Erin Sullivan admits culinary skills are not in her wheelhouse, but she’s OK with that.
So is Food Network.
The Mayfield wife and mother is one of the contestants on the network’s cooking competition show, “Worst Cooks In America,” which judges people who struggle in the kitchen on various recipes and challenges. Those who make the cut get to stay another week for another round. Those who don’t are sent packing.
The first episode of “Worst Cooks” aired last Sunday with the 14 contestants undertaking two challenges before the initial elimination of two cooks. Sullivan survived the first round of challenges, which included her making shish kebabs, but did get some stern advice from one of the show’s hosts, Chef Anne Burrell, on how not to slice an onion.
“Chef Anne is very serious about her knife cuts and how you hold a knife. I gave it a whack and she caught me,” Sullivan recalled. “I will say the editors were pretty kind to me in episode one. She did scream at me a lot and that was not shown.
“I got the mark on my finger for cutting a chicken wrong,” she added. “There were quite a few mishaps and she catches them.”
The daughter of Fred and Janet Diel, Sullivan admits she has never enjoyed cooking and has a few horror stories of past experiences around the stove. At one work potluck, she thought she was taking a zucchini bread loaf but had used a cucumber instead.
She also is brave enough to admit she has burned no-bake cookies.
“You do have to mix some things on the stove and I left them there too long and it burned to a crisp,” Sullivan said. “Not a lot of people can say that.”
Those mishaps led some co-workers to suggest she would be a good candidate for “Worst Cooks In America.” She researched it and watched past episodes, then filmed her application video in her car after work.
The casting agents loved her stories. After doing required paper work, Sullivan then had to video herself cooking.
“I made stuffed peppers for me husband (Brad) and he had to review it, and he’s brutally honest,” she said.
“He told me they were bad.”
Sullivan’s down-home Southern charm seems a natural fit for reality television, and the Food Network show’s theme just clicked.
“I thought doing a reality show would be so much fun and there have been a few I’ve been interested in and been in the process. Somehow ‘Worst Cooks’ was meant to be,” she said.
Of course, the goal of the show is to have host chefs Burrell and Alex Garnaschelli help teach novice culinary artists the basics of cooking and a few tricks of the trade so they can cook.
Sullivan said she’d like to cook for her family, which includes 7-year-old daughter, Reese, instead of heading across the street to her parents’ house for dinner or going the fast food route. Until then, it’s dinner with the family’s favorite.
“Panera Bread is our go-to,” Sullivan said. “That’s what I tell myself. I’m feeding my daughter salads.”
“Worst Cooks In America” airs Sundays at 8 p.m. CST on Food Network.