Dallas entrepreneur and 11-time best selling author Cheryl Polote-Williamson sits down with Inspire N Style to chat candidly about her intentionally curated “Soul Movement.”
The Food Network hit, Worst Cooks In America, has whipped up a new batch of recruits bringing the flavor and the heat for an all new season of its fan-favorite series airing August 4th (9PM ET/PT). Fourteen less-than-stellar cooks will march into culinary boot camp, with celebrity chefs Bobby Flay and Anne Burrell at the helm.
$25,000 is at stake, as each cook goes either #TeamBobby or #TeamAnne to battle a series of exercises designed to transform their terribly tasteless food skills. In the end, only one recruit will remain to claim the money and bragging rights for either Flay or Burrell.
Dished up fresh from DFW will be minister, mom of two, 20-year widow and self-proclaimed “Queen of the Frozen Food Section” Sharon Grant. The bubbly empty nester will trek from the pulpit to the pantry in what she’s coining as “an experience [she’ll] never forget.”
Entering a new “season” of her life (no pun intended), Inspire N Style caught up with the culinary superstar to chat cooking disasters, celebrity chef sightings and of course — the undesirable title of “atrocious cook.” Prep your palettes for fun and read on for our salacious scoop.
Sharon Vs. Food – The Interview
“I’m the queen of the frozen food section! That whole outer aisle of the grocery store with all the fresh meats and things? I avoid that like I avoid the plague!”
Inspire N Style: Just out of curiosity. How does it feel to be labeled an “atrocious cook”?
Sharon Grant: “I’m not ashamed of [the label] because of the mere fact that we all have to learn something, and we’re not good at everything — so cooking just happens to be the thing that I’m not best at but I’m willing to learn. I’m the queen of the frozen food section! That whole outer aisle of the grocery store with all the fresh meats and things? I avoid that like I avoid the plague!”
The rumor is that you have an affinity for box meals, frozen foods, and canned goods. Is it even possible to mess these up?
“With boxed meals, you can’t really mess those up unless I try to season it on my own, not knowing all of the flavors of the seasoning — or if I thaw some pork chops and try to fry them and the grease actually splatters on the stove and I create a fire. Those things are not that good.”
But you’re a mom. How did it pan out for you with 2 kiddos?
“I figured if nobody got sick, then I was a good cook. [My kids] were good — they were healthy, they were gaining weight. I figured ‘hey’, I was doing good!”
“I had no idea what a spider [utensil] was. I’ve never used a spider. The only spider I know about is the one I try to kill!”
So tell us…how was it to work with Bobby Flay and Anne Burrell?
“It was a breathtaking experience. It was absolutely phenomenal to see them — not through the lens of the camera, but to be able to see them face to face doing what they are gifted to do. That’s an experience I will never forget.”
Did you learn any new skills from your experience on the show? Have you graduated from Worst Cook to Good Cook, maybe?
“Learning how to cook with fresh foods [was great], because everything I did before was frozen. It was just easier that way. Sometimes fresh foods is not always in the budget. When you can cook, then of course you can go buy fresh foods because you don’t have to worry about messing it up. But when you’re not quite skilled, paying $5 a pound or $30 for a rack of lamb that you’ll end up burning — that’s not a good thing!”
Any other takeaways?
“All along I thought I had the correct kitchen utensils [and] it was nowhere near what I needed. For instance, the different sized saute’ pans, the different cast iron skillets, certain types of blenders and food processors. I had no idea what a spider was! I’ve never used a spider. The only spider I knew about was the one I was trying to kill!”
Since your time on the show, is there a favorite dish you can now whip up and prepare?
“Here’s my transparent moment. I’m still working on it.”
Even though you received a ton of laughter from family when you decided to go on the show, what were some unexpected changes for you that happened as a result of your time on Worst Cooks?
“The support that I’ve received from my family, my friends, and from those who are in the widows’ community was [unexpected]. I received so much encouragement to just have fun.
It was amazing to have people say that I’m an inspiration to them — especially in the widows’ community, because unfortunately sometimes we’re forgotten about and we don’t know how our lives are going to look down the line. For me to just go out there and represent and say, ‘Hey, there’s still life in you [and] there’s still purpose in you’ — that is definitely something that has changed.”
Any parting words of advice for all of the other “worst cooks” out there?
“Experiment. Feel free to mess up in the kitchen. You’ll learn what you need, what you don’t need, what flavors go together, what flavors don’t go together — so make sure you experiment and try different things with your palette.”
In the season premiere, Sharon and the other recruits are divided into teams with tasks on various episodes to include recreating a “date night dish” to an ice cream battle, to a retro-themed fondue challenge and more. The season culminates in the finale on Sunday, September 22nd at 9PM ET/PT, with the final two most-improved recruits preparing a three-course restaurant-quality meal for guest judges Vivian Chan, Martina McBride and Donal Skehan.
For more info on Worst Cooks or to get cooking advice from Anne and Bobby, visit FoodNetwork.com/WorstCooks.