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Worst Cooks in America is Back!

With Robert Irvine taking over for Beau MacMillan. Should be an even bigger train wreck than last time. Can't wait.

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  1. I don't really get the concept of this show. Couldn't anyone screw up intentionally to "win"?

    2 Replies
    1. re: yfunk3

      I watched it first time around and it seemed they want you to be a bad cook and then within a day be a good cook. I didn't like it and probably won't watch it.

      1. re: yfunk3

        Or just to get a television.... or free looking lessons....

      2. I enjoyed the similar-themed show on TLC "Inedible to Incredible" with chef John Besh but they seemed to do very few episodes.

        1. Was Beau removed for his little run in with the last he recently had? Than if so, odd choice to bring in Irvine considering his past track record.

          1. Just finished it and I really hope we are missing something. When Irvine told the guy if he reduced his sauce too much to just at more stock..... how would this guy know that??? I didn't even know that!

            1 Reply
            1. re: libgirl2

              I thought boning a chicken was a pretty tough 1st step, and "airline style"? And what's harder than cooking a tasty, moist boneless chicken breast? the bone in, dark meat challenge was easier.

            2. I remember watching a little of this show last time it was on. I watched a little of it tonight. (How can a 60 year-old retired school teacher not know the basics of cooking?)

              This show is like a gawker slowdown on the freeway; you don't want to look, you know you shouldn't look, you know it slows down traffic if you look, and yet you look anyway.

              17 Replies
              1. re: John E.

                i tried last season - couldn't make it through an episode so i didn't even bother this time around. i just remember being so infuriated by the utter cluelessness of all the competitors that i wanted to whack each of them over the head with a skillet.

                1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                  I'm more annoyed at FN for giving this crap time on their network. There is so much more worthwhile subjects on which they could produce a show. I still don't know how anybody can get through life that clueless about cooking. Who ties their shoes?

                  1. re: John E.

                    Really? Because they give Sandra Lee time!

                    1. re: John E.

                      JohnE, I was thinking of starting a thread about that very question. How can anybody not know how to feed themselves? I understand not knowing how to fix a car and I even get those HGTV participants who have never painted a wall before (??!!)
                      But food is a basic physical need. I really would like to know how they get this old without ever cooking a meal for themselves. If anyone out there knows the answer, we would love to hear what you can tell us about it.

                      Of course, everything on TV is fundamentally entertainment, so FN is perfectly within its rights to do whatever it takes to entertain us. This show gets the rubberneckers who like disaster shows to join the FN audience. It's all about the dollars, and that's fine as long as we understand the difference between entertainment and education.
                      Since I am a big Anne Burrell fan, I will watch this show just to see her reactions to the disasters in her TV kitchen.( And I did do my share of gawking at the derailed train I drove by today) . ;-)

                      1. re: jmcarthur8

                        Well... I have a sister just a year younger than me who absolutely positively could be on this show. The list of things she makes which is inedible is astounding. My favorite memories: The 1/4 inch tall birthday cake she made with a mix but didn't have eggs so she just made them without them. A pot roast she covered in foil without any liquid and baked for about four hours at 400 degrees - a desert-dry, shoe-leather mess and my husband, g*d love him, ate a second helping to be polite. And finally, as a tribute to me she made an apple pie with a recipe I gave her. She put half a tall bottle each of cinnamon and nutmeg in the filling because "the meager" amounts I listed "just had to be wrong."

                        So, I think the reason "these" people can't cook...is they really are clueless when it comes to food.

                        1. re: TrishUntrapped

                          believe it or not, my sister is even worse. she's attempted to "cook" exactly twice in her life, and she's in her mid 30's. the first attempt was in college, when she wanted to bake cinnamon buns for her study group. she put the UNOPENED CAN on a cookie sheet and shoved it into a hot oven. the second try was about 10 years later when she decided she wanted to make her own hard-cooked eggs instead of buying them from the salad bar at the supermarket. she then called my mother to ask if she could just stick the entire carton in the microwave and cook them that way. no joke.

                          1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                            GHG, you reminded me of something my sister did when she was a teen. My mother called in the late afternoon and said she was running late so she asked my sister to take a roast beef that was waiting in the fridge, and put it in the oven at 350. She did... she took the packaging off and put the roast in the oven, without a pan. My mother came home to a smoke filled kitchen. (I was off babysitting that day.)

                            It's just this cluelessness thing. Most of us have it in some way. Ask me to fix a problem with my car... yeah it should be simple but I just don't do it and I drive my car every day. That's how it is with some people and cooking.

                            1. re: TrishUntrapped

                              Wow, those are some really clueless examples. I am not a fantastic cook, but I can at least make enough meals that no one starves in my house. And I certainly know to put a roast in a pan!

                          2. re: TrishUntrapped

                            My sister also could have been on this show. She was a good school teacher and a fantastic musician but had absolutely no instincts for cooking and apparently not much desire to develop them. My mother tried to help (she was an accomplished home cook). My mother told her that Bisquik oven fried chicken was easy. I guess my sister made it without actually reading the recipe on the box. She made biscuit dough and attempted to wrap it around the chicken before putting it in the oven. My sister once told mom that she would be a better cook if she had better pots and pans. My mom told her that if she were a better cook she would already HAVE better pots and pans.

                          3. re: jmcarthur8

                            What I find most interesting about last season was when they had the contestants' loved ones come on the show to try the food. Especially the winner's "mommy" (what is it with grown people still using this term?!?)...who offered no explanation as to why she raised a daughter with absolutely no cooking skills. Do all of these people have parents who are awful cooks, too? Or did they just never take the time to teach their kids?

                            1. re: teemo

                              It's not always the parents' fault. I'm sure my mother attempted to teach my sister how to cook but she wasn't interested.

                              1. re: John E.

                                Ditto. Somehow I learned, somehow sis didn't.

                            2. re: jmcarthur8

                              I just remembered something sort of funny. Last winter I had to fly south to help out my father after some surgery (his). After he got home from the hospital his neighbors behind him brought over some really good homemade soup. They then brought over a couple of plated meals (they called first) that were great. They did this probably thee or four times (much appreciated). But the fourth time there were 4 racks of just smoked baby back ribs that I made cooling on the counter. They didn't bring anymore food over and I gave them a rack of ribs. I guess they figured I could cook well enough so we wouldn't go hungry or have to eat frozen pizza.

                            3. re: John E.

                              If my house wasn't so messy right now, I'd invite all of you over to observe my 60+ year old husband. I broke my arm in December and we're dining on what I can cook with his help. Watching him peel an onion is terrifying. Having to tell him that scrambled eggs need to go into a buttered, not dry, pan is just plain irritating. This is someone who can tackle the most daunting DIY project around the house and who has saved us untold thousands of dollars with his carpentry, electrical and plumbing skills so I'm trying to be patient.

                            4. re: goodhealthgourmet

                              I'm with you, GHG! I looked at the first little bit of the show, and I was so appalled by the sheer incompetence and idiocy of the participants, that I agreed to watch my husband's show on Speed channel, lol!

                              1. re: roxlet

                                Roxlet, we have the same argument over shows at my house!!

                                Damn you, Speed Channel...

                          4. It seems the contestants chosen for this show aren't very bright and the producers are making fun of them. That leaves me cold. I did watch this first episode and it didn't hook me.

                            1. I saw the show for the first time the other night At first had no idea of what was on. I was reading and husband changed channels. I did not get the concept and i am not sure i do now. Would I give it a look again? I think not. It was pointless. There is nothing to be gained from watching. Why would the producers even bother?

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: Candy

                                Seeing as this is the second season, I'm assuming that the producers "bother" because there is enough of an audience to support it.

                              2. Did you catch the promo for the upcoming Robert Irvine hack on Kitchen Nightmares? Oh, please!...

                                9 Replies
                                1. re: cmvan

                                  I told my husband about it... he wondered if Ramsey is po'd

                                  1. re: cmvan

                                    Irvine is doing a FN version of Kitchen Nightmares?

                                    1. re: cmvan

                                      The Canadian Food Network did the restaurant makeover thing several years ago, before Gordon Ramsey, IIRC. I watched several episodes of it and they were actually pretty decent.

                                      FTV advertised in our local paper last week for restaurants interested in being on the show. It'll be interesting to see if anyone takes them up on the offer. Even more interesting will be to see if there's any improvement if someone does.

                                      Typcially, when FTV highlights a restaurant they're slammed for weeks and months afterwards. Several of our local restaurants have been featured on various FTV and Travel Channel shows and business explodes. Quality and service have suffered at almost all of them as a result of trying to keep up with the demand generated by their 10-15 minutes of national exposure. So, this sets up a potentially interesting dynamic. It demonstrates what skill level Robert Irvine has, or doesn't have, and, if the restaurants have any ability to sustain their make over. My guess is that RI (along with the FTV minions that actually make these shows happen) can salvage just about any restaurant. I'm less confident that the recipients can integrate the changes and keep going. There are a lot of people that just shouldn't be in the restaurant business...

                                      1. re: DiningDiva

                                        I think Restaurant Makeover was actually around before Kitchen Nightmares. It was original at the time. It was not a FN production. So it wasn't overly shoddy. It was done by an independent production company. Nor were they recycling the inevitable same half dozen people or so.

                                        In other words it was a decent show.

                                        1. re: Withnail42

                                          I agree, it was a decent show and actually interesting. Most shows on FTV and HGT V are produced by independent production companies, perhaps the Canadians just set a higher bar ;-)

                                          1. re: DiningDiva

                                            What's ironic (perhaps not really just more FN dumbness) is that fact that Irvine doesn't have any experience running a restaurant. He comes from an(insert your own joke here) institutional background, navy, hotels, catering. That's why he was so 'qualified' for Dinner Impossible and cooking for larger groups.

                                            1. re: Withnail42

                                              Well, Withnail 42, that is exactly why he was best able to do Dinner Impossible. I've worked for 30+ years in the non-commercial segment of the food service industry, it does use a somewhat different skill set than a restaurant. That's one of the reasons the DI replacements didn't quite manage the program quite as well as Robert Irvine.

                                              I'll take a Navy (or other military) trained cook any day. They're usually very well trained, have good knife skills, understand how to read a recipe and produce it, can work fast, keep their stations clean and turn out a good product. Oh yeah, they follow directions really well. No it's not fancy, but when food cost is important and margins thin, things work better with a cook that will produce what you need at the price point you need without putting his or her "spin" on the dish and potentially blowing your budget for the day.

                                              Personally, I think it's a stretch to send RI in to reinvent a restaurant. He's proven he's good at volume cooking, restaurant cooking is a different animal :-) I'll watch probably just to see how well he transitions. I also wonder why FTV chose this as a vehicle for him.

                                              1. re: DiningDiva

                                                DD, you bring up a good point. I think school lunch programs need to get a military makeover. Don't you think that's a good idea?

                                                1. re: pdxgastro

                                                  School lunches started out as part of the Department of Defense. They weren't horrible back then and actually served a purpose. Of course, the cooks in the program back then could actually cook ;-)

                                    2. Food Network should take the money from the amount of food that is wasted on that show and donate it their own "Share our Strength" charity. I am appalled, that much food is wasted just for entertainment value when so many are hungry. Doesn't anyone at TFN think this is a bad idea? Thank you and I will get off my soap-box now.

                                      2 Replies
                                      1. re: kpaumer

                                        based on most of the programming on TFN, my guess is that they dont think anything is a bad idea

                                        1. re: kpaumer

                                          I'm right there with you on that soap-box. Such food wastage simply for bad TV is reprehensible.

                                        2. Lowest common denominator programming, I agree. Did I enjoy it? Absolutely.

                                          It's a food game show. The contestants get their 15 minutes of fame and a chance at the $25K. They trade off some dignity and possible humiliation for their chance. As for their lack of skills, it's probably very well known already in their social circles, so no new embarrassment there.

                                          The contestants are also selected for their drama-queen and hysteric tendencies. Again, nothing their friends don't already know. For some people, any attention is good attention.

                                          It's a train wreck. But I like people-watching. And some contestants do have an ability to rise above. I'm a bit fond of the teacher (Texas!) and the redhead who's food-poisoned her husband (twice).

                                          I don't like the food waste either, kpaumer. But I see a lot of nice food getting dumped into trash barrels on Iron Chef also.

                                          1. So ex-model Erika was already on a reality TV show before? (Beauty and the Geek?) This clearly isn't about cooking. I'm so sorry to see you wasted there Anne.

                                            5 Replies
                                            1. re: Firegoat

                                              I thought she looked familiar! This show is so staged its not even funny! I don't mind a bit of drama and fun, but when I get recycled reality show stars on shows, I am done. She is an actress for God's sake!

                                              1. re: libgirl2

                                                Ooh, she looked familiar to me too!! I didn't watch Beauty and the Geek, but I must have seen her in a promo or something.
                                                That said, I enjoyed the show in a stange way, but I find it hard to truly believe people can cook that poorly. Common sense would tell you not to do what some of these folks are doing. But, it's Sunday night--garbage tv is called for.

                                                1. re: alliegator

                                                  You do have a point about Sunday night tv!

                                              2. re: Firegoat

                                                The woman on Beauty and the Geek was Erika RUMSEY. The one on WCIA is Erika RAMSEY. I've looked at their pictures...they aren't the same person as far as I can tell.

                                                1. re: meadandale

                                                  If you look up Erika Rumsey on IMDB, she is listed for both shows.

                                                  http://www.imdb.com/name/nm1937559/

                                              3. I have never watched this show but solely based on the title, I'd like to nominate Jamie Lauren (currently on Top Chef All Stars) as a contestant!

                                                1 Reply
                                                1. I just got caught up on the "farm" episode. Now I saw this as someone who slices myself roughly four times a year due to less than perfect knife skills, but I was *terrified* watching these people wield their knives! Ack!

                                                  1 Reply
                                                  1. re: DGresh

                                                    Hehheh, watching the teacher from TX walking away with knife in hand made my heart stop. (I want to see her family, she must be so spoiled!)

                                                  2. "I'm having a problem with herbs. They're all little and green and they all look alike to me." Or words to that effect...LOL!

                                                    1. I really wanted to like this show, as I'm a fan of both Robert and Anne. I just don't get it though. They audition cooks to find the "worst cooks in America", and then get rid of them after a cursory run through of the preparation because they have no skills. What?

                                                      I'll try it again, but I wish the powers that be at FN, would find a better use for these two.

                                                      2 Replies
                                                      1. re: Whinerdiner

                                                        I agree that the premise of the show is a bit flimsy. They are looking for the currently worst cooks, who want to learn and improve. So the people who are eliminated along the way are those do not seem to benefit from (or pay attention to) the instruction that they are being given.

                                                        1. re: pamf

                                                          I don't think the premise is so bad. I think the idea is that anyone (even if they think cooking is completely beyond them) can really improve if they *pay attention*