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Sacramento retiree adds laughs to ‘Worst Cooks of America’

Jetta Linda Ostrofsky of Sacramento is a contestant in Season 10 of Food Network’s “Worst Cooks in America.”
Jetta Linda Ostrofsky of Sacramento is a contestant in Season 10 of Food Network’s “Worst Cooks in America.”

Jetta Linda Ostrofsky knows how to make people laugh. A part-time comedian, the retired state worker has made several humorous videos that have been posted to YouTube, mostly featuring her unique vocal styling of such songs as “Hot Stuff” and “Piece of My Heart.”

The Sacramento woman also has appeared on reality TV shows and scripted dramas.

“I was on ‘America’s Got Talent’ and danced with Howard Stern,” she said. “I was on ‘X Factor’ and talked to Simon Cowell. I played (convicted murderer) Dorothea Puente on a TV show.

“I have the weirdest acting résumé of anyone ever,” she added. “I go all over the place, from comedy to playing a serial killer.”

But that was only a tune-up for her latest adventure: competing on “Worst Cooks of America.” Ostrofsky will be one of 16 contestants when the new season premieres at 9 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 1, on the Food Network. Rachael Ray and Anne Burrell host the cooking contest, which puts admittedly horrible cooks through a rugged culinary boot camp.

Through a series of cooking challenges, contestants are eliminated each week. On the final show March 5, the winner must create a restaurant-quality three-course dinner to take home the $25,000 first prize.

Ostrofsky, 66, knew she had the right stuff for “Worst Cooks.” She saw its casting call on an acting agency bulletin board and immediately applied.

Her idea of making a homemade meal was opening a can of tuna, she quipped. She stores her winter clothes in her oven.

“I live in just a little apartment,” she said. “The oven has never been turned on.”

Ray, one of America’s top celebrity cooks, coaches Ostrofsky during the show.

“Rachael doesn’t play around; she’s very serious about cooking,” Ostrofsky said. “She’s a little hard-nosed, but not nasty. If you start to make a mistake, she will stop you right away. You can really tell she knows what she’s doing and she does everything quickly – boom, boom, boom! That was amazing to me.”

Kitchens are filled with hazards, she noted, especially when working as part of a team.

I learned how to use a knife without chopping off a finger. That was a big thing for me. Knives are scary.

Jetta Linda Ostrofsky, contestant on “Worst Cooks of America”

“I learned how to use a knife without chopping off a finger,” she said. “That was a big thing for me. Knives are scary.

“The other contestants were a lot younger than me, but we helped each other,” she added. “Rushing around, there was a lot of tension to get things done. You try not to burn yourself or scald someone with boiling water. It was like an obstacle course to get everything done.”

Although she doesn’t plan “to start baking cookies,” Ostrofsky intends to finally take her clothes out of the oven and learn how to use it.

“That’s my resolution for 2017,” she said. “I can at least turn it on.”

Debbie Arrington: 916-321-1075, @debarrington

Worst Cooks of America

▪ 9 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 1, Food Network

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