Tonight's Food Network episode of “Chef Wanted with Anne Burrell” was titled, "Wine Country Clash." Anne Burrell is a master chef and knows what she is looking for in an executive chef. She came to The Pear Southern Bistro, in Napa to help chef and owner Rodney Worth spend more time with his family by finding a new executive chef. The restaurant has a New Orleans atmosphere with southern cuisine right in the heart of Napa.
Ann has found four chefs to try out for the job: Carl Alioto from Queens, N.Y., Ashurina Younan from Winters, Calif., Bruce Kalman from Paramus, N.J. and Branden Levine from Phoenix, Ariz.
For their first challenge, they must create a duck dish that pairs with a local Napa wine. They each had a whole duck and an array of wines to choose from. Carl made a Creole spiced duck breast with cabernet wine. Branden made crispy skin duck breast with pinot noir. Bruce made roasted “ducketta” as a take on porchetta paired with a syrah blend. Ashurina made fried duck leg & seared duck breast paired with brut rose. The chef who was eliminated was Carl, who was completely out of his element in Napa.
The second test was to create a brunch in a New Orleans meets Napa style in one hour. Bruce made chicken-fried gulf shrimp with lemon ricotta hot cakes. Ashurina made catfish cake Benedict. Branden made a crawfish and jumbo lump crab cake with potato and ham hock hash. It was a difficult choice, but the chef who was eliminated was Bruce.
Branden will cook tomorrow night, and Ashurina will cook the next night. For his menu, Branden presented appetizers of bourbon & molasses braised pork belly and pan roasted mussels and crawfish. For entrees; vegetable etouffee pot pie which Anne and Rodney did not like the presentation, and a four pepper grilled rib eye and for dessert, a strawberry-rhubarb upside down cornmeal cake. As the tickets came in, Branden was rolling and the kitchen was humming. When the best customers of the restaurant complained that the fat was not rendered on the pork belly, they were redone to perfection. When Rodney saw an exorbitant amount of steaks sitting on the grill, he was not happy, and the steaks were getting overcooked and coming back because they were too well done for the customers’ liking. After a rough start, the night ended well, but many steaks were wasted.
The next day, Ashurina had a difficult time finding all the ingredients she needed for the service. Her menu included appetizers of summer pea soup with a bit of goat cheese and fennel frond salad on top, the topping was nixed by Anne and Rodney. The second appetizer was watermelon and ham hock salad and crawfish & cream dip with jalapeno and corn hush puppy. The entrees were: mustard and celery seed crusted pork tenderloin with andouille sausage stuffing, seafood jambalaya risotto and for dessert, blackberry, peach and bourbon biscuit shortcake.
Some of the dishes started coming back, mostly the risotto dishes for their inconsistency. One table had two risotto dishes, and both had different amounts of seafood. Finally, Ashurina sent one of the cooks off the line after warning him more than once. When Rodney saw this, he was not happy, because he felt that the cook was one of his best line cooks. She went and apologized to him and asked him for forgiveness and after that incident, the service was awesome.
The next day, the two chefs appeared and again were complimented by Rodney and Natalie and the chef who was hired was Ashurina, who is the new executive chef thanks to this episode of “Chef Wanted with Anne Burrell.”
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