‘Hell’ leads to heavenly dishes for 279 Bar & Grill

Print This Page

First Posted: 5/13/2013

He’s tattooed, has shaved his head during the course of his run on “Hell’s Kitchen,” and, unfortunately, was booted from the competition this past Monday night.

Fortunately for area residents, however, Chef Barret Beyer of the popular cooking reality show will come to the area on May 20, cooking a three-course meal at a brand new establishment in Plains Township.

279 Bar & Grill is the newest eatery/watering hole to pop up, one that Jim Guasto is executive chef and general manager for.

“We’re taking things in a new and different direction,” he said of the bar, which opened with its new name two weeks ago. “We’ve got premium spirits, fine food, and live entertainment.”

Though the Friday and Saturday entertainment will be varied, there is a regular house band that appears on Mondays, a blues night on Wednesdays, and a country trio of Alicia Lynn, Jody Busch, and Bruce Feist on Thursdays.

“We want to serve our food all day long and, at night, transform into a music scene,” Guasto said.

Currently the lunch menu is served from morning until night, but Guasto is working on putting together dinner features nightly.

“I will run them until they run out. I’m not freezing anything; it’s all going to be fresh food,” he said.

Guasto worked with Chef Michael Langdon, also of Season 11 of “Hell’s Kitchen,” which is how he got hooked up with Beyer. Guasto plans to have many more “Hell’s Kitchen” chefs come through his restaurant for special nights of cooking.

This time around, Beyer will make several scrumptious plates, from vodka-flamed black tiger shrimp to tequila and caper cream sauce and beer-battered strawberries.

Season 11 filming wrapped up eight months ago but is still airing on Fox. Beyer, 35, who is currently a chef at Bread & Butter Bistro in Holtsville, N.Y., is a Long Island native who attended Long Island’s prestigious Culinary Academy upon completion of his service to the United States Coast Guard.

Beyer took a moment to chat with us about life as a chef, how “Hell’s” has changed him, and what it’s like to work with chef Gordon Ramsey, a man notorious for a temper that gets so hot it puts any type of heat in the kitchen to shame.

THE WEEKENDER: What was it like being on “Hell’s Kitchen?”

BARRET BEYER: It was a once in a lifetime opportunity, unbelievable. To have a mentor like (Chef Ramsey) training me in the kitchen, I can’t even explain it. When I first saw him, I had a tear in my eye. I’ve met many celebrities in my life but have never been star-struck. When I met him, I was beside myself.

W: It’s safe to assume you were a fan of the show beforehand, then?

BB: “Hell’s Kitchen” is actually the reason I got into cooking. I was watching the show, watching people run around the kitchen, and I thought, “Hey, I can do that. I know how to cook.” I’m a go-getter. If I see something happen in my head, I go and I make it happen.

W: What was the most challenging thing about being on the show?

BB: Just dealing with the different personalities in the kitchen and getting to know what Chef Ramsey’s standards are. In the outside world, you think something is good enough, but it’s really not when you’re putting it in front of Chef Ramsey. His standards are set so high; you have to make sure everything is on point, otherwise it’s, “Hey you, come here, taste this. Taste this.” If he says, “Taste this,” it’s not a good thing.

W: Is there more to him than the screaming man TV audiences have come to know?

BB: When we’re not in the kitchen, getting ready to do the challenge, he’s not yelling. When I shaved my head on the show, we cracked a big laugh. He does have a certain personality outside the kitchen, but when he’s in the kitchen, it’s go time. He’s got to set the standard and make it perfect.

W: Do you have any advice for aspiring chefs?

BB: The only thing I would tell anybody, and I’m hoping to be an inspiration to people, is to not put a lid on what you’re capable of. Don’t get discouraged. This is a tough industry to be working in. Just work as hard as you can, don’t give up, and you’ll make it happen.