Baldwin's Denzel “Denz” Mooney, an internet comedian, will compete on the 26th season of Food Network’s “Worst Cooks in America,” premiering Sunday at 8 p.m. Subtitled, “Love at First Bite,” this season adds a dating component.
“I learned how to make sushi, lobster, duck, and I'm so proud of myself,” the energetic 28-year-old says by phone from home. “And I’d never had any idea about making them because I'm the type who usually orders Uber Eats or goes to a restaurant."
Mooney says all this with the rat-a-tat patter he and his older brother Dustin, as the comedy duo The Mooney Brothers, employ with their 768,000 Instagram followers and 369,000 YouTube subscribers. “My brother actually is the one that recommended I try to go on the show, because he was, like, ‘Y’know what? You and your dating life — it's very unstable.’”
Dustin, 30, is partly to blame for that, Denz Mooney says. “He likes to steal my girls. Like, I bring them home” to his parents' house, where the brothers live, “and introduce them to him, and it becomes this battle where me and him are, like, ‘OK, let's see who could get who.’ And I'm, like, ‘Bro, honestly, I don't do this to you. You need to like fall back.’ ”
It got to be such a thing that the brothers appeared on the March 8, 2019, episode of the syndicated daytime “Wendy Williams Show” to seek the host’s advice. “Wendy told us, ‘You both need to stay out of each other's relationships and get it together.’”
The two are in a blended family of six children. Their retired parents — Dustin Sr., who owned a chauffeured-limousine company, and Joyce, a former insurance agent, separately emigrated from Liberia and met in the United States. “They each had two children from previous relationships,” Denz Mooney, the youngest of the bunch, says. While the family lived in Queens during his infancy before moving to Baldwin, Denz was born in New Hyde Park.
On the long-running competition featuring host-mentors Jeff Mauro — who shot episodes of his “Kitchen Crash” in Farmingdale, Malverne and West Babylon last year — and Chef Anne Burrell, 16 culinarily challenged contestants learn to “make date-friendly dishes like sushi, spicy wontons and classic French pastries,” the basic-cable network describes in a release. “[T]hey also go head-to-head in romantic dating-inspired challenges like the Cupid Games [and] the Bagel-orette …” toward a $25,000 grand prize.
“I'm the type of person who gets distracted easily,” Mooney says. “I may miss an ingredient or miss a step. Chef Anne Burrell told me, 'You need to start moving with purpose and figure out your intentions.' She got that all from my cooking. And ever since then, I've been, like, ‘Let's see what the goal is and understand where we're going.’ So, yeah, I'm thankful for 'Worst Cooks’ — it actually applies to my real life.”