Respecting the Challenge Dish — Alton’s After-Show

by in Shows, October 13th, 2013

Although the stipulations of almost every Cutthroat Kitchen sabotage force competitors to reimagine the classic versions of challenge dishes, chefs still should be able to serve plates that are at least reminiscent of the original concept. They may not be able to cook with every seemingly crucial ingredient or prepare plates in the most traditional style, but the final offerings ought to be valid interpretations of assigned dishes; for this week’s competitors, that meant burritos, pie and teriyaki bowls.

“It has to come down to what the challenge is,” judge Jet Tila told Alton Brown on the latest installment of Alton’s After-Show. The competitor ousted in the Round 1 burrito challenge presented a deconstructed Vietnamese-style burrito that was, in fact, hardly a burrito at all, according to Jet. “I’m sorry, but it was a ridiculous play on a burrito,” Jet explained of the summer roll-inspired dish. He added, “If she took a few pieces of lettuce and actually made a tight, concise roll, at least I know you’re thinking burrito,” noting how the contestant could have improved.

The same proved true in Round 3, when the eventual runner-up was forced to say goodbye, given that the sauce used in the offering strayed too far from the tried-and-true taste of teriyaki. “It was Sriracha, sweet chili sauce and a little bit of soy. That’s my guess because I know these flavors,” Jet told Alton. “That’s not teriyaki. When you think teriyaki, you want this kind of silky, sweet and salty, soy sauce-driven sauce.” Ultimately, what Jet called “fusion confusion” was enough to send home the final competitor.

Click the play button on the video above to watch the entire episode of Alton’s After-Show, and hear more from judge Jet and the host. Do you think it’s fair for judges to demand classic dishes if the competitors must work within the confines of sabotages? If you were cooking on Cutthroat Kitchen, would you risk a substantial amount of cash simply to avoid the sabotages and cook a proper version of the dish?

Tune in to a new episode of Cutthroat Kitchen on Sunday, Oct. 20 at 10pm/9c.

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Comments (9)

  1. njinn2012 says:

    Chef Tila's phrase "fusion confusion" caught my attention because there is a growing tendency to integrate flavors from two or more cuisines, especially in cities/towns that are very international (i.e., have a very diverse population in terms of a large number of countries being represented). (E.g., New York City, Vancouver (Canada), Toronto (Canada).) My heritage is korean, which has strong ties to japanese culture, so I know what teriyaki is. Thus, I was quite disappointed when I saw the spicy sauce that "strayed too far from the tried-and-true taste of teriyaki" in the third round.

    • Frank E. says:

      Chef Jet complains about "fusion confusion", but is okay with substituting faro for rice in a teriyaki bowl?

      • njinn2012 says:

        No, I do not think so! It is very important to stay true to the (original) ingredients – correctly representing the culture that the dish is associated with.

  2. nme92 says:

    I dont understand how he says at the end, "it comes down to the challenge and what it is, that was not teriyaki" but in round 2 the challenge was pie, Chef Kellan did not make a pie. he made a pie filling and put it in a bowl. Thats not pie! Chef Ma-le made a pie.

    • Frank E. says:

      In last week's episode, Chef Tila forgave raw shrimp on a plate. One of the chefs forgot to take tortillas from the pantry and wanted to serve chicken nachos substituting the skin for the chips, but she forgot the skin in the oven. I still don't understand the rules of judging. I don't think Simon Mjumdar would have been so forgiving to raw proteins. Nevertheless, the makeshift pie crust Mae-le put together must have been truly diabolical.

  3. Shea says:

    I work in a field where last minute "sabotages" happen all the time and we still have to pull out the deadlines and stay true to the project. So right on to whoever can do so given the challenges thrown their way.

    I'm not a chef, but I can tell you that if my husband eats an ingredient that I needed for the planned meal I have to just wing it . You can't always get to the store and there are often people over expecting a certain dish with certain flavors and expecting it to be editable. Not saying that I could do it on national TV like I do at home, but who wouldn't want to give it a shot?

  4. Kelli says:

    Two weeks in a row an Asian won. I suspect that this is a set up since in all my years of watching cooking shows, I've never seen someone stay in a competition that has served raw food that couldn't even be eaten. The judges say that you are gone when you cook raw food because they can't even eat it in order to judge it because it is raw and can make them sick. Also, the Asian girl that won, besides giving this "judge" raw shrimp also didn't create one of the dishes. She changed the dish. The next week something similar with the Asian guy that won. It tells the tale though with the girl because of the fact I've never seen someone win a competition when they have served raw food to a judge. Never saw that in all my years of watching these shows. I feel that this is a set up. I think this judge needs to judge Asian chefs only, since it doesn't matter how crappy their food is, they always win. What does that say to you? I had it pegged with the Asian girl won not only after serving raw shrimp but not even doing what she was supposed to do on one of the other challenges. SET UP FOR THE ASIANS!!!!!!!!!!!

  5. Jeremy Boles says:

    This has been said by many on Facebook, but why on earth is Chef Tila unable to exhibit basic table manners? He slides and bangs the fork on his teeth and then smacks his food as though we need to hear that. I don't understand why we have to include gross food noises.

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