Kelli Powers joked about a casting call for the "Worst Cooks in America."
"Then, my husband said, 'You should sign up,' " Powers recalled. "I was just laughing like it was a joke. But he said, 'You need to do that.' "
Now, Powers - who grew up in the Sacramento area - is one of 16 contestants competing in season three of Food Network's "Worst Cooks in America," which debuts at 9 p.m. Sunday.
Powers, a mom and part-time actress who now lives in a Los Angeles suburb, will be part of chef Anne Burrell's team of eight "recruits." They'll battle in kitchen boot camp with eight other admittedly awful cooks, mentored by superstar chef Bobby Flay.
All 16 contestants were nominated by family and friends for their atrocious cooking skills.
"We had thousands of candidates," Burrell said. "We tried to find people who would truly gain something from the experience rather than somebody who just wants to be on TV."
Powers, whose family still lives in the Sacramento area, wanted to learn the secrets of kitchen success, so she could make recipes passed down from her grandmother.
"I always really excelled at everything I did," Powers said. "But cooking, I didn't get right away. I get it now.
"We learned every second - and we learned a lot from mistakes," she added. "That's OK. It gives you the kind of confidence you need in the kitchen."
In the season premiere, Powers and cohorts attempt Orange Pumpkin Pancakes with Vanilla Whipped Cream and Cinnamon Maple Syrup. The contestant with the least successful dish each week goes home.
Upcoming episodes feature an international cuisine challenge, seafood preparation and cooking for a class of third graders. The series culminates April 8 when the two most-improved cooks are judged by culinary stars David Burke, Marcus Samuelsson and Susan Feniger. The winner gets $25,000 plus new confidence in the kitchen.
For more details, click on www.FoodNetwork.com/Worst-Cooks-In-America. Full episodes will be available for online streaming the day after original broadcast.