Brick Resident On “Worst Cooks In America”

Caitlin Rose. (Photo courtesy Food Network)

BRICK – Caitlin Rose, 32, credits her “big New Jersey personality” with landing her a spot on Worst Cooks In America, a reality television series on the Food Network that will debut its 15th season on Jan. 6.

Rose, a Brick resident of two years who lives off Chambersbridge Road, was raised in Middletown and was part of a cast of 15 who attended a culinary boot camp in New York City this past summer designed to improve their food skills.

“The reason I wanted to be on the show is plain and simple: I wanted to learn how to cook,” she said in a recent phone interview. “I definitely acquired some skills,” added Rose, who currently works as a nail salon receptionist in Monmouth County. (Bess Donoghue, publicist for the Food Network, was also on the line to be sure Rose didn’t reveal any spoilers).

Rose said she always liked the show and followed their Facebook page. When a post popped up announcing they were auditioning for the new season, she sent off a quick video where she talked about herself, and why she’d be a good fit.

“I was very Jersey. I thought it would help because we’re very colorful on TV, which has been proven on various shows,” she said.

Rose describes herself as having an animated personality, regularly wears bright clothing, “very blingy accessories,” and usually has a “crazy color” in her hair. For the interview her hair was a mix of red and purple.

She said she got a phone call from producers to let her know she was chosen for the show.

“It was nerve wracking before picking up, because I didn’t know if it was good or bad news,” she said. “Turns out, it was good!”

On the first day, Rose said that she and the other New Jersey contestant, who was from Rahway, got to the meeting room at the midtown hotel first.

“Everyone started coming in from all over the country, but when we realized the first two to show up were from New Jersey we were cracking up,” she said. “We only had to go over the bridge and we got there the quickest.”

She said the excitement in the room was palpable. “Everyone was so nice, it makes me smile just to think about it,” Rose said. Every contestant had a big personality, she added.

The 15 recruits got up early and were bussed to the Food Network set, located about 10 minutes away in NYC. The set had multiple stoves, ovens, refrigerators and work spaces and “every cooking utensil and appliance you would every need,” with the bright show logo hanging from the ceiling, Rose said.

The teams were divided between celebrity chefs, coaches Anne Burrell and Tyler Florence, who gave them their first challenge of preparing their “signature meal” upon which they would be judged the first day (recruits were asked what ingredients they would need in advance).

Co-hosts Anne Burrell and Tyler Florence with contestants Brett Azar, Caitlin Rose, Katherine Schuessler, Sponjetta Parrish, Allison Wolf, Terry Yu, Carmelle Bull, Cody Medler, Alten Pobleto, Cameron Pennington, Brittany Carel, Charles “Chaz” Oakley, Travele Judon, Antoinette Wills, and Mickey Wentz, as seen on Worst Cooks In America, Season 15. (Photo courtesy Food Network)

Rose prepared an Irish soda bread boat, but couldn’t say how it was judged.

“I know I’m a bad cook because I know for a fact when you’re burning a potato in the microwave, or the food is too salty, or too watery, and people cringe when they’re eating it, you know,” she said.

Based on how their first challenge went, the coaches decided a winner for each team. Every challenge had a winner, and was followed by an elimination for each team, Rose explained.

The next challenge for both teams was to create a chicken dish. Each celebrity chef would demonstrate a different meal for each day of the challenge, and then the recruit had to prepare it.

“Then it was on you. It was hectic, a whirlwind, but you’re learning in the process. You’re being coached while you’re working. They assist you and give you tips,” she said.

Afterward, each contestant would be called up by the celebrity chefs, and one by one, each meal would be critiqued.

“It was nerve wracking. I was okay with criticism, everybody is told what they can improve upon but they also said good things,” Rose recalled. The least successful member of each team is sent home, while the remaining recruits head into the following weeks.

Some of her fondest memories are from during breaks in the show when the cast would take field trips in the city.

“People are from all over the country, and to watch them be excited about seeing the Statue of Liberty is a memory I will always hold dear. It’s an experience I’ll never forget,” she said.

In the end, the one recruit who makes the most impressive culinary transformation wins $25,000.

The nine-episode season of Worst Cooks In America premieres on Sunday, Jan. 6 at 9 p.m. and runs until March 3 on the Food Network.