Get out your barf buckets! Food Network's Worst Cooks in America will return Sunday, Jan. 4 (9/8c) for its sixth season of gustatory ghastliness, but Chef Anne Burrell — the no-baloney host and top judge — still holds out hope for a miracle. Really!
TV Guide Magazine: How do you know that some of these kitchen nightmares you're coaching aren't faking their ineptness just to get on TV?
Burrell: Many do try to scam us but we put them through rigorous tests and weed them out so they don't get into the competition — like the lady who claimed she likes to cook with dog food. Are you kidding me? That actually made me mad. It insulted my intelligence.
TV Guide Magazine: So what's everybody else's excuse?
Burrell: Those who get on the show are just clueless, lovable losers, like the guy who tried to make a grilled cheese by putting the cheese directly on the damn grill. He was genuinely shocked at the outcome.
TV Guide Magazine: Could you personally survive the boot-camp aspect of this show?
Burrell: We put the recruits through an extremely grueling total immersion for three weeks, where they're living with strangers, sleeping in bunk beds, sharing bathrooms. For me, that would be a deal breaker.
TV Guide Magazine: You're the one constant since Worst Cooks hit the air and you're now on your fourth male opponent chef, Tyler Florence. Uh, what's up with that?
Burrell: Hey, they keep giving me dudes to run right over, which is fine with me! I feel bad for 'em. There is no way to mentally prepare yourself for this show.
TV Guide Magazine: Has anybody who won the $25,000 grand prize shown any actual professional promise?
Burrell: No. [Laughs]. I'm not worried about anyone taking my place in the culinary world anytime soon. But I would be thrilled if that was the case! I take great pride in being a teacher, and it's so delightful to see some of these terrible cooks start to gain a little traction. You see the synapses connecting and they begin to ask intelligent questions and you realize they're not so hopeless after all. If any of them decided to go on to culinary school, I would feel like such a proud mom! But, so far, no luck.
TV Guide Magazine: The people with sanitary issues are especially chilling.
Burrell: There was one girl who gave her baby daddy food poisoning from chicken, so he dumped her. Now she's so scared she'll poison somebody else she washes her chicken in antibacterial soap. That's why I never feel bad about making fun of anyone on this show. They know they suck.
TV Guide Magazine: Ever gotten sick?
Burrell: Fortunately, never. [Laughs] But Pepto-Bismol should give me a deal.
After a day on the set of Worst Cooks, Burrell really needs a drink! This is one of her favorites, from her 2013 cookbook Own Your Kitchen: Recipes to Inspire & Empower, which uses prosecco, a sparkling white wine from the Veneto region of Italy, and Aperol, an Italian orange-rhubarb liqueur. "I like to call it big-girl soda," Burrell says. "It's cheap and cheerful...like me!"
Chef Anne Sparkler
1 ounce Aperol
5 ounces prosecco
Fill a large wine glass about halfway with ice cubes. Add the Aperol, then the prosecco. Top with a twist.