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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 from the Red Team and the Blue Team.
More Worst Cooks in America
Exit Interview with the Eliminated Red Team Recruit
Episode 2 Highlights (Photos)
Making Mozzarella (Video)
The second week of competition began with 12 recruits entering a farm for their Skill Drill challenge to make a grilled cheese sandwich, which would involve making mozzarella from scratch. What they didn’t yet know is that they would have to get the milk for the cheese from real cows. Lance, calling himself the black Bobby Flay, made a sandwich that his team leader, Bobby, found didn’t have enough cheese. During the French-themed Main Dish challenge, Lance had to make a fish dish. It appeared to Bobby that Lance hadn’t taken the best notes during the demo and ended up preparing the fish way too early in a 90-minute challenge. In the end Bobby sent Lance home because he found Lance was jumping ahead of himself and not taking direction well.
With the make-it-from-scratch challenge, you made a sandwich that Bobby wasn’t too happy about, and you made a salad, which wasn’t part of the challenge. Why?
What I think I could have done differently was added the one piece of cheese on the other side of the bread. I had so much time left I decided to make an arugula salad. Originally I added too much vinegar and the salad got too wet, and I took out the arugula, but I already had seasoned it with salt and pepper. So when I put the new arugula in, I added more vinegar, oil, salt and pepper. Maybe some of the old seasoning was still in there, and so Bobby said it tasted too salty. I shouldn’t have salted it again. But I felt good when Bobby bit into my sandwich and said it had good flavor.
What was the hardest thing for you about the French cooking challenge: understanding the dish or executing it?
Honestly just creating the dish, but I didn’t really have any problems until the end when I replated my dish so it would look a little neater. But Bobby said it should have had more sauce. I didn’t have problems with the technique. Bobby said to emulate exactly what he did. So I did. But being that I finished so fast, he made me do my fish over, which threw me off. At that time I didn’t have my sauce on the plate. So I could have just laid my fish down and had all the sauce on there, but he made me do it over. Once I did the fish over, I had a thinner piece, and the sauce ran all over and it looked ugly. So I replated it. He did his in 35 minutes. I did mine in basically the same amount of time. I should have known that with the 90 minutes I should have spread it out. You live and you learn certain things. You’ve got to break it to know how to fix it.
Bobby was concerned that you weren’t paying attention in demos because you weren’t taking notes. Do you think Bobby was right?
I don’t think Bobby was right. A lot of people write down unnecessary steps, like how to make mise en place or garlic paste. I’m writing down useful stuff that’s new and important, like adding wine to a pan and letting the alcohol burn off. If he wasn’t paying too much attention to me, he might have thought I wasn’t writing all that down. I write all my notes in steps, so that’s why I finished so fast.
Bobby said he had high hopes for you but that you were tough to teach. Do you agree with that?
I don’t agree with that. My thing is I ask all the questions during the demo. But when it’s time to cook, I’ve got my plan. There’s nothing to talk about. And when he asks, “Are you alright?” and I say, “Yeah, I’m good,” I think he believes I’m overconfident. That’s what he said about me. But I’m confident in my notes and understanding what he wants us to do.
Why do you call yourself the black Bobby Flay?
When I auditioned Bobby said he’s the white Lance Green, and I said I’m the black Bobby Flay. I think he’s a cool guy, and I like his food and I want to learn a lot from him. And I did. I learned a lot from the show, and it’s going to last a lifetime.
Who do you think on your team has the potential to make it the farthest?
Joe — only because he is always confident, like me. He always puts his best foot forward. Everybody else does well, but they don’t have as much confidence in themselves. I think when it comes down to the wire, it might hold them back.