Darian Barnes learned cooking brings people together on Worst Cooks in America

Recruit Darian Barnes poses, as seen on Worst Cooks in America, Season 20. Courtesy Food Network
Recruit Darian Barnes poses, as seen on Worst Cooks in America, Season 20. Courtesy Food Network /

For Darian Barnes, Worst Cooks in America scores a win in the kitchen.

As a member of the Blue Team on Worst Cooks in America, Darian Barnes dreamed of going from worst to first. While he had previously found success on the football field, his cooking skills in the kitchen looked more like a hail mary. After his time on the Food Network show, he can finally make a winning play in the kitchen.

The former NFL football player took on this new challenge with great determination. While he might have been a coach to his football players, he needed the coaching guidance from Alex Guarnaschelli to get him through this cooking boot camp.

In some ways, Darian was that big brother than everyone needed on the Blue Team. From Eric’s tears to Louisa’s big personality, Darian seemed to be that calm center that everyone needed. Maybe being a dad to four girls helped him to make it through all the cooking chaos.

Throughout Worst Cooks in America Season 20, Darian has grown in cooking confidence. Of course, there was a lot of fun along the way. No matter what happens in the competition, he can definitely cook a meal that will make his wife and children smile.

Even though he might have football hands, Darian found a way to infused good flavors into his dishes. As seen in his meal for his wife, he made a dish that brought a big smile to her face. It might not have been perfectly plated, but it delivered on flavor. Sometimes, just like in a football game, the final score matters, not necessarily how you get there.

Although Darian did not earn the Worst Cooks in America title to go beside his Super Bowl ring, he did learn a lot from the Food Network experience. He recently spoke with FoodSided about his experience.

Cristine Struble: You describe yourself as a picky eater, do you think that pickiest hurts your cooking skills?

Darian Barnes: Yes, there are food pairings that I probably miss out on because I refuse to put certain things together. The thought of chocolate on fruit makes me physically ill.

CS: After playing professional football, did your eating habits change when you were competing as an athlete?

DB: I ate whatever I wanted when I played pro football. I was fine. I ate whatever I wanted when I retired. I was not fine. So now, I am more mindful of what I’m putting in my body. And that seems to be working out fine.

CS: Many athletes have done well on Food Network competitions, do you think that your competitive nature will help you do well?

DB: I think being accustomed to competitive environments helps. In football camp, you learn a lot of information quickly, perform at a high level consistently, and if you do not, they fire you. Having that kind of experience helped me going into Worst Cooks in America.


CS: As a girl dad, how important is it for you to show your daughters that dad can cook?

DB: It was essential. Primarily because I wanted to show them that I could do something totally different and find success if I work hard. I wanted my children to understand they should never be afraid to learn something new.

CS: What is the one dish that you want to be able to cook for your family?

DB: I’ve prepared several fish and chicken recipes since I’ve been home. I have the confidence to cook most things. My goal would be to cook something that all four of my children and my wife would eat and love. Right now the oldest doesn’t like rice, the 11 year old doesn’t like shrimp…etc. I want to make that one dish that blows them away and changes their mind. I’m getting there.

CS: Recently, many people have been introduced to home cooking due to necessity. What piece of advice would you give cooks who are afraid of the kitchen?

DB: Learn the fundamentals first, how to cut produce, meat, etc. It saves a lot of time in the kitchen. Also, being organized when you start helps keep the level of mess down. I found I never wanted to cook because I would hate the cleanup.


CS: What’s the best cooking tip that you learned from being on Worst Cooks in America?

DB: I made a whole new group of friends in my castmates this season, so I would say that learning to cook brings people together.

Even though Darian Barnes didn’t go from worst to first, he will be cooking some tasty meals for his family. Maybe there will be a Worst Cooks redemption season where he could score a win for all the girl dads out there.

Related Story. Domaine Javier believes her Worst Cooks experience was empowering. light

What was your favorite dish from Darian during this season? Would you like to see him on the Food Network again?