Jed Sanford, the owner of Abigaile, a gastrobrewery in Hermosa Beach, Calif., needed a chef de cuisine for the restaurant while he and his executive chef Tin Vuong open a sister restaurant. They were looking for someone who could keep pushing the restaurant’s edge. Anne Burrell and the Chef Wanted team had four candidates: Chefs Juan Pedrosa, Ben Diaz, Chris Mack and Jamil Peden. Two initial tests would narrow down the chefs to two finalists, who would each get to run the restaurant’s dinner service on separate nights. In the end, both Jed and Tin were clear in their decision, which was a surprise for both chefs.
Tag: chef wanted
The owners of the iconic Le Cirque restaurant in New York City, the Maccioni family, were looking for an executive chef to head a new addition of their Tuscan-concept Osteria del Circo, set to open in Abu Dhabi. They needed a chef who would be able to infuse Tuscan cuisine with a Middle Eastern flair. Anne Burrell and the Chef Wanted team had four candidates: chefs James Trees, Alexandre Petard, Mike Perez, and Luca Banfi.
Two initial tests would narrow down the chefs to two finalists, who would each get to run the restaurant’s dinner service on separate nights. Ultimately the decision would be both easy and difficult because the family could see either of the finalists filling the position. The show’s ending would prove to be an unprecedented surprise to both chefs.
Bacara Resort & Spa in Santa Barbara, Calif., needed a new chef for The Bistro, one of its four restaurants. Executive Chef David Reardon and general manager Kathleen Cochran were looking for an executive chef worthy of cooking in the gourmet restaurant for high-end clientele. Anne Burrell and the Chef Wanted team brought in four candidates: Chefs Diana Hernandez, Earl Anthony Morris, Chris Turano and Jared Case. Two initial tests would narrow down the chefs to two finalists, who would each get to run the restaurant’s dinner service on separate nights. In the end, the decision for David and Kathleen would be a difficult one because both chefs had their share of ups and downs during dinner, but it came down to food and flavor.
Nikki Beach is a high-profile restaurant and resort concept with 10 international locations that cater to the wealthy. Jack and Lucia Penrod, who opened their first location in Miami Beach in 1998, were looking for an executive chef for their new location in Ibiza, Spain. Anne Burrell and the Chef Wanted team were called in to help with the search. After two grueling tests and dinner services, an offer was extended to Chef Jouvens Jean.
Family-run Cuban restaurant Victor’s Cafe, in the heart of New York City’s theater district, has been around for 50 years and has never had an executive chef. Then the owners decided to change that. Sonia Zaldivar and her daughter Monica were looking for a chef who could put a fresh spin on the cuisine and advance the restaurant’s menu. Anne Burrell and the Chef Wanted team were brought in to help with the search. After two grueling tests and dinner services, an offer was extended to Chef Ted Torres.
Originally from New York, Ted grew up in the South Bronx and saw his share of hard times. But after moving to Philadelphia, he found his calling, enrolled in culinary school and became the chef he is today. It has been a dream of his to go back to New York and show everyone what he’s made of himself.
Blaue Gans, German for “blue goose,” is a Wirtshaus-style restaurant in New York City serving modern Austro-German cuisine. It is one of five establishments owned by esteemed chef and published cookbook author Kurt Gutenbrunner. After promoting the restaurant’s current chef to oversee all operations, Kurt needed a new chef for Blaue Gans, so he turned to Anne Burrell and the Chef Wanted team for help. Four candidates were brought in, and after two rigorous cooking tests and two dinner services, an offer was extended to Chef Carsten Vollrath.
Originally from Germany, Chef Vollrath has been living and working in the United States for the past 10 years. He has wanted to become a chef since the age of 17, and he’s always dreamed of coming to New York City. He thinks Blaue Gans will become his new home away from home.
Coquette, a French brasserie in Raleigh, N.C., run by husband-and-wife team Kevin and Stacey Jennings, needed a new chef with French flair. Anne Burrell and the Chef Wanted team were called in to help with the search. After testing four candidates, an offer was extended to Chef Michael Bryant.
Chef Bryant has been waiting for the right opportunity to move to the East Coast from Los Angeles so he can be closer to his daughter. Classically trained in French cuisine, Chef Bryant knows this opportunity is perfect for him.
For the first test, the chefs were instructed to make one sweet crepe and one savory crepe, incorporating the same ingredient in the filling of each. Chef Bryant ambitiously chose to use pink peppercorns and kumquats in both. For his savory dish, he made a crepe au fromage with salmon and pink peppercorn and kumquat salsa. His sweet crepe suzette featured a kumquat curd filling and a blueberry and peppercorn reduction. Anne and the owners appreciated his ambition and felt his dish was very creative.
The Precinct in Cincinnati is a former police station from the early 1900s that was converted into a steakhouse by owner Jeff Ruby in 1981. Jeff, with the help of his daughter Britney, was looking for a new chef who could meet three criteria. They wanted a chef with tremendous culinary depth, who knew beef as well or better than Jeff himself and could make everyone in the kitchen better at their jobs. Anne Burrell and the Chef Wanted team were called in to help with the search. After two tests and two dinner services, an offer was extended to Chef Rahman “Rock” Harper.
Rock left the restaurant business about three years ago to work for D.C. Central Kitchen, a nonprofit in Washington, D.C., that helps rehabilitate homeless people and gives them the skills to enter the culinary field. Rock wants to re-enter the professional kitchen and sees Precinct as the perfect opportunity.
Ola restaurant is located at Turtle Bay Resort on the north shore of Oahu, Hawaii. Chef/owner Fred DeAngelo opened the restaurant eight years ago with his wife, Cheryl. Fred was looking for an executive chef who could relieve some of the pressure from his workload, as he has a new restaurant to run. His hope was to find a chef who could expertly work with the local island ingredients and who shares his philosophy for the restaurant, which is reflected in the name Ola, meaning “life.” Anne Burrell and the Chef Wanted team were called in to help with the search. After two tests and two dinner services, an offer was extended to Chef Casey Barnes.
Casey is an unemployed chef from Los Angeles — he actually quit his job with a Michelin-rated chef just to interview at Ola. He recently got engaged to his girlfriend and is ready to move to Hawaii to start fresh with this new job.
Culina, Modern Italian is a restaurant located in the Four Seasons Hotel Los Angeles at Beverly Hills. General Manager Mehdi Eftekari was looking for a new executive chef because the former executive chef, Ashley James, was promoted to oversee the entire hotel. The two men were in need of someone who could cook innovative Italian food, lead a large staff and be comfortable with their customers. Anne Burrell and the Chef Wanted team were called in to help with the search. After two tests and two dinner services, an offer was extended to Chef Mette Williams.
Mette Williams is an executive chef from Los Angeles and a single mother of a 14-month-old boy. The position at Culina would give her the stability that she wants for herself and her son.