Worst Cooks in America review: Amore Sucre


The Worst Cooks in America tackle the precise and specific world of French pastry, something they are wholly unprepared to take on. Be prepared for crimes against dessert and yet another blow to Alton’s level of expectation.

The Worst Cooks in America recruits enter the kitchen to find it decorated like a well-known candy-themed children’s game. Not to be confused with anything, we get a view of a gameboard called “Kandeeland- a totally different game than you are thinking of! Please don’t sue us.” Alton tells us the official name of the game is Sucreland (It’s French for Sugar).

For today’s Food Network game, the teams will go head-to-head in a sensory battle. They will have to draw a color card which relates to a sense. They then can only use that sense to identify a food item. The typical silliness ensues. Bridget and Leo nearly make out (accidentally) when trying to sniff thyme. Neither guesses it correctly.

Shannon and Kelly are told they have chocolate to taste and must determine what is in the chocolate, flavoring it. As they are using the taste sense, Kelly seems to think she is not allowed to pick the chocolate up in her hands so she spends time trying to get it in her mouth with her lips. Their guesses are even worse. Having been told it is chocolate, Shannon guesses the flavor to be chocolate or mousse (also chocolate). Kelly guesses milk and vanilla (parts of chocolate). The answer is chili.

Anne’s team quickly pulls ahead and stays there and they win the challenge. Now we can get down to business with the skill drill. The chefs will demonstrate making a mille-feuille, a French pastry made of layers of puff pastry, whipped cream, and pastry cream and decorated with chocolate. The most important part of the demo, based on the rest of the show, is the concept of tempering.

Tempering is something you do when introducing hot liquid to eggs. Throw eggs into hot liquid too quickly and you will get scrambled eggs. To avoid that, you first put a bit of the liquid in the eggs to bring their temperature up gradually, and then you can add that back into the remainder of the hot liquid.

Things get pretty weird when Alton tempers the eggs as Anne says, “I always find tempering is a little bit living on the dangerous side.” Alton tells her, “try doing it naked” and she replies, “who says I haven’t?” Since I look up to both of these chefs and have watched them for years, it was sort of like watching your parents flirt and set my teeth on edge. It only gets worse as they start making jokes about stiff peaks.

At last, the demo is over and the recruits are given forty-five minutes to create the dish with a flavor twist of their own. Immediately, Alton’s team gets on the struggle bus and they ride it all the way to the end.

Leo can’t figure out how to crack an egg. Surely they have cracked eggs in previous challenges? First he smacks it on his cutting board, letting his egg white ooze all over the board. Alton recommends he use a bowl to catch the whites but Leo goes to crack another egg the same way as before. He finally catches on that he needs to use a bowl only to lose his whole egg, shell and all, into the bowl.

Leo moves on to the all-important tempering stage and ends up with a lumpy blob. He decides to fix it by adding milk to it. Later, he goes to fill his “milly vanilly” but his custard is pure liquid and Alton tells him he can’t use it. He is left having to craft his dessert out of puff pastry, whipped cream and chocolate. He decides to add orange zest to make it a little more complex.

Meanwhile, Mike is displaying an interesting use of kitchen equipment. First, he tries to juice strawberries by putting them whole into a lemon squeezer and squishing them. He then uses an electric carving knife to cut his puff pastry and ends up with a vague “A” shape that he decides stands for Alton. Finally, he bites the end of his pastry bag to create a hole but assures Alton, “I brushed my teeth!”

Kelly is also struggling as her white chocolate completely seizes. As there is no more, she switches to dark chocolate. Over on Anne’s team, they seem to be doing quite well although Anne does have to rush in with an ice bath to save Bridget’s custard from overcooking.

Ready or not, it is time for the tasting. Shannon presents Anne with her pina colada inspired dessert. It is leaning due to too much cream but is “really yummy.” Bridget presents her s’mores-style mille-feuille. The flavors are good but there is too much hazelnut spread and she did not toast her almonds. Leslie’s pink and orange dessert is huge and could feed a family of five. She went with a tropical theme. It tastes good and the components are well-made but it is over-the-top in terms of size and color.

Mike brings Alton his sad little dessert, a painfully thin A on a plate with three strawberries on the side. Alton flicks the berries off the plate. The dessert is far too small but he gets points for his creative shape. Kelly has added too much chocolate and her second batch of chocolate has started to seize as well. Leo of course lacks custard and his orange zest sits in large clots. However, he added almond extract to his whipped cream, has used a good amount of chocolate, and he does have the orange flavor as well. Alton praises his improvisation and flavor.

For the main dish challenge, the recruits will make a tart. Alton demonstrates a lemon meringue tart with a traditional dough shell. Anne makes a lemon curd meringue tart with graham cracker crust. Both teams have seventy-five minutes to make the same tart as their chef but with their own spin on the citrus filling.

At one point, Mike tells us that chefs really need to just “keep it simple, stupids” and I think he is right when it comes to Alton. As Anne’s team breezes through their graham cracker crust, his team immediately falls behind. Soon Anne’s entire team has their tarts in the oven while Alton’s team hasn’t even gotten their dough put together.

As Alton watches his team struggle to remember ingredients and steps and wrestle with their food processors, he asks Anne if he can have whoever she eliminates next. He then tells us, “I blame Bobby Flay. Bobby Flay’s like, yeah do Worst Cooks. It’ll be fun. Thanks, Bobby. I’ll get him back.” We then get a weird interlude where we are treated to the future of Worst Cooks hosted by an old Alton, a robot version of Anne Burrell and a cryogenically frozen Bobby Flay. They are here to take on their toughest recruits yet, a box of stray cats and Leo. Like I said, it got weird for a minute there.

Back to the challenge, Mike is struggling with his dough. He is supposed to make six tart cases and he decides three is good enough as time is ticking away. Mike moves on to his filling which he does not temper at all. Kelly is also flustered due to the time slipping away and puts cream of tartar in her filling on accident.

Struggling the most is Leo. His filling is again a lump as he still has not figured out tempering. He adds liquid and gets it in a pot. Alton wanders over to check it out and says, “that’s the worst thing I’ve ever looked into a pot and seen in my entire life.” Anne excitedly asks if she can come see and gleefully teases Alton about the disaster.


Leo continues to tumble downhill as he drops all his tart shells on the floor. Alton tells Kelly and Mike to each give up their worst tart shell to Leo so he can at least present something as he now has no shell and no filling. Alton then goes to stand by Leslie of the red team and tells her he just wants to hang out with winners for a minute. Leslie assures him he is a winner and he gives us the ultimate sad face and says, “not really.” Meanwhile, the tart shell that Mike donates to Leo crumbles in on itself so Leo now only has Kelly’s donation.

Time is up and we begin with Anne’s judging. She is nearly bouncing out of her shoes with pride and excitement over what her team has to present. Bridget is up first with her tangerine and lemon tart. Her curd is too sweet but otherwise she has done well. Leslie’s grapefruit and blood orange tart tastes very good, though her anglaise is a little curdled and her crust is just a little too baked. Shannon’s tangerine and lemon tart has a crust that is just a bit too thick but she too has done well.

Over on Alton’s team, the judging is more somber. Mike presents his “Mike tart 1-2-1-2 for me and you,” saying that his two tarts are romantic. He is really just trying to play off the fact that he has two tarts instead of the required six. His pink lemonade flavor is delicious but his dough got too hot so it is crumbly and fatty.

Leo has just one tart to present and it consists of Kelly’s shell and his meringue but no filling. Though he has overcooked the meringue, the only component that he made on the plate, he has added orange and cayenne flavor to the meringue so it tastes good.

Kelly manages to present four tarts. Her dough is not browned enough but her key lime curd is delicious and he tells her the cream of tartar, though not in the recipe, helped. Having had a bad day, she is in tears, but Alton assures her she did a good job and takes more bites to prove it.

Anne feels her entire team did a great job and declares Bridget just barely the winner. Alton feels his entire team was a mess but declares Kelly his winner. Anne obviously does not want to eliminate anyone as they all did so well. Alton tells his team he failed them and does not want to eliminate anyone as they were all fairly evenly bad. Since there were no very clear winners or losers, they tell everyone that no one goes home today. But there are no more saves. A small future mistake could mean the end of the line in future challenges.

Since we are down to just three recruits per side, who is your guess to go all the way? I am sticking with Shannon as the finalist for Anne’s team, though the other two are catching up. For Alton’s, I am thinking that Kelly may be his finalist, though Alton loves Mike’s creativity and Leo’s flavors.

light. Related Story. Kelly Ngoc Mac is ready to keep cooking

Next week on Worst Cooks in America, the recruits tackle shellfish, some of it cooked alive. I can only imagine the kinds of freak outs we will witness.