What is happening to the Food Network's Chef Wanted with Anne Burrell?
While it is a first for the show to can one of the final two candidates before completion of the task at hand, there is another troubling trend.
This is the third time this season that a candidate chosen for the job featured on Chef Wanted with Anne Burrell has either turned it down or failed to start.
The TV show's website does a morning after story including video of how the chef is faring and if the restaurant owners are happy. See that posted below.
Part of the allure of Chef Wanted is that a real job is at stake and the applicants tell their stories of why they are desperate to win it.
Without feeling like we are watching something real, the show just becomes an exercise in watching people succeed or fall on their faces. It's just sad.
As for last night's episode, staged at a brasserie known as Coquette, we watched as whole rabbits were cut up and cooked. Not sure anyone was thrilled watching that, but maybe it's just me.
After two of the four candidates went down hard trying to fashion tasty and novel dishes, the remaining two, including eventual winner Chef Bryant from Los Angeles, went into the combat zone of the Coquette kitchen for a full dinner service.
The candidates not only run the kitchen, they select dishes for a limited menu covering appetizers, main courses and desserts.
The ambitiousness of the choices is a double-edged sword.
The restaurant owners are not fans of people sitting around waiting for food, just so the menu items can be complicated and detailed. Yet, lack of imagination can sink a chef's chances.
Chef Pippa Calland, out of Mechanisburg, Pennsylvania had the unenviable task of following Chef Bryant, who wowed the owners and diners with his menu and his execution.
When she changed one of the dishes after getting her menu approved and it bombed with customers, she was relieved of her duties on the spot.
It didn't help that she had proposed a main course of rabbit, with a rabbit appetizer already on her menu. That was a no-no for Coquette's proprietors. Trying to replace it with another meat dish took time and led her on the path to disaster.
It was brutal to watch.
What's notable is that she kept her composure, took ownership of her faults and looked at it as a good lesson. She's a much bigger person about it than one could have expected.
While Chef Bryant seemingly got the job by default, that couldn't be further from the truth.
From the very first cooking challenge he demonstrated he had what it took.
The challenge was to prepare both a savory and a sweet crepe dish, using the same main ingredient in both.
Chef Bryant chose 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.
See how he wowed them?
We learned from the video that Chef Bryant is having difficult getting to Raleigh, NC where Coquette is located to take the job. His pitch for why he needed the position was to be closer to his daughter on the east coast. He lives in Los Angeles.
In two of this season's episodes, the chef chosen decided not to accept the job for one reason or another.
Here's a thought: either don't follow up on how the chef is doing after the show airs or screen these candidates to be certain the restaurant isn't left in the lurch.
Just a suggestion.
Image: Food Network Chef Wanted with Anne Burrell