Meet Worst Cooks Celebrity Recruit Tommy Davidson, Actor and Comedian
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 comedian Tommy Davidson.
As one of the stars of the hit TV show In Living Color, Tommy Davidson's known for his versatility. He started his comedy career in Washington, D.C. Then in Hollywood, his first TV role was in Partners in Crime and his film debut came in Strictly Business. Other film credits include Bamboozled and Juwanna Mann. He starred in the documentary I Am Comic and has had three TV specials. Tommy's appeared on Real Husbands of Hollywood and Celebrity Wife Swap. He's lent his voice to the animated series Youngin’s, The Proud Family and Black Dynamite. He recently starred in the TV movie Sharknado 4 and will soon host a new series, Vacation Creation. His recent business venture, Tongue Tied by Tommy Davidson, offers men's ties and suit accessories. But unfortunately for Tommy, he's never really had the time to get into the kitchen and practice cooking. Now whenever he does cook something, it's a question of whether his kids will eat it or not. He's signed up for Boot Camp with the hope of learning some new skills from Anne and Rachael. Learn more about Tommy.
How would you describe your cooking style presently?
What made you sign up for Worst Cooks? What do you plan to gain from this competition?
TD: I didn’t start off this way. I came here to kind of show how much I could cook, but now I’ve changed my mind since I’ve been here for a minute, and now I want to become a better cook.
Is there anything that makes you nervous about competing?
TD: Time. The clock. I can probably do anything if I’m given enough time, but if you put a clock on it, then I really have to think hard about everything I’m doing, which is not one of my strong suits, because I’m creative. So, creativity, that’s cool. Tactile tasks? Not so good.
Besides Anne or Rachael, is there a chef or a food personality you admire?
TD: Not really. This guy’s probably been gone a long time ago, but there was a Cajun chef whose cookbook I bought in Chicago from the late 1800s whose name I forget. He’s a black butler, so you know he must have been incredible. Wish I’d have known his name.
After this competition, what cooking skill level would you like to reach?
TD: I’d say if I'm a 57 now, numberwise, I’d like to get up to about 80. That may be obtainable.
Have there been any really good or really bad cooks in your life? Do you think that had an effect on you?
TD: I’ve been around all bad cooks, as far as relationships go. Any relationship that I've been in, the woman can never cook. I don’t know what that is, but it’s been like that. Maybe it’s a new generation of girls. I don’t know. But my mom was a good cook, but other than that I haven’t been surrounded by a lot of good cooks, personally.
Is there something that’s prevented you from getting into the kitchen more or doing more cooking?
TD: No, only schedule. Only schedule, because my kitchen is right there. I can do anything I want at any time, but I’m always gone, so now I get to re-evaluate that, though. This show is giving me a whole lot to think about. I didn’t think that was gonna happen. I thought I was gonna come on here and just kind of show everybody what I know and then get out of here, but I’m gonna have to actually be involved.
What's your most-loved or most-hated kitchen tool or appliance?
TD: Choppers intimidate me … . Choppers and slicers are the only equipment that I’m not too familiar working with, because I came up in an industrial atmosphere. I’m used to industrial choppers, industrial slicers, and now this is domestic stuff. It’s a lot more small and plastic and dainty. So, it’s kind of scary. So, I've got to kind of just stay focused on that.
What are some of the foods you like to eat? Do you have a guilty-pleasure food?
TD: My passion is Jamaican food, and my guilty pleasure's Cap’n Crunch. Out of everything I pick that. That’s the big monster secret. Of all this elaborate food, I’ll take a box of Cap'n Crunch peanut butter [cereal] any time. That’s kind of sad.
Is there something that we’d never catch you eating?
If you could eat only one thing for the rest of your life, what would it be and why?
What’s a favorite dish you remember from your childhood?
What’s the first dish you learned to make? How did it turn out?
TD: The first dish I ever attempted to make was eggs a la goldenrod, and it came out pretty damn good. [I was] probably about 8.
What is the weirdest thing that we'd find in your fridge if we were to open it today?
TD: Always Popsicles. That’s the staple. There’s a child sitting next to you right now. A deprived child. I get the big fruit pack. So, you know, orange is usually left out till the end, but the cherry, the grape and the raspberry … . Berry dude.
When you get into the kitchen, what are some of the things you cook? Do you have a signature dish?
TD: My salt-and-pepper wings and my carne asada, which is my Cuban steaks, and my black beans and my white rice. I also have this thing I call honeysuckle tomatoes, which is really good too. That’s with my own vinaigrette that I make and sliced tomatoes with capers, chilled, frozen and then thawed and then served. Tastes sensational.
What’s the worst kitchen disaster you’ve had or the worst dish you’ve made?
TD: I went to the Chinese market and tried to do these pork chops, and … I don’t know, it was a monstrous mistake. I tried to do them with some kind of oyster sauce, something I was feeling at the time. My kids didn’t even touch 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.
TD: The most-memorable meal is probably a chef friend of mine [Chef Stefano] in Pittsburgh, who’s an Italian chef that just lays out everything he makes, and he’s superb. He is superb, and my favorite dish, he’s got this veal-stuffed banana pepper. And the way he does his steaks … I don’t think I’ve ever tasted any better food than his.
Thinking of your competitors here, which of the other celebrities do you want to take down?
TD: You know what? Not really. Not really. I think my competition is myself here. I’m not trying to be diplomatic. To me the competition is myself. I’m not one that focuses on that kind of stuff. I kind of just want to let it trickle down through my hands. This is an opportunity for another area of growth. So, I guess just as an Olympic swimmer, you’re looking at the clock and focusing on your stroke. That’s kind of what it’s like for me. I’m too sensitive for competition, because I’ll go: “Here, you win. Go ahead, it’s all you.” I’ll try to do something for someone. “Nah, you deserve it.” I’d forfeit.
Which charity are you competing for? What would it mean for you to hand them a check for $50,000 if you win?
TD: For the Down Syndrome Foundation of Orlando. Coming to understand that Down syndrome affects so many children and young adults and adults and makes them different, and that can be an isolating feeling in a society where the emphasis is on perfection. So, look at their dilemma: We’re in a society that emphasizes perfection, and they’re perceived to be imperfect, and I have empathy for that.
TD: I’d want to celebrate with the two hosts. I’d want to just sit down with them and just be their friend and pick their brain, because if I could just be exposed to what they know, I’d be better down the line. It’s kind of like getting to be friends with Santa Claus. You know you’re always going to be surrounded with these gifts. There’s got to be extra.
Watch Tommy Davidson on Worst Cooks in America: Celebrity Edition. Tune in to the premiere on Wednesday, Sept. 14 at 9|8c.