At James Beach in Venice, Calif., owners James Evans and Daniel Samakow called in Anne Burrell to find a new executive chef for their modern comfort food spot. Anne brought in four candidates, and after two grueling challenges and exhausting nights of service, James and Daniel extended an offer to Vincent Walker.
Vincent, a three-time cancer survivor, impressed the owners and Anne with his determination and delicious food. “This kid is a fighter,” Anne said. “He’s ready to resume his dream of becoming an executive chef.” Several weeks after the show was filmed, we checked in with the owners to see how Vincent is doing in his new job.
Right after Chef Wanted was filmed, Vincent got married. “We gave him time to wed and leave his prior position,” the owners explain. “He has been meeting with us throughout, but has officially started this week.”
The owners are thrilled that James Beach is having a record year in terms of sales, and they only expect things to get better: “Summer , our busy season, is right around the corner, and with the new chef and the show, we expect it to be off the charts.”
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At Mucho Ultima in Manhattan Beach, Calif., owner Scott Linquist needed a new executive chef to help turn his business into a dining destination. Anne Burrell arrived with four candidates lined up, confident that one would be the right fit for the modern Mexican restaurant. After two tough cooking tests and an intense dinner service, Scott hired Bryon Freeze. We checked in with Scott to see how Chef Bryon and the restaurant are doing.
Six weeks after Bryon joined the team, Mucho Ultima is back on the right track. “We are ecstatic!” says Scott. “Bryon’s energy and passion are exactly what we saw from him during the show.” Scott and Bryon have both worked many long days since the taping and Bryon “comes in here pumped and ready to attack every day and never once has complained about the workload.”
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This Thursday night on Food Network (10pm/9c), Anne Burrell will be putting her mentor hat back on as she helps top restaurants find an executive chef — the critical employee who can make or break a restaurant — on Chef Wanted. Each week, Anne Burrell will put four candidates through the toughest job interview of their lives, testing everything from their culinary mettle to business acumen. It all ends with the biggest test of all: running the restaurant.
We recently chatted with Anne about being a mentor: identifying red flags on resumes, the hard questions she has to ask and even her own toughest job interview.
What is the best question to ask a potential candidate?
AB: There are a few questions I always ask. The first really important question is why do you want this job? This is to see if they’re looking for any job or if they’re actually interested in this particular job. Second, why did you get into cooking? I want to find out if this is their passion or just a job to them.
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It all started with a nation-wide search for the worst cooks in America. After narrowing that search down to 16 recruits, Bobby Flay and Anne Burrell each chose eight, making up their new teams for the season.
A new addition this season was Bobby Flay, who joined the show to battle it out against seasoned champ Anne Burrell. Each hopeless cook competed for a chance to win $25,000, which would be awarded to the winning contestant who achieved the most progress and best performance, in addition to a victory for his or her culinary mentor.
It can be argued that the recruits were handed some pretty difficult tasks this season, tasks that every day home cooks probably don’t tackle, like making their own noodles and cooking fresh seafood. But in addition to those, Bobby and Anne made sure they could handle the basics like making breakfast, cooking chicken to the proper temperature and rolling the perfect meatball.
SPOILER ALERT: The winner of Worst Cooks in America
On last night’s season premiere of Worst Cooks in America, we were introduced to 16 new “recruits,” each nominated by family and friends for their atrocious cooking skills. They were split into two teams: Team Anne and Team Bobby.
For their first challenge, the teams were tasked to make breakfast: pancakes, bacon and eggs. Their mentors showed them how to make their favorite version of a pancake, plus four basic ways to make eggs: poached, sunny-side up, over-easy and scrambled.
As Bobby is getting his feet wet as a first-timer on this show, he quickly realized that he couldn’t take teaching his team for granted when Vinnie Caligiuri asked him whether cinnamon sticks would melt in maple syrup when heated on the stove.
After tasting all their dishes, it was evident that making pancakes isn’t as easy as it looks. Too heavy, not cooked all the way through and forgetting flour were just some of the mistakes that both Bobby and Anne dealt with.
Have you run into these same problems at home? If you want to make super-fluffy pancakes, Anne says to fold in egg whites.
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Back in August 2011, FN Dish announced that Bobby Flay would be joining season three of Worst Cooks in America, battling it out against seasoned undefeated champ Anne Burrell. Now you can officially mark your calendars — starting Sunday, Feb. 12 at 9pm/8c, Worst Cooks returns with Anne leading one team and Bobby another. The country’s most hopeless cooks will compete for a $25,000 prize, which will be awarded to the winning contestant who achieves the most progress and best performance, in addition to bragging rights and victory for his or her culinary mentor.
In the season premiere, the 16 “recruits,” each nominated by family and friends for their atrocious cooking skills, arrive at Base Camp and attempt to impress Anne and Bobby with their signature dishes. Each week, the contestant with the least successful dish on each team will be sent home, while the remaining competitors will cook on.
Tune in: Sunday, February 12 at 9 pm Eastern/8 pm Central
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- Your Caption Here
The battles are heating up on The Next Iron Chef: Super Chefs and it is only the second week of this all-star competition. Sunday night’s challenge brings the nine remaining rival chefs to the ballpark to transform classic baseball stadium eats into cuisine worthy of the ultimate stadium — Kitchen Stadium.
In this sneak peek shot, Chef Anne Burrell takes a quick breather during the challenge. Will her hard work pay off with a home run dish to present to the judges, or will she strike out against her opponents?
Before you tune in this Sunday at 9pm/8c to watch Anne in action, we’re challenging you, Next Iron Chef fans, to write your best captions (tastefully appropriate, please) for this moment in the comments below.
Who’s your favorite rival chef so far? Cast your Fan Vote up to 10 times per day.
Anne Burrell and Alton Brown share something in common: During the month of October, both of their schedules will be filled with book signings across the country. Check out their individual book tour schedules below to see if they’ll be in a city near you.
Click here for tour dates & locations »
At an NYC Wine and Food Fest event at the TimesCenter, top-tier chefs discussed with Melissa Clark of The New York Times some of their greatest challenges in achieving what they have today, the moment they realized they had made it and the potential pros and cons of celebrity chefs and television cooks.
Several of the chefs admitted to being their own biggest obstacle in some way. Chef Anne Burrell was quick to name her “sparkly” personality as her greatest challenge, noting that some have not known how to approach such a confident, self-assured chef. Even fellow panelist Chef Alex Guarnaschelli confessed to being skeptical of the young Burrell many years ago. Still, Anne maintained, “The opposite of a sparkly person is mediocrity,” and with that mantra, she has worked alongside some of the most premier chefs in the industry, including Lidia Bastianich and Iron Chef Mario Batali. The latter she credits with offering her most significant opportunity: to serve as his sous chef in Food Network’s Iron Chef America battles.
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