Season 5, Episode 7

Timer's Up

It's Chef Bobby's last recruit versus Chef Anne's last recruit to determine the ultimate winner of Worst Cooks in America. In one last face-off, finalists will cook a refined three-course meal in a professional restaurant kitchen for a panel of culinary experts who will decide which chef-mentor is the better teacher by leading his or her recruit to a $25,000 victory.
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Recipes From This Episode

Prosciutto-Wrapped Pork Tenderloin with Flageolet Ragout and Frizzled Brussels Sprout Leaves

Charred Octopus Salad with Tangerine Sauce

Coconut Cream Pie with Salted Lime Caramel

Citrus and Mascarpone Parfait with Grapefruit and Prosecco Granita

Robiola and Mushroom Grilled Cheese "Soldiers" with Butternut Squash Soup

Bison Tenderloin with Piquillo Pepper Pesto and Tapenade Mashed Potatoes

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It Just Keeps Getting Worse

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Welcome to Boot Camp for the Last Time

Anne and Bobby greet the recruits for their last time. "I think it's now finally safe to say that you are no longer the worst cooks in America," Bobby tells them. Their last challenge will have them cooking a three-course meal in a restaurant kitchen for a panel of culinary experts. Only one of them will walk away with $25,000. But before they can begin cooking for the "main event," says Bobby, there's one last challenge.

Photo By: Heidi Gutman

Race to the Finish Line

"We've taught you guys a lot of things over the last six weeks," says Anne, "and this is your chance to show us what you've really learned." Amber and Jamie go head-to-head in a mise-en-place race, dicing onions, shelling crabs, rolling spring rolls, separating eggs and opening a bottle of wine. In the end, Jamie finishes slightly ahead of Amber.

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Toasting Their Progress and Success

Initially Jamie didn't even want to be on the Red Team. But Anne says, "Look who it is representing me in the finale." The first time he met Amber, Bobby didn't think she'd go far, but, he says, "She's really met all my expectations." Even though Jamie won this battle, Amber's convinced he's not won the war ahead.

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Jamie's Comforting Menu

Anne helps Jamie plan his menu. His three courses will consist of grilled cheese soldiers with butternut squash soup, pork loin with bean stew and a citrus parfait. Anne says, "This menu is inspired by Jamie's favorite foods with kind of an Anne Burrell thumbprint." Jamie is excited to get started.

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Facing Her Fears Head On

On the other hand, Amber's menu will be a little bit more adventurous. Bobby surprises Amber with an octopus for her appetizer. "It looks like the exact thing that was attacking my leg," she says, recounting her traumatic experience with one. But Bobby thinks she can take on anything. After hesitating a bit, she realizes it's time to get over it: "I'm game on whatever you want me to do, Bobby."

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Elevated Soup and Sandwich

"I love the fact that Chef Anne wants to do fancy, chichi grilled cheese," says Jamie. He also makes a butternut squash soup to go along with the grilled cheese for dipping. Jamie is glad to learn a soup recipe, because all he knows is the kind you get in the can. Anne is really pleased with how it comes out, but reminds him, "We got a long way to go, my friend, OK?"

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High Risk Equals High Reward

"I can't believe Bobby picked octopus for me," says Amber. "The thought of touching it makes my skin crawl." Still she puts her fear aside. Bobby shows her how to blanch it before simmering it in red wine. She's worried she won't be able to do it alone tomorrow. But Bobby thinks "this is a great risk for Amber. If she can do it, she's gonna crush [Jamie]." This first time around, though, the octopus turns out chewy.

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Defining Neatness to a "T"

After brining the pork, Jamie is ready to wrap it in prosciutto and caul fat to hold it all together. He's done this before, but not well: "When we did the roulade challenge, I was horrible," he admits. Anne looks over and sees he needs help: "Of all the things that I've seen you do," she says," this is the worst thing so far."

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Better Luck Next Time

Bobby shows Amber how to make custard for the coconut cream pies on her menu. "You really have to whisk that very well," he tells her. But Amber is concerned: "I've never made a coconut cream pie before. ... Actually, I've never made pie before — ever." Unfortunately the mixture doesn't set: "I don't think that you whisked the egg yolks enough," Bobby tells her. "We can't let that happen tomorrow."

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Mad Scientist in the Making

Anne has Jamie make a sorbet for his citrus parfait — using liquid nitrogen, of all things. Jamie's a little alarmed at first, but he gets excited as soon as he sees the results. Anne is really impressed by how far he's come: "Seven weeks ago, Jamie was one of the worst cooks in America. Now I've got Jamie making sorbet with liquid nitrogen."

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A Tasty High-Steaks Game

After her appetizer and dessert had issues, Amber really needs to turn out a flawless entree. Bobby has her cook bison, which she's never done before. "This is like Dances with Wolves, with tatonka," she says. Bobby tells her it's a lot like the steak challenge except it can easily overcook because it's so lean. Luckily that does not happen.

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Cooking with No Safety Net

For their final challenge, Jamie and Amber will be cooking in the kitchens of MyMoon restaurant. Unlike yesterday's test run, Anne reminds them, they will not have assistance from her and Bobby: "We can't taste. We can't touch. This is all about what your hands and your palates are going to do." And she points out, "Our reputations are on the line." Culinary experts will be judging the meals.

Photo By: Rich Freeda

No Pain, No Gain

"Do exactly what you did yesterday and it's a home run," Anne tells Jamie as he gets started on his prep for the pork brine. She can see right away he's more nervous than usual. "I'm overwhelmed because I know if I miss one beat," he says, "I am screwed." He ends up nicking his finger and his palm, but Anne gets him back on track: "Relax. You've got this."

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When At First You Don't Succeed ...

Unlike yesterday, Amber's custard turns out great, but the pastry shells are a different story. The dough is too crumbly and Amber is overwhelmed. "Stop for a second," Bobby tells her. "You're doing fine. You did it yesterday. Don't panic. ... Stay focused." Amber's reminded of something she wrote in her notebook on the first day: "Do it for the kids." So she starts over and makes it perfectly the second time.

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Proud Mentoring Moment

"Just one side buttered," Anne reminds Jamie as he assembles the grilled cheese sandwiches. Although the appetizer course sounds simple, being that it's soup and a sandwich, there's still a lot of attention to detail required. Afterward Jamie asks her how he's looking. "You're looking pretty good," Anne tells him with beaming pride. "You're actually becoming a little cook."

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Octopus Down

This time the octopus is cooked perfectly, and Amber was able to do it all by herself. "I have a score to settle with this octopus," she says as she cuts it up to char on the grill. "You're not afraid of no octopus," Bobby tells her. "Not anymore," she responds and continues to finish the dish confidently. "[I'm] very proud of you," he tells her. "I mean, it looks like [it's] out of my restaurant."

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All Nerves Aside

Since she can't assist her finalist in the kitchen, Anne is a bit nervous for Jamie: "I can't taste anything, so I just have to trust that he is seasoning everything appropriately." To go with his pork dish, Jamie made a flageolet bean stew, which he made sure to season. As he slices into this pork loins, he says, "I am anticipating pink." Thankfully it is "perfect," rejoices Anne.

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Practically a Professional

Amber finishes her three courses without repeating any of the errors from the day before. Bobby thinks she could easily replace some if his own restaurant cooks. Beaming, he tells her, "I couldn't have asked for anything better than what you just did." Once time is called, Amber hopes she can take the win home: "I really want to bring Bobby his second win this year ... especially to beat out Anne."

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Edging Into the Finish Line

Judges Jimmy Bradley, Maneet Chauhan and Spike Mendelsohn have tasted all the courses blind, with dishes marked as either X (Jamie) or Y (Amber). After the dessert course they deliberate: "Menu X, I think, had such bold, powerful flavors," says Maneet. Spike counters, "But dish after dish, we see Chef Y taking these risks." Jimmy concludes, "I think one person might be edging above the rest by a nose."

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A Life-Changing Win

After eating restaurant-quality meals, the judges hardly believe Amber and Jamie were once among the worst cooks. But in the end one contestant outcooked the other, and it's Amber who is announced the winner. "Thank you for eating my food," she tells them. "Nobody ever did before." Bobby reminds her she's also won $25,000. She thanks him for taking her this far and teaching her skills she'll use for the rest of her life.

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No Longer a Worst Cook

In the end, Jamie doesn't feel like he's lost at all: "Even though I didn't win, I still feel like a winner. I am no longer the worst cook in America." He tells Anne: "No tears here. Jamie ain't got time for that." Anne gives him a hug, saying: "You are a rock star. You made me so proud of you."

Photo By: Rich Freeda

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