Tonight's Food Network episode of “Chef Wanted with Anne Burrell” was titled, "Brick Oven Battle." Anne Burrell is a master chef and knows what she is looking for in an executive chef. She came to Tavern 1757 in Connecticut, to help owners, Tony Mavuli and his son, Tonino find an executive chef to turn this place into their dream of a rustic Italian restaurant.
Ann has found four chefs to try out for the job: Brian Reilly from Cleveland, Ohio, Kelli Daniels from Prairie Village, Kan. Tommy Valdez from Brooklyn, N.Y. and Ryan Escude from Dallas, Texas.
For the first challenge, they had to create an interesting Sardinian flatbread that will be put on every table for guests to enjoy, using the brick oven. Each received prepared dough and all the ingredients in the kitchen at their disposal. Ryan made Sardinian flatbread with eggplant caponata and anchovy relish. Tommy made vegetable and cheese panzeroti. Kelli made flatbread with figs and pistachios. Brian made roasted asparagus flatbread. The chef who was eliminated was Tommy.
For the next test, they had squab, rabbit, lamb and wild boar. They must create a rustic meal using wild game meats. Kelli made roasted lamb leg with Chianti espresso sauce. Ryan made grilled squab with potatoes. Brian made miso braised rabbit with turnips over polenta. Kelli was the chef eliminated from the interview because her lamb was overcooked.
Ryan will cook tomorrow night and Brian the following night. Ryan’s menu included his appetizer of poached shrimp over frisee, with chive, radish and grapefruit. The entrees were a duo of rabbit, loin and braised rabbit leg, with celery root puree, fava beans and chanterelle mushrooms and a 14 ounce grilled prime sirloin with balsamic vinaigrette, radicchio and faro salad with roasted oyster mushrooms. The dessert was lemon pound cake with balsamic dried cherries and Chantilly.
When Ryan saw the crown, he was a bit apprehensive, but when the first ticket printed, he called out his orders and got the staff to work very well, and they had his back. As Anne came to some tables, she saw undercooked quails. Anne really knows he is a good cook, but Ryan disappeared from the kitchen as the orders came back. He returned after catching his breath and took charge. Anne congratulated him for a job well done, but he did not get the job yet.
Brian presented his menu consisting of his appetizer; a pancetta and double smoked bacon with fontina cheese mini pizza. The entrees were three-bone rack of lamb with cotechino sausage and green lentils; the second entrée was a whole grilled trout stuffed with orange, fennel and thyme. The dessert was a poached pear galette with figs and blue cheese.
Upon inspection, several of the trout had bones in them and could cost him the job. As the staff meticulously picked the bones, the service got a bit behind. When Anne came to Brian to give him a special order for a vegetarian pizza, he got right on it. The lamb started coming back because it was undercooked. Pizzas were burned on the bottom and raw on the top; Anne took him aside to give him a pep talk. He had to instruct his chefs as to exactly what they needed to do. It worked like a charm, because Brian was given the job and executive chef jacket on this episode of “Chef Wanted with Anne Burrell.”
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