Housekeeper Alice did most of the cooking for “The Brady Bunch,” but that didn’t mean Mrs. Brady couldn’t be handy in the kitchen, too.
Florence Henderson sets out to prove that as a contestant on Season 3 of Food Network’s “Rachael vs. Guy: Celebrity Cook-Off” starting Monday, Jan. 6. The stage and screen veteran is part of Rachael Ray’s culinary team that also includes comedian Judy Gold, magician-comic Penn Jillette and former “Bachelor” Jake Pavelka. They compete against Guy Fieri’s new squad consisting of “Saturday Night Live” alum Chris Kattan, singer-actress Tiffany, music veteran Vanilla Ice and ex-NFL star Herschel Walker.
With other Food Network personalities serving as guest judges, the last amateur cook standing wins $50,000 for the charity of his or her choice.
“I enjoyed it,” Henderson tells Zap2it. “It was something new for me, and I love a challenge. I’ve done all these cooking shows — I did one in Nashville for nine years, and I do one on RLTV (‘Who’s Cooking With Florence Henderson’) — and I grew up in a very large family, so I know something about cooking.
“But I’d rather be singing and dancing,” adds Henderson. “If I was talented as Rachael, it might be a different story. I think we love what we’re good at.”
The ever-pleasant Henderson allows that some of the “Celebrity Cook-Off” contenders were “more experienced than others, but hey, I did ‘Dancing With the Stars.’ Jennifer Grey (who won that season) obviously was a dancer, so you always face that, but it’s how you rise to the occasion. I just try to make every experience I have fun.”
Having taped all her “Celebrity Cook-Off” episodes, Henderson says she “came out with some more knowledge, but I think I’m really much better at some things. I’m brilliant at making reservations!”
What are you currently reading?
“My friend Tim Conway’s book (‘What’s So Funny? My Hilarious Life’). I went to his book signing, and it was absolutely hilarious.”
What did you have for dinner last night?
“I was helping my daughter move into her new house, and we went to Hamburger Hamlet. They make this wonderful dish called Zucchini Zircles, and it’s just delicious. And that’s all I had.”
What is your next project?
“Besides ‘Rachael vs. Guy,’ I’m always doing something. I just went to the Kennedy Center Honors; I’m on the artists committee, so I’ve gone to many of them.”
When was the last vacation you took – where and why?
“I’m usually working, but last year, I had the good fortune to go to Tuscany. Italian food is my favorite food of all, and it was just a fantastic trip.’