Food Network’s ‘Worst Cooks’ get a second chance with ‘Halloween Redemption’


‘Worst Cooks in America’ – A Halloween spin on kitchen ineptitude

Carla Hall (left) and Anne Burrell

The dual scares of Halloween and really bad cooking join forces in an upcoming holiday special on Food Network.

In “Worst Cooks in America: Halloween Redemption,” premiering Sunday, Oct. 18, Anne Burrell and Carla Hall host as four past Boot Camp recruits return to create a holiday spread for the scariest night of the year. Split into two teams led by the master chefs, they’re tasked with coming up with a buffet suitable for a Halloween gathering, with the winning squad, as determined by a panel of culinary experts, getting a kitchen upgrade worth $5,000.

The contestants here aren’t necessarily the creme-de-la-creme of the Boot Camp crop. In fact, quite the contrary. These are people who learned the lessons the first time through but didn’t do anything with them once they got back to their lives and thus those skills disappeared. So the “Worst Cooks” moniker still applies.

“The recruits that came back were people that had just been on the show before and had not been very successful,” Burrell explains. “So we brought people back to give them a chance. So four recruits, two people that had been on the red team and two people that had been on the blue team and we did a whole Halloween party with them. So everyone was not starting off from exactly square one in Boot Camp but I don’t know if they were all the way to square two yet.”

Still, Burrell saw some encouraging signs.

“What the very nice part about this was,” she says, “when people came back into Boot Camp … they were like a little bit rusty but then returned to their Boot Camp ways fairly quickly. It was absolutely required for them to do because we were only together for a couple of days.”

But these are, after all, the “Worst Cooks,” and newcomer Hall was shocked at their ineptitude, much to Burrell’s amusement.

“Every time I get a new co-host in Boot Camp,” Burrell says, “they have the same reaction and they’re like, ‘I can’t believe this. I can’t believe what’s happening here. Is this real?’ I mean, as much as the people at home say that, my co-hosts say the same thing. But Carla is really fun. She really cares about the teaching aspect of it so she fit into Boot Camp really, really well. … The whole show is just really about – it’s fun.”

George Dickie

George Dickie

George Dickie has been a features writer for Gracenote/Tribune Media Services since 1989, when “Hee-Haw” was still on the air and George “Goober” Lindsay was his first interview. His early interviews ranged from Jim Henson and Dick Van Dyke to Phil Collins and the Dixie Chicks.

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