One-on-One with the First Recruit Eliminated from the Red Team — Worst Cooks in America
This season on Worst Cooks in America, 14 new helpless home cooks have joined the ranks to be mentored by chefs Tyler Florence and Anne Burrell. Split into the Blue and Red teams, they'll face new cooking challenges every week, honing their skills until just two finalists (one from each team) remain to face off in one final cook-off, the winner of which will walk away with $25,000 in cash, along with bragging rights for his or her mentor. Unfortunately, however, every week the two lowest-scoring recruits will be kicked out of Boot Camp, losing the chance to win the prize money, but leaving with new skills they've learned from their mentors.
Every Sunday night, FN Dish has the exclusive interviews with the eliminated recruits from the Red Team and the Blue Team.
Before choosing their teams, Tyler and Anne tested the recruits by having them cook their best dishes. Christina's unusual matzo ball soup perplexed the mentors, but Anne ended up choosing Christina for her team nonetheless. For their first cooking challenge, Anne had her team cook a pan-seared airline chicken breast as part of their romantic-meal theme. But David's and Christina's haphazard dishes put them in the bottom two. In the end, Anne chose to send home Christina, who wasn't able to fully focus when it came to the challenges of the kitchen.
FN Dish: Where does your inspiration for matzo ball gazpacho stuffed with gummy bears and Red Hots come from? How did you come up with it?
Christina: Matzo ball gazpacho was my attempt to meet a former boyfriend halfway (he followed a kosher diet). I read in a cookbook that schmaltz (goose fat) could make or break a matzo ball. Scouring my cupboards, I saw that the next-closest fatty, gelatinous substance I had were gummy bears. I thought if I stuffed them inside the balls, he'd not suspect them. The Red Hots were added for extra spice, since I was out of nutmeg. Since my apartment has a natural gas stove, which I'm terrified to ignite, I decided to just serve it cold and call it "gazpacho." One bite and he told me to "go get committed."
What did you think when Anne picked you for her team?
Although Chef Tyler is very personable and humorous, I came onto this show determined to be on Chef Anne's team. I've sat on the other side of the TV watching her self-control in the kitchen, admiring it. Chef Anne's a regimented ruler of her Red Team contestants, but she's an excellent teacher. I'm at a soft spot in my life where I need to harden up. I wanted Chef Anne to help me develop some confidence and inner strength to be the true unique individual that I am, since she is a true unique individual herself. (I even bowed down to her signature mismatched socks when she picked me!)
At tasting Anne thought your dish was just fine, but she called you out on being overwhelmed in the kitchen. What do you think kept you from finding your focus?
Honestly, I was even astonished I got a "just fine" verdict. I thought I bombed completely. Despite Chef Anne's constant reminders to find my center and truly enjoy and respect the cooking process, I, per usual, managed to self-destruct. I need to understand that I'm no more than a novice in the kitchen. I'm at no level to do things my way yet.
If you could do it all over again, what would you do differently?
I should've followed process for the sake of the competition, then tried breaking the rules in the comfort and leisure of my own home, versus in front of two celebrity chefs and a nationally televised food channel.
I have been staying up at night, staring at the stove, much like an ex-smoker stares at a pack of cigarettes while chewing nicotine gum. The craving, the urge, is still there!
Is there someone on your team that you think has what it takes to make it to the end?
Sorry, I was far too panicked myself to pay attention to my teammates' progress. But I will say this cast is a true group of individuals. I think each person brought their own signature flavor, pun intended, to their style of cooking and mental preparation. In the end, the winner is going to be the most stress-resilient. I'm just as excited as everyone else to see who it will be!