One-on-One with the Latest Recruit Eliminated from the Blue 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.
This week the focus of Boot Camp was flavor. First a Skill Drill challenge tested the recruits' creativity with crepes, and next, a Main Dish challenge tested their ability to recreate the flavors that they had sampled in their tacos. Unfortunately for Mike, neither challenge came easy. Although he started the crepe challenge with a strong idea, it didn't work out when he couldn't find all the necessary ingredients. And when it came to cooking his Indian taco, his inexperience with the cuisine led him to use a spice that did his dish more harm than good. In the end Mike was eliminated.
FN Dish: What inspired you to make the Elvis-style crepe, to use those flavor combinations?
Mike: My mom is/was a huge fan of Elvis, so I've always liked him. I thought it would be a nice little nod to her.
Anne and Tyler thought that the use of both the chocolate spread and jam made the crepe too sweet and the batter was too thick. Would you have done anything differently, in hindsight?
My original plan was a peanut butter, jelly, banana and bacon crepe, which would've been amazing, but there was no peanut butter. I didn't improvise well, I guess.
During the taco demo you asked a lot of questions, but it seemed like you were asking basic questions. Yet you were the only person on your team who knew what salsa verde was. Were you really nervous about the challenge?
I wasn't nervous. I've lived in Arizona for the past 20 years, and my daughter is half Hispanic, so I was looking forward to learning how to make an amazing dish.
What did you think when you found out you would have to make an Indian taco with flavors you didn’t know a lot about?
I wasn't happy at all about it. I felt like I was getting good at following directions and liked my chances at making the taco Tyler showed us originally.
During the cooking challenge you seemed pretty calm and collected and kept a clean station, and finished early. Were you more confident than usual?
Yes, I really liked the taste of the lamb. I guess the other parts of my taco didn't go as well.
Anne really didn't like the texture/powder consistency of your taco filling and even spit out her bite. What made you want to use the mango powder on the meat?
I couldn't believe that Anne didn't like my meat. That was very surprising.
What was going through your mind when Anne and Tyler were tasting your dish? Were you worried once they said David's taco was tastier?
When they said they didn't like it, I was surprised. I know the meat did not taste bad. I'm a very finicky eater and I thought the lamb was amazing. I think the fault lied in the taco not being done enough and the weird relish thing I put on the taco at the last minute. No idea what that stuff was.
Do you feel you learned something from the competition despite leaving early? Anything in particular from Tyler?
The show reinforced who I am. I feel that I became more comfortable with that as the show went along. I've always been a great team player, and I feel that I did that throughout the show. I think Tyler was an amazing teacher and motivator, and I appreciate all he did for us. I'd love to buy him a beer or beat him at golf the next time he comes through Arizona.
Is there someone on your team that you think has what it takes to make it to the end?
I love everyone left on the Blue Team. I think Kortni could win. If she does, she's already said she will donate the $25K to my imaginary pet rescue charity. If Sharif wins, he and I can finally start our Handsome Chef website. A victory for Sarah would mean peace and love throughout the universe, which would be a nice change of pace. If Genique wins, she and I can get married and become the new Jay-Z and Beyoncé. So really I'm safe no matter what happens.