Interview with Marque Hernandez, Former Cast Member of “Worst Cooks in America”
Recently, I had the incredible opportunity of interviewing Marque Herandez, a former cast member of last season’s “Worst Cooks in America” on Food Network. Being my favorite contestant of last season, I am so thrilled to be able to share this interview.
Interview with Marque Hernandez:
Amy Martin: First off, I want to say a huge THANK YOU for letting us interview you! I was (and still am after those recent re-runs) a huge fan of yours on the show. You seemed to be one of the friendliest of the bunch and always positive. Your attitude is an inspiration to all!
Marque Hernandez: Thank you Amy! It’s my pleasure and such a privilege considering that there are newer Worst Cooks to interview.
Amy Martin: Looking back on your season, what was your favorite moment while battling in boot camp?
Marque Hernandez: Well, I would have to say that winning the duck challenge in episode 2 was my favorite moment. I was certain that I had messed it all up so when Beau said I had won, I cried like a baby because I was so proud of myself.
Amy Martin: Since the show, have you found yourself more comfortable in the kitchen?
Marque Hernandez: Oh my goodness yes! I actually love cooking now. Why, just the other night I made breaded chicken with a peach-mango balsamic reduction and Larry ate 3 pieces! It WAS pretty yummy…
Amy Martin: How has your appearance on “Worst Cooks in America” changed your day-to-day? On the show, we remember you saying you had a deal with your partner, Larry – he takes care of the house and you cook! Has that deal held up?
Marque Hernandez: I am super lucky because Larry actually loves to clean and guess what? He actually likes washing the dishes! Back off ladies, he’s mine (LOL).
Amy Martin: Since you competed on a Food Network show, have your family and friends come to you for cooking advice or asked you to host holiday meals?
Marque Hernandez: I am proud to say that I have cooked Thanksgiving for the past 2 years and no one has gotten sick! I do get a lot of ribbing from other people though; I think there is a little bit of a stigma because of the show’s title. Oh well, Jesus said it best, “A prophet has little honor in his hometown.”
Amy Martin: Can you tell us about your favorite lesson or technique learned on the show?
Marque Hernandez: I’m a big fan of sauces so my favorite techniques were learning how to make a reduction and a béchamel. Truly, both are super versatile and the start to any terrific meal.
Amy Martin: Were you able to catch the season two premiere of “Worst Cooks in America”? If so, any favorites so far?
Marque Hernandez: It’s nice watching season 2 because I don’t feel the pressure and I don’t know all of the things that FN isn’t showing that happened (I bet there were more tears). I definitely have a few favorites so far. I like Georgann because she seems like good people and how can you not like a woman who goes by Georg? I like Jennifer because she seems sincere and I’m a softy for moms. I like Priscilla because let’s face it, she’s a kick in the pants and lastly I like Jeff and Matt because they both are so adorable I just want to pinch their cheeks!
Amy Martin: Of all your favorite meals, what one dish would you like to learn to master? Or, have you already mastered it?
Marque Hernandez: It feels like it’s hubris to say that I’ve mastered anything because really I’ve only been cooking for a couple of years now. I would have to say that I can make a pretty mean Scalloped Potato. However, I’m obsessed with Coq au Vin style recipes and would really like it to become my signature dish.
Amy Martin: Is there a person (chef, home cook, family member, etc.) that has inspired you to sharpen your culinary abilities?
Marque Hernandez: Ok, don’t tell him I said this but sometimes, when I’m cooking, I pretend I’m competing with Eddie Chang from WCA Season 1. He is always posting things he’s cooked on Facebook and honestly – I’m a little jealous of some of the things he’s made. Shhh…
Amy Martin: Any advice you can give to our readers who may be beginners in the kitchen?
Marque Hernandez: Oh my goodness yes! I have 3 pieces of advice I always give. The first is to invest in a decent 8” chef’s knife and good set of pots and pans (anything with a capped bottom); they really will make a world of difference. Second is to buy a cookbook that teaches techniques like “How to Boil Water” or “Martha Stewart’s Cooking School”, both are super helpful and will help you feel more prepared. Third is to stop cooking everything on high (guilty!). Most things cook better on medium to medium-high. High heat should be reserved for boiling water or searing meats. Can I hear an Amen!
Amy Martin: And finally, would you care to share a favorite recipe with our readers?
Marque Hernandez: Okay, this is my Sandra Lee style go-to dinner when I come home late from work so don’t tell Chef Beau! It’s my Salsa Chicken; it’s super simple and super tasty and is perfect to make in your toaster over on a hot summer day so you don’t heat up the kitchen.
- 4-6 chicken breasts or 8-10 thighs
- 12 oz. jar of Picante sauce (you can use salsa but picante sauce makes a thicker sauce).
- 1/4 cup Brown Sugar
- 2 Tbsp Dijon Mustard (I really like Grey Poupon because it’s spicy)
- Combine the Salsa, Mustard, and Brown Sugar and mix thoroughly.
- Place chicken flat in a baking dish and Pour mixture over chicken.
- Bake uncovered at 400 for 30-40 minutes depending on thickness of your chicken.
- Let rest for 5 minutes before serving.
- Serve with rice or egg noodles.
- *Additionally, you may store over-night before cooking to marinate the chicken in the mixture which will make it even more flavorful.
Thank you so much for the interview Marque, we all wish you much success in your future!
Interview by Amy Martin, PhoenixBites Editor in Chief