Worst Cooks in America, Season 18: Meet the Recruits

Get to know the 16 kitchen disasters competing for the chance to win $25,000.

Photo By: Scott Gries

Photo By: Scott Gries

Photo By: Scott Gries

Photo By: Scott Gries

Photo By: Scott Gries

Photo By: Scott Gries

Photo By: Scott Gries

Photo By: Scott Gries

Photo By: Scott Gries

Photo By: Scott Gries

Photo By: Scott Gries

Photo By: Scott Gries

Photo By: Scott Gries

Shannon Akins — Tempe, AZ

Shannon is a social butterfly whose mother always cooked for her, so she never had to lift a finger in the kitchen. She was raised on traditional Southern food and doted on by her family, but this diva has failed at recreating any family recipe. She’s ready to stop partying and transform her cooking skills in boot camp.

Dr. Lulu Boykin — Pittsboro, NC 

Lulu is university faculty, a teaching artist, and musician who marches to the beat of her own drum. Her daily wardrobe includes a tutu, pigtails and a lot of sparkles, but her cooking is hardly as cheerful. Her creativity was always encouraged, but when she makes dishes like blue mashed potatoes and green eggs and ham, her family and friends head for the exit. This eccentric loveable lady is determined to improve her kitchen moves.

Monica Colwell — Hazard, KY

Monica is a Southern belle who loves having a good time. In her small town, home-cooked meals are the norm – so she feels like a square peg in a round hole because she’s a total disaster in the kitchen. She eats a lot of fast food and knows it’s not the healthiest choice, so she wants to conquer her fears and learn to cook like a true Southerner.

Joe Deese — Fultondale, AL

Joe has always had the women in his life cook for him, so he has no idea how to make a home-cooked meal. His diet mostly consists of fast food, but knows he needs to provide more nutritious options to his son. He’s ready to overcome his awkwardness in the kitchen and gain some cooking confidence in boot camp.

Jefferson Goldie — Chicago, IL

Jefferson is a traditional Italian mama’s boy who grew up on his mother and grandmother’s cooking – and he’s always been more of an eater than a cook. He works evenings as a doorman, so his schedule can make it difficult to prepare meals. More importantly, he just lost 150 pounds and is determined to keep the weight off – so he’s making it a priority to learn to make healthy meals for himself.

Ryan Grovey — Phoenix, AZ

Funeral home director/personal trainer Ryan is full of life but lacks the ability to cook anything but scrambled eggs and oatmeal. He’d like to provide food service at his funeral home someday but knows he can’t make that happen until he ups his kitchen repertoire. This energetic and charismatic guy is serious about learning to cook at boot camp.

Michael Jones-Better — Philadelphia, PA

EMT Mike is competitive and funny – he’s even done some stand-up and viral videos – but his biggest joke is his cooking abilities. He only uses the microwave and admits his food is “dangerous, nasty and terrible.” He’s overcome a lot and is ready to tackle the kitchen and learn to use tools beyond the microwave.

Dakota Klaes — New York, NY

Six-foot-four, Texas-bred Dakota is now a dapper New Yorker with charm to spare. Growing up his family made dinner together, but it was something he took for granted and now he has no idea how to prepare a meal for himself. He feels like a bull in a china shop in his tiny New York kitchen, so he is determined to expand his food skills in boot camp and bring big flavors to his small space.

Leo Lech — Washington, WV

Leo is a chemist who is an expert in the lab, but a novice in the kitchen. His daughters have watched him ruin enough meals, so they bring their own food when they go to his house for dinner. He wants to stop sitting on the sidelines in the kitchen and learn how to cook on his own.

Curtis Long — Seneca, SC

Married father-of-two Curtis loves the outdoors and is known as a big teddy bear. He hunts, fishes and enjoys traditional Southern fried food and BBQ – but can’t put a dish together himself. His wife is going back to school, so Curtis needs to step up and learn how to help make wholesome meals for the whole family.

Kelly Ngoc Mac — Pasadena, CA

Kelly is a fitness instructor, mom, and workout fanatic with a colorful wardrobe. She grew up in a wealthy family in Saigon, Vietnam, and never cooked for herself as a child. After coming to the United States, Kelly became a fitness instructor, but she is the one who needs to get into shape in the kitchen.

Bridget Praytor — Colorado Springs, CO

Fitness enthusiast and single mom-of-five Bridget is fun to be around but is clueless in a kitchen and doesn’t know the basics of cooking. Her freezer is stocked with frozen meals and the only appliance she uses is the microwave. Her kids are ready for her to learn how to cook so they can eat something other than frozen or fast food – and she is determined to improve her culinary skills in boot camp.

Leslie Rivera-Silva — Washington, D.C.

Salon owner Leslie loves eating in fine restaurants with her husband but has no clue how to replicate those meals in her own kitchen. She is a perfectionist and wants to become a masterful cook with the snap of a finger – but she will soon realize just how grueling boot camp is. She needs to conquer her fears and put in the work to be a contender in boot camp.

Jolynn Singh — Allen, TX

Nurse Jolynn will do anything for her family and friends except make a delicious meal, and she’s ready for that to change. She would love to make the traditional Indian dishes her husband grew up eating, especially when her in-laws come to town – but she hasn’t been successful yet. She knows her lack of cooking skills are an emergency and is determined to make a culinary transformation.

Kevin So — Brooklyn, NY

Kevin is spontaneous, energetic and busy. When he’s not at his job in film entertainment, he is pursuing one of his many hobbies which include juggling, basketball, piano, trumpet, and singing. He’s always on the go and never learned to cook – so he needs a serious kitchen education at boot camp.

Alexandra Tiso — Eastchester, NY

Alexandra grew up on her mother and grandmother’s delicious homemade Italian dishes, which she still enjoys since she lives with her parents. She’s ready to move out but realizes she will starve unless she can cook for herself – and boot camp is just the place to learn.