For those of you who don’t remember Dallas native Alex Stein from ABC’s The Glass House, that’s probably a good thing. The villainous 24-year-old (now 26) was at the center of the show’s first-and-only-season’s drama – and he paid for it. Stein was kicked off the show in the second week and, according to him, even received death threats (which, weirdly, he takes as a compliment). Don’t worry, though. Stein is back with a vengeance in the Food Network’s Worst Cooks in America, and he wants people to know one thing: he’s here to entertain. The new season premieres on Sunday, February 17 at 8 p.m.
Christina Colavecchia: What motivated you to try out for Worst Cooks in America? Are you actually a horrible cook?
Alex Stein: I’m not a great cook. One time I was at Lake Cyprus Springs, literally 20 people, 10 girls, 10 guys and I was like, “Oh, I’ll cook the burgers.” Sure enough, I got every single girl sick. The only people that didn’t get sick were the ones that had the hotdogs, and you can’t really get sick from a hotdog.
The way the show works is someone has to nominate you. I made my roommate in L.A. some chicken wings. I literally just put them in a pan, I cooked them, and I got him deathly ill. We had to go to the urgent care clinic. So he nominated me and once [the producers] had me in there, I brought this video of those girls I got sick. [The producers] liked my personality and they said “Bam! We want you on the show.”
CC: Dallas has a huge food culture. Were you around a lot of that growing up?
AS: Let me tell you why I don’t know how to cook. My parents got divorced when I was 10 years old, so I was raised by my single dad and he couldn’t cook a can of SpaghettiO’s. My dad should be on the show. He’s the worst of the worst. So growing up, from the age of 10, I used to have a credit card and I would just go to McDonald’s, Burger King, Taco Bell my whole life. And for my dad the rule was: “You can buy anything on the credit card as long as it’s food.” I couldn’t go get clothes. But if I wanted to eat a burrito and then go get a hamburger, whatever it was I could do it. And that’s why I’m a fast food freak. I’m a freak when it comes to food.
CC: How was it working with the show’s celebrity chefs, Anne Burrell and Bobby Flay?
AS: Let’s be real, Bobby Flay is an egomaniac. I mean that in the nicest way, but when you are a superstar chef…he considers himself the Michael Jordan of cooking. Bobby Flay’s wife, Stephanie March (Law and Order), is from Highland Park. She graduated from Highland Park High School, and I was always trying to impress Bobby Flay. One thing he showed me how to cook was burgers. My favorite burger place is Burger House on Hillcrest, and he’d be like, “Oh, I’ve never heard of it,” and I’d say, “I guarantee Stephanie’s heard of it.” Finally, he was like, “Alex, you need to stop talking about my wife so much like you know her.” He did not like that. But he liked me. I would only refer to him as Super Chef Bobby Flay. He loved it!
CC: You were voted off pretty quickly from The Glass House for being the “villain.” Will you bring that villain character to Worst Cooks?
AS: In Worst Cooks, I’m a little more redeeming than in Glass House, but 100 percent, I’d say I’m the villain. I’m the villain again, and I’m not ashamed of it. I think it’s an interesting character to play. I watch reality TV and, for The Glass House, there was a $250,000 prize, so I took it a little more seriously. I said, “Man, I’m going to be the villain, everyone loves villains.” When I was talking to the producers, they said that was a good idea. Of course, I shouldn’t have listened to them. I should have been nice like myself. I got a few death threats, but I love death threats. On Twitter, I get death threats and, they’ve stopped now, but people used to tell me, “I hope the plane crashes on your flight home.” My favorite thing is to retweet that. Death threats make me feel so good because if I can evoke a response in somebody that much that they want me to be dead, then I’ve done my job entertaining you. I don’t take myself too seriously. I’m trying to be funny.
CC: Do you have a strategy for winning Worst Cooks?
AS: It was such a great experience. I loved everything about it. But that show wasn’t about the prize. It was about do you love food, do you love cooking, do you want to be able to meet these super chefs and have a cool experience in New York. That’s why I did it. I didn’t do it as a career move or like trying to get famous. I wanted to learn to cook so I can get a girlfriend, not get all my friends sick. I was sick of eating crap food. I wanted to learn how to make nice meals, nice steaks.
Christina Colavecchia graduated from York University in Toronto, Canada in May 2012 with a degree in Professional Writing and Humanities. As a Canuck living the U.S. for the first time, she’s loving the Dallas lifestyle and all the city has to offer.