Food Network helps DeAngelo find a chef
BY JOLEEN OSHIRO / firstname.lastname@example.org
When Food Network came calling at Fred DeAngelo’s door, he was flattered but too busy to accept their invitation to compete on television.
The network must have realized just how hectic life was for DeAngelo, running both Ola at Turtle Bay Resort and The Grove in Kailua — so they offered to help him find an executive chef for Ola.
On camera, of course.
The process and result of that endeavor will air at 7 p.m. HST Thursday, March 14, on “Chef Wanted with Anne Burrell” (repeats at 10 p.m.). Food Network scouted chefs based on DeAngelo’s criteria: knowledge of Hawaii ingredients and how to use them.
Candidates also had to “fit in a dynamic kitchen,” said DeAngelo. “Through the course of the show, I got to know four contestants very well. The drama turned real very quick.”
Competing were Crystal Zehetner, Sean Currid, Casey Barnes and Jared Combs. (Don’t expect any spoilers here — you’ll have to watch to see who won.)
Burrell posed various challenges to the competitors, including the creation of an upscale Loco Moco and an original dish using local ingredients. Among the purveyors were Big Island Kampachi, Petersons’ Upland Farm, ‘Nalo Farms and Diamond Head Seafood.
Besides creativity and skill in the kitchen, the right candidate also had to have charisma, said DeAngelo’s wife, Cheryl.
“The person has to be able to talk to guests and connect with anyone who comes to the restaurant,” she said. Fred DeAngelo said the process was both physically and emotionally tiring — “a rollercoaster.”
“We really were looking for someone to be part of our family, and we’re really happy with our choice,” he said.
As for Burrell, the DeAngelos say it was “the best time” working alongside her.
“They had such a good rapport, they were like brother and sister,” Cheryl DeAngelo said of her husband and Burrell. “They still keep in touch.”