On tonight’s Rachael vs. Guy: Celebrity Cook-Off, for the first time ever, four celebrities competed in the finale for the title of RvG Champion and the prize of a $50,000 donation to the charity of their choice. After six weeks of honing their skills at a variety of cooking challenges, which included Medieval meals, Hawaiian luaus, supermarket product marketing, game-day foods and selling from a hot dog cart, the final four entered their most-difficult challenge yet. The celebrities were tasked with cooking a three-course meal for seven of the most-discerning celebrity chefs — and it all happened on a boat with one of the most-cramped kitchens. But the challenge wasn’t complete until they performed a presentation of their choosing. Who would show the judges that they could both cook a cohesive dinner and entertain effortlessly? FN Dish has the exclusive interview with the winner.
After each celebrity spent a mentoring session with their respective team leader, it was onto the cooking, in shifts. One by one Florence, Herschel, Penn and Tiffany had their chance to cook, luckily with the help of returning teammates Judy and Ice, who acted as their sous chefs.
For Team Rachael, Florence created an Italian Sunday supper that Sue Torres called playful. Penn, as the resident showman, cooked a Vegas-style menu and performed a danger-defying juggling act. For Todd English, it underlined what chefs are about these days: “Not only are we in the restaurant business, we’re in the entertainment business,” he said. For Team Guy, Herschel reached into his Georgian roots in creating a comfort food menu that Aarón Sánchez called “the essence of Southern cuisine.” Tiffany entertained the judges with an Italian dinner menu and song that Michael Psilakis praised for its storytelling.
In the end, Herschel Walker’s Southern menu proved to be a touchdown, winning him the title of champion and earning his charity, Patriot Support, $50,000.
What were your expectations coming into the show? And who did you think would be your biggest competition?
Herschel Walker: I really didn’t know what to expect coming into the show. I knew I could make a couple of Southern dishes. I was actually a bit nervous because owning a food company there was a lot of pressure on me. I thought my biggest competition would be Penn from watching him do other competitions, Florence because I have seen her on shows with cooking oils. Finally, Tiffany because she throws together a lot of dinner parties at her house.
Did you ever think you would win? Did you have any strategy from the beginning?
HW: Yes, I thought I would win! I enter every competition to win. My strategy was to stay focused and keep calm.
You’ve accomplished a lot in your life: winning the Heisman Trophy, playing for the Dallas Cowboys, Olympic bobsledding and even dancing ballet, among many other things. What role has cooking played in your life? And what made you decide to open a restaurant?
HW: Cooking has played a huge role in my life because working in the food industry I am exposed to chefs/cooking all the time. For this same reason, I opened a restaurant. I felt finding the right location with great food and a good management team would be a great marriage for success.
Your finale dinner was a true Southern menu that the judges loved. What was your tactic going into the finale by making such comforting dishes?
HW: I wanted to cook a dish that was true to my roots and cook something I was comfortable with.
Watching you cook, you always looked calm and focused. Where does that come from? How do you stay so in the zone?
HW: I have been in competitive situations all my life, and I learned from a lot of great coaches to stay calm under pressure.
What’s the most-important lesson you learned from your mentor Guy?
HW: The biggest thing I learned from Guy was don’t be afraid to take risks and try new things. He also taught me that I need to taste my food more when cooking versus trying to be so accurate with measurements.
What’s the most-valuable thing the competition has taught you, either about yourself or your skills as a cook?
HW: The most-valuable thing the competition gave me is greater confidence in my cooking. Guy taught me to step out of my comfort zone any don’t be afraid to try new things.
What has winning Rachael vs. Guy, Season 3 meant to you — and for your charity?
HW: It meant a great deal to me because I got the opportunity to win money for our wounded warriors along with improving my cooking skills.
Could you ever see yourself hosting a cooking show?
HW: Yes, I would love that because I have a renewed appreciation and passion for cooking.
Has it been hard keeping your win a secret?
HW: It was definitely hard because I do so many things. People are always asking me what I am up to next.
What will you be tackling next? What are you working on currently?
HW: Since the show, I have been working with my food company and continued support to military programs, in addition to starting a new venture, Cinsay — it is a first-ever patented video e-commerce platform.