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On Worst Cooks in America, 14 recruits have the opportunity of a lifetime: to be mentored by two renowned chefs, Anne Burrell and Bobby Flay. They arrive at Boot Camp with some of the worst skills imaginable in the kitchen, but if they’re able to last seven weeks of competition without getting cut, they get the chance to be named the best of the worst and win $25,000 in prize money. Plus their mentor gets bragging rights — and this year Anne is fighting to win her title back after losing it to Bobby last season. Unfortunately, every week two recruits, one from each team, must be eliminated.
Every Monday night, FN Dish has the exclusive interviews with the eliminated recruits.
After the recruits were split up into teams, Chef Anne challenged her Red Team members to make pizzas, and with just 90 minutes, it was quite an undertaking for most. For Casey, just cutting an onion for her sauce was difficult to watch, as she used a fork and knife. Unfortunately, Casey’s pizza came out soggy, and Anne thought she looked scattered in the kitchen, especially when trying to decipher a tablespoon and a teaspoon measure. Casey even admitted as much, saying, “As a nurse I can hold a baby … but when I’m in the kitchen I’m freaking out.” At elimination time it came down to Benji or Casey, but Anne felt that Benji had a bit more will and desire to learn; the Red Team had to say goodbye to Casey.
We’ve never seen anyone cut an onion with a fork and knife. Where did you learn that?
I saw my mom cut herself really bad one time cooking when I was young. It scared me, so I thought if I used a fork to hold it, the knife would cut the fork instead of my fingers. And it’s been working ever since.
You made a rice dish that you called a picadillo, but it really was pretty far from the classic Cuban dish. You also had some trouble making the rice. What did you hope to show with that dish?
I was very close to a Cuban family once, and they made this dish very often. It was amazing! I tried to re-create the dish after I relocated to California. It did not work out the way they made it. I always used microwavable rice or boiled the rice in the premade bag. I just had to boil the water, throw in the bag of rice and take it out. Making rice on the show was very difficult and overwhelming, and it was then that I realized I don’t have a clue about anything in the kitchen. I wanted to show off one of the three dishes I actually cook. Otherwise I tend to stick with frozen dinners and crackers.
You fumbled a bit during the pizza-making challenge, and you said it was the first time you’ve done two things at once in the kitchen. Was multitasking the hardest part for you or did something else prevent you from plating up a good pizza?
The most multitasking thing I’ve done in the kitchen before the show was pouring wine and using the microwave. So being in the environment with all these kitchen supplies, following a recipe, being timed, and having Chef Anne watching me make pizza from scratch made me delirious. Seriously, I can barely make frozen pizza.
What did you learn from your team leader Anne?
Chef Anne taught me how to use a knife properly. I continue to practice the way she taught me, but I tend to use a fork if my fingers get too close. Also, I read more recipes now, but I stick to three- to five-step recipes.
After doing the show, do you think you’ll sign up for cooking lessons? Do you think that will lead you closer to a proposal from your boyfriend?
My boyfriend bought me cooking lessons for my birthday after the show. I’m trying to get better, but only time will tell.
Looking ahead, is there someone on your team you think has the potential to make it all the way to the finale?
Yes, Ken! He’s great.