Q&A with Competitor Kendra Wilkinson — Worst Cooks in America: Celebrity Edition
Season 7 of Worst Cooks in America is a little bit more star-studded, as seven recruits from Tinseltown are joining the ranks of the culinarily challenged. Like in previous seasons, the recruits will be split into teams, but this time their coaches will be Anne Burrell and Rachael Ray. For one of these stars, getting through all six weeks of trying challenges will mean $50,000 for his or her charity and bragging rights for the star's mentor.
Not your average girl next door, Kendra Wilkinson came to fame as one of Hugh Hefner's girlfriends in the reality TV series The Girls Next Door. This former Playboy playmate has since gone on to star in the series Kendra and now Kendra on Top, which features her facing the realities of life as a mom and wife. She's also made guest appearances in TV series, including How I Met Your Mother, Curb Your Enthusiasm and Entourage. Other reality TV credits include Dancing with the Stars, Celebrity Wife Swap and Marriage Boot Camp. Kendra is the author of two books, Being Kendra and Sliding into Home.
Learn more about what home life is like for Kendra, and find out why she signed up for Boot Camp. Tune in for the premiere of Worst Cooks in America: Celebrity Edition on Wednesday, Sept. 23 at 9|8c.
How would you describe your cooking style presently?
Kendra Wilkinson: I'm definitely not patient enough. So, I'm very quick and easy, on-the-go. You know, I just look at food as fuel — and not fun.
Have there been any really good or really bad cooks in your life?
KW: I mean, the only person who cooked in my family growing up was my grandpa. Everybody else, you know, didn't care about cooking. They thought it was a waste of time. ... So I grew up eating my grandpa's food, but never cooking and never caring about it.
Is there something that has kept you from learning to cook all this time?
KW: I just never had the time to cook. ... I'm a big believer in cultural differences, and I think Southern California is a whole different place ... a lot different of a culture than you'd get in Arkansas. ... You know, you get places, like Michigan and like Minnesota, where it's snowed in, and you don't really have a lot to do, so why not cook? And why not have family over and make it a big fun thing? When in Southern California, where I grew up, my culture was to look ... at my house as a locker room and kind of eat the fuel and go. I was a big outdoors person. I never really sat around in the house. I hated sitting in the house — I still do. So cooking is the one thing that I've always been afraid of, and ... I just feel too claustrophobic doing it. ... I'd rather be outside enjoying the sun and playing sports and playing with my kids than being stuck inside.
KW: [sighs] I really hope to gain confidence from this competition. I have no confidence right now. ... I need to remember — I need to learn — that I have instincts. I need to learn not to second-guess myself, and that's with life itself. I just need to go with my heart and go with what I know, and put love into it, and just let that happen. ... I'm doing this because I do want to learn a new skill in my life. You know, I just turned 30, and I think now is the time to start learning different skills and to help my family out. ... And cooking's that one skill that I really want to learn how to do, because I am an all-organic person. I love healthy food, and I want to teach my kids healthy eating, and we're all about health in our family. So I just want to learn how to make things from scratch and not always rely on ... frozen processed foods.
Besides the show' s mentors, Anne and Rachael, is there a chef or food personality whom you admire?
KW: That's hard to say, because Rachael is it for me. Rachael's, like, my all. She is the only person I love to learn things from because she makes those 30-minute meals, and if I were to cook, that's all the time I would spend on cooking. So, I do want to learn that from her.
Does anything scare or intimidate you about being in the kitchen?
KW: The biggest thing that intimidates me about being in the kitchen is the safety. ... I'm a really slow cooker because I like to take my time and make sure that I'm not getting bacteria on anything, and making sure everything's safe, and I'm not rushing with the knives and stuff. ... And here, during this competition, you're timed. I don't even know what to do with myself when I'm timed. It's something that I've never had to really do and work with.
When you do go into the kitchen, what are some things you try to cook for yourself or others?
KW: When I go in the kitchen, the thing I try to cook is something that the kids want. ... Alijah, my daughter, can't talk yet, so she doesn't know what she wants, but my 5- year-old, he tells me what he wants, because the last thing I want to do is put something in front of him and [have] him just cry and scream. I just don't want to force my family to eat things they don't want to eat. I want to make something that is healthy and something that they will eat, and that's why I'm here. I really want to learn that, because all I know how to do is the basics. I know how to, you know, put green beans in a steamer and push "on." I know how to take some chicken and put it on a grill and just grill it up, put some salt and lemon on it. And, then, you know, salad ... I just know basics. And that is the healthiest way to be, but at the end of the day, my kids don't eat it. So, I really want to learn how to flavor up my food and really give them what they want.
What' s the worst kitchen disaster that you' ve had or the worst dish that you' ve made?
KW: The worst dish I've made would have to be Thanksgiving. Any Thanksgiving. Every Thanksgiving. [laughs] I just suck at Thanksgiving. I mean, to be honest with you, I think Thanksgiving is — sorry, I love the thought, I love Thanksgiving, because ... I'm very thankful for my family, but the food, I'm just not a fan of the food to start with. ... When I make anything Thanksgiving, it just falls apart. I don't put any love into it, and it tastes that way. And it's just, I mean, it's just a mess whenever I try Thanksgiving, so I just like to stay away and have, like, my in-laws cook it.
If you had a choice, who would do the cooking for you?
KW: Well, my husband already does the cooking for me. ... I like to try the food and be like, "Oh, this needs more salt." So it's easy, you know — I control him. [laughs] I don't like to do the work, but I like to do the controlling.
Is there something that we would never catch you eating?
KW: I don't eat seafood. That's the one thing that I haven't eaten [in] forever. You know, when I was little I did, but then I got chased with a lobster and then I heard it screaming at some point, and then I said: "That's it, I'm done. ... I'll never touch seafood again." And I haven't touched seafood. ... I do feel sad that I don't eat seafood sometimes, you know, because all my friends will be eating sushi, and ... [they'll say], "You don't eat sushi?" So I get kind of sad sometimes that I'm not, like, fitting in with the crowd eating seafood, so I would like to learn how to like it, but first I have to get over the fear.
Do you think this competition will sort of push your boundaries in eating seafood?
KW: I think this competition will definitely help me, push me a little bit more, and give me the strength to maybe try seafood. Because ... I trust Rachael Ray and Anne, and I think, you know, if they say the food's good, then the food's good.
What' s the most-memorable meal that you' ve ever eaten?
KW: This sounds very narcissistic, but I ate Thanksgiving in the jungle in Australia, and I'll never forget it. I mean, I'll never forget, you know, all my Thanksgivings and my memories with my kids and stuff, but [when] I was in Australia shooting the show I'm a Celebrity Get Me Out of Here, and that was a day that I won a competition, and they surprised me with ... Thanksgiving Day food. Even though it was a U.K. show, because I was sad, you know, I was in the jungle, like sad, like, "Oh, my family's celebrating Thanksgiving without me." But then they surprised me with, you know, turkey and all, like, natural food. ... I took that turkey and I took all the ingredients that they gave me ... and I had one pan. I had one pan on the fire to cook it in. So I took everything and I just dumped it all in a pan, and it was the best Thanksgiving meal I've ever had in my life that I cooked. So, it was the most-memorable moment, you know, of my life, because ... you can't even script something like this.
What' s a favorite dish that you remember from your childhood?
KW: My favorite dish that I used to have as a child was probably just stuff like chicken Parmesan and spaghetti. But ... I grew up in San Diego, and I love ... anything Mexican food. So enchiladas — I love enchiladas.
KW: I think the first thing I learned how to make was eggs, actually. It was scrambled eggs. I thought it was so cool when I first made some scrambled eggs. And I put milk in it. I thought I was so creative.
What' s your signature dish, one that you make most often for yourself or others?
KW: I used to have this special chicken piccata recipe that I used to make, but I had another kid ... and now I totally forget; it doesn't even exist in my mind anymore. So hopefully I can bring that back, because ... actually my favorite meal is chicken piccata. … I mean, you can't go wrong with chicken piccata: lemon and capers and wine. ... Those flavors are, like, my all-time favorite flavors.
KW: My guilty food is Mexican food. I will down ... so much guacamole. ... I'm all about guacamole and real enchiladas — real Mexican food. And tamales. ... Anything Mexican food. ... That's my heart and soul right there.
What' s the weirdest thing that we' d find in your fridge?
Which of the other celebrities do you want to take down?
KW: If I won Worst Cooks, which is a complete long shot for me, I mean, first I need to win each moment, each minute, before I can think about winning the competition, but if I did win the competition, I would cook a whole meal for my neighborhood — or my friends or something. ... I would cook a whole meal for my closest friends and have them over and just really prove to them that I do have what it takes to, you know, make a nice meal, because right now, no one has faith in me. No one. ... Everybody knows I can't cook. ... I've mentioned on the show, on my show, you know, everything. So everybody knows that being here, me being here, for a food competition, is a long shot for me to win. I mean ... there's zero faith. ... I want to be able to stay around long enough to learn and to really take home something that I've learned.