Catching Up With Worst Cooks in America Season 1 Winner Rachel Coleman by Maria Russo in Shows, January 2nd, 2011
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Rachel Coleman was crowned “Best of the Worst” on Season 1 of Worst Cooks in America. A year later, she’s rocking it out in her home kitchen in Brooklyn.
Since winning Worst Cooks in America a year ago, how much do you cook at home?
RC: I now cook at home all the time! At this point it’s hard for me to even remember what I DID eat before, since now I cook at least five nights a week. I even cooked dinner for my roommate and 10 of her friends for her 30th birthday party; my roommates love having me around.
What’s your favorite dish to make?
RC: I love making chicken parmigiana. Another favorite of mine is pasticcio (a Greek lasagna). Lately I’ve been on a health kick and have been experimenting with making healthier foods; I made a really great dish a few weeks ago with Brussels sprouts.
Have you re-created any of your favorite dishes from the show (Chef Anne‘s recipes) at home?
RC: I’ve made the mac and cheese Chef Anne taught me many times since the show. I’ve also made my winning pork milanese. Lately I’ve been dreaming of the cacciucco we made during episode 1; I want to try that again.
Have you kept in touch with fellow contestants — or your Red Team leader, Anne Burrell?
RC: Everyone on both teams keeps in touch via Facebook. I’ve seen Jenny a few times since filming, too.
What was the best advice or tip Anne gave you?
RC: The best advice Chef Anne gave me was to READ THE ENTIRE RECIPE before cooking. I honestly think that (and being disorganized) was my biggest mistake pre-show; I wouldn’t know where I was going, so I’d get lost on the way there. Now I make sure I understand the entire recipe before starting.
What advice would you give to the Season 2 Worst Cooks before they start the competition?
RC: I’d tell them to just focus on every step and not get overwhelmed. It’s easy to think “This is impossible!” and get flustered and mess up. But to succeed they need to just keep moving forward and working with purpose.
What surprised you most about the experience?
RC: Before the show I hated onions, in all forms. I would order everything without onions. But after learning how to cook onions the right way on the show, now I start nearly everything I make with onions. I never in a million years would have imagined myself willingly adding onions to things.
Do people stop you and recognize you from the show?
RC: Yes! People have recognized me a lot. Once at a restaurant the manager even came over and gave me the celebrity treatment — free drinks, free appetizers — and I was there with my mom and a friend, who were both very impressed. Usually, though, someone at a party will say something like: “I know I know you from somewhere. Did we work together? Did we meet at another party?” And eventually they’ll figure out they just know me from TV.
Are you still working as a marketing website editor? Any big changes in your life since the show (other than your new cooking skills)?
RC: I’ve left my previous job, and I’m currently on a trip around the country, which you can read about on my blog, Pop Jew Bus Tour. When I return to Brooklyn I’m going to be pursuing a more exciting writing job.