One-on-One with the Next Eliminated Celebrity Recruit — Worst Cooks in America
This season on Worst Cooks in America, seven celebrity recruits have signed up to be whipped into shape by mentors Anne Burrell and Rachael Ray, but unfortunately one recruit has to be eliminated in each episode. Last week Dean Cain's time was cut short when he wasn't chosen for a team. This week one of the early frontrunners let the pressures of the competition affect his cooking, and it put him in the bottom two; an elimination challenge determined which of the two would exit Boot Camp. FN Dish has the exclusive exit interview with tonight's eliminated recruit.
This week Anne and Rachael tasked the recruits with cooking takeout dishes. Jaleel rose to the challenge with a sharp focus that had him following the recipe's steps to a T, until a momentary slip-up. He added the toasted spices to his stir-fry before grinding them, and upon noticing his error, he let out one of the shrillest screams ever heard during Boot Camp. Luckily Rachael was there to coach him through the rest of the challenge, but it wasn't enough to save his dish. Jaleel fell to the bottom two with Barry from the Red Team, and the two celebs faced off in an elimination challenge that tested their knife skills. But with limited opportunity for practice, Jaleel lost and had to turn in his apron. Leaving Boot Camp, he received $5,000 for his charity, the UCLA Lab Annual Fund.
Jaleel White: Oh, man. That was crazy. It was fun, though. ... I met some really, really cool people, and, you know, I definitely actually picked up some very specific cooking tips that I’ll probably keep with me for a long time.
What happened during the cooking challenge to make you freak out as much as you did? Take us back to that.
JW: Just a lot of yelling and a lot of rushing, and my dish was going perfect. Like, when I say my dish was perfect, it was just perfect. Maybe the cuts weren’t all even, or something like that, but I knew tastewise I was about to nail this, because I was also adjusting my recipe and, and kinda tasting as I was going. So when I threw the spices in there, unground up, it was just, it’s a type of mistake that you just can’t recover from — not at the time.
Do you think the pressure got to you in that moment?
What was going through your mind when you found out that you were in the bottom and that you’d be competing in the elimination challenge?
JW: Yeah, man, I had never seen that on the show before, so I was just kind of like, “Holy smokes.”
JW: I hadn’t been taught how to julienne and dice yet. So, I knew Barry had, so I was just going to try to wing it and give it my best. ... After I finished ... I just really, honestly, felt like, in that challenge, the better man won. Again, I wish I had received a lesson, but I can’t take anything away from what Barry actually did. Like, his cuts were perfect.
How do you feel, leaving the competition at this point in time?
JW: Uh, you know, you’re a little disappointed. I don’t know if anybody fully ... says: “I’m gonna win it. I’m gonna win it. I’m gonna win it.” But I wanted to learn a little bit more.
JW: Oh, Rachael was cool, though, because I like her measuring style. So all the stuff out of the hand is, you know — we were perfectly in sync with that. So you know, I just feel like, if I had gotten a little further, my flavors would have always hit the mark.
Is there any one technique you learned in Boot Camp or something you learned about yourself in the process?
JW: I scooped up so much food prep stuff: ... chilling meat so it’s just easier to cut ... also the advantage of what it is to set your station entirely before you, before you get started cooking. Mise en place — isn’t that what it’s called?
JW: I’m a TV history buff. There’s a Honeymooners episode where Ralph Kramden goes on a game show, and the prizewinning question is a song that Norton has been singing over and over and over again, and it’s only annoyed Ralph. And so, when the prizewinning question is asked of him, he’s heard it for the whole episode, and he can’t remember the name of the dang song, and so he freezes like a deer in headlights. So mise en place to me feels like this thing that ... I did not anticipate would be even on the test, and it was all over the test. It was the whole test.
JW: Yeah ... I was like, “Oh, that’s a fancy foreign terminology." OK, I heard it. "Got it. Got it. Got it.”
What was the camaraderie like with the other celebs? Did you guys feel like a family at all?
JW: You know what, the camaraderie with the other celebs was great. It really, really was.
After this, do you think that you’ll get some more cooking lessons or do some more cooking?
JW: Oh, I definitely will. Definitely will. ... You know, sometimes you just need a kick-starter to understand something about yourself. When I did Dancing with the Stars, it taught me about my body, and my age in my 30s — how to lose weight with the things that I needed to do. This experience definitely made me extremely comfortable around the stove now. ... I don’t really like to spend a lot of time doing things that I know I can either hire somebody to be more proficient at, but if I can legitimately be proficient at something, then I’ll definitely just do it myself. ... It’s like, why am I going to try and cook for my kid when my daughter's like, “Daddy I don’t like the way you’re making that.” So I might as well just get somebody else to do it.
Is there anyone you're rooting for on your team or the Red Team?
JW: I just feel like the best people left in the competition are all the girls. Like, they just are. ... Chris and Barry are fun guys, and they’re cool, but I just think it’s one of the girls who has the capability of taking it.
Tune in to Worst Cooks in America: Celebrity Edition on Wednesday at 9|8c to find out which celebrity will be eliminated next.