Exclusive Interview with the Runner-Up of Worst Cooks Celebrity Edition

Get the exclusive interview with the runner-up of Worst Cooks in America: Celebrity Edition.

Mentor Anne Burrell and recruit Nicole Sullivan of the red team and mentor Rachael Ray and recruit Loni Love of the blue team await the judges' decision during the final elimination, as seen on Food Network's Worst Cooks in America, Season 9.

Photo by: Jason DeCrow ©2016, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Jason DeCrow, 2016, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Not everyone can be a winner, but on Worst Cooks in America: Celebrity Edition, both Loni and Nicole were winners just for making it to the finale. After weeks of difficult cooking challenges, the ladies showed they could cook like the best of them. Going into the finale, they represented their mentors Rachael and Anne in one last cook-off. If Anne won, it would mean another season with an unbroken record. But for Rachael it would mean her first win. Determining the outcome came down to a blind tasting by a panel of experts, who tried all three courses from both recruits before awarding the winner $50,000 for her chosen charity.

Mentor Anne Burrell and recruit Nicole Sullivan of the red team react after Sullivan was eliminated during the final elimination, as seen on Food Network's Worst Cooks in America, Season 9.

Photo by: Jason DeCrow ©© 2016, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Jason DeCrow, © 2016, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Nicole cooked her way to the top in many challenges, and eventually was picked by Anne to represent her in the finale. Even though she had a successful practice cook with Anne's restaurant-style menu, in the final cook Nicole overcooked her entree chicken and oversalted her sauce enough to make the judges question the success of the dish. In the end they loved Loni's Southern flavors more and awarded her the win. Although Nicole doesn't leave with the prize, she leaves with an experience she won't soon forget, and a set of skills that have set her up for life.

How was everything for you today?

Nicole Sullivan: You know what it was? It was really, really fun. Like, Chef Anne said yesterday that we’re going to have fun, and then last night I was going over my notes and I was freaking out, and I was like, “This is going to be horrible, I don’t know what I’m doing, I don’t know what order to do stuff in.” And then when I got here today, we just started having fun and … I mean, we laughed so hard today.

Nicole Sullivan of the red team as cooks during the final elimination challenge, as seen on Food Network's Worst Cooks in America, Season 9.

Photo by: Jason DeCrow ©2016, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Jason DeCrow, 2016, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

How was your practice cook the other day? Was there anything you were worried about, any dish that you had concerns about?

NS: I was super-stressed about scooping the potatoes. I was stressed about killing the lobster a little bit. It went well yesterday, and then today he was all not into getting into that bucket, and I was like, "Dude, lo siento mucho, but I got to put you in." And, ironically, what I’m always stressed about is overcooking my chicken, and I overcooked my chicken. I was like, “Son of a —.”

How was your mindset this morning? Did you have a winning mentality coming in, or were you more nervous?

NS: This was the least nervous of any day I’ve been here. Perhaps it showed in my cooking that I overcooked stuff and salted stuff too much, but I was honestly more relaxed than I’ve been for any one of the challenges.

Do you think there’s a reason for that?

NS: I’m just really proud of myself for getting here, and I love Loni so much, and I know that the money’s going to go to one of two really good charities. And when Chef Anne told me yesterday that she just wanted me to have fun and I got here I was like, "You know what? That’s what I’m going to do."

Mentor Anne Burrell watches over Nicole Sullivan of the red team as she cooks during the final elimination challenge, as seen on Food Network's Worst Cooks in America, Season 9.

Photo by: Jason DeCrow ©2016, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Jason DeCrow, 2016, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

What was your proudest dish?

NS: My pasta, because yesterday Chef Anne said, “I don’t know that I could have even made your pasta better,” and I was like, "Oh my God." For her to say that, because she’s the queen of pasta, I was beyond thrilled.

You had fun with making pasta in the last challenge, with the pea-filled pasta?

NS: I mean, pasta’s my new jam, it turns out. I’m all about my pastas. … I can do it in 20 minutes or less.

Is there one dish that you were really worried about getting those comments from the judges?

NS: You know, yesterday I was more stressed about my first dish, because to me yesterday it didn’t taste that flavorful, and so I was like, "Oh, are they going to be like, ‘It’s cute, but I don’t taste anything’?" So, I asked [Anne] about it and she gave me some tweaks to it, so then I wasn’t stressed about that. And then the third dish yesterday went really well, but I always stress about overcooking meat.

Mentor Anne Burrell gives Nicole Sullivan of the red team a final pep talk before the final elimination challenge, as seen on Food Network's Worst Cooks in America, Season 9.

Photo by: Jason DeCrow ©2016, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Jason DeCrow, 2016, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

What do you take away from this entire experience?

NS: I’ve loved Rachael Ray for so many years, like I’m borderline obsessed, and Chef Anne — I love watching the show, but I thought, "Oh I don’t do well with tough love, she and I won’t —" and it’s just not tough love. … What I took away from this show is that Chef Anne cares so deeply about teaching people how to cook food and to love cooking food that, like, I don’t know what that kind of teaching brain is, but my parents were both teachers, so I recognize it, and she’s got it. That’s her goal in life, to teach other people how to do really yummy food.

Do you think after this you’ll be spending much more time in the kitchen? Cooking up some of these recipes maybe?

NS: Well, as long as I don’t make a mess … my husband stopped letting me cook, because I made too much of a mess every time, so now that I can mise en place and clean up as I go, I think he’ll be a lot more thrilled to have me cooking in the kitchen. So, yes.

What was the camaraderie like here, with all the celebs? How’d you guys get along?

NS: There was not a day that we didn’t have the best time. Like, they started off by thinking … "Oh, they’re against each other," but that was never even one, never even happened for a second on our show. I loved my Red Team so much. I loved everyone on it. Just awesome.

Did you ever think that you’d make it this far, all the way to the finale?

NS: Before I got here I thought I was going to make it, because I saw last season. I thought, "Well, I’m much better than them," but then I got here and realized, "Oh no," and then I thought I was going out week 1 or 2. So, I didn’t think that once I got here.

Mentors Anne Burrell and Rachael Ray look on as Nicole Sullivan of the red team and Loni Love of the blue team celebrate after completing a practice cook their finale menus, as seen on Food Network's Worst Cooks in America, Season 9.

Photo by: Jason DeCrow ©2016, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Jason DeCrow, 2016, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

What do you have to say to Loni?

NS: Oh my God! Lonikins, she’s just a doll. We laughed so much. She’s so much fun, and she really, like, she dug in deep. She didn’t have a lot of experience, and she just stayed the course and polished it off, and I tasted her food and I thought it was delicious.

After this, after this day, what are you going to do next?

NS: I’m not going to set my alarm for 6:30 a.m. That’s tomorrow’s main project. I get back to my family — I have two little boys and a husband — and I got Little League this weekend, so right back in the grind.

Keep Reading

Next Up

Exclusive Interview with the Season 10 Winner of Worst Cooks in America

Get the exclusive interview with the Season 10 winner of Worst Cooks in America.

Exclusive Interview with the Latest Celebrity Worst Cook to Be Eliminated from the Red Team

Get the exclusive interview with the latest celebrity eliminated on Worst Cooks in America: Celebrity Edition.

Exclusive Interview with the Winner of Worst Cooks Celebrity Edition

Get the exclusive interview with the winner of Worst Cooks in America: Celebrity Edition.

Exclusive Interview with the Latest Celebrity Worst Cook to Be Eliminated from the Blue Team

Get the exclusive interview with the latest celebrity eliminated on Worst Cooks in America: Celebrity Edition.