“We love watching Food Network,” Ernie says. “One night, we were all watching the show and all my girls looked at me and said, ‘Dad, that’s you.'”
“I got on the show because my girls told me I was a terrible cook,” Ernie says. His daughters said since the only thing he cooked was microwave pizzas and pancakes here and there, that he needed to be on the show. “You always know when Dad’s done cooking because the smoke alarm is going off,” Olivia says. “They filled out an application, sent in a video, and said ‘please teach my Daddy how to cook.'”
Ernie drives a tractor trailer for a living. Prior to that, he served many years overseas in the military. He served tours in Afghanistan and Iraq. He travels from coast to coast during the week for his job now, but enjoys weekends with his family. Ernie was asked to be on the show and took a trip to New York to cook in Food Network kitchen.
Ernie tells us that the 14 contestants were divided into two teams – red and blue. Chef Anne Burrell led the red team and Chef Tyler Florence led the blue team.
“Chef Anne demands perfection. She is a skilled perfectionist,” Ernie says. “It was a pleasure to be in the same room as them, to eat their food, and to be in the same kitchen as them.”
Ernie said he learned a lot during his time on the show. “I made a reduction sauce by God,” Ernie says.
“When I came home, I made homemade cream of corn, homemade dessert – I’m talking about from sugar and spice and everything nice.”
Ernie says his favorite thing about being on the show was having his eyes open to a whole new way of life.
“I’m such a rough and tough kind of guy, so I really wanted something that I could connect with my girls on,” Ernie says. Ernie’s son, Ernie III, 18, enjoys hunting and fishing with Dad. So now Ernie can have bonding time with his daughters in the kitchen.
Ernie cooked Thanksgiving dinner this year. The menu consisted of chicken, cream of corn, deviled eggs, stuffing, and macaroni and cheese.
Ernie and the girls made homemade cookies and ice cream for dessert. “It has been a rewarding and bonding experience with my girls,” Ernie says.
“The $25,000 grand prize doesn’t even begin to touch the price tag that I would put on that experience,” Ernie says. “Never once did I think about the money.”
“At the end of the day when you hang up your holsters from being a soldier and hang up your keys from being a truck driver, you have family. I am forever grateful for this experience.”
Be sure to watch Ernie on Worst Cooks in America during its premiere of season 8 on Sunday at 9 p.m. on Food Network.