The finale of Food Network's Worst Cooks in America brought out the inner child in the recruits. After seven long weeks of prepping and training, setting fires, and dish blunders, Ari and Zack got the chance to go head-to-head in a three-course main dish blind challenge. But before they can do that, they had their final Skill Drill to get through and it was probably their biggest yet. The finalists were pitted up against Chopped champions… Kids Chopped, that is. Their worthy opponents were none other than the children from that show, but that didn't stop Ari and Zack from being petrified of their talent while using scare tactics and threats to throw the kids off their game. A hilarious battle-pairing: while one recruit went on the offense, the other went the modest route by seeking ingredient guidance from his rock star competitor.
The "A-Team" of Alex Guarnaschelli and Anne Burrell put on their serious training hats and prepped the final two recruits to make some magnificent dishes set to wow the guest judges. Given that Guarnaschelli and Burrell have had some serious internal competition going on as well, I was also anxious to see which of the two would get to walk away with bragging rights. I'll be honest: as much as I love Burrell, Guarnaschelli has really impressed me with her genuine appreciation and support for the Blue Team recruits.
Skill Drill Challenge: Mystery Basket
- Ari and Zack were paired to go one on one against the Kids Chopped winners using the ingredients found in the mystery basket.
- Ari and her competition chose to make tacos
- Ari kept scaring the child and heckling her, the little girl really held her own
- Zack chose to make stuffed cabbage, very bold considering he has never worked with it before
- His competitor a burger. While the boy was being complimented by Anne, Zack felt a little insecure about his own performance.
- Ari ended up wowing the judges with her amazing tacos which had great flavor and texture – she won
- Zack, unfortunately, was beaten out by a great burger while he struggled with dish construction
Main Dish Challenge: Three-course meal
- Burrell and Zack worked together to make: Lobster with Sun-chokes and Salsa Verde; Grilled Swordfish and Cauliflower; and Brownie with a Bourbon Milkshake.
- Guarnaschelli taught Arie to create: Lamb Meatballs and Home Made Pita Bread; Duck with Potatoes; Strawberry Almond Tart with Lemon Sorbet
- The judges prepared to crown the winner based on taste, presentation, execution, and technical difficulty.
- Zack came prepared to the kitchen with his game face on, was so serious and made a rookie mistake by cutting off the hairy part of the onion…no, no, no
- Ari was also very calm and collective, the same unfortunately can not be said for Guarnaschelli who was a hot mess and looked like she needed a drink – all nerves that woman.
- The judges loved the taste of Zack's meatballs but found them to be a little dry. His swordfish was cooked to perfection but the overall dish was a bit too bitter. The brownie was delicious, and the milkshake might have gotten them drunk
- Ari had a perfectly cooked lobster but needed more spice. Her duck was cooked perfectly but needed more crunch. The almond tart could have done without the honey
In the end, the winner of Worst Cooks in America Season 20 is… Ari! Some serious congrats to Iron Chef Guarnaschelli for having her recruit take home the win. A great season. Love the dynamic of the "A-Team." A great batch of recruits with awesome personalities and truly horrific cooking skills. I continue to be shocked and impressed how far they come in such a short period of time- it truly is a "boot camp" for new cooks. Would love to see Guarnaschelli as Burrell's co-host in future seasons. Personally, I'm bummed that my pick did not win. Damn it, Zack- you let me down.