One-on-One With the Latest Blue Team Recruit to Go Home — Worst Cooks in America
David Lang, 2012, Television Food Network, G.P.
For the 14 recruits competing on Worst Cooks in America, it’s the opportunity of a lifetime to learn kitchen basics and culinary how-tos from Anne Burrell and Bobby Flay — two of New York City’s top restaurant chefs and some of Food Network’s most celebrated stars. It’s up to the contestants to use the tools the chefs provide to learn how to master certain skills on their own and demonstrate progress in the kitchen. Despite their best efforts, however, one recruit from Chef Anne’s Red Team and another from Chef Bobby’s Blue Team will ultimately succumb to the challenges of Boot Camp week after week as they compete for $25,000 and bragging rights for their coach.
Check back with FN Dish every Sunday after the episode for the first interviews with the latest eliminated contestants to read their exclusive reflections on the competition, thoughts on difficult challenges, plans for the future and more.
While the recruits are unquestionably familiar with taking requests from their team leaders, dishing out culinary demands to them was an all-new experience this week. In the Skill Drill, the competitors communicated with their mentors via headset, describing the basic appearance, taste and texture of a dish that Chefs Anne and Bobby had to recreate with only their team members' descriptions. Just like last week, Chet and Alina on the Blue Team struggled to work productively and agreeably as a team, and their constant bickering proved to be a disappointing distraction to Chef Bobby, who was forced to sift through their arguing as he was cooking. Ultimately his team's dish was less successful than the Red Team's, as his charmoula was made without lemon zest and in a blender. Cooking for loved ones in the next day's Main Dish Challenge, Chet and Alina tackled Southern-style chicken dishes to impress Chet's mom and Marshall, the man Alina cares for, who both took part in the judging. Although Chet and Alina demonstrated their significant progress in the kitchen in this next-to-last episode, Chef Bobby could only select one to compete in the finale, and he ultimately said goodbye to Chet Pourciau.
CP: My proudest moment was when I won the burger challenge and named mine the "Who Dat" burger. I wanted to make sure that Louisiana was represented to my best ability. In New Orleans, we love our food and our sports. So the Who Dat nation loved it!
How have your cooking chops improved since returning home?
CP: I am a lot more comfortable in the kitchen. I'm not scared of knives anymore.
CP: The best meal I have made so far is chicken chasseur. We made it on the show. Every week I would cook the Main Dish Challenge for that week, and I have to say it's a lot easier when you are not timed.
Are you still "Cheterizing" dishes, or do you now let the food speak for itself?
Chef Bobby dubbed you and fellow Blue Team member Alina "The Bickersons." Why was it so hard to work together?
CP: Well, I am the easiest person to get along with, but I will also not be bossed around. You have to earn respect to get respect!
Do you think the team aspect of the final Skill Drill contributed to your elimination?
CP: No, I don't. The bickering was between both of us, so if that was the case we both should have been eliminated.
You were very overwhelmed at the reveal of your mom during the final challenge. Why was it so important for you to cook for her and for her to enjoy your food?
CP: Recently, my oldest brother passed away and that caused some family tension. So to see her, and to know that she had never flown in her life before that, was very emotional for me. I am an emotional person anyway. It was important to cook that meal for her because no matter what’s going on in your life, everyone wants his or her parents’ approval of what they are doing.
Tell us about the greatest memory you'll take away from Boot Camp? Why was that challenge so special to you?
CP: It was when I realized I actually can do anything I put my mind to. I think the Chinese Take-Out Challenge was the “aha!” moment. I realized I was actually cooking and that was such a great feeling! Chef Bobby said, "Chet, now you’re cooking. It's a whole new world!”
What do you think is the one thing at-home viewers don't understand about Boot Camp?
How would you explain what the competition is really like?
CP: It’s a lot of hard work. It makes you want to achieve what you put your mind too. I will take away from this experience that I am stronger than I thought I was. It has made me a better person today.
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