In this Worst Cooks in America season, Louisa Sharamatyan embraces the cooking challenge.
For many Food Network fans, Worst Cooks in America is the ultimate food television indulgence. In this new season, Louisa Sharamatyan adds some definite flair to the kitchen. Even though she struggled in the first couple of episodes, she is up to the challenge and ready to prove herself in the kitchen.
If Louisa Sharamatyan looks familiar to Food Network fans, she should be. Previously, she competed in Worst Bakers in America. The Southern California television personality is ready to stand out in the savory cooking world, in a good way. Instead of making a fashion statement in the kitchen, she will make a flavor statement. And, just maybe spark an interest in Armenian food.
Recently, Louisa graciously answered some questions about her Worst Cooks experience. As a member of the Chef Alex Guaranschelli’s Blue Team, she has a tough Iron Chef to impress with her cooking skills. Still, Louisa is ready to embrace the challenge.
Since she had previous experience on Worst Bakers in America, it is interesting that Louisa wanted to step back into a Food Network competition. Still, both food competitions are quite different.
Louisa thinks that “Worst Bakers in America was way more challenging, hence the reason I was eliminated early on. Baking doesn’t leave much room for mistakes, it requires precise measurements. With cooking, I have the freedom to be a bit more free spirited and creative.”
In a way, that taste of the Food Network kitchen inspired her to go back for another bite. The Worst Cooks experience was a challenge that she wanted to embrace.
Louisa said, “I love feeling uncomfortable. I wanted to prove to myself that with the proper guidance and focus, I can do it all. My mom is a very good and passionate cook and ever since I was a little girl, her dream has been for me to shadow her in the kitchen. Now, thanks to Food Network, and my incredible mentor/teacher, Alex Guarnaschelli, I have gotten a taste of the art of cooking. “The Teacher arrives when the student is ready”, plus I wanted to make a killer comeback from Worst Bakers.”
That type of willingness to get in the kitchen and cook is part of the reason why more and more people are drawn to Worst Cooks in America. In recent months, even the home cook who has never turned on the oven is willing to take that first step.
Louisa understands how some of the home cooks might feel. She said, “I’m someone who was always scared and intimidated of the kitchen. It seemed so foreign to me.”
Still, she encourages home cooks to take the opportunity and step up to the stove. “The best advice is simply to do it. Take small baby steps. In my case, I’m a visual learner, so I YouTube videos of food I want to make and literally take my laptop to the kitchen and follow each step, “pausing” and “playing” along the way. I also record a lot of Food Network shows and go back and try to recreate everything.”
That concept of watching YouTube is a great piece of advice for any cook. Even Top Chef’s Nini Nguyen uses YouTube to increase her cooking knowledge. Any cook can get better by always learning.
Speaking of learning, the premiere episode of Worst Cooks Season 20 had Louisa cooking an Armenian dish. While some Food Network fans might not be familiar with various Armenian dishes, it is a cuisine that deserves more attention.
For Louisa, Armenian food is more than just a dish. She said, “In our heritage and culture, food plays a big part. It’s what brings us all together.”
While she says it is hard to pick just one side, she did recommend Tolma, which was seen in Episode 1. “It’s stuffed grape leaves with ground beef that’s mixed with seasoning and greens. You can also do stuffed cabbage, eggplant, tomatoes, bell peppers and summer squash.”
Another popular option is harissa. Fans of Food Network might know this dish from many cooking competitions. Louisa describes it as “It’s similar to porridge and is made of ground wheat and stewed chicken. Typically, it’s made with lamb, but you can also make it with beef or turkey instead.”
Lastly, she recommends an Armenian dessert, Gata. Louisa describes this Armenian pastry as a stable in her culture. “Gata”, sometimes known as “Nazook”, which is a buttery and lightly sweet pastry stuffed with walnut sugar filling. I made this as my dessert for Worst Bakers audition tape.
While Louisa might have struggled in the first episode to get the grape leaves out of the container, she did have a special kitchen tool. Many people were surprised when she pulled out a rock. Although there have been many unusual moments on Worst Cooks, there have been very few rocks used as kitchen essentials.
Louisa said, “The rock is part of the Armenian tradition of making “Tolma”. Usually Tolma cooks inside a cast iron pot. My mom places a ceramic plate on top of the Tolma. Then she places the rock on top of the ceramic plate to apply pressure, so the Tolma stays in place and cooks thoroughly. The rock is also placed on top of a bucket to apply pressure on pickled vegetables. In our case, we store our bucket in our backyard because we usually use a large bucket and it needs a few weeks for it to fully marinate.”
In the end, Louisa Sharamatyan learned a lot from her Worst Cooks experience. While fans will have to wait to watch the outcome of the season, she did share three easy cooking tips from the Food Network kitchen.
Louisa said that Alex Guarnaschelli taught her to “Clean as you go, taste your food and don’t underestimate the power of salt.” Those three cooking tips are essential for any cook.
Worst Cooks in America Season 20 airs on Food Network Sunday nights at 9 p.m.
What is your favorite part of this Worst Cooks in America season so far?