A former Yukon High School teacher is set to appear Sunday as a contestant on Food Network’s “Worst Cooks in America.”
Denise Schroder said her sister suggested she try out for the show.
“She said I was made for it,” Schroder said, laughing. “It’s not exactly a compliment, when someone’s watching a show about the worst of the worst and you come to their mind.”
Despite having a mother Schroder describes as “an incredible chef,” Schroder said she wasn’t able to pick up on her mom’s skills.
“My mom was a wedding baker. She baked wedding cakes, and mints, and could do anything in the kitchen,” Schroder said. “I was never patient enough to allow her to teach me. She died at 50 of colon cancer, and a big regret of mine is that I never learned to cook for my family.”
That’s where “Worst Cooks” came in.
Schroder and her husband, Troy, run Schroder Real Estate Group LLC, and the duo are no stranger to television appearances.
The couple made their first appearance on HGTV’s “House Hunters” in 2014, when they helped an Air Force veteran relocate from Boston to Oklahoma City.
They were later featured as buyers themselves, settling on a house in Yukon.
Because they chose their home, in part, for its ability to host friends and family, Schroder said she wanted to be able to cook for company.
“I wanted to break the cycle,” she said.
The application process involved a lot of lengthy conversations, along with submitting a video of the applicant cooking a dish.
“My video submission was very organic,” Schroder said. “My husband sat at the end of the island, and he videoed me cooking a rump roast, or some kind of ham – I don’t like meat or really eat beef.”
Because the couple were in the process of moving, their kitchen was sparse.
“We didn’t have pot holders, and we barely had anything to cook the ham in,” she said. “I actually started a kitchen fire with some paper towels. I think they understood on a really deep level that I was a perfect candidate.”
Shooting for the show wrapped up earlier this spring, Schroder said.
Despite being in Manhattan during the early part of the year, she said the timing meant shooting wasn’t affected by the COVID-19 outbreak.
Schroder recalled sitting in her hotel lobby and seeing an announcement that Manhattan had its first COVID-19 case.
“We were concerned, doing the filming in New York, but we were OK, and it all worked out,” she said. “The timing was perfect.”
Schroder described the experience on the show as unique, and as one of the most fun times of her life.
“It was really great to get to know everyone, and everyone had such diversity and different backgrounds,” she said. “Learning to cook was a plus, but the crew and cast didn’t disappoint, and made it really awesome.”
Since then, Schroder’s said she’s spent more time in the kitchen.
“When I first got home, I was incredibly ambitious, and I have had a kitchen fire since I got home,” she said. “I can’t say I’m perfect, but I am getting in the kitchen more and using the skills I learned, and I definitely have more confidence than I did when I left for the show. I’ve really jumped in there and tried to do my best.”
Schroder’s episode of “Worst Cooks in America” will air at 8 p.m. Sunday on Food Network.