One-on-One with the Next Eliminated Celebrity Recruit — Worst Cooks in America
Todd Plitt, 2015, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved.
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 front-runner Jaleel saw his time be cut short after a momentary slip-up that resulted in an overspiced dish and one of the most-dramatic moments in Worst Cooks history. Tonight two recruits who've had trouble setting the correct pace in Boot Camp landed in the bottom two. Their far-less-than-spectacular dishes landed them there, but in the end an eggs-traordinary elimination challenge determined who would go home. FN Dish has the exclusive exit interview with tonight's eliminated recruit.
This week, Anne and Rachael challenged the celebs to create their own namesake sandwich. The Blue Team's Kendra decided on sloppy joes because it defined her, a self-described "hot mess." Chris made a stuffed farmers' burger that actually surprised his mentor, Anne. But it was Kendra's and Chris' side dishes that put them in the red: Chris' Canker Salad was a salty, spicy and vinegary bomb, and Kendra's potato chips were flaccid. Both faced an egg-frying elimination cook-off; Kendra edged-out Chris with her much more satisfactory sunny-side and over-easy eggs. Chris had to turn in his apron, but he received $5,000 for his charity, Feeding America.
How are you feeling about just having been eliminated?
Chris Soules: Oh yeah, I’m disappointed, you know? It was fun. [I] wanted to stay longer. I was hoping that I’d have a chance at winning this thing, but, you know, I think there’s better cooks here than me. It’s pretty clear, of that, and it was a fun opportunity, and I’m glad that ... I get to be a part of it.
You looked really focused when you were making your burger. You spent a lot of time getting the patty right. What was going through your mind during that challenge?
CS: The burger thing was the easiest part, but I kept thinking in the back of my mind, "I just don’t know what to do for a side." Just, that’s not my thing. I just am not good at sides. ... I knew that I could make as good a burger as anybody, but I cannot make a good side. ... I was preoccupied with what I should do for a side, and I think it actually took away from the burger, because ... I just did not have a plan, and so I was nervous the whole time. I was focused. It was exciting, because I knew that I was doing something I could actually do well ... but that side thing just threw me for a loop.
What made you add all the spices? It looked like you were doing Old Bay, garlic powder, cayenne powder.
CS: Even though Chef Anne did not like that, I really still enjoy that salad. ... And maybe most people wouldn’t enjoy it. I don’t know, but I love salt and I love spice. ... It’s an interesting, fun dish that [is] just how I’ve always done it. Maybe a little heavy on the [spice] ... but I usually have different spices at home that I use that I didn’t have here, so I did it a little differently, and maybe I overseasoned it a bit.
CS: It's Canker Salad, actually. I told her it was Canker Sore Salad so she knew what "canker" meant, [but] I should have just said "canker." I don’t know. That was me not thinking ahead. I wasn’t really prepared to give that speech. I guess I wasn’t thinking about that they wanted to hear the background on all of it. ... My sisters kind of coined that phrase, “canker salad.” ... It’s kind of stuck because [the salad is] acidy and [it] gives you canker sores. Not not cold sores, [but] canker sores; you get those when you eat too much salt, like salty, vinegary stuff. At least we do as kids. So, we always get canker sores and call it Canker Salad.
Thinking about what you were saying about the backstory — Anne really liked your story when you presented the burger. She also mentioned that she saw the lightbulb go off for you.
CS: Yeah. You know, I think that’s something that ... if I have any experience it’s in cooking meats, and then coming here, and learning what I’ve learned, and being able to apply that ... with the meat [was nice]. It felt like a place of comfort for me, and it was a simple dish, generally speaking. ... I felt like I could cook it correctly and felt like it was something I could do well, and so I think that was probably what she saw.
After being told you were in the bottom two and that you'd have to participate in an egg cook-off elimination round, what was going through your mind?
CS: I felt pretty good about the egg cook-off for myself, but I also had heard Kendra say that she cooks eggs for her kids every single morning. I cook eggs once every three months ... if they’re not hard-boiled, and even those I buy boiled. ... I was nervous about the over-easy [eggs]. But then I got up there and ... things were going OK for the sunny-side up, but I couldn’t keep the burners cool enough. Everything was getting too hot. ... I was nervous about getting the over-easy egg done because I’ve never done that before. ... I’ve always just done sunny-side up. ... Flipping the over-easy egg over has always been something I’ve never been able to do.
CS: I would have loved to have stayed longer and learned a lot more, but hopefully this has kind of lit a fire underneath me to want to learn more. It’s an opportunity to have ... just turned me on to, and made me realize that, maybe I can do this. And, you know, cooking that burger for Anne today was pretty cool to see her react. She ... felt legitimately excited about it, [and] I felt she was somewhat impressed.
Do you think after this you’ll consider taking a cooking class or maybe just try getting into the kitchen?
CS: There’s not a lot of cooking classes in Arlington, Iowa, but ... I’ve always been a Food Network watcher, and I think that that’s going to be something, maybe, I’ll try to apply. You know, try to watch some of those things, watch some of the recipes that Chef Anne and Rachael Ray actually do, and start to actually do those things, because I think that’s really where I struggled. ... I struggled with just beginning the thought process. It’s like, I felt so comfortable making that hamburger and then was like a deer in the headlights when I tried to do my side.
How was it having Anne as your mentor, and is there something that you feel you learned from her?
CS: It was fun having her. I felt like we got along really well. ... Hopefully she’ll be a friend, you know, going past this, both of them, for that matter, but it was neat having her. I mean, she put things very bluntly, and ... she wasn’t afraid to tell you what she thought, you know? ... [To] see how excited she gets when she talks about food and just the passion that she has for it ... makes me excited to hopefully continue to learn more things.
What was it like being around the other celebrities? It looks like you guys had a really good camaraderie.
CS: I always hope to meet great people in anything I do, but I was fortunate with the group that we had that we all ... got along just excellent. ... All different walks of life came together to put themselves out there in a really different way and ... then created a bunch of really cool friendships. That’s been one of the most-rewarding things about this experience.
CS: I think Ellen. I think she’s ... uncovered a part of her that she really never knew existed. And I just kind of see that she’s in her element. ... I think she’s got such a unique personality, and I think that someone like her kind of embodies what this is about. ... And she came out here and made some spaghetti deal that was kind of crazy, but, you know, she’s really come a long ways, and I think she has that potential to really be successful in cooking.
Tune in to Worst Cooks in America: Celebrity Edition on Wednesday at 9|8c to find out which celebrity will be eliminated next.