For one night only, the Chopped Kitchen will turn into a celebrity playground as four television stars take their places at the stove and cook against the clock in three rounds of Chopped competition. Teri Hatcher, Anthony Anderson, Antonio Sabato Jr. and Dawn Wells will face off in the first-ever Celebrity Holiday Bash on Sunday, Dec. 1 at 10pm/9c, and in the spirit of the season, they’ll find holiday-themed ingredients in each of their baskets. While these all-stars may be after personal culinary vindication and lasting bragging rights in the kitchen, they’re also competing for charity, and the winner will ultimately be able to donate $10,000 to the organization of his or her choice.
To prepare for this all-star extravaganza, FN Dish is introducing you to each of the celebrities. Today we’re shining the spotlight on Dawn Wells, a former Miss Nevada who went on to play Mary Ann on Gilligan’s Island. Read on below to hear from Dawn, learn about her experience in the kitchen, and find out her favorite food city to visit, late-night snack and more. Then tune in on Sunday at 10pm/9c to watch Dawn, Anthony, Antonio and Teri compete on the Celebrity Holiday Bash.
What’s your background in cooking?
Dawn Wells: I’m just a home cooker. I’m not a fancy cooker. I’m not a baker. My mother is half German, half Italian. My mother could cook anything at any time, so I grew up with it. Not particularly recipes. My mother and I did a cookbook together years ago. There’s three or four recipes that I hold onto.
Do you cook for yourself or your family on a regular basis?
DW: I really kind of either cook for a party or just for myself.
What’s your favorite thing to cook?
DW: A couple salads. I’m a salad eater. And I do a crab salad and I do … a cabbage salad that I think is really good. And I do a thing called weenie linguini from my cookbook that has nothing to do with hot dogs.
What’s the best and worst thing you’ve eaten from craft service?
DW: Well in Gilligan’s Island, we had an Italian Gino who did [craft service], and on Friday night, whatever it was — whether it was squid or whether it was linguini or whatever it was.— his craft service was it.
What dish or ingredient will we never catch you eating?
What was your most memorable meal? What, where, who? Details, please!
DW: The most-memorable meal, and I’ve never forgotten it, was I think when the Four Seasons opened here. I love liver. And they did a slice of liver, a slice of avocado, a slice of liver, a slice of avocado. And then they put the brown sauce over it. And the textures of the avocado and the liver are the same, and one is cold and one is hot. And then for dessert it was violets in the snow, and it was cotton candy with crystalized-sugar violets in it, and I’ll never forget the presentation and how it tasted.
What’s your favorite cookbook?
DW: Well, I think it was a Better Homes and Gardens or something years ago where it tells you every portion, how to decorate a table — [one] that you should give every bride. And my mother and I did a cookbook together, and it’s all three generations of my family, so that’s my favorite, I guess.
What’s your favorite “food city” to visit?
DW: New York City
What’s your favorite late-night snack?
DW: Protein. I’m a meat eater. Leftover cold liver for breakfast, leftover cold steak or something.
What’s one must-have at your last supper?
DW: Mayonnaise. I can’t live without mayonnaise. Mayonnaise is it. Mayonnaise on everything.
Rapid fire: Think fast!
Ketchup or mustard? Mayonnaise
Chocolate or vanilla? Vanilla
Coffee or tea? Chai Tea
Burger or hot dog? Burger
Cream cheese or butter? Butter
Soda or water? Water
Sprinkles or jimmies? Neither one