Meet Worst Cooks Celebrity Recruit Kenya Moore, Reality Star and Entrepreneur
For Season 9, Worst Cooks in America has invited nine celebrities who can't cook to take on the challenges of Boot Camp. Mentors Rachael Ray and Anne Burrell have lots in store for these unsuspecting individuals. In their daily lives, they're comics, TV actors and reality stars, but when it comes to the kitchen, they're disasters waiting to happen. Tune in to the premiere on Wednesday, Sept. 14 at 9|8c to see the bumbling hilarity unfold. Every day leading up to the premiere, we'll be revealing a star contestant on FN Dish. Today it's TV personality and businesswoman Kenya Moore.
Kenya wears many hats as an actress, model, producer, author, director, television personality and entrepreneur. She currently stars in the Bravo series The Real Housewives of Atlanta and has appeared on The Celebrity Apprentice. Originally from Detroit, the former psychology major left Michigan with fierce drive and determination to build her own unique brand. After being crowned Miss USA, Kenya went on to act alongside many A-list celebrities. Now she's involved in many business ventures, including her production company, Moore Vision Media, and her newest project, Kenya Moore Hair Care. Kenya enjoys writing, traveling and hitting the gym, and she never passes up an opportunity to speak her mind, but the one thing she hasn't had time for is cooking. She signed up for Worst Cooks to get whipped into shape by Anne Burrell or Rachael Ray. Read on to find out more about Kenya.
How would you describe your cooking style presently?
Kenya Moore: You know, I don’t know if I have a style. I just like anything that’s highly flavored, and I’m a sauce queen. I love anything with sauce.
What made you sign up for Worst Cooks? What do you plan to gain from this competition?
KM: Well, the obvious is you can win money for your charity, you’re guaranteed to win money for your charity, and I try to give back whenever possible. And for me personally, I just want to become a better cook, and I am such a huge fan of Rachael that when I heard she was involved, I’m like, "Sign me up." ... I fanned out immediately.
Is there anything that makes you nervous about competing?
KM: It makes me nervous to be judged by people that I hold in such high esteem like Rachael. To be judged by her, because she’s my food idol, you know, and I just love everything about her: her personality, how simple she makes things look. She’s a sweet, sweet woman, and she’s Southern, or you know, her roots are from the South, so I just kind of identify with her there. So, yeah, that's a little nerve-racking, because I’m a fan.
Besides Anne or Rachael, is there a chef or a food personality you admire?
KM: Well, Emeril. I like Chef Bourdain too. I think he’s kind of ballsy and straightforward, and I watch his [Travel Channel] show where he goes all around the world.
After this competition, what cooking skill level would you like to reach?
KM: Oh, the highest. You know, I’m very competitive. ... If I’m going to be in it, I want to be here to win, and I want to be here to be the best that’s here.
Have there been any really good or really bad cooks in your life? Do you think that had an effect on you?
KM: You know what, my grandmother, one of my grandmothers. I had two grandmothers growing up: One was from Louisiana, and one was from Virginia. The one from Louisiana, everything was impeccable. Everything was highly seasoned and flavorful and just Creole this and Cajun that, and my other grandmother from Virginia, you could just close your eyes and everything tasted the same. She didn’t use any seasoning; it was just food. So, no one would ever brag about her cooking ever.
Is there something that’s prevented you from getting into the kitchen more or doing more cooking?
KM: My lifestyle. You know, I’m just a really busy woman; I’m a businesswoman first and foremost. In addition to being a television personality, I run, like, three or four businesses, and it’s just time management. By the time I get home, I don’t want to spend another two hours in the kitchen cooking. That’s why really a Crock-Pot has become my best friend sometimes. I’ll just throw stuff in the Crock-Pot and put it on eight hours. By the time I come home, I have a meal, and I don’t have to worry about fast food and things like that or restaurants. I don’t want to be bothered.
What's your most-loved or most-hated kitchen tool or appliance?
KM: I just don’t get along with knives. You know, I just don’t get along with dull knives, sharp knives — I just don’t get along with knives.
What are some of the foods you like to eat? Do you have a guilty pleasure food?
KM: I like anything sushi — rolls, sashimi. I mean, I’m just, like, a sushi girl. I love anything fish. I’m really a pescatarian. So, I don’t like meat. I don’t like steaks. I rarely like chicken. I think anything with fish, lobster, crab — my favorite.
Is there something that we’d never catch you eating?
KM: Chitlins. Chitterlings. Some people say "chitlins." You will not catch me dead with a chitlin anywhere near my mouth.
If you could eat only one thing for the rest of your life, what would it be and why?
KM: Fish, just because I just love all the flavors and textures and the meatiness of it or the flakiness of it, how well it takes seasoning. So, yeah, any fish.
What’s a favorite dish you remember from your childhood?
What’s the first dish you learned to make? How did it turn out?
KM: Probably hot dogs, like everyone else. So, maybe hot dogs? That’s all I can remember. ... Like, literally, you boil them first, and then you kind of fry them in a pan.
What is the weirdest thing that we'd find in your fridge if we were to open it today?
KM: Dog food. I have open cans of dog food. I don’t eat it, but my dogs eat it.
When you get into the kitchen, what are some of the things you cook? Do you have a signature dish?
What’s the worst kitchen disaster you’ve had or the worst dish you’ve made?
KM: At home I had to cook something and I asked someone to fill a deep fryer, and they filled the deep fryer, and I put the chicken in the deep fryer to find out that they filled it with water. So the whole time I was thinking it was cooking in oil, but it ended up being water. So, that was a disaster.
What’s the most-memorable meal that you’ve ever eaten? Tell us about the place, the people you were with and the meal you ate.
KM: You know, honestly, I have had some great food in my life. There’s a restaurant that I love in California [called Mastro's] and they have this shrimp — sauteed shrimp thingamajig. I don’t know what they put in it ... because, like, you want to just come back and just eat it all the time. I can’t stop eating it. But it’s sauteed shrimp, and it has these big beautiful pieces of bread and just in this beautiful sauce. It’s amazing. And then of course I finish it out with crab legs, and they have this beautiful garlic butter, and then for dessert they have this butter cake that you have never tasted anything like this in your life. I would say that’s my pretty memorable meal because I have it all the time.
Which charity are you competing for? What would it mean for you to hand them a check for $50,000 if you win?
KM: Habitat for Humanity. Putting so many people in a home. A lot of people take the liberties that we have for granted, like food and shelter, but when people are displaced or they don’t have money to stay in their home or there is a disaster that happens, a natural disaster, they’re displaced, so I just like the work that they do. They get in there with their own hands, volunteers, people donating lighting fixtures, plumbing things, you know, just so people can have a home, so it would mean a lot.
KM: Oh, probably cook a meal. Yeah, all the things I learned on the show.
Watch Kenya Moore on Worst Cooks in America: Celebrity Edition. Tune in to the premiere on Wednesday, Sept. 14 at 9|8c.