Written by: Eshaan Mani, HFM kid ambassador
Photo courtesy of The Food Network, Eric Smart and Dolores Aguilar-Fernandez
A year and a half ago, working mom of two kids and proud Mexican-American and Houstonian Dolores Aguilar-Fernandez feared the kitchen. Just entering the room would raise her heartbeat levels. She feared raw meat and had formerly food-poisoned her family with raw chicken. Her kids dreaded eating her food just as much as she dreaded cooking. But one day, everything changed. While watching their favorite Food Network program, Worst Cooks in America, Aguilar-Fernandez’s family saw that there was an opportunity to be a contestant. “Mom, that’s you! You should apply for the show,” her daughter said. After much convincing, Dolores filled out a form to apply for the show.
Months later, the fateful call from Food Network came. She made it on Worst Cooks in America! In this season of Worst Cooks in America, renowned chefs Anne Burrell and Alex Guarnaschelli each lead and mentor a team of aspiring but lackluster chefs. With $25,000 on the line, the pressure is on to see who can create a restaurant-quality three-course meal served to a panel of esteemed judges.
Though the competition was stiff and stressful at times, Aguilar-Fernandez thoroughly enjoyed the experience. “All the contestants put aside our rivalry and we bonded so quickly. I don’t know if it’s because we had that common background of not being good at cooking, but we all clicked. And we’re still friends! We plan to meet after the pandemic.”
Not only did she make amazing friends, Dolores learned so much throughout the experience, in more ways than one. Her culinary skills may still be a work-in-progress, but they have come a long way from where they were before the show. In her own words, “My husband and kids actually eat the food I make now – and that’s a big deal!”
Aguilar-Fernandez also learned the tricks of being on a reality show: “Look the cameras dead in the eyes. Don’t be afraid! Just be yourself.” But the overarching lessons that she learned and would like to share with all Houston Families are to always be patient and never be afraid of trying new things. New experiences are new learning opportunities, and the more you have of these experiences, the better you will be at anything you attempt – be it cooking, sports… anything! For people who have a similar relationship with cooking as the pre-Food Network Dolores did, she advises you to “find quick and easy solutions to your cooking needs!”
Tune into the Food Network on Sundays at 8pm CT to cheer on a fellow Houstonian and find out whether Dolores will take twenty-five grand home with her!