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View Full Version : Worst Cooks in America 01/03/10


BKReporter
01-04-2010, 07:56 AM
Did anyone watch this on the Food Network last night?
I thought it had some funny moments. The whole chicken with the cheese slices on top looked pretty disgusting, as did the peanut butter encrusted fish. Some of their dishes, on the surface anyway, didn't look too bad.

Tom Tildrum
01-04-2010, 09:48 AM
I was amused by the professional chefs' open mockery of the amateurs' dishes. It's an interesting twist to see reality show contestants who are humble and even cringing, but I don't know how long that's going to stay interesting. Much of the fun of this episode was seeing the nasty creations that the amateurs came up with on their own. Turning them into ordinary pros may be kind of dull in the long run.

amarinth
01-04-2010, 11:20 AM
I wonder how many of them were trying to be bad. Seriously, the guy who boiled the whole chicken or the woman who added "pineapple for crunch."

No one does that in real life, do they?

I'm not sure I like the format. I'd like to see them learn how to make one dish each week & make it well. The method of instruction that they used doesn't seem conducive to that.

BKReporter
01-04-2010, 11:29 AM
I'm not sure I like the format. I'd like to see them learn how to make one dish each week & make it well. The method of instruction that they used doesn't seem conducive to that.

I was kind of thinking that too. I'm not a master chef myself, but I'm no stranger to the kitchen and I love to cook. But even I wouldn't attempt the complex dishes they were required to make in the competition.
I mean, saffron? Come on, that's a pretty potent spice that requires a delicate hand, not someone who barely knows how to cook mac 'n' cheese out of a box.

Anne Neville
01-07-2010, 07:44 AM
I TiVoed it and watched it last night. Loved it!

I'm cheering for Marque, Sophia, Eddie, Kelly, and Rachel.

I wonder how many of them were trying to be bad.

I wondered that, too.

Seriously, the guy who boiled the whole chicken or the woman who added "pineapple for crunch."

No one does that in real life, do they?

You'd be surprised at what some cooks would inflict on people.

beowulff
01-07-2010, 08:42 AM
I didn't watch it, but I think my wife recorded it.
This summer, we went to a foodie event at Elements (http://www.sanctuaryoncamelback.com/content/elements.html). One of the guys at our table was Eddie Chang. He was under NDA, and couldn't say very much, but we promised to watch him.

amarinth
01-07-2010, 10:41 AM
I didn't watch it, but I think my wife recorded it.
This summer, we went to a foodie event at Elements (http://www.sanctuaryoncamelback.com/content/elements.html). One of the guys at our table was Eddie Chang. He was under NDA, and couldn't say very much, but we promised to watch him.Cool.

He's bad the way that I expect cooks to be bad, over salted, some elements overcooked, some undercooked, under/unbalanced spices. Stuff you eat anyway, not just completely "why on God's green earth would you do that?" wrong.

Anne Neville
01-07-2010, 11:03 AM
He's bad the way that I expect cooks to be bad, over salted, some elements overcooked, some undercooked, under/unbalanced spices. Stuff you eat anyway, not just completely "why on God's green earth would you do that?" wrong.

Marque Hernandez's mistake with the asparagus in his initial dish is also the kind of mistake I expect novice cooks to make. He was trying to use an ingredient he didn't know how to use, and he used it wrong.

I remember the first time I made a recipe with scallions, I wondered which part you were supposed to use, and if it was dangerous to use the wrong part. Remembering that is why I like Mark Bittman's How to Cook Everything so much- it starts with how to buy a good example of each ingredient, and how to prepare it before you start cooking. That's stuff that a lot of novice cooks don't know.

Death of Rats
01-07-2010, 11:49 AM
I kind of liked the show the way I like watching the bad singers on AI. The thing that bothered my wife and me is that they are not actually teaching these people anything about cooking. I would much rather the show be the chefs teaching some basic cooking skill (knife work, seasoning, etc.) and then make a dish that highlights using that skill.

Ferret Herder
01-07-2010, 11:52 AM
Marque Hernandez's mistake with the asparagus in his initial dish is also the kind of mistake I expect novice cooks to make. He was trying to use an ingredient he didn't know how to use, and he used it wrong.

I remember the first time I made a recipe with scallions, I wondered which part you were supposed to use, and if it was dangerous to use the wrong part. Remembering that is why I like Mark Bittman's How to Cook Everything so much- it starts with how to buy a good example of each ingredient, and how to prepare it before you start cooking. That's stuff that a lot of novice cooks don't know.
This reminds me of the latest episode of Last Restaurant Standing, where duos compete for a chance to have their restaurant backed by a "celebrity" chef, Raymond Blanc. One of the chefs tried to make a "signature dish" of theirs that used peas, but she'd only ever used frozen before. They had fresh peas available, and since she didn't know how to work with fresh, she assumed they'd need to be cooked for a long time, and ended up cooking them for 25 minutes. :( Blanc was horrified.

Another one was going to make a coconut cream dessert, and needed to open a can - I think it was of coconut milk. She actually used a chef's knife's tip to put a hole in the lid, and was grabbing it by the blade - hanging on around the spine of the knife, not the edge - to try to work a big hole in it - before Blanc saw what she was doing, ran over with a "you're going to kill yourself" admonishment, and put the can under a can opener himself.

ThirdOne
01-07-2010, 01:50 PM
I was disappointed. Those people obviously don't know a thing about real cooking and yet were supposed to recreate a dish like that? C'mon. I started learning how to cook when I was 7 or 8 years old. The "instructions" from the master chefs were a joke. I'd be hard put to recreate either dish. Unless there was a whole lot more that was edited, which is entirely possible/probable.

I agree, though, with Amarinth, they ought to be learning how to cook a dish well each week, but I suppose it wouldn't be quite as "shock worthy" at the end to see if the food critics actually like the meal. And I find it very hard to believe the critics will believe the meal was prepared by the "teachers," and that their reputation is on the line.

I'll watch again to see how it progresses, but it wasn't quite as good as I'd hoped. Some of the contestants were mortified... on national t.v. no less. I do realize they knew going in, still, that poor girl who threw away $40 worth of saffron had to feel somewhat humiliated.

Anne Neville
01-07-2010, 02:05 PM
I was disappointed. Those people obviously don't know a thing about real cooking and yet were supposed to recreate a dish like that? C'mon. I started learning how to cook when I was 7 or 8 years old. The "instructions" from the master chefs were a joke. I'd be hard put to recreate either dish. Unless there was a whole lot more that was edited, which is entirely possible/probable.

The recipe for the dish was written on a chalkboard that they could see. I thought it was more reasonable after I read that.

Anne Neville
01-07-2010, 03:02 PM
Here are the recipes. I don't know if this is exactly what was written on the chalkboard for the contestants:

Beau's prawns, clams, bok choy, and shiitake mushrooms. (http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/poached-tiger-prawns-with-clams-bok-choy-and-shiitake-mushrooms-recipe/index.html)

Anne's Tuscan shrimp and clams. (http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/anne-burrell/shrimp-cacciucco-recipe/index.html)

Both recipes are rated "Easy" on the Food Network site.

I don't eat shellfish, so I don't know personally how hard they are to deal with.

ThirdOne
01-07-2010, 11:52 PM
ah, thanks Anne ... that makes more sense. I ought to have gone to the 'site and checked. I thought/hoped they'd just edited out something important like that :D

Scruff
01-08-2010, 12:11 AM
Also I read somewhere (and can't remember where; might have been TWOP?) that the contestants actually get some 4 hours or so of tuition outside of the "contest". Now that's probably not with the Chef, but even so is a good thing.

amarinth
01-11-2010, 03:23 PM
After last night's show, I really hate the format.

I don't mind pulling certain twists on Chopped or Top Chef or Next Food Network Star or Next Iron Chef, because those are all people at the top of their game. They're confident, competent, and in an environment where they're showing their strengths.

But yesterday's show just seemed mean. The people on the show were struggling, the twists just made it worse, and the Chefs were simply not helpful to them. That 8 out of the 10 contestants seemed totally lost pointed to a problem in the level and method of the instruction, not a problem with the contestants. And in the end it was unpleasant to watch.

Someone made a mistake in the show design.

pancakes3
01-11-2010, 03:33 PM
^ or that you're not like the millions of americans that in fact love to watch a trainwreck. i'm sure the format was no mistake.

JXJohns
01-11-2010, 03:43 PM
I personally find it pathetic to watch adults who have gotten this far in their lives but cannot season and cook a steak or saute some scallops. The knife work may have been new to them, but seriously was it that hard?

Angel of the Lord
01-11-2010, 03:53 PM
I get what they were trying to do; they'd instructed the students to write the recipe down. The students didn't do that, it seems, and so were totally lost. It's likely that they took notes, and didn't copy as instructed. And since the entire thing seems to be about following directions rather than learning how to cook, it seems in tune with what they've done so far.

That being said, the entire thing is a gimmicky reality show based on the concept of public humiliation. It'll be wildly popular. I fucking hate it.

gotpasswords
01-12-2010, 07:40 AM
And the challenge was insane. How many home cooks will ever cook on a flat-top grill unless they take a job at Benihana?

I felt sorry for the one who nicked herself and broke down sobbing because she couldn't let the chef taste it. Compare this to Chopped, where the name is apt - more than once, chefs on that show have hacked into their fingers and bled all over the studio and still served up a dish without a moment of doubt.

Anne Neville
01-12-2010, 08:23 AM
they'd instructed the students to write the recipe down. The students didn't do that, it seems, and so were totally lost. It's likely that they took notes, and didn't copy as instructed.

But why would you write down the recipe if you think it's going to be written on the chalkboard for you? Why wouldn't you spend your note-taking time writing down other stuff that you need to know instead? I didn't think it was fair that they took away the recipe without telling them beforehand that that was going to happen.

jali
01-12-2010, 08:43 AM
I just want "Velma" to get some new eyeglasses.

Angel of the Lord
01-12-2010, 10:09 AM
But why would you write down the recipe if you think it's going to be written on the chalkboard for you? Why wouldn't you spend your note-taking time writing down other stuff that you need to know instead? I didn't think it was fair that they took away the recipe without telling them beforehand that that was going to happen.

Oh, I agree; it was a totally dick move. And, honestly, it's a crap way of teaching. I mean, these are supposed to be people with zero skills; functionally, if they're gonna cook something, they're gonna have a recipe in front of them. That being said, I thought that they'd said to write the recipe down. Again, it goes to slavishly following directions and example.

And, you know, providing the requisite amount of Reality Show Drama (TM).

hellpaso
01-12-2010, 10:10 AM
I just want "Velma" to get some new eyeglasses.
Ha! And Amy Winehouse-wannabe needs to tone it down, too! Did anyone else read somewhere that a female contestant tried to sue Chef Anne for sexual harrassment? This was a few weeks back, and since I hadn't seen the show, I didn't pay much attention.

Anne Neville
01-12-2010, 10:31 AM
Did anyone else read somewhere that a female contestant tried to sue Chef Anne for sexual harrassment? This was a few weeks back, and since I hadn't seen the show, I didn't pay much attention.

It doesn't seem to have been a contestant on the show, it was some of her former employees (http://n.newsclicker.com/?idFOD=foo4434F9pfrQ4rimination).

Anne Neville
01-12-2010, 10:40 AM
The recipes:

Steak teppanyaki (http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/new-york-steak-teppanyaki-recipe/index.html)

Teppanyaki scallops (http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/anne-burrell/teppenyaki-scallops-recipe/index.html)

Pan roasted duck breast (http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/pan-roasted-duck-breast-recipe/index.html)

Pork Milanese with warm autumn salad (http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/anne-burrell/pork-milanese-with-warm-autumn-salad-recipe/index.html)

All of them are rated Easy on Food Network's site.

And the challenge was insane. How many home cooks will ever cook on a flat-top grill unless they take a job at Benihana?

True. I'm surprised nobody got seriously burned. I think that's what would happen if I tried cooking on a flat-top grill.

hellpaso
01-12-2010, 11:03 AM
It doesn't seem to have been a contestant on the show, it was some of her former employees (http://n.newsclicker.com/?idFOD=foo4434F9pfrQ4rimination). Thanks for the quick response, Anne. And thanks for the recipe links!

JXJohns
01-12-2010, 03:13 PM
And the challenge was insane. How many home cooks will ever cook on a flat-top grill unless they take a job at Benihana?

I felt sorry for the one who nicked herself and broke down sobbing because she couldn't let the chef taste it. Compare this to Chopped, where the name is apt - more than once, chefs on that show have hacked into their fingers and bled all over the studio and still served up a dish without a moment of doubt.

That contestant breaks down sobbing at least twice per episode. I went from feeling sorry to being annoyed.

BKReporter
02-07-2010, 09:24 AM
Did anyone watch the finale? I missed it last weekend, but caught the rerun yesterday. I'm surprised Rachel won, as the judges didn't really seem to have that many good things to say about her dishes.

YogSosoth
02-07-2010, 10:45 AM
I liked this show. For once, they showed amateurs making easy-to-avoid mistakes instead of great chefs or aspiring chefs who cook using ingredients I can't even pronounce. I'm not a great cook, so watching others fail teaches me a lot more than watching a master at work :D

Anne Neville
02-08-2010, 11:47 AM
Did anyone watch the finale? I missed it last weekend, but caught the rerun yesterday. I'm surprised Rachel won, as the judges didn't really seem to have that many good things to say about her dishes.

I did. I was happy to see her win. I can identify with "sloppy but tasty" cooking.

LavenderBlue
02-08-2010, 11:56 AM
I'm still cackling at Rachel's appetizer for one of the dishes. She made charosets (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Charoset) and then topped it with ham. I was torn between the simultaneous giggling ew and the chutzpah of it.

amarinth
02-08-2010, 12:39 PM
I'm still cackling at Rachel's appetizer for one of the dishes. She made charosets (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Charoset) and then topped it with ham. I was torn between the simultaneous giggling ew and the chutzpah of it.She did something similar earlier - (the horseradish thing that wikipedia identifies as "Maror") on her bruschetta.
Anne didn't seem to recognize what she was doing at all - and kind of paled at the list of ingredients. And I think I remember something else non-kosher about that too, but I'm not certain.

In the end, I still didn't like the show. I would rather see them turn into good home cooks, rather than restaurant chefs. The former is more useful and practical. And I'd rather not see them get "tricked" that wasn't pleasant.

Anne Neville
02-08-2010, 02:30 PM
She did something similar earlier - (the horseradish thing that wikipedia identifies as "Maror") on her bruschetta.
Anne didn't seem to recognize what she was doing at all - and kind of paled at the list of ingredients. And I think I remember something else non-kosher about that too, but I'm not certain.

Maror is a "bitter herb", often horseradish. It and charoset are associated with Passover. Bread, including bruschetta, is of course not kosher for Passover. It seems kind of weird to pair things that are so iconic of Passover with bread in a dish. It would be kosher at times other than Passover (well, without the ham), but it would be odd.

A combination of sweet and savory is not too uncommon in Ashkenazic Jewish food. It is, however, not an immediate hit with every American adult who tries it. Another newbie cook's mistake.

Misery Loves Co.
02-08-2010, 03:20 PM
Crap - a spoiler on a thread dated 1/3/10 would have been nice, ya think?

I'll try to forget that, now.

amarinth
02-08-2010, 03:55 PM
Maror is a "bitter herb", often horseradish. It and charoset are associated with Passover. Bread, including bruschetta, is of course not kosher for Passover. It seems kind of weird to pair things that are so iconic of Passover with bread in a dish. It would be kosher at times other than Passover (well, without the ham), but it would be odd.Ah - I found it on a blog - it was a blend of horseradish, cinnamon, apples, and prosciutto - on bread.
Those first three were what triggered that it had something to do with Passover for me (I'm not Jewish, but I knew I'd heard those three ingredients mentioned close together somewhere before). And then I just completely laughed when she topped it with a nice slice of pig. I didn't make the bread association - that's even weirder.