What started seven weeks ago as Boot Camp training for 14 of the most-hopeless cooks in the country has turned into a fierce showdown between two competent, confident kitchen superstars. The Red Team's Rasheeda and the Blue Team's Alina are facing off in a pressure-packed cook-off to be judged by professional-chef judges for the chance to win $25,000 and a victory for their mentors.
The recruits have one day to plan the three-course menu they'll serve to the judges, so they take time to practice each dish with their mentors. Tomorrow Chefs Anne and Bobby won't be able to help them. Alina's menu "plays to her strength," Chef Bobby says, adding that it will focus on "big, bold flavors" in lobster polenta, pork tenderloin and bread pudding.
"This is absolutely something you can be successful at," Chef Anne tells Rasheeda while outlining the dessert component of her menu, an apple-filled crepe topped with homemade gelato. The Red Team's menu will also feature runny-egg ravioli and Cornish game hens stuffed with homemade chicken liver. "I think if she can pull it off, it will really impress the judges," Chef Anne adds.
On hand to help the recruits grocery shop and taste their teammate's practice dishes are three previously eliminated contestants from both teams. "Do not panic," Chef Bobby tells Rasheeda and Alina of the other competitors. "They will not be cooking." Big Mike, Carla and Chet from the Blue Team are back, and while they're not wowed by Alina's polenta, her pork and pudding prove more successful.
Amid the meal prep happening on both teams, a bit of friendly smack-talking is taking place between the mentors, both joking that their recruit is the one to beat. Despite his confidence in Alina, Chef Bobby couldn't help but claim Rasheeda's ravioli to be "a deadly dish" after tasting it. "That pasta alone could win this entire competition for Chef Anne," he says.
Of all the key processes that Alina must execute today, preparing a flawless bread pudding is one of the most crucial. "A watery dessert is why I lost last year to Chef Anne," Chef Bobby reflects, "and I'm not letting that happen two years in a row," so it's important that Alina be extremely cautious while handling the puddings, as they're baked in a water bath.
With just minutes left to finish her appetizer, Rasheeda notices that several of the egg yolks within her ravioli are oozing out between the layers of pasta dough. "I don't have time to remake this," Rasheeda says, "but I have to try because I cannot serve the culinary experts a broken yolk." In the end, she manages to complete the dish on time, and Chef Cardoz says she "nailed it."
"C'mon, it's not a painting; it's just food," Chef Bobby tells Alina, who, with just seconds left on the clock, is taking perhaps an unnecessarily long time adorning her pork with pesto and sauce. Despite Chef Bobby's concern, she finishes each element of her dish, and the judges are wowed by the complexity of the offering.
Overall, the judges panel is impressed that these formerly sorry cooks turned out all-star meals after only seven weeks of training, and it's up to them to decide whose showing is worthy of $25,000. "One menu was risk, and the other menu was flavor," Chef Cardoz says of his reaction to Rasheeda's and Alina's offerings, respectively. His fellow judges agree, Chef Lo adding, "This is a really tough choice."
The team leaders gather their recruits to introduce them to the judges for the first time. Before now, the panel knew them only through their dishes as Meal X and Meal Y, as the judging was blind. "This is what it all comes down to," Rasheeda says of this final assessment, while Alina notes, "I'm very nervous."
Because of the solid techniques and top-notch flavors that Alina offers in her meal, she's named the Season 4 winner of Worst Cooks and proudly accepts the first victory for the Blue Team, as well as a $25,000 prize and a $5,000 gift card to Kohl's. "I am officially not the Worst Cook in America," Alina says excitedly. "Hopefully this will be the first day of the rest of your cooking life," Chef Bobby tells her.
Although she doesn't take the win, Chef Anne tells her recruit, "You are still Rock Star Rasheeda." The Red Team recruit, too, will be leaving with a $5,000 Kohl's gift card, and her mentor remains proud of what she's accomplished. "Let me just go ahead and give myself a pat on the back," Rasheeda says.
"Pass over the crown, Chef Anne. I'm going to hold onto this for a little while," Chef Bobby says after the competition. Her three-year winning streak has ended, and although she no longer has an undefeated record, she's confident that he won't hold the winning title forever. "I'll let Bobby win one. Just one."
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