The Flavors in Jennifer Cross' Head Saved Her Butt
Thank you, Food Network for proving that the Worst Cooks in America are those forced to follow recipes. I’ve been saying it for years! I’ve seen it in my cooking school, and I hear it from thousands that also know it’s true. I’m thankful to have the MTV of food finally admitting it in their programming.
Worst Cooks in America is starting to confuse me more than Jenn Vecchio with half a fig. “You’re reading it off a recipe card and just going blindly”, Jenn explains. It can’t be her fault that she doesn’t know what “done” looks like because she’s relying solely on the written recipe.
The show is supposed to be about duplicating a Chef Beau or Chef Ann dish to fool restaurant critics. If so, why the heavy reliance on written recipes? Why not teach them how to cook in the STYLE of Chef Beau?
There are constant recipe problems in week 4, but the contestants are left to figure it out themselves. “I don’t know what to do”, laments Marque. “Why is it doing this”? It’s all critique from the chefs, there’s no help, no secrets of WHY something is happening or HOW it’s supposed to look. Yet, everything is about the written recipe, someone else’s’ opinion of how something should be cooked.
However, it all changed when the six survivors of sauté were told they could invent their own crostini. Eyes widened, mouths smiled at the sudden freedom they were given. “I’m already thinking of great flavors in my head”, says Jennifer Cross, revealing the inspiration that would be her savior, despite a complete logistical and emotional boil-over.
The artistic interpretation of flavors in her head was the best dish of the day. Her problems came from the pressures of following a recipe under time constraints. She couldn’t hang with the time-task that’s mandated to increase the emotion for the cameras, but blew them away with her art.
For a moment, a small part of the show had realized a goal for me. In a blink of an eye, it showed the excitement, confidence, and superior results of making up your own recipes. It’s a message I’ve been trying to bring to a mass audience for years. Jennifer Cross proved it. Cooking is joyous expression, not jealous competition. It’s accomplished with full heart, not fast clock. Unfortunately, the message was only a blip on a show that doesn’t teach anyone to cook, Worst Cooks in America.