Into The Fire Twenty-four of the country's worst cooks arrive in New York City with hopes of participating in a 10-day culinary boot camp with acclaimed chefs Anne Burrell and Beau MacMillan. The eager applicants prepare a sample of their terrible cooking and present to Anne and Beau, who in turn each select six candidates for the other chef to teach. The first challenge has each team striving to perfectly replicate a dish taught to them by Anne and Beau. The least successful recruit on each team is then eliminated.
Looking Good The 10 remaining recruits take a trip to Arirang Hibachi Steakhouse, where they learn five fundamental knife cuts in their first Skill Drill. Anne and Beau then teach their teams a Teppanyaki-style dish, cooked directly on a blazing hot flattop grill. During the Main Dish Challenge, the Chefs demonstrate a few techniques for a dish and post the rest of the recipe on a blackboard - emphasizing that a good cook must read and know the recipe completely. To test the recruits, the Chefs erase the recipe halfway through prep! The next two recruits are eliminated.
Feelin' The Flavor To illustrate the importance of flavor, Anne and Beau provide the eight remaining recruits with a "blank canvas" by jointly demonstrating a basic crepe dish. Each recruit then flavors his or her own crepe, and the Chefs do a blind taste test. The team with the best-tasting crepes gets to steal a player from the other team and give up one of its own. The Chefs then demonstrate marinating and grilling basics before assigning the recruits to create original marinades with ingredients from one of four international flavor profiles - France, Greece, Spain and Thailand - along with a side dish. The next two recruits are eliminated.
Multitasking Anne and Beau teach their teams how to make fresh pasta, filling and sauce to emphasize the importance of multi-tasking. Then for the Main Dish Challenge, the recruits are surprised to learn that they must cater a cocktail party for 30 guests. The recruits are asked to put their own personal spins on crostini appetizers plus make additional hors d'oeuvres from a recipe created by their Chef. The party guests weigh in on the results, which leads to the next two eliminations.
Are You Ready Anne and Beau teach the four remaining recruits a complicated dessert. To test their retention, the recruits must teach the dish to a group who knows even less about cooking than they do: high school football players! Then for the final Main Dish Challenge, each recruit must use all the skills they have learned to reinvent the terrible dish they cooked on the first day. They cook in a private kitchen at Benoit restaurant, and in addition to the Chefs, they each serve a surprise guest: a beloved family member. After tasting all the dishes, Anne and Beau decide which two recruits will move on to the final challenge.
The Final Test The remaining two recruits meet Anne and Beau at boot camp, where they devise and plan the menus for their final challenge: prepare a three-course meal for food critics who think that the dishes were cooked by Anne and Beau. After shopping for ingredients, the final recruits have three hours to practice the meal with guidance from their Chefs. The next day, the recruits cook their meals at Compass Restaurant. Upon completion of the meal, Anne and Beau reveal that the home cooks actually prepared the dishes. The critics reveal their choice for best-executed meal, and the winner is declared.