Tastes change. But chef Anne Burrell’s approachable flair for cooking and teaching has made her a mainstay across a range of Food Network shows. This season, she’s back to searching for TV’s next top executive chef on “Chef Wanted with Anne Burrell” (10 p.m. Thursdays) and trying to educate the “Worst Cooks in America” (new season begins 9 p.m. Sunday).
Tell me about that hair. Does it stay up all night in a hot kitchen?
It does! I’m all about the product — it’s just Big Sexy Hair, which is just hairspray. It’s a miraculous product. I think they should endorse me.
You do so many shows. Why is “Worst Cooks” one you keep up?
I feel like I have the spectrum covered on Food Network — professional chefs to home cooks — and “Worst Cooks” is the people who need the most help. I like to call them our lovable losers. They dig deep, and I like to see the light bulb going on. That’s one I’ll keep doing as long as they’ll have me.
How is the mentoring similar between “Chef Wanted” and “Worst Cooks”?
It’s a similar kind of tough love. I’m there to push them but then also to be understanding. On “Chef Wanted,” I’m not teaching. These are professional chefs who are looking for a new livelihood. These people have really high stakes.
What is the worst dish you’ve ever tasted on “Worst Cooks”?
I try not to dwell on the negative, but this season there might really be some winners of the worst.
Which show do you enjoy most?
They’re all different. “Chef Wanted” I love because I get to put people in a new job, and that’s great for the restaurant and for the chef. It’s extremely difficult what we ask these people to do, and it’s such a joy and a relief at the end to see them get hired.
Why didn’t you participate in “Iron Chef Redemption”?
To do “The Next Iron Chef” the first time was really an emotional experience for me. It’s not just a TV show for me. I tried, and it really didn’t go where I wanted. So I guess my role on “Iron Chef” is to be, forever and always, Mario Batali’s faithful sous-chef.
How do you do so much in that tiny kitchen on “Secrets of a Restaurant Chef”?
That’s what most restaurant kitchens are actually like. People who say, “I can’t really do anything in my kitchen — it’s too small,” don’t really get a pass from me.
What things should everyone have in their kitchen?
I’m not a huge gadget person. My favorite things in the kitchen are my food mill and a wooden spoon.
What’s the next big trend in food?
As much as I love it, I’m a little bit over the porky goodness. I love bacon to death, but we’re baconed out. I don’t know, chicken everywhere, maybe?