Thursday night’s Food Network episode of “Chef Wanted with Anne Burrell” was titled, “Windy City Face-Off.” Anne Burrell is a master chef and knows what she is looking for in a chef de cuisine. She came to Tavernita; a Mediterranean influenced small-plate a staurant in Chicago. Anne met with executive chef Ryan Poli and co-owner and managing partner Alfredo Sandoval. Ryan can no longer handle the day-to-day operation and executive chef duties, so they sought Anne’s help to find a new chef de cuisine.
Ann has found four chefs to try out for the job: Adam Howard from Pell City, Ala. Mike Minor is from Las Vegas, Nev., Priscilla Yeh is from Great Neck, N.Y. and Drew Terp from Rochester, N.Y.
For their first challenge, they had to create a share platter consisting of two raw and one cooked bites from the array of ingredients in their kitchen. Mike made halibut crudo, tuna ceviche and mussel shooter. Drew made poached lobster, smoked kampachi and beef ceviche. Adam made fried oyster, tuna crudo and sandia con tomate. Priscilla made scallop crudo, tuna pinxto and raw clams. The chef who did not make it to the next round was Mike whose cuisine was more Mexican than Mediterranean.
For their next challenge, the chefs had to make another small bite dish using three “Big Meat” items to satisfy any Chicago appetite. Drew made a chicken liver burger wrapped in bacon, Moroccan spiced squab and a rib eye steak sandwich. Priscilla made a soft-shell crab BLT, rib-eye slider and chicken livers. Adam made Italian beef sandwich, BLT and merguez sausage, but his flavors were not enough to keep him in the running.
The two chefs remaining were Priscilla, who will cook tomorrow night and Drew, who will cook the following night.
Priscilla’s service included: appetizers of seared foie gras with shitake mushroom and rhubarb gastrique, fried calamari with Kalamata olive remoulade and grilled flatbread with goat cheese and almond. The entrees included; confit of halibut and grilled rack of lamb. The dessert was almond panna cotta with honey roasted figs.
As the service started, Priscilla showed passion along with her nerves. The calamari was too salty and returned for tweaking. Priscilla is not used to the ticketing process of the restaurant and had a problem with overcooking and having to throw away a lot of food which was unacceptable. Finally, Priscilla took control of the line and entire kitchen and the restaurant service was a success.
The next night, Drew presented his pre-shift. His appetizers were: salmon carpaccio and flatbread with toasted tomato harissa with cheese and figs. The entrees were grilled leg of lamb and fresh chorizo and for dessert, caramelized dates with toasted almond ice cream.
As the dinner service started, tickets started flying. Anne came back to tell him that the salmon was cut too thin. When the lamb was sliced before resting, Ryan told Drew not to treat Tavernita like a catering kitchen and to slice the meat to order. Although the chorizo was considered salty during the pre-shift, it was still too salty for the customers. Drew replaced the chorizo for short ribs, which were a huge hit. When Drew came to the table to speak with the customers, his confidence was boosted.
The next day, the choice was made and Priscilla was chosen as the new chef de cuisine thanks to this episode of “Chef Wanted with Anne Burrell.”
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