Too funny. This show is just an ad for a restaurant in which Anne is friends with the owners. Too bad because it could have been an exciting show if it was real

  5. LPC says:

    I didnt think that she won. I cheated and googled her. I saw her linkedin page. She has only been at the place in san diego since may. So I dont really get her having unfinished business in san diego. Im sure the show was done a few months ago. So she was at the place in san diego for 2 or 3 months at the time.

  6. Edj says:

    Yet another "winner", that really wanted and needed the job, that didn't take it! Disappointed in Anne…time to change the station. I'm done watching!

  7. wulfighter says:

    Personally I lost interest, not to mention any respect I had for the host, when the the chief that eventually won didn't get the MAIN PART of her dish on the plate on time and Anne sent her back to the kitchen to get it for the presentation… didn't see her giving the guy that cut himself more time to make up for what he lost stopping the bleeding

  8. Lauren says:

    Surprise surprise! She didn't take the job. Oh gee. Yet another contrived creation by Food Network. Not to mention yet another irritating host in Anne Burrell. Food Network continues its slide down the slope.

  9. susan says:

    This is the last time I will watch this show. I am taking it off my DVR list for automatic recording. It is so contrived especially when they don't take the job in the end. You get behind a candidate because of their sob story and root them on in hopes they will win so they can better their lives and then if they win, they don't take the job. Then why apply for the "job/show"? Sorry Anne. I like you as a FN personality but even you should be questioning the production of a show with your name on it that doesn't end with the winner taking the job. It just seems very suspicious!

  10. ronstalcup says:

    I agree, tired of the chefs not taking the jobs.I wonder if the second place chefs are offerd the jobs?

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