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 entered the ranks to be mentored by chefs Tyler Florence and Anne Burrell. Split into the Blue and Red teams, they faced new cooking challenges every week, honing their skills until just two finalists (one from each team) remained to face off in one final cook-off. This week, the remaining four recruits were narrowed down to just two, who next week will face battling one another for the chance to walk away with $25,000 in cash, along with bragging rights for his or her mentor.
FN Dish has the exclusive interviews with the eliminated recruits from the Red Team and the Blue Team who haven't been chosen to compete in the finale, although coming ever so close.
For the past six weeks recruit Sarah has not only entertained viewers with her quirky ways, she's also picked up some pretty great skills in the kitchen. She and her teammate Genique faced off in this episode, with Tyler choosing just one of them to represent him in the finale next week. The Main Dish challenge, which was presented to mentor Tyler and the recruits' family members, determined the cooks' fates. Both Genique and Sarah took some criticism, but Sarah's dish, with undercooked steak and missing fries, got the brunt of it. In the end, Tyler felt Genique was better prepared for the finale, and Sarah was sent home.
FN Dish: After being in the bottom two with Sharif in Episode 5 and almost being eliminated, you hugged Tyler. What was going through your mind then?
Sarah: I felt very ashamed and sad. I had let Chef Tyler and my teammates down, because the cake was a hot mess on the inside. I didn't want to go home for my mistakes, but knew it was possible. All of the pressure had come flooding up and I was scared. His hug was the best thing ever! It made me feel like I could go on. He is a compassionate and kind teacher. We all make mistakes and need to learn from them.
Knowing that it was just you and Genique remaining on the Blue Team, what was your mindset going into the new challenges?
I always think positively. I wish there was a way my words had glitter or sparkles. (That might truly show what I want to express, but that hasn't been invented yet.) Every challenge made me a better student of the culinary arts! I thought the new challenges between us would be difficult, and all I could do was try my best.
What did you think when you found out you'd have to remake your signature dish of pasta with clam sauce again?
I thought, "Yes! I get to cook with wine again!" I also thought it would be a great opportunity to improve a dish I really hadn't mastered. I enjoy looking at something with a new perspective and figuring out a new solution. I was so excited to learn a new technique and impress Chef Tyler with my new skills he patiently taught me.
You were really intuitive when it came to working your pasta dough, adding more flour when it seemed sticky. But what happened when it came to cooking it and plating it?
The recipe for my pasta was incorrect, but I had no idea until I started mixing it. I went into art mode and thought of it as clay and tried to correctly mix it based off that intuitive knowledge. The real problem was forgetting about the base of my sauce on a high burner and it reduced down to nothing. I didn't have the time or more ingredients to make it, so I tried my best to plate it with the thin layer of sauce I had. That made my thin, fragile noodles mat up like uncombed hair. You could say my angel hair was a tangled dry mess like mine in the morning before I get it together.
What were you feeling when you found out your brother was there to taste your cooking?
I was so happy! I had not seen my brother in two years, and [seeing him] made my heart soar. It gave us a chance to reconnect and bond. I am truly grateful for that experience. My brother is a talented chef and a caring dad, so I felt really proud to have the chance to cook for him. I also got a hug that I needed. I love hugs! It also gave my brother a chance to see my improvements and skills.
You burned yourself during the cooking of the steak, but you soldiered on. Even though you tried not to show it, do you think that affected you?
It totally affected me! My arm was pulsating with pain and that made me lose focus. All I could think about was the pain and burning on my arm. I just wanted to take a time-out, but that was not an option. Kind of wished I was wearing long sleeves or a bodysuit. Cooking is dangerous!
You ended up not finishing your plate, and the steak was undercooked. Did you think right then that you might be going home?
Chef Tyler had to choose who he thought would be able to compete in the end. I was too wrapped up in the pain of my arm and wanted to make sure my fries were warm when served. I was the first one up and couldn't keep my things warm in the oven. I didn't know what to think besides that I did the best I could and tried to learn more than I did before this wonderful opportunity.
Did you ever think you would make it this far in the competition?
This whole experience was amazing and rare. I am truly grateful for it! I got to learn from two heroes of mine, and I got to learn innovative recipes from gifted chefs. This competition gave me a chance to make new friends, go to New York and learn more about the culinary arts. Life is a journey, not a race.
Is there one thing you leave the competition with, something you learned from Tyler that you think will help you cook better in the future?
He taught me more than I can express, but I will try my best. He taught me that carrot juice could be a sauce. He taught me that a log of bread could be delicious! He taught me how to properly cook a carcass of meat. He taught me to use salt and seasoning! He taught me to believe in myself. He taught me to follow a recipe. He taught me the joy of cooking!
What will be something you'll cook for your mom and brother when you get home, something to knock their socks off?
Food. Just joking! I will cook anything I learned on the show. My recipe book is full of fantastic ideas and notes! I now have a strong foundation to build on. Chef Tyler scaffolded my learning into successes!
Do you have any words of advice for your teammate Genique in the finale?
Do your best; I believe in you! And maybe wear some sort of protective clothing. Hugs!