Hundreds of terrible home cooks came out for the nationwide auditions, but only 16 of the country's worst home cooks travel to New York City to compete in a culinary Boot Camp run by Food Network chefs Anne Burrell and Robert Irvine. For the first Skill Drill, the recruits have 60 minutes to prepare a dish from scratch, and after sampling the terrible cooking, each chef chooses a team of eight for the other chef to teach. For the first Main Dish Challenge, the recruits must butcher a whole chicken and replicate an entree as taught by their chef. Things get fiery, and the competition heats up as the least successful cook on each team is eliminated.
Awakened by a live chicken in their penthouse, the 14 remaining recruits take a field trip to a farm where Chefs Anne and Robert challenge them to prepare the perfect omelet for their Skill Drill. Back at Boot Camp, in the Main Dish Challenge, both chefs demonstrate a pork dish, and each recruit participates in a step of the demo. Halfway through prep, the chefs surprise the recruits by taking away their notebooks. To finish the task, the recruits must rely on their own memory and each other. After mixed results, the two worst cooks are eliminated.
To build the recruits' understanding of flavor, Chefs Anne and Robert set out three sauces for each team to replicate by taste alone in hopes of winning the honor of "top taste buds". Each chef then incorporates one of the sauces into a seafood dish, and their team members must recreate the recipe for the Skill Drill. After some difficulties, the recruits start in on the Main Dish Challenge where Chefs Anne and Robert demo a multi-component "Frozen Meal Makeover" using fresh and flavorful ingredients for the recruits to replicate. After sampling the results, two more worst cooks must turn in their aprons and leave Boot Camp.
The recruits arrive in a park for a burger grilling Skill Drill, and when Chefs Anne and Robert encourage them to put their own spin on this classic, some cooks struggle to find inspiration. The chefs choose the most creative burger after a blind taste test, and reveal a "Chef Advantage"- the chef whose recruit wins the Skill Drill gets to trade a team member. The next day at Boot Camp for the Main Dish Challenge, the recruits must execute elegant meals for two, sit down to eat with their chef, and defend their dishes. The losing recruits are eliminated.
At midterm time, Chefs Anne and Robert want to see how the recruits perform without supervision. Via video message, the chefs assign their teams a scrambled recipe for the Skill Drill. Each team works together to unscramble the recipe and cook the dish while the chefs secretly watch their attempt on closed circuit TV. For the Main Dish Challenge, the chefs shock their recruits with the news that they must cater an hors d'oeuvre party for NFL star Kris Jenkins, his wife, and 30 of their guests! It's game time, and the two least successful cooks are cut.
The remaining six recruits attempt to conquer intimidating ingredients when they visit The Meat Hook, a New York butcher shop, where they learn to make a sausage meal from scratch for their Skill Drill. Back at Boot Camp, the recruits face their seafood fears in the Main Dish Challenge. Each cook must clean and prep a squid or whole fish for an entrée and make a side dish that features the recruit's least favorite ingredient. The competition narrows as two more worst cooks leave the competition.
The final four compete in a "Culinary Decathlon" Skill Drill to test their knowledge thus far. Then, the chefs teach their recruits a complicated dessert technique featuring a flambé presentation. For the Main Dish Challenge, some special guests arrive for the recruits as their loved ones reveal a favorite dish for them to prepare. The recruits must then make that dish using a recipe written by their chef and serve the flambé dessert tableside. After the tasting, each chef decides who will advance to the final challenge.
The final two recruits face their toughest challenge yet: to prepare a three-course meal in a real restaurant kitchen for a panel of demanding gourmands. Chefs Anne and Robert devise a menu, send the recruits shopping for ingredients, and then help their recruit practice the menu for three short hours. The next day, the recruits find themselves at New York's famed Tribeca Grill, where they must cook for three culinary experts: Marc Murphy, Donatella Arpaia, and Drew Nieporent. After much deliberation, the panel reveals its choice for the best-executed meal. The winner receives $25,000 and bragging rights that they are no longer one of the Worst Cooks in America.