This season on Worst Cooks in America, 14 new hapless home cooks have joined the ranks to be mentored by chefs Tyler Florence and Anne Burrell. Split into the Blue Team and the Red Team, the recruits face new cooking challenges every week, gathering new cooking skills until just two finalists remain to face off in the last cook-off. That winner will walk away with $25,000 in cash, and his or her mentor will win bragging rights. Unfortunately, every week the two lowest-scoring recruits will be kicked out of Boot Camp. They lose the chance to win the prize money, but they leave with new skills learned from their mentors.
Every Sunday night, FN Dish has the exclusive interviews with the eliminated recruits, one from the Red Team and one from the Blue Team.
This week the recruits were tested on multitasking and time management. For their first challenge they had to cook eggs four ways, and for the Main Dish challenge they had to produce four Asian street food appetizers. Unfortunately Rachel didn’t meet the challenges this week. In the Skill Drill she had to start her egg poaching over again, and she still failed in getting it cooked properly. In the Main Dish challenge, she was able to plate only two of the four required dishes, and even those two had lots of issues — for one, her bao buns were still frozen. And Tyler even called her out on not cooking the two dishes he demonstrated. In the end Rachel and Holgie ended up in the bottom, but Tyler chose to send Rachel home.
Take us back to when you were eliminated. What was going through your mind, and how were you feeling in that moment?
Rachel Thomas: In that moment I felt totally defeated. The week before, I felt awesome and like I had come so far, and then I felt like I was right back to where I started.
Did you ever think you’d make it this far in the competition, reaching the halfway point?
RT: I honestly did not think I would make it halfway, especially since I was at the bottom the first week.
During the Skill Drill challenge when you had to make four different egg dishes, what did you find most difficult? Can you describe the problems you were having?
RT: The most-difficult challenge was trying to poach an egg. I had never done that before, and there were so many steps involved; it sort of overwhelmed me. I mean, before the show I was making scrambled eggs in the microwave. So I was learning a lot of new skills in a short period of time.
For the Main Dish challenge you ended up plating only two of the four Southeast Asian dishes. What was giving you the most difficulty?
RT: My biggest struggle was time management. Having to cook multiple things in the kitchen at the same time got the best of me. I was still trying to master getting one thing on the plate.
How was it being on Tyler’s team? How was it working with him?
RT: I really enjoyed being coached by Chef Tyler. He was very thorough in his directions and took the time to make sure we understood the concepts of what we were supposed to be cooking.
Is there a skill or maybe a piece of knowledge you learned from him that you think you’ll use again?
RT: I think I will use the lesson of flavor combinations the most. Usually when I cook and something goes wrong I quit and order out, but now I know that I can counterbalance a mistake by adding the opposite flavor to it, to balance it all out. I had never thought about this concept before, and I know it will help me in the future as I start to cook more.
Will you be in the kitchen more? Has the show inspired you to cook more?
RT: I will definitely be in the kitchen more. My favorite challenges were the ones where we got to be creative and add our own flavors, so I know I will be trying out some new seasonings on whatever I try to cook.
Thinking about the remaining members on your team (Ginny, Holgie and Lawrence), is there someone you think can make it to the end and has the potential to win?
RT: I can see Ginny winning for the Blue Team. She is very calm and collected in the kitchen, and I think that will help her make it to the end.
Overall, how has the experience of the show been for you? What did it mean for you to be a part of it?
RT: Overall, being on the show was an awesome experience! The most-pivotal thing I took from the whole show was not necessarily learning how to cook a new recipe or properly season something, but learning how to be more confident in the kitchen. Chef Tyler said it right when he said he could taste my fear, and looking back I think all of America probably could, even through their flat screens. But I feel like I have come a long way from that moment. I know that I still have a lot to learn in the kitchen, but I feel like I gained the confidence needed to try new stuff and actually get in the kitchen more often.
Watch Worst Cooks in America on Sundays at 9|8c to find out which recruit goes home next.