Worst Cooks Exit Interview: Priscilla Harden by FN Dish Editor in Shows, January 17th, 2011
Why did you need or want to be on Worst Cooks in America?
I need to repay my husband for cooking every meal for us from the time we dated to the present. The last time I cooked him a meal was in 1979 while we were dating. For two days, I called everybody I knew, in and out of state, to get advice on how to cook the meat (beef tips), the vegetables (turnips, corn, green beans) and the rice. After I was done, I invited him over to my apartment for dinner. I noticed that he took his time eating, and afterwards, he thanked me and told me I didn’t have to cook for him ever again! I thought he was just being nice, but I could never get him to come over and eat again. So, for 31 years, my sweetheart has cooked every meal for our family, including holiday meals, even after working all day. I need to learn how to cook so I can cook for him in order to show him how much I have appreciated his kindness all these years.
What was the most valuable tip or piece of advice that you received from Chef Anne?
I learned that plating the food aesthetically was as important as seasoning and cooking it correctly, because if it looks good, then it probably tastes good.
What did you take away from the experience?
Being on Worst Cooks in America gave me enough confidence to lose my fears about the notion that I can’t learn how to cook. Although I have a long way to go, I am now inviting people over to our home to eat. Now I have enough confidence to quit saying I don’t like to cook, which allowed me to hide behind the fact that I could not cook! I actually go into the kitchen and experiment with cooking and I find myself having fun and enjoying it as well.
If you could have a do-over of the challenge that sent you home, what would you do differently?
Instead of taking so many notes as if I were journal-writing, I would jot down the bare essentials for prep, seasoning and time allotment for cooking each dish, and then proceed as if I got this!
When you presented your final dish, how did you feel about it?
When I presented my final dish, I felt awful! I seasoned the steak with the wrong seasoning. I used hot pepper instead of the correct seasoning. When Chef Anne tasted my meat, she spit it out and poured it into the trash can! I was embarrassed and I felt incompetent because I made mistakes that should not have been made, including the fact that I did not plate the food cleanly or properly!
What was the first dish or meal that you attempted to cook back at home after being eliminated? How did it go?
The first dish I attempted to cook after I was eliminated was a chicken. Although I cut myself while cutting it up, I had fun! I tried cutting up the chicken in the order that we were taught, but I abandoned the procedure along the way when I became confused. Still, I got it done. And, although I did not use a “thank you for coming bowl,” I used a “thank you for coming bag,” which aided me in keeping my area clean. Chef Anne would have been proud of me! Furthermore, I have to admit, I ignored Chef Anne’s rule about not using black pepper to season food and it tasted fairly good to me. I remembered to taste the food as I cooked it, and I added more salt as I needed it.
Will you continue to work on your culinary skills?
Yes, just this past Saturday, I cooked some chicken breasts, green beans, cabbage and sweet potatoes. And, for the first time, I did not cut myself.
What was your most memorable or funniest moment while shooting the show?
My most memorable moment happened during an interview. I was trying to pronounce the name of a food seasoning item, or maybe it was a vegetable, but, regardless, my pronunciation of the word was terrible. Not only could I not master pronouncing it, I told the person who was interviewing me that I didn’t know if it were something you poured or cut. He said it would be our little secret.