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Now, THAT'S reality! [Chef Hunter]

I think Chef Hunter's novel concept is far superior to that of say, Chopped, for example. I'm sure any unemployed chef would rather compete for an Executive Chef position with an established restaurant and a salary far exceeding Chopped's 10 grand than try to prepare a meal using absurd ingredients in order to appease chefs who would not be able to do a better job.

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  1. At the end, these are TV entertainment shows. So time will tell which one get the most viewers to tune in. A true reality show would be boring.

    I am also sure that most women won't even want to compete against 24 other women for a man in front of a national TV audience. Yet, The Bachelor (TV) is in its 9th year, going to be 10th.

    3 Replies
    1. re: Chemicalkinetics

      Granted, it's all entertainment but, watching someone prepare a dish using ordinary ingredients that will actually be served is, by far, more appetizing and palatable to me.

      1. re: mucho gordo

        :) I am not saying the show is not a good idea. I was just trying to say that a more realistic reality show may not win the game.

        You may be right. I think Chef's Hunter has some nice ideas. It certainly has competition elements, some realistic professional kitchen stress and fights. Let's face it, this is a major reason for Gordon Ramsay Hell's Kitchen success. Chef's Hunter will probably has more of a "human element". So these are all great stuffs if they execute the idea correctly. :)

        1. re: Chemicalkinetics

          You're right; it's still a game of ratings. Another thing about it that appeals to me is, so far, the restaurants have been fairly local and I can actually go there for dinner.

    2. I watched the Chef Hunter preview the other night. It was just boring. Other than the food angle, it was not much different from any generic reality show. I don't even remember any of the food they cooked. It seemed like the emphasis was more on how well they could lead a kitchen and keep up with the orders than what their food was like. I think it might be because the restaurant in question was looking for an exec chef but not necessarily looking to change it's image?

      3 Replies
      1. re: pamf

        Just curious, Pam. What would you like to see to eliminate the boredom?

        1. re: mucho gordo

          I think it may just be a case of one reality show too many.

          I watch food tv to see people doing interesting things with food and as I said, I don't really remember anything that any of them cooked.

        2. re: pamf

          While surfing, I happened to tune in for the last 20 minutes which I thoroughly enjoyed. It was probably the most realistic view of what a kitchen is actually like. I agree with what’s been said about other shows such as chopped – there is no “reality” in making an entrée with marshmallow, striped bass, calf liver and, I don’t know… how about we throw in some granola. I’m looking forward to watching complete episodes – I just hope the first half isn’t too boring.

        3. I watched Chef Hunter last night. The one thing I like about it is the entire "realistic" aspect -- real chefs trying out for a real position in a real restaurant where, as others have said, they have to deal with a staff they don't already know, costs, and running service. For those who have no idea what's involved with being a working chef, it's indeed a wake-up call.

          Case in point: The cheftestant who didn't get the position. Solid background, great palate, obviously knew his stuff. Declared he wasn't very familiar with Border Grill's concept and yet went ahead with formulating two labor-intensive aps/entrees, and a dessert in the spirit of a cuisine of which he wasn't familiar. He fell apart during service and Susan Feiniger (sp?) had to step in to help him. He was gracious and very thankful for her help, but right then and there I think he knew he was doomed, just by the look on his face.

          It's very much an education for those viewers who have absolutely no idea...

          2 Replies
          1. re: xo_kizzy_xo

            I saw another episode where the winner was one of the Top Chef contestants. Don't know how long ago that show was filmed, but Nyesha is still at that restaurant. So it's really real. I'd think foodies who don't know what it's like to run a restaurant would find it particularly interesting.

            This was by far the most REAL situation I've ever seen in food-related tv.

            1. re: xo_kizzy_xo

              Agree about the education. Dang! I think I'd rather go back to covering the psych emergency room....Okay, no I wouldn't, but still. Totally got rid of any fantasies about wanting to work in a restaurant kitchen.

            2. I hate the Hells Kitchen type shows and really enjoyed Chef Hunter. It was about real people being tested under real conditions with a lot on the line. If you tune in looking for food you may be disappointed as it's about the mechanics of the kitchen as it is the food. I find the workings of retaurants very interesting so it appealed to me. And there was no yelling.

              I watched the Border grill episode and when the young fellow was falling behind because one of his appetizers was too time intensive and one of the owners had to step in to get food out it was a tense moment. She didn't yell at him or demean him and he kept his head down and continued to work. You could tell he appreciated the help, but also knew it meant he was screwing up.

              Will watch again.


              1. Did folks see the preview that included a Les Halles episode? Does that mean that AB's buddy, Carlos, has gone away - or perhaps it is for one of the other Les Halles - downtown, or the one in Miami. In any case, it should involve AB's mentor and owner Philippe Lajaunie.

                2 Replies
                1. re: applehome

                  Carlos appeared several times during the Les Halles episode - and he 'awarded' the winner with his chefs' jacket at the end of the show. He's stepped into Bourdain's role as exec/corporate chef for all Les Halles locations. A wonderful thing!

                  1. re: applehome

                    It was for the Les Halles on John Street, not the one TB worked in.

                  2. I totally agree!! In my opinion Chef Hunter is the "realest" show out there right now! How you could not appreciate a show that is actually giving real people jobs in such a tough economy. Instead of spending their money on frugal things and over-priced chef "personalities" they're giving back to America, one job at a time. That's just awesome! No bells and whistles, no glitz and glam, just pure reality. Keep it up Chef Hunter! Can't wait to watch again this week!

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: Rob321

                      Chef Hunter is fantastic! I agree, I'm tired of the hype that surrounds these tv chef personalities. This show is truly about a serious topic and doesn't mask it with Hollywood celebrities or gimmicks. I'm excited to continue watching it!

                      1. re: B8tes

                        Right! Less hype, more of the things that actually matter! Nobody cares about what you can cook with some exotic ingredient. I care that you can cook real food, in a real setting, and get it out to me as fast as possible! It's about chefs making an impact in the real and that's why I love the show!

                    2. I have watched both new episodes of Chef Hunter, and really it! I think it is great how we get a glimpse into the restaurant business. I actually learned a lot while watching the show. When I am at a restaurant I never think about food costs and profit margins, but Chef Hunter showed me that being a chef is like running a business. I also really like how the Chefs receive the actual job. The challenges they are given are REAL, not some hokey TV stunt with crazy ingredients.

                      Overall, I think this is one of the best shows Food Network has come out with in a long time!

                      1. Finally! None of the phony drama, tattooed sociopaths dropping the f-bomb every two seconds, chain smoking on the back porch, dissing each other, screaming and breaking into fistfights and trash talking constantly... which ironically makes it even more dramatic and exciting.

                        Probably get cancelled after the first run of episodes.

                        1. Great show. A real glimpse into the kitchen.

                          1. Watched an episode the other night, a hawaiian restaurant. Both of the chefs had problems during service and I wondered if neither was going to get the job. They did end up picking one. I wonder if, for the show, they have to make an offer. The show is too new to know how long any of these chefs last, but that will be an interesting follow up.

                            Deffinitely one of my fav shows.


                            5 Replies
                            1. re: JuniorBalloon

                              They do put on a little one liner before (maybe during or after?) the credits saying something like "...after 3 months Joe Blow is still the chef, profits are up, and the owner thinks he made the right decision..." so I think the show is legit.

                              1. re: JuniorBalloon

                                I wondered about that, too. It would be interesting if neither one got picked. I think some of it is scripted for dramatic effect. Owners might be instructed not to tell diners that there will probably be problems because of the chef's unfamiliarity with the kitchen but diners must realize that something is going on because of the tv crew/cameras and are asked to ignore them and react to problems as they ordinarily would. Also, owners know there will be problems and shouldn't react annoyed or angry but are told to do so.

                                1. re: mucho gordo

                                  My guess as well is that a lot has to be scripted. I would also bet that the clientele is also somewhat invitation only as my thought would be that they would have to agree to be on TV (in writing of course for the lawyers). Imagine watching the show only to see your spouse having what they thought was a clandestine dinner with someone of the opposite sex. Or worse, seeing yourself having a clandestine dinner with anyone you should not be having a dinner with either on a personal or business level.

                                    1. re: bobbert

                                      I agree. Surely they don't charge the diners for their meals?

                                2. I'm still really enjoying the show, but they really have to stop doing that silly shot looking up through the glass. It's cute the first time, annoying the second, and by the third time they use it in one episode you're ready to gouge your eyes out with a spoon.

                                  2 Replies
                                  1. re: acgold7

                                    And please stop saying "The owners have turned over the keys to the restaurant." Don't know why but it's starting to really annoy me.

                                    1. re: dmjordan

                                      Yeah, they turned over the keys, but as we've seen, they haven't left the house!

                                  2. Like everyone else, I like this show. It puts the reality back into reality TV.

                                    Has anyone noticed that the "winner" is pretty much always the chef who got along with current staff the best, and not necessarily the one who made the best food or most profit? That's real world for you; the decision makers understand that they can influence profit margin and beyond a certain point, the beauty of dish isn't what keeps a place going, it's the overall functioning of a staff as a team.

                                    1 Reply
                                    1. re: LurkerDan

                                      I have noticed that, and it's an interesting lesson. Tells me I should be nicer to people.

                                    2. I dislike this show. Week after week the chefs fall far behind during the main service and get yelled at. It seems that either (a) they are being asked to do way too much (and more than is normal), or (b) the head hunter is useless at her job and is consistenly chosing underqualified chefs to try out for the position. I feel so uncomfortable watching them struggle that I don't think I can watch any more.

                                      2 Replies
                                      1. re: Chatsworth

                                        I'm not sure that it' s possible for anyone to succeed (at least fully) under the circumstances they're put under - one day to prepare and perform with an unknown staff. (In the case of the sous at the restaurant, he may have known them to his detriment). But seeing how they handle their crises, how they respond to their problems, is what this audition is all about. Every musical audition I ever went on was far more traumatic than any performance - you would never actually site-read a complex part for a concert. But the whole idea is that you're put under the bubble and over an open flame - see how you handle it.

                                        I assume that the decisions are based not on the number of mistakes made, but on how correctable the mistakes are. Errors of character are far less correctable than simple technical ones. Lack of seasoning or a chop cut in half where it should have been served whole are easy to correct. Not instructing staff properly, or ignoring them altogether - those are the real sins for any exec or leader.

                                        1. re: Chatsworth

                                          I think it's to be expected that they'd fall behind. It's a new kitchen, a new menu, a new staff, etc. As applehome says below, it's how they handle the problems that is part of the audition, because every restaurant will have nights when the kitchen is in the weeds, and the person hiring needs to know if the person they put in charge can pull them out or not.

                                        2. Has anyone heard any news on this show? It seemed to disappear around the holidays with no word if there will be another season. The original run seemed brief (something like 6 episodes) and no "Season Finale!!!!!" announcement. The show appealed to foodies and food industry professionals so FN probably cancelled it because of a lack of support from their target soccer mom demographic.

                                          1. What ever happened to this show? I was totally into it. It's how it truly goes down when going for a chef position in any reputable restaurant.

                                            1. Has Chef Hunter been cancelled? Anne Burrell's new show Chef Wanted isn't nearly as good. (Wasn't she Bobby Flay's assistant on Iron Chef a few years ago?)

                                              1 Reply
                                              1. re: t4000

                                                Anne Burrell was Mario Batali's sous chef on Iron Chef America. Since then she has hosted nine seasons of her own cooking show "Secrets of a Restaurant Chef", a couple of seasons of "Worst Cooks in America", competed on Chopped All-Stars, and probably a few other things.

                                                As much of a fan as I am of her cooking show, I really don't like Chef Wanted, because it just seems to drag out every reality and competition show cliche that they can think of. Anne seems to spend most of her time yelling at the contestants.