Eric Smart gained more confidence by returning to Worst Cooks in America

Contestant Eric Smart, as seen on Worst Cooks In America, Season 22. Photo provided by Food Network
Contestant Eric Smart, as seen on Worst Cooks In America, Season 22. Photo provided by Food Network /

Eric Smart returns to Worst Cooks in America for another round of bootcamp. While his previous time in the Food Network kitchen might have been a little emotional, Eric appreciates that he still has much to learn. As he steps back into bootcamp, Eric spoke to FoodSided about his second chance.

When Eric Smart cooked for Alex Guarnaschell’s team, there were a few moments that were fraught with tears. Even though it can be cathartic to let the tears flow, sometimes it is best to keep emotions in check.

Eric said, “A good cook simply needs to focus on the task at hand….pull on their “big boy/big girl” pants and get the job done. I’m an emotional person by nature anyway…..some thought it was just “an act”….but trust me, I’m not that good an actor by any stretch of the imagination….so almost anything can make me emotional. I remember growing up, my father took me to see “The Elephant Man”, the true story of John Merrick…..I was so touched and crying so much daddy came home and told my Beloved Mother Dear that he would never take me to a movie again…..and he never did!”

Even though Eric might be moved by many things, his return to Worst Cooks in America blended both the familiar and new. Surrounded by other returning recruits, this time around was in some ways even more exciting.

Eric said, “You know, truth be told, I was both surprised and honored to be asked to return. Without exaggeration, I can honestly say, I had the time of my life my first season…..I met some wonderful people…..became a “Chef Groupie” and had a most positive and wonderful experience. I didn’t think about who else I might see from “my” season, but I was looking forward to seeing everyone from the production staff and Chef Anne again….and this time I am coming in more focused and would love to actually WIN…..that being the ultimate “validation” that I am no longer amongst the “Worst Cooks In America”!”

Although Food Network fans will have to wait and see the final outcome of Worst Cooks in America Season 22, the new season brings Michael Symon to the kitchen. While Anne Burrell might be the queen of bootcamp success, the other chefs bring an added element to the Food Network kitchen.

Since Eric shared that he has “seen every episode of Worst Cooks In America,” the dynamic of Chef Anne and other chef is important. Eric said, “Chef Anne and her “guest” Chef always bring their “A” game but are always respectful and professional of each other and of “us” recruits. I loved Chef Alex….and I fell in love with Chef Michael too….I was honored to be part of their respective teams….but I actually enjoy spending any time in the company of Chef Anne. She’s tough to be sure but she’s a sweetheart!”

Whether it is Chef Anne, Chef Michael or, previously, Chef Alex, the Worst Cooks in America bootcamp scenario is meant to give these recruits both the skills and confidence to be better prepared in the kitchen.

Previously, Eric said, as “a first time-cook, Chef Alex gave me the building blocks that I never had to begin with…..and I said afterwards….it was like being in “Kindergarten” where you learn the “basics of life”, but you can’t stop there….you have to enter elementary school….junior high school….senior high school…..and if one is able to….continue on to college, and all of the previous “educational” achievements are what one continues to build upon throughout continued education.”

In this season, Eric continues his journey. He said, “Chef Michael helped me build on and continue learning… I’ve had two of the very best “Culinary Educators” in the business…..and I will continue to be appreciative for their instruction and advice for the rest of my life!”

While Worst Cooks in America makes for good Food Network television, the recruits really do learn skills to apply at home. For Eric, his path has been a little winding.

As Eric shared, “the entire world changed due to the pandemic….which occurred almost immediately after we wrapped production….so I ended up being quarantined alone… I didn’t have a chance or incentive to do too much “cooking” for myself…..but I did find that I definitely gained a lot more confidence to “attempt” culinary challenges that in the past I would never have even thought of! So as the old saying goes, “Jack of all trades…..master of none!”

Having learned and used the skills from Chef Alex, Eric finds Chef Michael “encouraging and complimentary” and “his laugh makes me laugh.” Combining all those elements can help his cooking.

Eric shared, “I had mentioned on my first season, that I really wanted to learn to cook to make meals for my lovely Parents…..and as it turned out… Beloved Mother Dear fell ill this year, and was unable to get around as well… it was an absolute honor to prepare meals for her and I have my amazing Chefs…..Chef Alex, Chef Michael and Chef Anne to thank for my confidence AND ability!!! I can actually cook a whole chicken and prepare a fish dish….something I could NEVER do before being on “Worst Cooks”! So absolutely a big and sincere “THANK YOU” Chefs!!!!!!”

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Food Network fans can watch Eric Smart and Worst Cooks in America on Food Network Sundays at 9 p.m. EST as well as on Discovery+ streaming.