Food Network's Worst Cooks in America returns for a second season. Chicago resident and friend to Windy City Times Georgann Coleman turns up the heat in their kitchen.
Windy City Times: Hi, Georg. I have seen you in our Windy City office before because you used to work for us.
Georgann Coleman: Yes, I did sales for a few weeks.
WCT: You now work as a speech language pathologist.
Georgann Coleman: For 12 years now.
WCT: What exactly is that?
Georgann Coleman: I work with a variety of communication disorders from speech to articulation disorders, kids making Rs, Ss and Ls, all the way up to autism and everything in between. It can even be vocal disorders.
WCT: How long have you been with your partner?
Georgann Coleman: Our wedding was five years ago this November. We have been together nine years.
WCT: You have a daughter, correct?
Georgann Coleman: Yes.
WCT: And she was in the movie Hannah Free?
Georgann Coleman: She was, and three months old in it. They needed two babies for the newborns. The director, Wendy Jo Carlton, is a friend of ours and asked. We did a day of shooting.
WCT: I watched the first episode of Worst Cooks. I can't cook either. What led you to audition for it?
Georgann Coleman: I got a phone call out of the blue one day from a producer from the Food Network asking me if I knew my wife had nominated me for the worst cook in America? I said, "No." They asked, "Aren't you excited?" I said, "Not particularly." We had seen a couple of episodes last season so I knew what they were talking about but I had no idea she did that.
WCT: Were you insulted?
Georgann Coleman: I was taken aback, then, yes, it caused about a week of fighting. There were five days of me not wanting to do this. [ Partner ] Teresa kept her side of it. I carried our daughter Quinn and around 18 months we had hit rock-bottom in our relationship. Theresa is a real-estate broker and wound up being a stay at home mom because of the market. There was a time when I had to be the breadwinner and we fought over domestic responsibilities. So I don't do anything up to her par, especially the cooking! I don't have a problem cooking for myself. I would make my own lunches but she doesn't eat my food. She never has and she just won't. At this point when they called me she said, "This is your opportunity to learn from the best." I was not thrilled about it at first.
WCT: Well, I know I am a bad cook so it wouldn't bother me at all if someone nominated me.
Georgann Coleman: Yeah, I hear you. Later on, when Chef Robert Irvine met me at the first audition he told me that I have an attitude. The thing was I wasn't pissed I just couldn't believe I was on this show. After Teresa and I discussed all of this in the house, she said, "Just forget it!" And I said, "Hell no, we are going; it's on!" So that's when we went.
WCT: Reverse psychology worked, then. You had to make a dish for the audition.
Georgann Coleman: I wanted to make something that was very familiar to me. I made it regularly before but since the show I made a deal with Chef Roberts that I would never make it again. Someday I might because I still like it.
WCT: What was the dish again?
Georgann Coleman: It's a turkey burger sautÃ©ed in a pan with vegetables. It's a mixture of whatever vegetables are in the house, especially onionsthey have to be a part of it. I like to caramelize it and make it a little burnt. Also, I like soy sauce or Braggs Amino Acids. Do you know what Bragg is from Whole Foods?
WCT: No, I told you that I am a bad cook.
Georgann Coleman: It is like a healthier soy sauce and has the same Asian thing going on. I just mix all that together and throw it into my Tupperware and go to work.
WCT: There ya go!
Georgann Coleman: That's the one that Chef Anne Burrell says looks like pet food.
WCT: Oh yeah. I remember that now!
Georgann Coleman: I had never heard that in my life. I couldn't believe it. I guess it was the way that I crumbled the turkey.
WCT: The judges were very entertaining with the audition process.
Georgann Coleman: On the preview for the show the table breaks and the food falls everywhere. It's so funny.
WCT: There were a couple of people from Illinois on the show, also.
Georgann Coleman: There were four of us from the Chicagoland area.
WCT: We always represent really well on reality-television shows.
Georgann Coleman: I know, right?
WCT: Do you feel like you have gotten to be a better cook from the experience?
Georgann Coleman: I do, in certain regards. I really feel like my fear and inhibition in the kitchen is gone. I try things now. The chefs told me that even if I mess up just go for it. I didn't have that before. I was tentative to try anything. Now I have some skills.
WCT: That's great.
Georgann Coleman: I would stick with the basics before and what I knew.
WCT: I think everyone does that and gets stuck in a rut of what we make and eat.
Georgann Coleman: I definitely have expanded that and my horizons.
See who makes the best and Worst Cooks in America when the show debuts Jan 2. Browse over to www.foodnetwork.com for details.