Anne Burrell Previews Her Star Appearance with Been-There-Done-That Advice for Working on a Team
On Worst Cooks in America, Anne Burrell sets off to find who among her cast of recruits is the best of the worst, but as a guest judge on Food Network Star this weekend, she'll work with mentors Bobby Flay and Giada De Laurentiis in the search for the best of the best, that one person worthy of Stardom. She's familiar with what it takes to work with — and compete against — a teammate, as her Red Team of recruits regularly faces off against Tyler Florence's Blue Team, something that will likely affect how she judges the Star finalists during Sunday's brand-new partner challenge.
Ahead of her special appearance, Star Talk caught up with Anne to find out what she's looking for from the finalists at this stage of the game, and to learn her advice to them for working as a pair. "Whenever I watch Food Network Star — and I watch it every year — I always have such anxiety for the people who are on this show, because I know how hard it is to do a cooking show, the stand-and-stir kind of show when you're just talking to a camera," she told us. "It's so wildly unnatural. I feel for these people because I went through it, and I think if I'd had to compete on this show to be able to get a show, I would have never had a show." Read on below to more from Anne in an exclusive interview.
Anne Burrell: To understand how to be comfortable in your own skin and in such an unnatural situation and have a camera presence that doesn't annoy people or come across as fake. The camera can see everything, and if you are trying to sell me something that you don't really believe in, people can tell and they'll turn the channel. So when they really say, "What's your point of view and do you believe this?" you have to, otherwise you're not going to go anywhere. By week five, I still expect to see people who are figuring it out but who are on the right track to getting there. This is a crash course in an education, and you have to be a little bit crazy to be able to do it. I think a lot of people want to do it, and then actually when they see what goes into it, it's actually very, very difficult.
This Sunday's Star Challenge finds the finalists working in pairs, something you know all about after competing against Tyler on Worst Cooks. What's the key to individual success when working on a team?
AB: Pairs are hard, and I definitely saw some friction when I was doing Food Network Star. It's hard because one of three things happens. Either the team does not gel at all and it's very apparent, or the team gels really well but people are so nice to each other that they don't want to step on each other's toes, [so] that nobody really gets their point across. Or the pair figures out how to do a good yin and yang. And the thing is, when you are a Food Network personality, you are very often required to go work with other people. You are required to do appearances on The Today Show or The Rachael Ray Show or Good Morning America — any of those shows. You have to work with someone else, and you have to be able to do it right now. This is a hard one, but you have to figure out how to be able to maintain your own self and personality, get your point across, and work well with someone else. If you don't, at least look like you enjoy it. Smile.
Tell us about your experience of working with partners on Worst Cooks in America.
AB: I do like having a partner, someone to play against and that kind of stuff. It's fun. It's really fun, and I've had a lot of good partners on this show.
AB: When you're cooking for date night, if you're going to make something that's really garlicky, you better make sure both of you eat it. That kind of stuff. And have plenty of good wine.