America has no shortage of worst cooks. Thats good news for celebrity chefs Anne Burrell and Bobby Flay.
Definitely, theres still a lot of worst cooks out there, said Burrell, noting the producers received a mountain of applications. We have no fear of losing our jobs any time soon.
Burrell and Flay co-host Worst Cooks in America, which starts its fifth season at 9 p.m. Monday on the Food Network.
Split into two teams captained by Burrell and Flay, the 14 recruits each nominated by family and friends for their awful cooking skills go through an intense seven-week boot camp and a long list of kitchen challenges. One recruit is sent home each episode. The two cooks who show the greatest transformation by the March 31 finale square off for a $25,000 grand prize.
Burrell has seen one constant throughout this popular series. The most intimidating thing for these cooks fear of the unknown, she said in a phone interview. Anything you dont know how to do is scary. ... You look at all the parts of anything together, it can appear overwhelming.
Her advice: Break it up, then it becomes easier. When you break it down to small parts, its more manageable. You take it step by step. Then, you realize I can do that!
This new season includes a farm-to-fork twist. The recruits visit a dairy farm, and lets say there might be some comedy, Burrell said.
We try to get the (local ingredient) message across to them as much as we can, she said. Thats the kind of cook I am and its what I try to instill (through the program).
Cooking with seasonal ingredients adds a special touch to menus year round, noted Burrell, who has a running list of favorites.
Using tomatoes and corn in summer; thats a no brainer, she said. But theres so much more. Spring starts with strawberries, then ramps (spring onions); those are very exciting. Thats followed by asparagus, sugar snap peas, beets, onions, new potatoes, chard, mustard greens; the list just goes on and on. Every season has something to get you excited. Its like the return of an old friend I havent seen you since last year and I sure missed you.
The key to the shows popularity is simple, Burrell said. To me, these worst cooks are lovable losers. You start out kind of laughing at them. Then, you see these people learning things and transforming themselves. You start cheering for these underdogs. You go from laughing to rooting for their success. Thats whats so lovely about the show people really do get better.
Call The Bees Debbie Arrington, (916) 321-1075. Follow her on Twitter @debarrington.