How a vanilla chicken sends its creator to prime time
Worst Cooks in America turns hopeless cooks into confident kitchen mavens. The hit primetime competition series returns for a third season with a secret weapon from the Houston area, Dorothy Strouhal. Working under the undefeated series champion, Anne Burrell, Strouhal and her teammates compete against another team of horrible cooks led by superstar Chef Bobby Flay. For eight weeks, Sunday evenings on the Food Network will make even the shakiest of chefs feel good about their kitchen prowess.
How does one earn the distinction as one of America’s worst cooks? Your husband nominates you, of course. Producers came to H-Town to interview Dorothy’s husband, Jimmy. He shared several stories including her vanilla chicken story. When they were first married, Dorothy watched a baking TV show where she heard vanilla tastes good with everything. So, she proceeded to include the sweet ingredient in her chicken batter. “It wasn’t bad,” she says. “It was just confusing.” She has also given him food poisoning twice and put him in the hospital once. She now understands the relationship between temperature and amount of time out of refrigeration.
For most of their twenty-year marriage, Jimmy has done the cooking. “I cooked also,” she says. “It just wasn’t good.”
When she arrived in New York, she prepared her vanilla chicken for the judges. It was bad enough to earn her a spot on Chef Anne Burrell’s team. Burrell’s team has never been defeated. “I see why,” says Strouhal. “Wow! She is tough and doesn’t hold any punches.” Her teaching techniques are really simple, memorable and easily applicable. “She’s good,” comments Dorothy. “She ‘teaches stupid’ is what I call it.”
When Dorothy found out she had been selected for the show, she flew to New York. She had not done any preparations. “I did try to watch the show on line, but it made me too nervous,” she says. And, when she arrived onset, she found herself in a big kitchen. “I didn’t know where anything was; and I didn’t know what half the items were.” The first challenge was to make breakfast eggs, pancakes and bacon. “Who knew that you could make eggs more than scrambled?” She asks.
At press time, she could not reveal the show’s outcome. She did say the show is good for some laughs. “You will have a good time watching us scurry like rats.”
Dorothy says participating on this show was a great experience. “I learned the basic skills you need to prepare a meal,” she says. She now enjoys cooking for her family. As a change, they enjoy it too.
Worst Cooks in America airs Sunday evenings on the Food Network.