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NEW YORK — A Banner Elk native will be competing on the upcoming season of Worst Cooks in America featured on the Food Network.

According to the Food Network, lifelong North Carolina resident and Appalachian State alumna Amber Leverette participates on the show.

“As a successful bartender at Weaverville’s Twisted Laurel, Amber can whip up any kind of drink — but she knows she is a hot mess in the kitchen,” stated show organizers. “She’s ruined Thanksgiving for three years straight and is ready to make a change for her kids. She is also recently engaged and would love nothing more than to learn how to cook before she walks down the aisle.”

Worst Cooks in America premiered on Sunday, Jan. 3, and featured Chef Carla Hall facing off against Chef Anne Burrell to see who can transform their team of kitchen disasters into culinary masters as they battle their way through a rigorous kitchen boot camp.

From a farm-themed showdown to a “Meal or No Meal” game show and lumberjack pancake stack race, the challenges are tougher and more outrageous than ever. In the end, only the recruit who makes the most impressive culinary transformation wins the $25,000 grand prize and bragging rights for their team mentor.

According to the Food Network, Hall and Burrell welcome 14 “horrible” cooks to boot camp the premiere episode — one of which is Leverette. For the first challenge, the two chefs have the recruits make their favorite horrendously homemade dishes to show off their cooking chops, or lack thereof.

The two chefs then pick teams and for the main challenge, the recruits are tasked with replicating Asian takeout dishes. The recruits on each team with the worst dishes are sent home and the rest move on to cook another day. Upcoming episodes include a farm-to-table challenge, all-seafood skill drill and a fast-paced game all about breakfast.

In the finale at 9 p.m. on Sunday, Feb. 28, the two most improved recruits put all their newly learned culinary skills to the test to impress a panel of food experts. Judges Adrienne Cheatham, JJ Johnson and George Mendes taste the dishes in a blind taste test and determine the winner of the $25,000 grand prize.

Fans can meet the new recruits, get exclusive cooking tips, and take an extended look at Hall and Burrell’s Boot Camp demos with the digital companion series Extra Helping. For more information, click to

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