Anne Burrell has always stood out in the restaurant business for her remarkable culinary talent, bold and creative dishes, and her trademark spiky blond hair. After training at New York's Culinary Institute of America and Italy's Culinary Institute for Foreigners, she gained hands-on experience at notable New York restaurants including Felidia, Savoy, Lumi, and Italian Wine Merchants. Anne has also battled on Food Network's Iron Chef America as Mario Batali's energetic and reliable sous chef. Additionally, Anne taught for three years at New York's Institute of Culinary Education. She served as Executive Chef at New York hot-spot Centro Vinoteca from its opening in July 2007 through September 2008.
The country's most hopeless cooks transform from kitchen zeros to kitchen heroes as they compete in Worst Cooks In America, a high-stakes reality competition on Food Network. The primetime series puts the "recruits" through a culinary boot camp led by two acclaimed chefs, one of which is Anne Burrell. Split into two teams, the recruits learn valuable culinary skills from their chefs and are then tested in a series of high-pressure challenges. Based on their performances, they will be narrowed down each week until two are left standing to face the final challenge: prepare a three-course, restaurant-quality meal for a panel of food critics that thinks the dishes have been prepared by the chefs. On the line are the chefs' professional reputations and $25,000 for the newly-crowned kitchen hero.
I had a chance to speak with Anne Burrell about the Worst Cooks In America television show.
You've done this show for two seasons now. What is the worst thing you've had to taste?
There have been so many things really. There was the one with all the spices that really stands out. The girl put them in the pan and it started smoking and it was everywhere, even in the air. You couldn't get away from it. Then we had to taste it. We didn't get sick or anything like that, it just did not taste good.
What cooking concept is the most difficult to get across to people who are truly terrible cooks?
That they need to read the recipe before they start cooking. They need to get their ingredients together and ready before they start. That is when you feel like you're cooking.
How do you keep from losing your cool with some of the contestants on the show?
I go over to them and have them wipe their cutting board and clean things up. This gives them a chance to calm down and gives everything a sense of order to everything. Then I have them breathe and at this point everything is manageable again.
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