Creating the Perfect Pancake: It’s Not As Easy As It Looks

by in Shows, February 13th, 2012

tiffany michelle and vinner caligiuri
On last night’s season premiere of Worst Cooks in America, we were introduced to 16 new “recruits,” each nominated by family and friends for their atrocious cooking skills. They were split into two teams: Team Anne and Team Bobby.

For their first challenge, the teams were tasked to make breakfast: pancakes, bacon and eggs. Their mentors showed them how to make their favorite version of a pancake, plus four basic ways to make eggs: poached, sunny-side up, over-easy and scrambled.

As Bobby is getting his feet wet as a first-timer on this show, he quickly realized that he couldn’t take teaching his team for granted when Vinnie Caligiuri asked him whether cinnamon sticks would melt in maple syrup when heated on the stove.

After tasting all their dishes, it was evident that making pancakes isn’t as easy as it looks. Too heavy, not cooked all the way through and forgetting flour were just some of the mistakes that both Bobby and Anne dealt with.

Have you run into these same problems at home? If you want to make super-fluffy pancakes, Anne says to fold in egg whites.

Not sure when to flip your pancake? Wait until most of the bubbles on top have burst and left a hole below. The batter takes on a dry sheen, as well.

Using a wide spatula, lift the pancake off the griddle and flip it over, placing it back down on the griddle. The first ones won’t color as evenly as the later ones.

Try making Bobby’s recipe at home (Blue Corn Pancakes With Orange Honey Butter and Cinnamon Maple Syrup) and post your photos on Food Network’s Facebook wall.

If you don’t have blue corn on-hand, try one of 50 varieties Food Network Magazine whipped up.


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Comments (51)

  1. Janet says:

    This is an awesome show! Two great chefs and a group of totally "clueless" contestants. I hadn't seen the other two seasons, so I did a marathon viewing on both Sat. and Sun, on ON DEMAND. The only thing I have trouble with is just how lame these people are, vanilla fried chicken? Really, how have these people survived? When I was watching, and laughing with tears in my eyes, I couldn't believe these people were as bad as they seem to be. I am telling all the people I know to watch! It is like the Keystone Cops, the way they run around. Of course, I know they are going to get a great deal better. I like Anne more than Bobby but the chemistry is pretty good. Anne seems to be really good at choosing her teams, if the first two seasons are any measure. I want Anne to win again because she was treated so unfairly on the NIC show.

    • jeri says:

      Welcome to the club, Janet. My hubby and I laughed our a—- off at the new recruits! We couldn't believe how clueless they were. Didn't know what a can opener was? Really? Shouldn't really laugh but how did they get to their age without knowing anything about cooking??? Should be a fun series. May the worst cook win!

  2. FanFare57 says:

    Quite honestly, I feel that the two recruits who didn't complete their plates should have been eliminated. An attitude adjustment could have been made by Anne's guy. Lack of time management should not have been rewarded by staying another week.

    • jeri says:

      Hi, FanFare57, good to see you. I'm sorry but I don't agree…Richard had the attitude the whole show. Even at the end when Anne talked to him, his cockiness came through. It was the way he emphasized the word "chef", when he said "yes, chef", it came off with attitude. As for time management, you're right, but only one could be eliminated, and Anne chose attitude. Oh well. We'll see heow time management goes next show!

      • FanFare57 says:

        Hi Jeri.
        Let the games begin!
        This show should offer some fun, for a change. See ya back on the blogosphere.

        • jeri says:

          Yes indeed should be a blast of a show!!! I hope the posters don't go off on personal attacks, but we shall see. I'm ready at the report button (lol)! See ya!

  3. FanFare57 says:

    You make a valid point. I hadn't thought of it that way. I, too, can read between the lines if a recipe is lacking details (or is incorrect). I guess, I can't imagine anyone who doesn't know how to boil water or make a sandwich or flip ingredients in a pan. (I believe, if a person enjoys eating, then they must be able figure out how to make it.)

    • jeri says:

      I agree. I think some of the cookbooks give better instruction, at least I hope they do. I have a ton of cookbooks but usually only use them for ingredients, not for method. Maybe I'll check the out and see. Good point, RuthAnn.

  4. Confusedcook says:

    Darn, they changed the format again!

  5. Al C. says:

    I'm on Team Erica !

  6. jeri says:

    Erica has survived another week! I don't know what happens during the show, only the end. Had emergency with my patient. Hoping to catch 9pm pacific showing. JLF, FanFare57, keep me informed!!!

  7. Diana says:

    Do the contestants get some training in between the shows: like how to use a knife, learning about spices, the difference between saute and frying? If you have never eaten a wide variety of foods, understanding how to use spices and what they taste like when combined would be difficult. Knife skills are not something you can learn in an hour. If not getting some type of classes, what do they do between shows. I am confused at how they are supposed to improve with the little bit we see represented on the show.

    Thanks for helping me understand how this works.

    • jeri says:

      Yes, they do. I asked that question to Chef Anne in the magazine, it's just that we don't get to see it…with time constraints and all. It would be Noce to have a show on all that stuff for beginners that want to learn.

      • FanFare57 says:

        Thanks for asking that question to Anne. I wondered the same thing because the recruits seem much more advanced than when they started (from having absolutely no knowledge or skills). I agree with you that a show focusing on technique and cooking terms for beginners (and the many that have some ability) would be much appreciated. (***Hear that, Food Network?***)

    • jeri says:

      Oops!!! Smart pad, should have been NICE!!

      • Diana says:

        Thank you! I could tell that they were given some instruction that we did not hear because of various comments as they prepare during the competitions. Appreciate the info. I agree that a show teaching the basics would be great. I know a lot of people who could use the info.

  8. JLF says:

    Man, they are really throwing some fairly advanced techniques at these cooks pretty early in the competition. Pulling noodles is something I've never done in nearly 50 years of cooking – and while I might not be quite as intimidated by it as these novices, in the stress of a competition, it's a pretty tall order. That said, it did seem that in the judging, Bobby and Anne were appropriately more lenient on the noodles, and more critical of the cutting skills and recipe execution. I think the right decisions were made tonite. Once again we see that trying to argue with your chef is a fast track out the door. Glad to see more cooks tasting their food – it sure paid off for a couple of them.

    • jeri says:

      OMG! They had to pull noodles! I can't do that yet after 40plus years of cooking! I tried a couple times, it was a disaster! Hopefully I can catch the whole episode at 9. Also hope JLF can help me out if I can't (or FanFare 57). Sometimes nursing sucks! (but mostly rewarding).

    • jeri says:

      Stuck in ICU, on break. What's happening?

  9. FanFare57 says:

    So far, I'm pleasantly surprised by Bobby's gentler manner toward the recruits. He doesn't get too involved with the personal issues. He just sticks to the skills which is what a good coach should do. He may give Anne a run for her money. I'm still on Anne's side because I like her approach and firmness with cooktestants. I felt the correct people got eliminated in this last ep. Wasn't that a hoot when "Sherrill" thought Sweden was part of Switzerland? LOL!!!!

    • JLF says:

      OMG – as soon as she put Sweeden and the Alps together, I knew she was in trouble! But Bobby did give her a heads-up after the noodle round that she needs to leave her old thinking behind and listen to his instructions. But she was so determined to show him that she knows what she's doing that she essentially eliminated herself. (After all, she's on the show for a reason.)

      I'm not at all surprised at Bobby's calm and encouraging teaching style. Watching Throwdown shows that side of him. I'm actually kind of surprised at Anne's kind of militant style – standing up top shouting "Get SOMETHING on those plates" was pretty intense. For right now I'm liking Bobby's approach better.

      • tich tran says:

        That why in the professional world(okay Erica isn't a professional cook) they generally don't hire "old" people(ie over 32). They tend to be stuck in their old ways. Although I hate Bourdain I can kind of understand his feeling toward "old" people going straight into culinary school or professional kitchen. BUT that doesn't mean it can' t be done. The head pastry chef of Gordon Ramsey At The London(New York) started in his 30 after working as a landscape designer.

  10. 14yroldchef says:

    Am i the only one who thinks erica is hilarious! her conversations with bobby are histerical! out of all three seasons, this season is the most entertaining because it has the most dynamic recruits. I hope Anne Burrell wins again because if she beats bobby flay, maybe fn will reconsider her position in the iron chef kitchen

    • jeri says:

      I, too, like Erica. She is a hoot! I like her because she reminds me of me when I was young and first married, trying to please a husband and learning to cook. She and Bobby are funny in their conversations.

      • 14yroldchef says:

        that's exactly what i was thinking! she's just funny everytime you pay attention to her during the show. I love this season. I literally watched episodes all over again just to pick up on the humor. Im still waiting for chef anne and bobby to teach them real skills

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