Meet Lester Turchin – Food Networks WORST COOKS IN AMERICA Contestant
On Sunday, January 1st at 9pm (8pm CT), Anne Burrell and Rachael Ray return in their Food Network primetime series, Worst Cooks in America, with a brand-new roster of hapless cooks. One of the 2017 contestants is from South Florida, Lester Turchin, who has a delightful larger-than-life personality.
In the 10 episode series that turns kitchen nightmares into skilled cooks, Anne and Rachael each lead a team of bumbling cooks in an intense kitchen boot camp designed to whip them into culinary shape. The contestant who makes the most impressive transformation is awarded a $25,000 grand prize, along with victory and bragging rights for their team leader.
Recently, Savor Tonight had the opportunity to interview Lester Turchin, (aka Auntie Lester), about his initial experiences on the Food Network’s reality competition television series.
S/T: Lester, can you tell us a little about yourself before you were selected as a contestant for the Food Networks’ WORST COOKS IN AMERICA.
Lester Turchin: I’m a credit manager for 42 years. I‘ve lived in South Florida since 2000. I loved to eat, but I cannot cook!
S/T: How did you become a contestant for the 10th season of the Food Networks’ WORST COOKS IN AMERICA? And, with what inedible dish?
Lester T.: I nominated myself by filling out the application. As I started my journey, they had me make my “tuna surprise”, which I came up with many years ago. I didn’t think it was so bad, but it did make my own dog sick.
S/T: Describe your tuna surprise dish?
Lester T.: It’s a tuna loaf. But, I make it with so many ingredients for it not to taste so fishy or sour. So, I add raspberry jam!
S/T: How did you feel about being chosen as a contestant for the 10th season of the Food Networks’ WORST COOKS IN AMERICA as well as being on TV?
Lester T.: Being on the show was unbelievable! I felt like I was living in another world; like an out-of-body experience. I always wanted to meet Anne Burrell, -and Rachel Ray, who dubbed me “Auntie Lester” on the show.
I watched the show so often to hone my cooking skills. Because, I felt if I learned how to cook, then I know how to eat healthier, and not be as big as I am.
But, getting on the show was a long process. It was two months until they choose us as contestants. Afterwards, I was so excited, but I didn’t want to tell too many people. I had just started a new job for a spice company, and now I would needed to be gone for three and a half weeks. But, my company supported me 100%!
S/T: Did you learn any new skills from your time on the show?
Lester T.: When you see the first episode, you will see I face food that I never touched before out of fear. But, I overcame it in this episode.
S/T: What was your funniest or craziest experience when filming the episodes?
Lester T.: I was so overwhelmed with all the equipment and utensils that I injured myself. But, you’re not allowed to cook if you’re bleeding. I’m 6’5’, so my hands are extremely big, and none of the gloves fit. So, I had to improvise!
S/T: Have you ever started a fire in the your own kitchen?
Lester T.: I did burn something in a crock pot! How do you do that?!
S/T: When will the first episode air on the Food Network?
Lester T.: January 1st