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 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.
FN Dish has the exclusive interviews with the eliminated recruits from the Red Team and the Blue Team.
Last week we surprisingly saw David win a challenge for the first time, but this week two challenges put him in the red. Filleting fish for a po' boy sandwich slowed him down so much in the Skill Drill challenge that he wasn't able to finish without help from his teammate Kristen. And although it looked like David had a handle on making squid ink pasta in the Main Dish challenge, it was a rookie mistake of forgetting to flour the noodles that placed him in the bottom and ultimately sent him home.
FN Dish: In the fish sandwich challenge, you nearly didn't finish in time. What was going on for you?
David: Having watched the show from Season 1, I knew that knife cuts and proper techniques were important factors on whether you were eliminated or not. So I took a really long time trying to filet the fish. Before the show, my only experience with fish was the fillet of fish sandwich at McDonald's — or opening a can of tuna. So I really tried to do exactly as Chef Anne had shown us, but ended up hacking away at that poor dead animal. I thought about giving up then and there and becoming a vegetarian, but I don't eat vegetables, so that wasn't going to work. So I did the best I could and got the fish in the fryer. But because I took so long performing the "fish autopsy," I don't believe I was able to get most (if any) other things done. I know I made the tartar sauce, but I didn't get to some of the other ingredients and had to "borrow" some from Kristen.
At one point Anne asked where you were going and you replied "home." Why did you think that? Do you think you were giving up early?
I thought I was going home after every challenge. That's just the way my mind works. I'm a very self-deprecating person, and face it, I can't cook, and I was in a cooking competition. I'm surprised I lasted as long as I did. If it was a "smoke cigarettes and drink coffee challenge," I would have won time and time again. But it's not. And even though I was actually learning some useful things, I wasn't learning as fast as my teammates. Plus, the added pressure of the clock ticking down and Chef Anne yelling at me wasn't really helping. So, yes, I knew that my time was up.
You and Anne had a moment during the pasta challenge when your station was a mess and she came over and wore your glasses. What was going through your mind then? Were you upset?
I was too busy trying to figure out what the hell was going on with my pasta dough, and I wasn't aware of what she was doing until I caught her in the corner of my eye imitating me. My first thought was: "Really? I'm trying to make pasta out of glop and you're fooling around, Chef Anne?" But it did lighten the mood because at that point I knew I was drowning and there was no life jacket in sight. Chef Anne saw that I was really struggling and attempted to help me, but at that point I really had given up and just wanted to enjoy myself and have a good time on what I knew would be my last day. And I laughed, which wasn't something I did on the previous challenges. But I got through it, and then it was time to harvest the squid ink. Really? Worsts Cook in America, people! I'm lucky I can boil water, open a box of pasta and throw it in without overcooking it. Now I'm making homemade pasta and harvesting ink from a squid? Recipe for disaster if ever there was one.
You didn't seem proud of your finished dish, standing far away from it during the tasting. Is there something you could have done to make it better?
I was highly embarrassed of the dish. I had thought once the pasta disaster was averted I would do better with the squid and the pasta sauce. Harvesting ink from a squid is not as easy as it looks. And I forgot to get a bowl to put the ink in, so I improvised. The rolling of the pasta went without a hitch, but I didn't put enough flour between my pasta sheets, so when I cut the pasta, some of it stuck together and didn't look like Chef Anne's pasta. It looked scary. But I tasted it and it was OK, so I went ahead and put it in the dish. I got everything on the plate, but I knew it wasn't good enough to keep me any longer. I think had I relaxed and concentrated on the actual cutting of the pasta, I might not had been eliminated.
What was it like for you working on a team? Did you feel people had your back?
Everyone in the cast was extremely supportive of one another. I guess living in a brownstone with two and a half bathrooms will make 14 strangers become close really fast!
Did you learn anything from doing the competition or from Anne that you feel you might use in the future when you cook? Will you be cooking anytime soon?
Chef Anne is an excellent teacher and I would have loved to work one-on-one with her. I think that under the circumstances, we worked well together, and I certainly learned things that I will try again in the comfort of my own home without being timed or yelled at. I plan on making everything I made on the show. As a matter of fact, I plan on buying all of the appliances that we used on the show, including the fancy mixer with the pasta attachment, a paella pan and maybe even a new five-burner stove. As you can see, I'm a little bit compulsive. And Chef Anne has an open invitation for dinner at my house if she ever gets to Las Vegas. I'll even harvest some squid ink just for her.
Is there anyone on your team who you think might make it to the end?
From my team, I think that Norman will make it to the finals, but the two people I am closest to in the house are on the Blue Team, so I am rooting for Genique and Sarah.