One-on-One with the Latest Recruit Eliminated from the Red Team — Worst Cooks in America
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 really tested the recruits' adaptabilities. The Skill Drill challenge had them cooking sliders made from exotic proteins, including ostrich and alligator, then getting creative with their toppings. For her slider, Chanda worked with pheasant, but in the end Anne felt Chanda could have pushed herself more. The Main Dish challenge took most of the cooks out of their comfort zone and forced each of them to fillet an entire fish to make a dish of fish and chips. That's what gave Chanda the most trouble. Even with Anne watching over her, Chanda couldn't get a perfect fillet. She also had to remake her batter. In the end Nick and Taylor were tied as winners for the challenge, which meant it was the end of the road for Chanda.
Chanda Havard: Well, it’s crazy, but I just really wanted to learn how to cook. My nephew comes and spends the night over, and it’s, like, McDonald’s, McDonald’s, McDonald’s. So, I've seen the show before, and I’m thinking, I might be America’s worst cook. Let me go ahead and sign up and see if I can — if it’s possible that I can learn how to cook.
How did your Skill Drill challenge go for you? What was the toughest part about making sliders?
CH: It was a little rough, but most of the time it is always rough for me. ... You had to be kind of creative, and so, I thought I was being creative, but Chef Anne didn’t think so much. So, it’s always challenging because I’ve really never cooked any of these things before. I’ve really never tasted some of these foods before. Never heard of some of these things before. So, being put in a situation where you’ve got an hour, and you’ve got your notes, and then you’ve got to go cook it, is, like, really crazy, but it’s fun at the same time, because you are learning, and I catch myself, like, learning. ... I have learned so much about just different foods and just different ... tastes and ways in cooking and chopping and different items in the kitchen that I need to buy now.
Is there maybe a technique or skill that you learned that you think you’ll use again when you get home?
CH: A lot of them, but I guess the mise en place. ... Get what you need, get it chopped, get it put in place, and then start cooking — that way you’re not cooking, and then, "Oh, I need onions, or I need this." Get everything you need. Get everything chopped. Then start cooking, so all you have to do is add it to your [pot] and that will prevent a lot of burning, because you’re not leaving your food on the stove.
How did the Main Dish challenge go for you today? It looked like you had some trouble with filleting the fish, and Anne had to help you.
CH: Cutting a fish is crazy. So, I mean, I obviously have never done that before, but I did have a little hard time, obviously cutting this big huge fish, but Chef Anne did help me, so I was able to recover, and ... I feel like even though I ... lost, I still got a good plate of food. My food still tasted good. Everything was still cooked. I guess that they [Nick and Taylor] were just stronger ... in her eyes than I was. So, I mean, it, it is what it is. Everybody can't win.
How was it working with Anne, having her as a mentor?
CH: Well, at first, you know, the first day it’s kind of scary, intimidating ... but ... I could tell that she really wants to help you, and she really wants you to learn, and that’s what the whole thing is. She wants you to learn how to cook. So, she can be a little harsh sometimes, but you know where it’s coming from. Like, I know where it’s coming from, and I understand it.
If you could do this whole competition all over again, do you think you would do anything differently?
CH: I don’t know. If I could do it all over again, I don’t think I would do anything differently. I think I really did bring everything that I had, and I really gave it my best shot. So, I really don’t think there’s anything for me to do different. ... Obviously some people are better than other people and catch on quicker than other people do. So, well, I guess I would try to get better notes, because the notes were, like, kicking my butt the first day. I just, I’ve never been a good note taker in school, in college. So, I think that was, like, one of the downfalls. So, if there was a way I could make myself get better notes, I think a lot of ... the challenges that I might have been at the bottom, I might have not been always there, if I had better notes.
Do you think you’ll try cooking again when you get home?
CH: Yes. I will cook. I will be cooking when I go home. I think I’m a chef now. So, I will definitely be cooking again when I go home, and there’s a lot of stuff that I need to buy. So, it’s going to be expensive for a little while, but I’m going to buy some things that we used in the kitchen that I really think I’m going to need, and I will cook.
Between the two people left on your team, is there someone you think could be the winner?
CH: I don’t really know. I just feel like that Nick has been a favored. He just came in, almost seemed like, to me, knowing a little bit more than other people have known. He’s never really kind of completely screwed up. ... But I do believe that Taylor has learned a lot, and I think that if he can keep his nerves under control that ... he may be the winner.
Overall how has the entire experience been for you?
CH: It’s been crazy. It’s been hard, but it’s also been fun. It’s been challenging. It’s been like a roller coaster ride. It’s like up and down, up and down, but I really had a lot of fun. I’ve learned a lot of things. I’ve met a lot of nice people that I will keep in contact with, as far as the cast, and, you know, I’m just, I’m happy I did it.