Fourteen of the worst cooks in America enter culinary boot camp with dreams of putting their kitchen nightmares behind them. Chefs Anne Burrell and Robert Irvine want to see what they're dealing with, so they ask the recruits to make their signature dishes, with truly disastrous results. After being sorted into teams, the recruits dive right into the deep end of the kitchen by learning to make a surf and turf dish. The recruits with the worst dishes on each team are sent home.
The recruits enter boot camp and find it has been transformed into everyone's favorite game show, Family Food! The teams go head to head in trivia rounds and culinary tasks testing their knowledge of the kitchen. The recruits watch a Teppanyaki chef perform dazzling tricks over a grill, and then chefs Anne Burrell and Robert Irvine teach them how to make a hibachi-style meal for the main dish challenge. The recruits who light up the kitchen will continue on, but those who stumble will go home in a blaze.
Chefs Anne Burrell and Robert Irvine decide that it's time for the recruits to spread their wings. For the skill drill, they must work in teams to identify the ingredients of five mother sauces and then create their own chicken with pan sauce dishes for their chef. The main dish challenge finds the chefs teaching their recruits to make fried chicken and cornbread, and the recruits who struggle are forced to fly the coop.
The kitchen can be a scary place, but the recruits must learn to face their fears in boot camp. First, they're forced to expand their palates with some unusual ingredients in a Cake Walk-inspired game that proves to be anything but a cakewalk. Then, the recruits get up close and personal with some creatures of the sea, harvesting ink to make fresh squid ink pasta under the watchful eyes of chefs Anne Burrell and Robert Irvine. The brave recruits who conquer their fears will continue on in boot camp, but those who struggle are doomed to head home.
Chefs Robert Irvine and Anne Burrell leave the recruits to their own devices, asking them to work in teams to recreate a dish by taste alone. Unbeknownst to the recruits, the chefs secretly watch their every move and are shocked by what they see. For the main dish challenge, the recruits have to bake a tiered cake to suit two special guest judges, Food Network's Gesine Prado and Jason Smith. In the end, Anne and Robert decide which recruits satisfy their sweet tooth and which ones leave them with a toothache.
The final four recruits start thinking about life after boot camp and learn to navigate a grocery store when boot camp is transformed into Worst Cooks General Market. Then they're reunited with their loved ones and asked to make them a dish to show off their new skills. Chefs Anne Burrell and Robert Irvine teach their ducklings how to make impressive duck two ways, and when the loved ones taste each of the dishes in a blind taste test, the recruits that fail to impress risk being eliminated.
The remaining recruits face off in one last skill drill to determine who will compete in the finale. To see how far they've come, the recruits recreate their baseline dishes using all the techniques they've learned in boot camp. Then chefs Robert Irvine and Anne Burrell teach their final two recruits how to make a three-course, restaurant-quality meal, and the two finalists put all their culinary skills to the test in order to impress a panel of culinary experts. Judges David Burtka, Daphne Oz and Melba Wilson taste the recruits' dishes in a blind taste test and determine the winner of the $25,000 prize.