One-on-One With the Latest Red Team Recruit to Go Home — Worst Cooks in America

by in Shows, February 17th, 2013

Chef Anne Burrell and the Red TeamFor the 14 recruits competing on Worst Cooks in America, it’s the opportunity of a lifetime to learn kitchen basics and culinary how-tos from Anne Burrell and Bobby Flay — two of New York City’s top restaurant chefs and some of Food Network’s most celebrated stars. It’s up to the contestants to use the tools the chefs provide to learn how to master certain skills on their own and demonstrate progress in the kitchen. Despite their best efforts, however, one recruit from Chef Anne’s Red Team and another from Chef Bobby’s Blue Team will ultimately succumb to the challenges of Boot Camp week after week as they compete for $25,000 and bragging rights for their coach.

Check back with FN Dish every Sunday after the episode for the first interviews with the latest eliminated contestants to read their exclusive reflections on the competition, thoughts on difficult challenges, plans for the future and more.

Also see:
Find out who went home from Chef Bobby’s Blue Team
Top Photo Moments of the Premiere
Video: Episode 1 in Review
Sneak Peek at Next Week’s Show

After choosing recruits to represent her on the Red Team, Chef Anne challenged them to recreate her meat-and-potatoes-style dish of pan-seared pork chops and new potatoes in just one hour and without the assistance of a microwave. Each contestant battled his or her own kitchen demons like onions and sharp knives, but not all of them overcame them. Photographer Diana De Rosa and chiropractor Dr. Bob Schaefer offered the most disappointing plates of the day, presenting Chef Anne with a dish that lacked sauce and was exceptionally greasy, respectively. In the end, however, the Red Team said goodbye to Diana on account of her inability to serve every component, and she left the competition believing that she’s “still one of the Worst Cooks in America.”

Was there one element of Boot Camp that particularly surprised you?

DD: I didn’t know what to expect so everything was a surprise, from the huge kitchen with all those supplies to meeting the other recruits to the way we were living and so on. I have to say that putting salt on the outside of the meat was something that I was totally clueless about.

Diana De RosaYou said that your Oatmeal and Quinoa Fruit Surprise is one of the few things you cook. Quinoa isn’t the most mainstream ingredient and it’s been known to trip up even experienced at-home cooks. What’s the story behind your signature dish?

DD: I am into a healthy lifestyle and I heard that quinoa has protein in it. I am not a vegetarian but I often eat like one just because I happen to like vegetables, fruit, nuts, etc. So, I try to think of ways to eat more protein because I have been anemic in the past. I cook it overnight, so I just put the oatmeal, quinoa, raisins, cinnamon (also very good for you) and cut-up fruits in the slow cooker. I let it cook and by the morning I have my oatmeal mush (as I refer to it since it tends to overcook), hot and ready to eat. I’m pretty easy to please so even food that isn’t cooked just right tastes pretty good to me.

“It’s really embarrassing to know how old I am and not know how to cook,” you told Bobby and Anne during tasting. Has being on the show inspired you to learn how to cook?

DD: Of course watching those two chefs toss out a meal was what I really loved and that’s what I want – to be able to go into the kitchen and not stress over how to cook something. So yes, they truly did inspire me. I want to learn how to cook but I was really hoping that I’d have more time on the show to get more of the basics. I’m not a read-the-book-type person. The best way I learn is from having someone show me what to do, which is exactly how they did it on this show. But then I only had one chance, which wasn’t quite enough to go back home and actually have gained enough knowledge to cook. Having the chance to learn from the best of the best (albeit only one time) was something I will always cherish though.

Is there one kitchen skill in particular that you wish you could have mastered before you left?

DD: Cutting with a knife. Anne showed us but I found that very difficult and ended up cutting myself.

Chef Anne Burrell and Diana De RosaAfter the elimination, you said that you believe you’re still the Worst Cook in America and that you’d be interested in competing again on Season 5. If you were to join the contest again, would you prepare for the competition differently? How so?

DD: I would love to come back for Season 5. It’s actually my hope and dream to be given another chance (and my mom and dad would thank Food Network from heaven, I am sure). I was pretty devastated to have it confirmed that I was truly the Worst Cook in America. The problem with me is that that I don’t cook at all. So, I fail at anything I try to cook because I don’t have a clue about what to do. All the other people on the show, except maybe Dr. Bob, had cooked before and so they are comfortable around a kitchen. But for me I don’t even know where to begin. So, I might start by trying to better understand the terminology and the different pots and pans. I was totally at a loss just trying to figure out those things. I think I also should have remembered to have a check-off list. As soon as I realized I forgot to put in the one ingredient, I knew that would get me eliminated. My heart sunk while I was standing there from that point on because I knew it would take a miracle for me to not be eliminated. To this day I stress over that simple but stupid mistake. I had cooked the sauce and was just waiting until the last minute to pour it over the food so the food wouldn’t be too cold. I should have prepared the meal sooner and maybe I would have caught my mistake, and I should have had a check-off list. I’d also spend some time trying to use the knife the way Anne showed us. And I’ll watch more of the other Food Network shows to see if I can pick up anything. Once you are in that kitchen and the pressure is on it’s pretty scary, but I really do want another chance and am hoping Food Network gives me that chance.

Visit Food Network’s Worst Cooks in America headquarters for more insider coverage of the show.

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Comments (26)

  1. visitor says:

    I have to admit, this show is one of my guilty pleasures. Couldn't hardly wait for the new season. I thought I would bust a gut when the lady lost her fingernail. Love her – hillarious!

  2. Lady Thunder says:

    I love chef Anne go girl powwer! but I HEART Bobby Flay and I know if Bobby gets to touch his team just lay a hand on them they will be winners, just look into his eyes and all is well. XOXOXObobby

  3. Diana says:

    Hi This is Diana,
    I was quite sad not to make it more than one week. My hope is that I do get a shot in Season 5 and I appreciate that all of you are taking the time to comment on the show – good or bad. I know it seems weird that we don't know how to cook, but trust me we have talents as writers, photographers, dancers, parents and so much more, but we truly fail in the kitchen. I was hoping to learn a bit more because Anne was a great teacher. As short as it was, I had a great time on this show and appreciate everyone who is taking the time to follow us. I'll be watching all of the episodes and seeing how my new friends faired.

    • Dawnskye says:

      Nothing weird about not knowing how to cook any more than not knowing how to do a lot of things. If no one shows you, learning is hard. Cooking is a combination of skills. It is very visual as you need to be able to see what something should look like. You also need to understand how your palate works and what something should taste like. It is also knowing what measurements are, the differences between liquid and solid measures, how to use gadgets, how to read recipes and understanding perhaps a bit of science to learn the "whys" of food. It's freaking hard…take it from someone who is self taught and did not have any formal instruction until much, much later in life.

      • Diana says:

        Great comment as this is exactly what was making it so difficult for me. Understanding just the basics made it very difficult for me to pull it all together. Loved your comment. Thanks for taking the time to add your thoughts.

  4. queensx3 says:

    hum, alex was on the "the glass house" reality show last year, now he is a bad cook???? sounds fixed to me.

  5. countess hearn says:

    I would love to compete in a show like that because I can cook

    • Dawnskye says:

      If you are a good cook, you'd not want to compete in this show. Maybe Bobby Flay's Dinner Battle. Bobby Flay comes to three different houses for dinner and the cooks are armatures and he gives them a them to follow, then a "gift" that has to be used creatively in the meal. Now THAT is a show I'd love to go on. It would be SO much fun to try and impress Bobby and perhaps learn from others by what they do. It is not like Iron Chef, where pro's go against the best of the best, nor is it like Worst Cooks in America, where the contestants get sick from their own food or habitually set the kitchen on fire. Now you got me thinking . .

  6. Super Bowl says:

    In the reality, the Super Bowl is about a lot of things. Football is just one.
    Typically, the Super Bowl is focused on tv.
    That’s not a slam on nfl football. Nfl football has undoubtedly evolve into our most desired national sport activity, for various causes. Not one other sport, not even Supermodel Jell-O Wrestling, may draw any place around the 108.5 million people who looked at last February’s Super Bowl.
    Is there a different situation in television record, or even human being history for example, in which a great number of people were so willing to listen to sales pitches?
    It’s probably true, of course, that the majority of of people aren’t gonna take note of our preferred advertisements and race off to buy the item.

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