By Adam Black & Ronda Nixon
The Ashland Beacon
From worst cook in America to just an edible dish, that’s the hope for Grayson, Kentucky, local Cameron Pennington who has made his way onto this season of “Worst Cooks in America.”
The show, which airs on the Food Network Channel, Sundays at 9 p.m. follows 15 disastrous cooks competing to become a better cook and win the grand prize of $25,000 at the finale airing Sunday, March 3, at 9 p.m.
“I am a big fan of the show. I submitted an online application and then a request to submit a complete cooking video and also had a Skype interview,” Pennington, the East Carter High School alum said.
Pennington recalls the decision to cast him on the show took months and several interviews. When Pennington finally found out he was going to be on the show, he remembers the excitement he had from the phone call.
“Oh, Y'all have to be pulling my leg,” Pennington said. “I was so excited and extremely nervous.”
With notice of officially being chosen for the show, Pennington prepared for the competition in his kitchen, packed his bags and headed off on his journey to become a better cook.
Sunday, Pennington appeared on the season premiere ready and willing to learn. On the first episode, 15 terrible cooks enter boot camp with dreams of putting their kitchen nightmares behind them. Food Network Chefs Anne Burrell and Tyler Florence, hosts of the show, wanted to see what they were dealing with, so they ask the recruits to make their signature dishes – and the results were truly disastrous. After teams were selected, the competitors including Pennington, had to prepare a chicken dish. The least successful member of each team was sent home, and the remaining recruits headed into week two.
“The first episode was nerve-wracking, I was so nervous about screwing up, which I did,” Pennington said.
Nerves clearly got the best of Pennington, by the end of the show he found himself in a place he didn’t want to be.
“Being in the bottom two is scary, especially during week one,” Pennington said. “In my mind, I thought I was going home, I mean, my chicken was inedible, and I had the worst plate.”
After a few intense moments of constructive criticism, Pennington finally learned his fate of if he would be going home or not.
“When they told us that nobody was going home, I let out a huge breath of air,” Pennington said. “I was relieved and happy to be moving on to week two,”
While Pennington made it through week one, there are still several more weeks to come. Upcoming episodes include a casino-night challenge featuring a game of Egg Roulette, carnival-themed pie battle and the return of the crowd-pleasing game Remote Control Chef.
“It has been a great time so far,” Pennington said. “Please continue watching the show and supporting all of us.”
The season culminates in the finale Sunday, March 3 at 9 p.m. with the two most-improved recruits preparing a three-course restaurant quality meal for guest judges Debi Mazar, Michael Psilakis and Jessica Tom, who will sample the dishes in a blind taste test and determine the winner of $25,0000 and bragging rights for their team leader.
“If I win the $25,000, I’m giving it all to my Momma, after I throw a party for me and my cast mates,” said Pennington. “Everyone who works on the show, from production assistants to the director and everyone in between have all worked their butts off to make this an amazing show.”
“Worst Cooks in America” airs Sunday, Jan. 13, at 9 p.m. on the Food Network Channel.