Meet Worst Cooks Celebrity Recruit Mike "The Situation" Sorrentino, Reality TV Star
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, these celebrities are 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 hilarious bumbling unfold. Every day leading up to the premiere, we'll be revealing a star contestant on FN Dish. Today it's reality star Mike "The Situation" Sorrentino.
Mike "The Situation" Sorrentino rose to fame as a cast member of the reality show Jersey Shore. Since then he's become a cultural icon. Mike has appeared on Celebrity Big Brother (U.K.) and Season 11 of Dancing with the Stars. But after injuring his back dancing, Mike lost himself to addiction. Fortunately, with the support of his family and friends, he sought help and found the road to recovery. Now a successful entrepreneur, Mike shares his personal story with colleges, associations, health groups and his fans around the world. With his family Mike filmed their first show, The Sorrentinos. Mike and his fiancee Lauren have appeared on Marriage Boot Camp and Say Yes to the Dress. Lately, as Mike has been focusing more and more of his time on exercise, he's been spending less time on nutrition. He wants to learn how to cook better so that he can live a healthy lifestyle. He's signed up to be whipped into culinary shape by Anne Burrell or Rachael Ray. Learn more about Mike.
How would you describe your cooking style presently?
Mike Sorrentino: My current cooking style is basic, I guess.
What made you sign up for Worst Cooks? What do you plan to gain from this competition?
MS: I figured that … signing up for this particular competition … would help me get acclimated to the kitchen again, sharpen my skills, improve anything that I need to improve on and hopefully broaden my horizons for different styles of cooking, and I can cook for my family and my beautiful girlfriend.
Is there anything that makes you nervous about competing?
MS: I don’t like to lose, so that is probably the only thing that would get me a little nervous, but I’m a very confident person in general, so I like to be in the fight, I like to be in the heat of the battle. When the kitchen gets hot, I belong right there.
Besides Anne or Rachael, is there a chef or a food personality you admire?
MS: If I had to pick someone that I follow on a weekly or monthly basis, I follow Steve Martorano, and I’ve been to his restaurant in the past. It was delicious, and I like his message, that he always is delivering a positive message — “keep being the best person you can be” — and I’m definitely a big fan of that type of stuff.
After this competition, what cooking skill level would you like to reach?
MS: Well, I’d like to improve my current sill level of cooking, but by no means am I a chef, and that’s not gonna happen in a couple weeks’ time, but for me to improve my skill level so that I can cook a nice meal for my family and my girlfriend, that’d be great.
Have there been any really good or really bad cooks in your life? Do you think that had an effect on you?
MS: My mom is a great cook, and that’s pretty much where I got my base from. My brother Frank is also a good cook, and then there’d probably be myself. And my sister right now is actually trying to up her skills as we speak, and she’s becoming a good cook as well.
Is there something that’s prevented you from getting into the kitchen more or doing more cooking?
MS: Lately, I’ve been really concentrating on my fitness. So, the other half of fitness is nutrition, so I’ve really been taking a shortcut with cooking, because I’ve been getting meal preps and people providing the food for me, but it is cheaper, more efficient to cook your own food.
What's your most-loved or most-hated kitchen tool or appliance?
MS: I’m not too intimidated by too many things, because I figure I’ll eventually work them out myself … . You know, when I walked through the kitchen and saw different machines that are supposed to chop up or grind up some of the things, I’m like, "Oh, I've never used that before," but, you know, there’s a first time for everything.
What are some of the foods you like to eat? Do you have a guilty-pleasure food?
MS: I love Italian food. I really do. Obviously my go-to would be some sort of chicken cutlet, and you can make so many things from chicken cutlets: chicken Parm, chicken Marsala, so many things. So, that’s definitely a go-to for me.
Is there something that we’d never catch you eating?
MS: I don’t think I would eat escargot, but I’ve tried most things. I’ve tried crocodile and frogs before, and, you know, it wasn’t that bad.
If you could eat only one thing for the rest of your life, what would it be and why?
MS: I would have to say if I’m going to eat something for the rest of my life, it would probably be pasta, because you can make pasta in so many different ways, and I would be happy because I love Italian cooking.
What’s a favorite dish you remember from your childhood?
MS: You know, what my mom used to make, so many great dishes. I’m definitely a big fan of her macaroni pie, which is just delicious, and she would make that every Fourth of July, which is my birthday. So, you know, I’m a big fan of that.
What’s the first dish you learned to make? How did it turn out?
MS: Probably the first dish I learned to make was a traditional chicken cutlet.
What is the weirdest thing that we'd find in your fridge if we were to open it today?
MS: You’d probably find some soppressata and cheese, but I’ve been really healthy lately, so you’ll probably catch a lot of protein drinks and nutritional drinks in my fridge.
When you get into the kitchen, what are some of the things you cook? Do you have a signature dish?
MS: My signature dish is probably … everything’s basic for me. I can cook basic dishes that are Italian. I’m not the best, I’m not the worst, but I can definitely get them done. You know, like I said before, chicken Marsala, chicken Parm, anything pasta. For a guy — I hate to say that, because there are so many chefs that are awesome — but I think I’m not bad.
What’s the worst kitchen disaster you’ve had or the worst dish you’ve made?
MS: I play it safe. If I know that I can’t cook it, I’ll try to stay away from it.
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.
MS: My most-memorable eating experience. I love eating, so every day is a memorable experience for me. Every meal, I look forward to every meal. This week I haven’t been eating every two hours, but I pretty much eat every two hours. Not many people do that unless you’re like a body builder or somebody trying to get in shape, so I’m excited to eat every meal, and I’d have to say this last Memorial Day weekend, my family had this huge feast and Mom made macaroni pie, [and] we had crab legs. It was a great barbecue, so, you know, everybody chipped in and cooked different things: soft-shell crab, shrimp cocktail, crab legs, burgers, hot dogs. It was great.
Thinking of your competitors here, which of the other celebrities do you want to take down?
MS: Surprisingly, I like everyone. Everyone is so nice. They have their own little cool personality, and we’re all becoming friends, which is really cool. A lot of the time you meet clashing personalities and you know right away that you don’t like this person. You know right away. And it just didn’t happen this time. So, I really hope the best for everyone. If they get eliminated, then they get eliminated, unfortunately, but right now I like everyone. That could change tomorrow. You never know, but I’m a pretty honest person, and right now everything’s good.
Which charity are you competing for? What would it mean for you to hand them a check for $50,000 if you win?
MS: I’m doing this for the kids, St. Jude Children’s Hospital, and I would love to just be able to help in any way. So, you know, kids are a big part of my motivation. I don’t have a family just yet, eventually I will, but I’m really looking to help the kids in any way I can.
MS: You know what, if I win this competition, I probably would go out to dinner, maybe with my girlfriend or family or both, and then eventually I would surprise them and cook something for them, and I would go to the gym the next day.
Watch Mike "The Situation" Sorrentino on Worst Cooks in America: Celebrity Edition. Tune in to the premiere on Wednesday, Sept. 14 at 9|8c.