Worst Cooks in America Contestant Interview

“Worst Cook in America.” Now, THAT’s a loaded title! Even if you win, do you lose? Take a look at this exclusive interview our sister blog did with a Colorado woman. Why did she go on the show? Have her cooking abilities changed since she was on? Let’s find out.

What must it be like to go on TV, in front of the world, and compete as one of the “worst cooks in America”? We found out when we interviewed Bridget Praytor, from Colorado Springs, who is a contestant on the 2020 season of Food Network’s Worst Cooks in America. Bridget is a volley ball coach and single mom of five kids, ages 6-13 (including identical twins). It’s one thing to know, among family and friends, that you don’t cook well, but to go on TV about it? Let’s find out why Bridget did it and what the experience has been like.

Bridget Praytor is a Colorado resident and contestant on Food Network's Worst Cooks in America
Meet Colorado’s own Bridget Praytor, contestant on Food Network’s Worst Cooks in America. Photo courtesy Food Network.

InGoodTasteDenver: What made you want to enter this competition?
Bridget Praytor: I went on a date with a man who loved cooking and told me how his daughter and him loved to watch a show called Worst Cooks in America together on the Food Network.  I came home and told my 13 year old daughter that there was a show called Worst Cooks.  She laughed and said, “maybe you can learn how to cook.”

IGTD: What was the process for entering the competition? 
BP: I applied last January with a cooking demonstration and then got a call a week before filming in New York asking if I was still interested. Then got the call I was definitely invited on the show two days before flying out. 

IGTD: How long ago did you start filming? 
BP: The show was filmed in March 2019.

IGTD: Not many people want to own up to being a really bad cook – in what ways do you think you are one?

BP: One of the things I learned while being on the show is that there are a lot of home cooks that can make a meal, but have never really learned how to make food that is restaurant quality.  Going into this show, my kids just wanted me to make it past the first week because they have never seen me cook other than using the microwave – except for eggs and frozen cookies.  Also, I learned real fast that I was clueless when it came to flavor profiles or pairing flavors. 

IGTD: Would you say you lack the skills but really want to cook better? Or you just don’t really have the interest?
BP: In my life, I have always being so busy focusing on school, which I graduated with a BS in Business Management at 19 from Utah State, traveling around the US climbing the ranks in corporate America, competing in sports or raising 5 kids as a single parent, that I have never felt that I could add one more thing to my life.  I would love to learn how to cook family budget-friendly meals in a supportive, fun, engaging way. 

IGTD: What was your cooking background, i.e., did you cook with a relative growing up who was great or terrible?
BP: Growing up I was a year-round athlete and took classes. I was able to move out at 15, graduate high school early and lived off the dollar menu, ramen or peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. 

IGTD: How have you gotten through life so far without being a good cook?
BP: I’m so proud of my kids for all contributing to our family meals.  My kids are involved with so many sports, school and community events, that we are constantly busy.  On weekends we go to Sams Club or Costco and buy lots of fruits and vegetables as well as prepped meals for the week. 

IGTD: What’s the worst thing or biggest disaster that ever happened to you in the kitchen?
BP: Going into the show, I wouldn’t say I was the worst cook. But just with moving out at such a young age and trying to balance life, being a single parent of five amazing kids, and having always been on such a tight budget, when it comes to different types of food or preparing it, I am clueless. 

IGTD: What’s it like being in a competition overseen by Anne Burrell and Alton Brown who really, really know what they are doing? Is it intimidating to be a “bad cook” being judged by these really good cooks?
BP: The first episode was really stressful because no one wants to go home first.  When I was in the bottom two, the moment that cameras stopped rolling, a wave of emotion came over me.  The producers had to remind me this was just food and a comedy because I felt so guilty leaving my kids and being judged at something I knew so little about.  After that I made up my mind to focus and just be grateful instead of feeling like it was a competition. 

IGTD: How do you think you compared in “badness,” to the other contestants at the start of the show?
BP: So, walking into the show, I was intimidated because I felt like the other contestants had exposure to a lot of different foods through going out, their partners or parents cooking for them.  However, I’m so thankful for Mike Jones and Ryan Grovey who, I believe, were just as clueless as me.

IGTD: Do you feel like you learned a lot on the show, and will this knowledge make you want to keep improving and keep cooking?
BP: I am incredibly grateful for what Alton Brown and Chef Anne taught me on the show.  However, since everything was so new, I felt like every cook – I was focused on retaining the knowledge to just stay out of the bottom two. 

IGTD: With more knowledge under your belt, what’s your favorite thing to cook successfully now?
BP: Since I have been home in the last nine months, other than the microwave, I have cooked scrambled eggs three times.

IGTD: Obviously you know the outcome of the show but we don’t – yet. So, win or lose, what does it mean to you to have been on a Food Network show?
BP: I am incredibly grateful that Food Network selected me for an experience of a lifetime.  I met so many great personalities on the show that I would love to cook with again.  As a mom I think it would be incredible to have a show where amazing kid chefs come and teach me and past recruits family-friendly, quick meals starting with the basics and having a lot of fun in the kitchen.

IGTD: A lack of ability in one area usually means you’re really good in other areas. What are some things you think you’re really good at, since cooking isn’t one of them?
BP: I would say that I am really great at living out my personal mission statement.  Everyday is a successful day if I am around someone I love (including my friends or family), do something that makes me feel alive, make an association that makes me laugh and create a memory with a family member, friend or stranger.

The cast and contestants of Food Network's Worst Cooks in America.
The cast and contestants of Food Network’s Worst Cooks in America.

Back in 2014, we interviewed another Colorado contestant from a different Food Network Show, David Bondarchuck, of the Holiday Baking Championship. Find out what it was like for him. Colorado also had a contestant on Chopped. Listen to the podcast interview with Chef Shahin on our sister site, RealFoodTraveler.com. And read our interview with Daphne Brogdon, one of the most popular posts on E.A.T.!

Pin this interview with the Colorado contestant on Food Network's Worst Cooks in America.
Daphne Brogdon

Meet Daphne Brogdon of Daphne Dishes on Food Network

Daphne Brogdon

Daphne Brogdon, of “Daphne Dishes” on the Food Network

The new season of “Daphne Dishes” starts on June 7 on the Food Network! 

I was fortunate to be part of a group interview with the host of a new cooking show on the Food Network. Here’s what I learned about this funny and talented woman.

Daphne Brogdon has made her way into the TV chef world in a circuitous, but not completely unlikely way.  She has been a radio show host and producer, TV host, has done improv and standup comedy. Then she met her husband, Chef Mark Peel. “First it was just ‘isn’t this fun having a chef boyfriend and a chef husband and it’ll be fun to meet my girlfriends at the bar and we’ll eat and drink. And then when I had kids, I was like ‘he wasn’t kidding when said he was never home.’” A mother of two children, she felt some isolation and wanted to connect with other people so she started a “vlog” (video blog) called www.CoolMom.com and Momversation.

Then one day, an executive from the Food Network left her a message saying they wanted her to call them. “I do a lot of work for my husband so I assumed they wanted to talk to about him, but they wanted to talk to her. “I was very surprised when they said ‘we’ve been noticing your videos and we think you would fit really well on our channel.’”

“Daphne Dishes” is filmed in Brogdon’s house. The network offered her a set but she wanted to do it in her home to be with her children, who make appearances on the show and are quite used to being on camera, like their mother. “I’m not a private person and I was in stand up for seven years. I’m very much like ‘this is me warts and all’ so I guess, for good or bad, my kids get dragged into it.”

Throughout her career, Brogdon has had to deal with negative, hurtful comments. “I don’t have a thick skin,” she says. “You’re still human and you want everyone to like you but I never want to offend. When you’re in a public forum and serving the community, you have to listen to them. So I try not to personalize it.” Brogdon recalls an example of someone on social media saying she shouldn’t have used a chicken marinade the way she did because of salmonella. “I took a second because my first reaction was ‘well what do you know’ but then I waited and said ‘I did boil it and if you boil it it’s okay but I really appreciate that you’re noticing it and that you watch and of course you’re absolutely right that maybe it wasn’t explained enough.’”

Brogdon comes up with her recipes the same way she comes up with a joke. “I get a riff, like I kept thinking what if I stuffed a bunch of onions inside that pork? What would that be like? And then I’ll start playing around with it.” She frequently consults with her husband who will give her tips.

“When we were first together, I was intimidated to cook for him,” says Brogdon who admits it could still be very intimidating having a cooking show with a husband who is a chef. “It could be, if I didn’t have the sweetest most wonderful husband. And he gets it,” she says. “He’s a very secure person and he loves that I am happy and involved.” Brogdon says there are some times when she has to tell her husband to back off of the advice. “I’ll say ‘no that’s not what I’m after’ or he’s going more complex and I start hearing Calliope music. I’ve got to make it much simpler. Or I say ‘you could add that ingredient but our kids won’t eat it.’”

Brogdon can relate to parents dealing with picky eaters and often modifies meals to account for the kids’ different tastes. “I do modify. I’m not crazy. I pick my battles,” she says. “Let’s say I’m mixing up the rice (for a Mexican dish), I set some aside for them and then add the red pepper flakes for me and my husband.” She advises introducing kids to new things, a few at a time. For instance, she has introduced her kids to different, high quality cheeses. As an experiment, she prepared a box of macaroni and cheese and they hated it. “So, yay, victory, they wanted a real sharp cheddar cheese taste!” Now that her kids have gotten older (ages 5 and 9), Brogdon has taken to saying “This is it, I’m not making anything else. The old ‘I’m not a short order cook’ thing.”

Of her new life cooking on TV, she says, “It’s another performing platform and it’s a crackup because the two dumbest industries to go into are show business and restaurants and I’ve gotten into both.”

“Daphne Dishes” can be seen on The Food Network http://www.foodnetwork.com/

Daphne shared one of her favorite recipes with the E.A.T. blog:

The Best Cauliflower Ever

Recipe courtesy of Daphne Brogdon

4 tablespoons olive oil

1/2 large head or 1 small head cauliflower, cut into florets

Salt and fresh ground pepper

3 cloves garlic, chopped

1 roasted red pepper, seeded and chopped

2 tablespoons soft tofu

1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

2 tablespoons breadcrumbs

1 tablespoon sesame seeds

Heat 3 tablespoons of the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the cauliflower florets and season with salt and pepper. Cook until the cauliflower begins to brown and soften, about 12 minutes, stirring every few minutes.

While the cauliflower is cooking, heat the remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil in a medium skillet over medium-low heat. Add the garlic and saute until softened, 1 minute. Add the roasted red pepper and saute for another few minutes, until heated through. Transfer to a blender or mini-chopper and blend. Add the tofu and some salt and pepper and puree until smooth.

Add the puree and the red pepper flakes to the cauliflower and cook for 1 minute. Stir in the breadcrumbs and sesame seeds and cook another minute. Transfer the cauliflower to a serving dish and serve.

Yield: 4 servings Active Time: 30 minutes Total Time: 30 minutes http://www.foodnetwork.com/videos/daphne-dishes-it-out-0232102.embed.html