Mucho Ultima in Manhattan Beach, Calif., is looking for a new executive chef to help re-brand it as a destination restaurant. Anne Burrell brings in four chefs. First, she tests their knowledge of Mexican chiles, then the chefs are tasked to reinvent the taco. The two chefs that remain are each handed the keys to the restaurant for one dinner service. One chef struggles to keep pace in the kitchen while the other runs out of ingredients in service. Only one gets the job and becomes Mucho's next executive chef.
Iconic Venice Beach Restaurant James' Beach hasn't had a steady executive chef in five years. Anne brings four top candidates that she feels have the chops to stay long term. Each chef must reinterpret modern comfort food for the health-conscious community of Venice Beach. When two chefs are each handed the keys to the restaurant for a dinner service, one chef juggles the stress while catering to demands of celebrity clientele, and the other breaks down under the time constraints. In the end, only one chef earns the prestigious position of James' Beach's new executive chef.
When legendary chef and restaurateur David Burke needs an executive chef for his restaurant Fromagerie in Rumson, N.J., Anne Burrell brings in four candidates she thinks can make the grade. David is looking for a chef who can blend with his staff and cook along the lines of his own trademark, whimsical style. David tests the chefs on ingredient utilization and then asks them to create their own theme night. When two are selected to run the restaurant for one dinner service, one chef battles their shyness to step up as a leader while the other has to course correct halfway through service to save their chances. Only one gets the job and becomes Fromagerie's next executive chef.
Todd English Olives, located in the heart of Manhattan, has just gone through a major renovation and needs a new executive chef to lead the re-launch. Anne brings a diverse group of candidates to compete for the position. The chefs are tested on their knowledge and use of spices and then told to dash to the farmers' market to create seasonal handmade pasta. Two chefs are dismissed and the final two are handed the keys to the restaurant for the most eventful dinner services yet. After both chefs struggle to keep up with the demands of a New York kitchen, Todd makes an unexpected decision and one chef walks away with the coveted title of executive chef.
Anne brings in four candidates to compete for the next executive chef position at Old Homestead, the oldest steakhouse in New York. The owners are looking for a chef who can help them evolve with the changing neighborhood while keeping what has made Old Homestead successful for generations. The four candidates are tested on their creative butchering when they're asked to create a custom cut of meat. Then the remaining three come up with new and profitable side dishes for Old Homestead's menu. When the final two chefs are each handed the keys to this legendary restaurant for one dinner service, one chef takes a risk and gives Old Homestead a dramatic twist, while the other maintains a firm grasp on the traditional model of what a steakhouse is expected to be. The Sherry Brothers struggle to decide which candidate is the right fit to lead this legendary establishment.
Met Back Bay, a 200-seat restaurant in the heart of Boston that does more than 1,200 covers a day, has just lost its executive chef and needs someone who can handle quantity without sacrificing quality. Anne brings four candidates to owner Kathy Sidell, who is a top restaurateur in Boston with a reputation to uphold. The chefs are asked to create a signature burger, as well as to create as many entrees as they can in 45 minutes. The two finalists each get the keys to the restaurant for one dinner service. One chef brings an innovative menu but struggles to handle the volume while the other starts off great before losing footing at the end. It's a big job for a big restaurant, and only one walks away with the title of executive chef.