With every week of Worst Cooks in America, Boot Camp gets more difficult — and sometimes a bit more cringe-worthy. This week’s challenges forced the teams to make sausages from scratch. And sausage isn’t the easiest thing to watch being made, especially if you’ve got a dirty mind like the remaining seven celebrity recruits, most of whom are comedians. At the end of the challenge, it all came down to who made the best links. Having the most trouble among all the recruits, John and Tommy turned out the worst sausages, and they were chosen for the elimination round — where they had to fill sausages again! The one who passed with the best quantity and quality would advance to next week; the other would go home.
Getting ground meat into a casing is easier said than done. Despite making a few faux pas, including using a spatula as a tamper in the meat grinder and ignoring kitchen sanitation, Tommy still managed to create beautiful links, but the casings burst while he was cooking them. His team leader, Anne, nominated him for elimination, feeling he wasn’t doing his best to follow her lessons. Tommy faced off against John in a sausage-filling contest and managed to get four nice links, but during blind judging, Rachael and Anne felt there was too much air in the casing. Tommy goes home just three weeks into Boot Camp, but he leaves with $5,000 for his charity, the Down Syndrome Foundation of Orlando.
How has your time been on the show? How would you sum things up?
Tommy Davidson: This was a wonderful experience for me. This was crazy. I didn’t think I was going to really do that well once I saw all the cooking challenges and stuff. I thought I was going to make a fool out of myself, but actually I came out looking pretty good. I was able to finish every plate, you now, not exactly to the letter, but I’m not a professional chef. But I was able to bring that stuff in and it actually was pleasing to the eye, and my imagination was telling me, “Man, you’re going to blow this whole thing.” But I actually came out of here really good. This is really cool.
Do you think after this you’ll want to do more in the kitchen? Maybe take a cooking class or just brush up on your skills?
TD: Either that or never go in my kitchen again. But, actually, it gave me some inspiration. I learned a lot of stuff. It left a lot to be desired. Those sauces, especially the Asian, teaching me how to use that fish stock had been a mystery of mine for a long time. I knew how that and sugar interacted, but I didn’t know how that soy sauce and salt and sugar came together with ginger, and I’ve been looking for that taste and how that taste was made. So, I’ll always, you know, go to a Chinese restaurant and they’ll have this, or I’ll even go to a Japanese restaurant, and they’ll have this salad dressing, and I know each and every taste, but I didn’t know how it was blended. So, now I finally know how to do that, so those little things like that are going to go a long way with me in my kitchen.
How was it working with Anne? What do you take away from that experience?
TD: Anne was kind of tough to work with. I think she had a stuck opinion of me, whether it be real or not; it added a little pressure to my cooking because she would always say, “You’re doing it wrong, you’re doing it wrong, you’re doing it wrong.” And I was really trying. I was really trying to go off of every detail. So, she came to the conclusion that I wanted to do my own thing, and that really wasn’t the truth. What the truth was for me was I was really trying, but if I get to the point where I don’t know and I don’t remember something, I have to do the best I can, because it is a challenge, and I’ve got to finish this plate at a certain time and it’s got to be done a certain way. So, I’ll bring it in, it might not be exactly her way, but I’ll bring it in where it’s respectable and it tastes good.
What were some of your struggles in the sausage-making challenge?
TD: Oh, man. That was tough because I was — I think the main thing was the casing of a sausage. It’s funneling out of this machine, you kind of got to — it’s something that you’ve got to practice. If you do it just two times, I don’t know. You’re very good if you do that two times and you get it down. It’s just not one of those kind of things. It’s just really difficult to do. So, I tried my best. I looked at the technique that was involved, I gave it all of the knowledge that I could, and I gave it my all. I think I did pretty good. If given another chance at it, I’d probably do it a lot better. I’m good at perfecting things, but I’ve got to have practice. … You only got one chance to do these things, so you got to make the best of what you got, and so I did that. I feel happy about it.
After hearing Anne’s comments, did you think you’d be in the bottom two?
TD: I knew I was going to be in the bottom two because of her comments, and they were steady and they wouldn’t change; they were consistent. She kept saying the same thing. I didn’t agree with her, though, but that’s OK. It doesn’t matter if I agreed with her. What matters is that I keep trying to listen to her, which is what I kept trying to do, and unfortunately she never changed that opinion of me, and maybe I didn’t change that, but it ain’t because I didn’t try and … I didn’t care, because she was taking the attitude, “Well, I don’t care; you’re just doing what you want to do.” No, I’m listening very close, and I’m trying. I’m falling short. That’s all there is to it. I’m falling short of doing it exactly the way that you did it, and if I was with Rachael it probably would have been the same thing. It’s just that it was a lot of information in a short amount of time.
So, you’re just doing your best to process that?
TD: I was doing my best to process that. It’s TV. … It’s not in a private kitchen. My plate’s going to go in the frame. I’m smart enough to know that. I may have gone askew a little bit in the process, but as long as my final product is looking like what she has and tasting like what she has, I know that that’s the most-important thing.
Were you nervous headed into the elimination? Did you see yourself winning possibly?
TD: I saw myself actually winning it because I thought that I could pull that thing together, and I still don’t necessarily feel like I lost 100 percent. It was a judgement call between the two chefs, and it wasn’t a balanced judgement, because one of the chefs was a sausage expert and the other one wasn’t, so she really didn’t have any vote. So, it would go one way — no matter what it would go the expert’s way. So I felt a little slighted about that, but I’ve really admired John, and I really admired everybody on the team, and whoever comes out on top, I’m pulling for them. This is a job. This isn’t my primary job. I get a chance to make some money for my foundation and make some money for myself, be exposed to some new information — can’t beat that.
Do you leave with any regrets? Is there something that you might have done differently?
TD: I don’t have any regrets. I left it all out in the kitchen. I left it all out in the kitchen. If anything, I would have liked to have followed details better, but I don’t know any way of doing that other than taking notes and listening close. So, it’s like I tell my kids: You just try your best. If you try your best, you come away from every experience with a lesson on what to do next time.
What was the camaraderie like here with all the other celebs?
TD: That’s the sad part of leaving is that you got used to being with them every day. We’re all giving each other encouragement. We all work in different facets of the business. We all know each other’s work. It’s like leaving a team. It’s like leaving a professional sports team. That’d be hard to do, and so that’s the hardest part for me, but I know I’ll see them again, and I’ll see them on the show. I’ll see them on the air.
Is there someone in particular that you’re rooting for?
TD: No one in particular. I love each and every individual involved in this thing, and I know … this is anyone’s win. I mean, there’s so many different variables to winning this thing that I know it’s going to be part chance and part effort, and I know both [teams] of them are for that.
Watch Worst Cooks in America: Celebrity Edition on Wednesdays at 9|8c.