Do you need a job? Well, we know of some openings. All you need is amazing culinary talent, some business acumen and the ability to navigate the rings of fire that chef/host Anne Burrell puts you through on the new reality show “Chef Wanted with Anne Burrell,” airing Thursdays on Food Network.
“This is a real-life job interview,” Burrell tells Zap2it. “The whole idea is that we want these people to get the job and stay in the job.”
The premise is four executive chef candidates are put through the toughest job interview of their lives, where everything from their cooking skills to menu selection and math skills (you’d be surprised by how badly restaurant owners want to keep costs low) are put to the test.
Each week, Burrell recruits chefs of varying backgrounds and skill sets who she thinks will be great matches for current head chef openings at different restaurants across the United States. And these aren’t backwater greasy spoons looking for someone to flip burgers; these are some impressive establishments with high-end name recognition: Todd English’s Olives in New York and David Burke Fromagerie in New Jersey are just two examples.
And to keep us interested, each restaurant has its own style, be it Mediterranean, Asian, French, fusion, etc.
As the show progresses, candidates get booted, leaving just two to compete for the job by running the restaurant for a night — creating a new menu, working with new (to them) staff members and, hopefully, impressing the patrons and the boss. As they said in “Highlander,” there can be only one.
“When I first started in reality TV, I was so unprepared for the ‘real’ part,” Burrell says. “People come with their stories: why they need a job, why they’re looking for a job, because they need to support their family, whatever. But I find it so interesting to see what is on people’s resumes versus what they put on the plate. Like I always say, ‘The proof is on the plate.’ “
What are you currently reading?
“I’m not going to say ‘Fifty Shades of Grey.’ I’m trying to think of something far more intellectual.”
What did you have for dinner last night?
“I’m working on a new book, and so I ordered in some lime chicken noodles from Republic in Manhattan.”
What is your next project?
“Well, I’m working on a new book, a sequel to ‘Cook Like a Rock Star,’ and I also have a new season of ‘Worst Cooks in America’ and hopefully more ‘Chef Wanted.’ “
When was the last vacation you took – where and why?
“Hmm, I travel all the time, but I don’t remember the last vacation I took. … Don’t get me wrong, I always build time in when I am traveling for work; it isn’t like I’m tied to the stove when I go to these places. But it has to be years.”