Last night was the season five premiere of The Worst Cooks in America which pits two teams of haphazard, everyday cooks in fierce competition. It is The Voice of the Food Network with the red team being lead by Chef Anne Burrell and the blue team under the watchful eye of Chef Bobby Flay who won last season. The cook-off finale will crown a new winner of $25,000 and bragging rights for the coach.
The misfit cooks of Team Burrell include: Ken, Stephanie, Casey, Jamie, Mike, Carol, and Benji. Benji has only cooked two disastrous times in his life while Carol is so afraid of the kitchen she feels she should not even be considered “Italian!” Germaphobe Casey keeps the fire department busy and Jamie wishes to be as accomplished a cook as his husband. Ken can cook (sort of) but is taking the lazy man’s route to nutrition with fast food drive through as Mike only knows how to use a microwave. Rounding out the group is Stephanie who wants to learn the art of Haitian cooking so she can land a husband.
The “dangerous with knives” crew of Team Flay include: Amber, Lance, Danny, Carie, Joe, Danielle, and Muneerah. Goth and tattooed Amber gets so emotional in the kitchen, the food she prepares is worse than that in prison while Carie’s rich tradition in Greek and Italian cuisine growing up stops at the kitchen doorway. Danny has a scrapbook of recipes he hopes to bring to fruition and Danielle’s nerves keeps her husband overweight reliant on frozen dinners. Joe, the youngest of the bunch, wants to fill chef shoes but does not have the confidence with Lance desiring to host a cooking show although his family shutters at the thought right now. The last member of the blue crew is Muneeah who, like Casey, is a regular customer of the fire department s well as the emergency room as her cooking has sometimes resulted in sick family members.
With a lineup like this, how could either team hope to win? Through perseverance, patience, and a LOT of guidance. The show starts out with the audition phase from which the contestants were chosen. The assortment of food was simply…horrendous. One of the funniest moments was the woman who used a callous remover to grate cheese! Really? One guy thought corned beef was a vegetable (corn) and a meat (beef). OMgosh! The fourteen chosen were sent to New York City where they learn which team they will be competing on. Bootcamp begins…
In order to choose teams, the chefs want each contestant to prepare a dish that represents them. The baseline skill drill gives them sixty minutes to prepare a dish from scratch. These people are hysterical. Muneeah got tired and hot after cooking for twenty minutes while Jamie was nearly tossed after calling Chef Anne “Boo.” Benji struggles with the cheese to make a grilled ham and cheese sandwich. Stephanie attempts to make chocolate…from brown sugar.
The tasting begins. First up is Muneerah with a hot mess on a plate called Spaghetti and Black Bean Casserole followed by Joe and his Breakfast Meatball Surprise. Amber presents heaps of rice and Jamie’s Ghetto Chili with peanut butter. Casey delivers Picadilla with Rice as Danielle serves a Catty Quesadilla. Lance presents the CEO $urf and Turf with habanero peppers that he can eat with no problem. Stephanie’s plate actually looks welcoming until she states it includes chocolate with her Curlapia Stew she made from scratch using vanilla and brown sugar. Benji’s dish may be appetizing to a toddler who likes finger food mixed up but it got creepy when he asked to touch Chef Anne’s hair.
Bobby announces the two who stood out as the worst of the worst. They are Jamie and Muneerah who is considered the absolute worst and chooses her coach first selecting Bobby Flay. Jamie is defaulted to Chef Anne. The selection continues with Bobby choosing Lance and gives Mike to Anne. Anne picks Carol and gives Danielle. Amber comes to Bobby’s team and sends Casey to Anne to which Anne selects Stephanie and gives Bobby Danny. Bobby takes Joe and allows Benji to train with the red team so he can touch Anne’s hair. Anne’s final choice is Ken leaving Carie on the blue team.
The teams are dismissed but the next morning they are up bright and early to compete in the “Main Dish” challenge which is to toss their own pizza. The starting point is the dough and the coaches show how to make it. The next ingredient is the sauce followed by the chefs talking about the pizza they are making which is run through rather quickly. The teams taste the pizza made by their chef and are instructed to recreate the pizzas exactly in ninety minutes. This should be good.
In the middle of the challenge, a twist is thrown in. They need to make a second pizza using the red tomato sauce. Anne flits around the kitchen giving chase to Benji while Bobby seems to be impressed by Lance. Time expires with Lance leaving his second pizza in the oven undone. The tasting is done and it is time to cut one member from each team. Who stays and who goes? Lance is first and receives compliments on his pizza and Danny forgot the cheese. Amber is given credit for good looking and good tasting. Carie is complimented but Joe is criticized for presentation. Danielle is given kudos but Muneerah’s pizza reminds Chef Bobby of saltine crackers.
Chef Anne starts with Casey whose crust is soggy and cheese dry. She is equally critical of Mike whose pizza has whole olives but she is a little less caustic with Ken who over spices with red pepper. Carol’s pizza is a disaster looking like she just threw things on but the taste is there. Jamie is given credit for crispy crust and given a compliment of potential. Stephanie overcooks sausage ending with Benji whose pizzas are really small. The first winner of the main dish challenge on the blue team is Amber who is shocked. Equally shocked is Jamie who is the winning team member for the red. Bobby announces that Carie, Danny, Joe, and Danielle are safe this week which means Lance and Muneerah are at the bottom. Anne lets Ken, Carol, Stephanie, and Mike know they too are safe which means either Benji or Casey will be leaving. It is Muneerah who leaves for the blue team and Casey leaves for the red team. Benji and Lance are saved as they are deemed to have potential and willingness to learn.
Image and background information courtesy of the Food Network