One-on-One with the Next Eliminated Celebrity Recruit — Worst Cooks in America
This season on Worst Cooks in America, seven celebrity recruits have signed up to be whipped into shape by mentors Anne Burrell and Rachael Ray, but unfortunately one recruit has to be eliminated in each episode. Last week Chris Soules screwed up his chances by presenting Anne with a salad that not only had an unappetizing name, but was also unpalatable; in the elimination challenge, his lack of egg-frying skills did him in. This week one of the recruits who has just barely hung on in the competition got the boot from Boot Camp. FN Dish has the exclusive exit interview with tonight's eliminated recruit.
For the first time this season, the recruits had to work with their remaining fellow teammate to decipher a recipe puzzle. Barry and Jenni worked very well together, but their dish was eclipsed by Ellen and Kendra's surprising success. When it came to their main challenge of making fresh pasta with seafood, the recruits all felt the pressure. Jenni and Kendra turned out rather successful plates, but Barry and Ellen just couldn't figure out what had gone wrong in their dishes: Ellen's clam sauce was completely off, and Barry's pasta wasn't rolled out correctly. In an elimination challenge, the two each had to cook a simple pasta dish to determine who would remain in Boot Camp. Anne and Rachael determined through blind tastings of the two dishes that Barry's pasta just fell short of their criteria. Leaving Boot Camp, he received $5,000 for his charity, the Boys and Girls Club of the Ozarks.
How was it working together with your teammate Jenni for the first time in the fill-in-the-blank recipe challenge?
Barry Williams: It was great. It was the first time we really worked together as a team, and Jenni and I seem to complement each other. So, we were doubling up on things, and we were both working to make it the best meal and presentation possible. ... She’s pretty skilled. She knew the ingredients and how to get them into order, and we only missed a few.
How was the main challenge for you, making the pasta from scratch? It looks like you had a bit of a struggle.
BW: Well, I knew the pasta would be the most difficult, because there are the most variables ... but I felt pretty good about it, and I know we were working to get out glutens. And Sheriff Anne (I call her Sheriff Anne), but Chef Anne was explaining to us how [glutens] kind of get angry, and then we've got to work them through it, and then let them relax. And that actually went pretty well for me. ... It was a pretty complicated ... recipe. There were a lot of ingredients and a lot of stages. Then when I went back to the pasta situation, I remembered we had to ... run it through the machine on 1. Fold it. Run it on 1 again. And then run it back through 2. And then 3, 4 and then 5, and you’re done. Which I did, but my pasta wouldn’t get thinner. ... And that was of some concern, but why I didn’t stop to try and figure out what the problem was — I don’t know. I think I was just in, in kind of the heat of the moment of wanting to move on ... [but] it wasn’t thin like the noodle was supposed to be, and that’s because instead of changing the dial on the rollers, which made the rollers come together, I was just changing the speed of the machine. So, I’m going from 1 to 5 on the speed, but not from 1 to 5 on the intensity of the roll. My bad.
When Anne tasted it, though, she thought you had really good flavors; except for her comments on the pasta, everything else she said was pretty positive. Were you surprised when she announced you would be going into the elimination challenge?
BW: I wasn’t surprised at all. If you miss something that significant, in the instruction, or, as Sheriff Anne pointed out, she says, “Barry, if you looked and it wasn’t getting longer, do you remember [me] saying it was going to get longer?” I said, “Sure I do.” She goes: “Well, if it wasn’t, then why didn’t you rethink it? Why didn’t you think, 'Gee ... it’s not behaving the way it was supposed to?'" And she was absolutely right. I should have at that point, rethought it, or figured it out. I did look over at Jenni’s pasta, and it looked right. So, it might have taken me to explore what I wasn't doing properly and discover it, but such was not the case.
Last week you had success with your California cuisine burger. Did you go into this week's challenges with a winner's frame of mind at all?
BW: Oh, I didn’t go into this arrogantly at all, certainly competitively, and I wanted to do the best I could, and yes I wanted to win this challenge. ... You know, it’s tough enough to go through this, without having to go through yet, you know, a single elimination. So, I was hoping, but with the error ... with this pasta, I knew [it] wasn’t likely and that I would be facing somebody — either Ellen or Kendra — in another elimination.
What was going through your mind during the elimination challenge? You had to cook a simple pasta dish.
BW: [They called it a] redemption challenge because we had worked with most of all of these tools before: building a sauce ... cooking the pasta, how to mix it, the order of things, what cooks the fastest, what temperature to do it — all of these things. So I was really just trying to not second-guess myself too much about what the order of the ingredients was, and that kind of a thing, and hope for the best.
What was your reaction to hearing the comments from Anne and Rachael during the blind tasting?
BW: Well, I was seeing smiles on both their faces. She came out of the box, Sheriff Anne did, with the herb cutting. She was not happy with that, and apparently that’s a big button for her. That wasn’t boding well, but at the same time, I thought my sauce was a little bit lighter, and that seemed to be kind of a tossup. So, you know, I felt I had a ... fighting chance. And of course I’d used all the ingredients.
When you found out you had been eliminated, did any doubts cross your mind as to what you could have done differently?
BW: Well, the herb cutting, is not clear to me. I mean ... I need a lesson on that. I need to go back to school on that puppy. That might have made a difference.
Thinking about your entire time on the show, how has it been for you, competing alongside the other celebs, working with the mentors or just being here?
BW: My goal was to gain knowledge and information and basically to explore the creativity of cooking, because I knew it could be [done]; it’s not just reading ingredients off of a recipe and then trying to match it. There’s so much to deal with food, and its presentation, and the way it’s cut, and the ingredients that you put in, and how you mix and match them. And I just didn’t have any of that background or information — or training. And so my goal was to both gain information, and then information that would lead me to the next stage of that. And I feel I’ve accomplished that.
It’s been a good competition. It’s been surprisingly challenging in terms of [it being] fatiguing. There [was] a lot of information to keep together, but I really enjoyed it, and I liked ... all of the people that were on the two different teams. ... I feel like I’ve gained some friends. And what a great hang with Rachael, please. And with Sheriff Anne. I’m glad that she was my mentor. She rode my back. ... I think I came out of it having learned a lot of information that I might not have picked up if she’d gone too easy on me. So, this was a total privilege to work with these two mentors for our training program.
Are there any particular techniques that Anne taught you that you might try when you get home?
BW: Not try it — I’ve absolutely changed the way that I think about it. One of them comes to mind immediately, because [we] all want to be safe when we’re cutting round foods, like zucchini, like an onion, like a carrot, and to be able to get a flat edge on them so that they’re anchored, and then start your cuts. That’s great. Uniformity is another one. I’d not given that much attention. But if you’re chopping, or if you’re cutting, [or] you are julienning, any of that stuff, you want all of the slices and the pieces to be uniform, because that cooks most evenly. Another thing was about building sauces, about how you start with certain ingredients, and then add them to the sauce, and don’t just throw everything in at the beginning. Presentation was another big piece of this puzzle: how important it is to not [just] create an appetizing dish, but to create the appearance of an appetizing dish. ... Oh, and the other thing. This is the best part of all — I don’t know how to say it — mise en place? But doing the ingredients first, having them right there so that they can be introduced on your own time frame, and you don’t have to be multitasking when you do it. This is killer. That is great. When I start cooking, in earnest, I’m definitely going be using the little individual ingredient bowls.
Do you think that when you get back home you’ll take a few cooking classes to get your creative juices flowing?
BW: I’m going to. I know that I’ll be getting some recipe books out and asking for some recipes, and I’ll probably, when I go over, you know, to like a friend’s house, I’ll get more involved in the kitchen — if they’ll let me — and pick up some ideas there. I’m sure everyone would love to have me become a good cook, because, you know, party at my house!
Now that only three people are left, are you rooting for anyone in particular?
BW: Yes. Jenni, my teammate. She's had my back all through this competition, and I really have felt supported by her a hundred percent, and so I’d like to go ahead and see her take the win.
Tune in to Worst Cooks in America: Celebrity Edition on Wednesday at 9|8c to find out which celebrity will be eliminated next.