How does a mild-mannered Pleasant Hill chiropractor end up in a Bobby Flay-Anne Burrell culinary competition? By being one of "The Worst Cooks in America," of course.

As an honor, it's a double-edged sword. On the one hand, you've got the fame and glory aspect, the New York City jaunt for filming and the chance to actually acquire some cooking chops from celebrity chefs. On the other hand ... you're one of the worst cooks in America, and your face is on billboards, a massive cleaver in your hands.

That doesn't seem to have dampened the sunny doctor's spirits any. Bob Schaefer says it was a terrific experience -- hurricane and all. Naturally, we had questions.

Q We hear your sweet wife signed you up. How long have you two been together?

A Forty years! My wife does all the cooking at home -- and I never did any because she was so good.

Q Could you cook anything? Boil water? Make toast?

A I did canned chili -- and I didn't do that very well. She shunted me away from that area of the house.

Q So she thought you'd be suitably terrible?

A Pretty much. I never thought I would actually get picked, but I wanted to do what my wife wants me to do, so I went along with it -- and bam! There I was, like a deer looking at the headlights.

Q What were auditions like?

A It was quite a process. We went down to L.A. twice to do screenings and stuff. Apparently, I was such a miserable failure that they took me on. For me it was easy -- I never cooked, so I didn't know what anything was. When I got to New York, I met the other contestants, a nice group of people that didn't know how to cook. Everybody tried to be the worst. (Laughs) In their own minds, they thought they were the worst.

Q We hear you had some weather adventures ...

A We were filming in New York right in the middle of Hurricane Sandy. It put a whole new dimension into my life. I'm originally from New York, but my wife and daughter were worried sick about me. Where we were, oh yeah, it was raining hard. The hurricane stopped production for a bit, but the contestants got to bond during that time.

Q We've seen the promo ads: the guy who looks fire-singed, the woman covered in flour and you caring an enormous cleaver ...

A (Laughs) I do enjoy a good cleaver, I must admit.

Q Do you cook at home now?

A My wife is really an excellent cook; my expertise doesn't compare to hers, so for the most part, she does the cooking. I'll do a little bit. Because of my working hours, I get home later, so it's easier for both of us that way. She's definitely a better chef than I am.

Chef Anne and Chef Bobby react to seeing Dr. Bob Schaefer’s "chili" dish before they pick which recruits will be on which team, as seen on
Chef Anne and Chef Bobby react to seeing Dr. Bob Schaefer's "chili" dish before they pick which recruits will be on which team, as seen on Food Network's Worst Cooks in America, Season 4 ( David Lang )

Q What did you think of Bobby Flay and Anne Burrell?

A They're there to teach people how to cook, and they're both really phenomenal about doing what they have to do.

Q What has been the reaction to this, here at home and at work?

A I have two different practices, so I had to hire doctors to fill in for me. Everybody thinks it's a hoot. They're all star-struck. My mom is really excited, and my daughter is constantly texting my wife -- she's an avid Food Network fan. It definitely brought my family even closer, which is amazing to me, because we were so close to begin with.

The 'Worst Cooks' Lowdown

What: Equal parts train wreck and charming self-improvement show, this Food Network series has the appeal of a "Dancing With the Stars," albeit one whose lack of stars is more than compensated for by the number of spontaneous flambés. Celebrity chefs Bobby Flay and Anne Burrell teach their teams to cook, eliminating contestants each week. At the end, the two most-improved cooks will cook a three-course meal for food critics in the hopes of winning the $25,000 prize.
When: The new season premieres at 9 p.m. Feb. 17. Details: www.foodnetwork.com/worst-cooks-in-america.