Worst Cooks in America Recap: Cooking the Sacrificial Lambs

Nobody ever said life was fair, and that goes double for the deliciously cruel world of reality television. All the evidence you needed could be found in this week’s installment of Worst Cooks in America, which found hapless Kat surviving to fight another week despite serving up a piece of lamb so raw its hue was downright aubergine and a pile of fennel that was more bludgeoned than shredded.

Why the miscarriage of justice? Well, at its basic heart, Worst Cooks faces a terrible conundrum: In its opening few weeks, the show basks in the hilarity of the spill-burn-overseason-repeat rituals of its kitchen-challenged contestants. With each passing episode, though, Mentors/Judges Anne Burrell and Robert Irvine are supposed to eliminate the baddest of the bad from each of their merry bands of recruits — until all that’s left are two protégés ready to face off in a final three-course challenge. Which means, with every step closer to the finale, we see fewer and fewer culinary crime scenes featuring hacked-up veggies, charred proteins, and splattered sauces. In other words, as Worst Cooks loses its worst cooks, it faces a case of diminishing entertainment. And that’s why I suspect Kat got traded from Team Red to Team Blue, leaving lust-struck Anna to get eliminated by her No. 1 crush, Chef Robert.

I won’t complain, though. Kat turned bad cooking into visual poetry: Watch as she grates fresh pineapple with all the grace and finesse of a coal miner blasting off a mountain cap! Wince as she mixes the tropical fruit into a bowl of ground beef! Howl as she feeds the sacrificial, disintegrating patties to a hungry grill that sucks all but a few withered scraps of “burger” into its white-hot coals.

Thus, we were left with Kat plunking grizzled nubs of “burger” onto enormous chunks of grilled bread. The pièce de résistance, though, was Kat’s decision to douse the entire catastrophe with mayonnaise, stab it with a gargantuan skewer, and garnish it with a hunk of pineapple. “You said it’s like an art canvas!” offered Kat, when asked to defend what Anne referred to as the “magic wand” sticking out of her meal. Runner-up for funniest moment of the grilling challenge: Erika inventing a condiment called “Fancy Sauce” by combining ketchup and mayonnaise. (I’d hate to see what qualifies as low rent in that woman’s refrigerator.) The situation was so dire that the selling points for the two best burgers were “served on an English muffin” (Kelsey) and “contains two types of cheeses” (Georg).

The elimination task, which unfortunately didn’t follow the grilling challenge’s format of asking the contestants to use their never-to-be-trusted instincts, found the Red Team attempting to recreate Anne’s lamb chops with olive tapenade and fennel salad over a potato cake and the Blue Team taking a stab at Robert’s pan-seared duck breast with julienne of vegetables and poomegranite sauce with diced apples. (Whew!)

The minute Anne said to use a nonstick pan for the potato cake, you knew somebody was going to do the opposite, and it turned out to be Erika, who really can’t be blamed for the sins of the cookware industry, can she? “Why would anyone invent a pan that’s not non-stick?” she demanded to know. “I think it’s stupid.” Well, if Erika thinks it’s stupid, the good folks at Calphalon really ought to listen up, no? Erika’s failure to follow the simplest instructions, along with her decision to use heaping quantities of red-pepper flakes to mask the taste of her mortal enemy fennel, made her an easy alternative to booting the less-skilled but more enthusiastically awful Kat. Back on Kat’s former Blue Team, Anna’s slightly blackened veggies — hardly “burned beyond recognition,” as Chef Robert declared — were enough to join Erika on a trip to the Land of Unsuccessful Dinner Parties, Possible Food Poisoning, and a Lifetime of Takeout.

The top dishes this week came from Kelly and Carlos, but at this point, I’m not really invested enough in any particular contestant to care about who “wins,” let alone review their fleeting successes. I just want to know where Chef Anne is buying her array of dazzlingly awful pink skirts, so I can hit the MegaMillions, purchase the shop in question, and burn it to the ground.

How are you feeling about this season of Worst Cooks? Are you rooting for anyone in particular? And did the right two people get the boot this week? Sound off below! And for all my reality TV coverage, follow me on Twitter @MichaelSlezakTV.

Comments are monitored, so don’t go off topic, don’t frakkin’ curse and don’t bore us with how much your coworker’s sister-in-law makes per hour. Talk smart about TV!

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  1. Carlito says:

    I have to agree, Chef Anne’s skirts are enough to give heartburn to even her best dish! She wears them on “Secrets of a Restaurant Chef” as well. This show does help with my weight control, as I don’t feel much like eating after watching the awful food they prepare.

  2. MamaDeb says:

    I like that she wears skirts, even if they are garish. Chef pants can be pretty garish too. They show fewer stains that way. It shows some independence and her own sense of style. Also, I’m a cook and I wear skirts at work (sadly, neutral colored scrub skirts) so I feel a sisterhood.

    I think it was right to get rid of Erika. It wasn’t just that she was unable to follow a simple instruction, it was that she couldn’t even figure out what she did wrong. That’s a worse problem than simply not cooking a dish correctly.

    On the other hand, I’m totally rooting for Kelly. She won the round the moment she realized her oil was too hot and calmly took steps to cook it down. You could see the pride in Chef Robert’s face when she did that.

  3. Sabrina says:

    My dad makes that same “Fancy Sauce” he uses it for salad dressing, LOL. Although he will tell you he infuses it with love.

  4. Richard says:

    I know that it is probably her trademark, but Chef Anne really needs a new ‘do.

  5. Diana says:

    Even with the worst cooks starting to go, I find no shortage of entertainment as long as Kelly’s there. Girl is kind of a ditz. Anna’s flirting will not be missed (it was kind of awkward anyways) as she passes the torch to Joshie and Chef Anne.

    I was pretty indifferent to everyone that was in the bottom 4/went home last night. I will agree to the comment about Anna’s veggies. Slightly blackened? Yes, but not even close to burned beyond recognition. Kat should have probably gone home over Erika, but considering she was traded, I knew Chef Anne was going to give her another chance.

    My favorite is Carlos. I think he’s absolutely adorable and he seems like he’s a lot of fun to to be around. I think I’m actually rooting for Ty to win it though. It seems like he has the best grasp on food and flavors, just not the skill (and time management) behind it to cook.

  6. Amanda says:

    Kat should have gone. I know Georg seems to be doing well, but I don’t like her personality/attitude.

    You guys need a separate section for recaps instead of including them in the news/home feed. They’d be easier to find and keep up with.

  7. Skitty says:

    So happy you are recapping one of the funniest shows on television. I hope Carlos stays for a while. He is fun to watch and has a great attitude.