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 Barry Williams couldn't get the hang of the pasta machine and ended up in the elimination challenge, where he lost a pasta cook-off to Ellen. This week Ellen, Jenni and Kendra remain, but there are only two spots in the finale. Unfortunately, one of the most-entertaining recruits leaves the competition, just short of the finale. FN Dish has the exclusive exit interview with tonight's eliminated recruit.
With just Jenni left on the Red Team, and Ellen and Kendra on the Blue Team, the pressure was on to succeed. For their first challenge, the ladies faced making salsa, guacamole and chips. But only Jenni completed the challenge. The Main Dish challenge would determine who would go to the finale. While the recruits worked on their tapas, Anne and Rachael revealed they would leave the recruits on their own, but secretly the mentors watched on closed-circuit television. When it came to tasting, the mentors determined that Jenni best followed the recipes and earned a pass to the finale, leaving Kendra and Ellen to face off in an elimination challenge. The fellow teammates shelled and deveined shrimp to see who would get the last spot, but Ellen unknowingly took the extra step and butterflied them, which disqualified her. Kendra earned the final spot, and Ellen was eliminated. Leaving Boot Camp, Ellen received $5,000 for her charity, Autism Speaks.
How did the Skill Drill challenge go for you, having to prepare a guacamole and salsa? It looks like both you and Kendra had a bit of a time-management issue. What was going on?
Ellen Cleghorne: I don’t know what the problem was, actually. I don’t know. I think it ... always comes down to mise en place and just being distracted a little bit.
How did you feel about the comments that you got from Anne and Rachael? They seemed to point out your seasoning was good but that your combinations could have been different, referring to your addition of papaya to the guacamole and mango to the salsa.
EC: I was happy to hear it, because then I’m like, "OK, then I’m learning about ... what goes with what," because I was a little confused. What do you put in guacamole?
Now how was the Main Dish challenge for you, especially since the mentors weren't there to oversee and coach the recruits? You ladies were all on your own.
EC: It was OK, because then I learned to depend on myself.
There was one point where you cut yourself. Did that throw you off a little bit?
Thinking back to the dishes you presented, the polenta squares, the bacon-wrapped dates and the gazpacho — you got some pretty good comments to start, but Anne and Rachel were quick to point out the bacon had burnt a little, and they mentioned other small critiques. What were you thinking as they were picking apart your tapas?
EC: I was thinking they were spot-on [and] that I agree.
Do you think if you would have had more time you would have done better or finished stronger?
EC: I don’t know if time is a factor, like ... "If only I had some more time." You know, it’s like a cop-out. You have as much time as you have, and you do the best that you can, and, yeah, if I had a million dollars I’d be rich, but I don’t. ... But no, I think I had the time that was allotted [to] me, and evidently I had too much time, if they were burnt.
When it came to the elimination challenge, were you surprised that you and Kendra, your own teammate, would be in a cook-off, or I should say shell-off?
EC: No. I was not, I was not surprised that it was going to be me and Kendra, because Jenni had it down pat. [With] hers, everything was right.
When you found out that you’d be shelling shrimp, were you a little bit scared, especially since you have a seafood allergy?
EC: I have a seafood allergy, but I wasn’t afraid. I wasn’t afraid, but I didn’t know that I wasn’t supposed to butterfly them. I’ve only butterflied shrimp, so I know how to clean them. Nobody said you have poo-poo in them. I just didn’t know that I ... didn’t have to go the extra mile of butterflying them.
Do you think you’re ready to be leaving the competition at this point in time? Would you have liked more time?
EC: Hm. That’s a tricky question. I think I’m ready to go. ... I’m ready to learn more. I’m happy that Kendra and Jenni are staying to represent the respective teams, and I just had a really good time. I really had a really good time.
Is there anything in particular that you enjoyed about having Rachael as your mentor and working with her?
EC: Toasting [spices] and making that sophisticated flavor palate. I forget the exact word: flavor profile of that smokiness. I thought that was very inventive and something that I’m going [to] always take with me.
Throughout this experience, did you learn anything about yourself? Did you tap into a side of yourself that you have never experienced before?
EC: Yeah, I tapped into the fact that I really need to be more willing to follow rules, but that I truly am creative, and I don’t follow rules by nature. Following rules is something that, you know, I really have to work on in, in certain regards, in certain aspects, but that I’m really creative.
Do you think after this maybe you’ll consider taking some cooking classes, or would you prefer just dabbling a little bit more in the kitchen?
EC: I would definitely take cooking classes. I wish someone would give me a certificate to cooking classes, like a professional cooking class. But then I could also do it online, but what I want to practice is just mise en place. I just want to go home and just, like, practice collecting things around my house and making a mise en place, and then putting it back. ... That was so much fun, [but] ... I’d be willing to say, OK, I didn’t conquer that. I can do better with that. I’ll work on that.
What was the camaraderie like here, working alongside these other celebrities?
EC: I’ll tell you, I did have fun working with Jenni and Kendra at the end. I really had fun working with Jenni. But we were the women. ... You know, the more of the guys that we got rid of, and it was just us, I had such a good time. I’m so glad I had an opportunity to meet them and, you know, play around in the kitchen. I had a good time.
Are you rooting for either of them, or do you have one in particular whom you'd like to see take it all?
EC: No. I’m rooting for both of them. I hope they both present — because it’s so subjective — some really good dishes.
Tune in to Worst Cooks in America: Celebrity Edition on Wednesday at 9|8c to find out which celebrity will walk away with the $50,000 for her charity.