The new recruits enter boot camp with dreams of becoming great chefs, but their dreams become nightmares when they see photos of their culinary failures mounted on their stations. To start off, mentors Anne Burrell and Rachael Ray have the recruits cook their signature dishes so that they can assess their skills in the kitchen. Then, the recruits dive headfirst into a main dish challenge where they must cook shrimp and live lobster. The recruits with the least successful dishes on each team will be sent home.
Mentors Anne Burrell and Rachael Ray help the recruits break out of their shell by starting with the most important meal of the day: breakfast. First, the teams get cracking in a game that will get their hands messy and show how much they know about the many different egg dishes. The mentors then bring the day full circle in the main dish challenge by teaching the recruits how to ditch frozen microwave meals and create a home-cooked dinner that will have their friends and family coming back for more.
Anne Burrell and Rachael Ray teach the recruits all about flavor, starting with a skill drill that puts their tongues and taste buds to the test. For the main dish challenge, the recruits put their newly-learned flavor combination skills to work as they take a culinary trip around the world and make a roulade inspired by a basket of ingredients that corresponds to the cuisine of a foreign country.
Anne Burrell and Rachael Ray are replaced with two surprise culinary giants who don't "kid" around as they mentor the recruits through the skill drill of making unconventional pizzas. For the main dish challenge, the recruits have to get their hands dirty and face their fishy fears by learning to fillet and prepare a fish dinner.
Competition is in the air as the recruits enter boot camp to see that it has been transformed into a game day arena. They must put their culinary knowledge to the test in a game of Family Food, where only one team can be named the winner. For the main dish challenge, the recruits must cook for a crowd and impress their guests with the ultimate game day sandwich and an appetizer.
Anne Burrell and Rachael Ray bring in a special guest mentor to teach the recruits how to make a decadent chocolate dessert to set the mood for Valentine's Day. Their desserts will be judged in a blind taste test, and the winning recruit will receive a special advantage for the main dish challenge, where they must cook a romantic meal to wow their mentors.
For the skill drill, the recruits must face the foods they fear most by creating a dish that utilizes two of their least favorite ingredients not used in everyday cooking. Anne Burrell and Rachael Ray strive to expand their recruits' culinary horizons to help them in main dish challenge, where they have to spatchcock a Cornish game hen and put their own flavorful twist on a special side dish.
Boot camp has been transformed into one of America's greatest culinary cities, New Orleans, where the recruits will learn how to tackle the cuisine's melting pot of flavors and techniques. For the skill drill, the recruits must work as a team to fill in the missing words on a recipe that they then have to execute. For the main dish challenge, the recruits must individually replicate their mentors' New Orleans-inspired dishes.
In order to demonstrate how well they have learned cooking skills and techniques over the last nine weeks, the final four recruits step into their mentor's shoes and direct Anne Burrell and Rachael Ray to make a dish. Then, for the main dish challenge, Anne and Rachael bring in VIP guests that hit very close to home and who will be key in deciding which recruits move onto the finale for the chance of winning $25,000.
The final two recruits face their last challenge: to prepare a three-course, restaurant-quality meal for a panel of culinary experts. Anne Burrell and Rachael Ray will help coach their recruits, but ultimately it is each recruit's final chance to show how much they have improved since week one. The culinary experts will pick a winner based on a blind tasting, and the winning recruit will walk away with $25,000.