Her run is over, but Pittsboro’s Dr. Lulu Boykin’s fun sure wasn’t.
Boykin was a contestant on season 18 of The Food Network’s “Worst Cooks in America” until this past …
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PITTSBORO — Her run is over, but Pittsboro’s Dr. Lulu Boykin’s fun sure wasn’t.
Boykin was a contestant on season 18 of The Food Network’s “Worst Cooks in America” until this past Sunday, when she was eliminated at the end of the sixth episode of the show’s 18th season.
“Worst Cooks” pits contestants who boast terrible cooking skills against each other to see who, with the guidance of the show’s chef-hosts Anne Burrell and Alton Brown, can be transformed into a skilled chef. Each week, the worst performing contestant on one of two teams is sent home. In the final episode, the lone “worst cook” standing will receive $25,000.
This week’s episode, entitled “Opposites Attract,” focused on “unlikely” combinations of ingredients. The show opened with a game where each contestant “punched” through a thin wall to grab an ingredient then had to rush to pair it with an “unlikely ingredient.” For example, for the contestants that grabbed peanut butter, the correct “unlikely ingredient” pairing was pickles. Boykin, who said she wanted to “win, win, win for the red team,” correctly paired meat with blueberries — a sweet and savory combination.
The teams were then given a crash course in pizza-making before being challenged to make their own pizzas with one of the “unlikely duos” from the game. Boykin, who chose ham and blueberries for her pizza, was gleeful about the prospect, saying, “It’s creative time.”
But Burrell was not enthused about Boykin’s enthusiasm.
“Hold on one second, Lulu, cause you’re going off the deep end,” Burrell said. “You need to edit yourself. It’s just going to taste like a mess.”
“I just see her grabbing way too many ingredients,” Burrell said into the camera. “When I talk to her about it she just seems to go get more ingredients.”
“Already I’m in trouble,” Boykin responded. “But I’m having such a good time. Party!”
As she finalized her pizza by dicing mint to top it, Boykin said, “This is going to brighten it up and make it delicious and unexpected.”
When she presented her pizza, Burrell seemed surprised, noting that Boykin’s pizza was “nicely constructed” and her dough looked “really good.”
“I’ve never had a pizza with blueberries on it,” Burrell said. “But when you get a piece with all the stuff on it, it really works.”
For the final challenge of the episode, the contestants were charged with replicaitng a dish pairing pork with fruit in one hour’s time. Throughout the challenge, Boykin hummed and sang as she prepared her dish, a pork tenderloin with mashed sweet potatoes and a mango sauce.
“I never made pork, but I love eating pork,” Boykin said. “Mother Goose says the three little piggies. I say ‘yum, yum yum and yummy!’”
As Boykin sang her way through the challenge, Burrell often scolded her, concerned that Boykin wouldn’t finish in time. At one point Burrell shouted, “Lulu, you need to be plating!”
When Boykin presented her plate, Burrell again complimented her dish, the doneness of her meat and its flavor, except for heavy salt and cayenne in the sweet potatoes. At the same time, Burrell said that if she “hadn’t been coaching” Boykin, Burrell was not sure she would have finished on time.
In the end, that was the final straw in deciding that it was time for Boykin to go home.
“I loved having you on my team,” Burrell said. “You’ve been delightful.”
Burrell said Boykin “put heart and soul” into every task while being “fun and flamboyant” as she wished her farewell.
“I don’t want to go,” Boykin said. “I wanna stay because I’ve been having too much fun.”
“This experience was amazing, magical and made me proud of myself because I didn’t think I’d ever learn to cook,” she later said.
If you missed this episode, it will air again at 2 p.m. on Sunday, Feb. 16. The next episode, “Amore Sucre,” will air at 9 p.m. on Sunday, Feb. 16 on The Food Network. Six more contestants are competing to be the “Worst Cook in America.”
Reporter Casey Mann can be reached at CaseyMann@Chathamnr.com.