One-on-One with the Latest Recruit Eliminated from the Red Team — Worst Cooks in America
This season on Worst Cooks in America, 14 new hapless home cooks have joined the ranks to be mentored by chefs Tyler Florence and Anne Burrell. Split into the Blue Team and the Red Team, the recruits face new cooking challenges every week, gathering new cooking skills until just two finalists remain to face off in the last cook-off. That winner will walk away with $25,000 in cash, and his or her mentor will win bragging rights. Unfortunately, every week the two lowest-scoring recruits will be kicked out of Boot Camp. They lose the chance to win the prize money, but they leave with new skills learned from their mentors.
Every Sunday night, FN Dish has the exclusive interviews with the eliminated recruits, one from the Red Team and one from the Blue Team.
Flavor combinations was the theme of the episode this week. In the Skill Drill challenge, the recruits had to make their own unique ice cream sandwiches — without their mentors' help. Glenda chose to roll hers in chopped nuts and sea salt, which backfired on her, as it turned out too salty. Going into the Main Dish challenge, she had to come up with her own empanada and dipping sauce. Although familiar with empanadas, Glenda was stumped by the challenge of using different ingredients, and once again, saltiness contributed to her placing in the bottom, and it resulted in her elimination.
Glenda Galeano: I have mixed feelings. I’m sad because I’m leaving, and I’m going to miss my team. I’m going to miss Chef Anne and her knowledge, and I’m going to miss this fun and wild, crazy experience, but I’m relieved, you know. I’m relieved because I know, for now, this is not the right moment for me, because it takes too much for me to cook — and to cook well.
Take us back to your Skill Drill challenge, when you made the ice cream sandwich. How did that go for you?
GG: I thought at that time I was doing good mixing different kinds ... [of] spices and flavors. Initially, you know, I was OK with it ... but then when it came to the crusting, I thought, "OK, let me do something, like, nutty." So, I [added] nuts and macadamia, and it was OK, but then I thought, "OK, I need more salt ... because it’s too sweet — the ice cream’s too sweet." So, I added sea salt but too much [of it]. ... So, at the end, what they tried, when the chefs tried [it], they [said]: "Wow, this is too salty. I’m missing the ice cream part. I’m missing the sweet." So, it wasn’t in the good balance. And for me, it was a huge disappointment because I really was enjoying the experience too. You know, [it's my] first time creating an ice cream sandwich.
Going into the Main Dish challenge, how were you feeling about making empanadas?
GG: [I was] feeling comfortable with the challenge, because empanadas are something I’m very familiar with. Right, I’m from South America. Even though we cook differently, we use different ingredients, we don’t go the way she goes, or Chef Anne asked us to go. I said, OK, it’s, you know, filling things, and the dough, and this and that. But at the same time, I wasn’t feeling, like, confident about the sauce or the salsa, right, because ... I got potato with lamb. I’m OK with the lamb, but chopped lamb. I never cooked before, like, ground lamb. So, for me this was kind of guessing. So, I thought, OK, let me go Greek. So, I added feta cheese. I added black olives, chives, mint, thyme ... and oregano. ... [For] the salsa, I said, OK, let me go with yogurt and mint, but it was low in mint, and it wasn’t creamy. ... It didn’t have the outcome that I was looking for. So, for me it was kind of a disappointment.
How was it being on Anne’s team? How was it having her as a mentor?
GG: I love Chef Anne. I mean, at the beginning, she’s kind of intimidating, because, you know, she’s tough. ... She’s a trouper. ... But at the same time, I like it because I’m that way too. I’m very straight up. I’m not afraid of situations, and this and that. But she’s very straight up, and I like that she doesn’t sugarcoat things. She’s right to the point, and she says what she has to say. If you like it, OK. If you don’t like it, OK anyways, but she knows many things, and she has been in this business for so long that it’s priceless — that information. You know, I’m super thankful. I’m excited that I met her. She’s fun. She’s funny. She’s dry. ... She’s a tough cookie, but I like that kind of personality, and I love her look. She’s a superstar. Yeah, she’s a rock 'n' roll girl.
Is there a skill, or a piece of knowledge, that you learned from her that you think you’ll use again?
GG: I have learned many, many things, and one of the things that I really like is the mise en place. ... At the beginning of the first challenge, I was like ... this sucks so much — a waste of time. And then I said: "Oh, wait a minute. This is so useful." ... You go through the checklist. Step No. 1, 2, 3, 4, and you have everything together, and then you can start cooking. Right? So, I love that. I love [that] she’s very detailed about many things. She’s very neat when she cooks. I love neat. ... I’m a neat person in every way. So, I try to maintain that on every level, and ... she takes risks. ... I don’t have any creativity in the kitchen, but I must say, she’s not afraid to try, you know, foods with spices, and vegetables with any kind of protein, and ... a kick of spicy. ... She blends everything, and it tastes great. So, that shows me you can’t be afraid of [trying new things]. ... You know, you need to trust your instincts, and I learned that from her.
When you get back home, do you think you’ll get in the kitchen a little bit more?
GG: Yes. Definitely. Absolutely. That’s one of the things I’m very happy [about], because as soon as I get back to Miami, I want to start ... practicing in the kitchen ... with the recipes that I learned here, but I want ... to create my own, to see how it [goes]. ... Before going so far, I need to start with the basics again, and regroup, and put myself together, and organize, and remember my notes. You know, the whole thing. But for sure I’m going to ... and I’m going to show my son, because he’s, like, "OK, you can’t cook, Mom." Oh, no. Yes, I can cook — at least better than before.
Thinking about your team, is there someone who has the potential to make it to the end?
GG: I think we have very good and talented people. ... Nick is so good, and ... he can’t fail, but now I think he’s a good cook. He has a lot of creativity, and a lot of energy and, you know, you can transmit that to your food. But also Donna — Donna is a very good cook. She lacks confidence, self-confidence ... but she has the knowledge, and she has the passion, and I think both combinations, these two qualities [are] mandatory in the kitchen. ... She knows what she’s doing, even though she’s [a] crazy, loud Italian ... [but] she gets things done. ... I think she realizes that she can do it. ... I think Nick and [Donna] will be the final ones in the Red Team. I think Taylor’s OK, but he’s not that good. Chanda has her moments, but she’s not that consistent, like Nick and Donna.
Overall, how has the experience of the show been for you?
GG: If I have to say something, wild, for sure. Yes! Wild. Crazy. Fun. [It's] been very nutritive for me as a person ... because I have learned so many things, experienced many things, and it’s ... been kind of a roller coaster. [An] emotional roller coaster, but with a good outcome. You know, maybe you lose [consciousness] and your oxygen’s not the right level, and you’re [thinking]: "Oh, my God, I’m going to drown. I’m going to die. No, no, no." But ... you go in again, and you go with the flow. But overall, I think this is [a once-in-a-lifetime] experience. ... I recommend [that] everybody ... come here and try this because it’s amazing. It’s just, you don’t know what’s going to happen tomorrow. So, that kind of feeling, that adrenaline, is going through your blood every single day, and I love that.
Watch Worst Cooks in America on Sundays at 9|8c to find out which recruit goes home next.