There might be one downside to winning a Food Network Show, and now Ari Robinson knows what it is.
The Simpsonville mother of five was crowned the winner of Food Network’s “Worst Cooks in America” this week, taking home the $25,000 grand prize as well as some impressive cooking skills.
And therein lies the downside.
“I’m no longer the worst cook in American and my family will not let me live that down either,” Robinson said with a laugh. “It’s like what are you cooking today?”
“I’m like y’all remember that time when you didn’t like my cooking, let’s go back to that.”
Robinson has been doing a lot of cooking since returning home in February and since the addition of her three adopted children, who moved in in March. She’s also continued to add to her cooking repertoire, since she and her family went vegan as well.
Family favorites include nachos, tacos and quesadillas with sautéed mushrooms in place of steak and a homemade vegan cheese sauce and spaghetti with finely chopped mushrooms in place of ground beef.
Her plans include doing some cooking videos on her YouTube channel, and hopefully spreading the message that everyone can learn to cook. She is proof.
“Worst Cooks in America” takes 14 culinary challenged souls and gives them access to top chef instruction to make them better cooks. This season, Chef Anne Burrell and Iron Chef and Chopped Judge Alex Guarnaschelli worked with the contestants. Each week presented a new culinary challenge and lesson, and one elimination.
In winning, Robinson had to prove her mettle against the other 13 contestants on the show, not to mention some 10,000 people who applied to be on the show this season, she said.
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The finale included making a meal for a decorated panel of food-loving judges.
Robinson’s included: lobster and sunchoke mash, seared duck breast and radicchio salad and a tarte with crème anglaise and lemon sorbet.
She’s come a long way from her failed pork ribs dinner she made her boyfriend (now husband) years ago.
“He just asked me what’s for dinner,” Robinson said with feigned annoyance.
The future may still be a bit unknown, thanks to coronavirus, but at least in Robinson’s household it will include good food, good laughs and good times.
“I’m gonna pay my taxes and pay my tithes and cover all the basics,” Robinson said of plans for her winnings. “Then we are going to try to get some debt paid off and use it for our adoption.”
She also wants to do something fun now as a much larger family.
“I want to take them to a waterpark resort or the beach,” Robinson said “A vacation, so we can do one big thing as a family this year.”
Lillia Callum-Penso covers food for The Greenville News. She can be reached at [email protected] or at 864-478-5872, or on Facebook atfacebook.com/lillia.callumpenso.