Alton’s Cutthroat Kitchen Survival Techniques

by in Food Network Chef, Shows, December 12th, 2013

Alton's Cutthroat Kitchen Survival TechniquesAs Season 2 of Cutthroat Kitchen approaches (tune in Sunday, Dec. 15 at 10pm/9c), FN Dish thought it was an optimal time to look back on the first season with the host himself, Alton Brown, and some of the best lessons learned. This quickly translated into Alton’s Survival Techniques.

1. Never leave the pantry unless your basket is full. There is absolutely no excuse for not having a full basket — to the brim.

2. Always grab flour and eggs. Even if you think you’re not going to need them, you can make a lot of things with those two ingredients that you can’t make with other things.

3. Never bid in more than $100 increments. Why in the world would you do otherwise? Say you and your opponent are at a bidding war and your opponent bids $4,000 (could be for anything). Why would you bid $6,000? Nobody does that in a real auction. You go in $100 increments because you might have been willing to quit at $1,500 less. Don’t throw away your money. People go over this increment to make an impression and because they think it will garner them a win. It only guarantees that you’ll wind up spending more money.

People need to be aware that others are bidding against them just to get them to spend money. An opponent might not have any intention of using the ingredient or tool.

4. Take time to look around the kitchen. Find out what’s really there to use. If competitors would just take a moment to look at the tools, it might save them. I found in Season 1 that chefs tended to look at what they needed and not at what was available to them. It’s just a matter of panic. It takes 10 seconds to look, and you always have 10 seconds. There are a lot of options. Look at the kitchen before you start bidding. For example: Why would I bid to keep my knives when there’s a deli slicer I need behind me?

5. Always leave the pantry with something that has salt in it. Example: soy sauce. Competitors might take your salt away, but they probably won’t touch your sauce. It’s a source of sodium.

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Comments (23)

  1. JD it's JD says:

    Awesome tips. I always wonder why people jumped up in increments or started with outlandishly high bids and just ASSUMED editors cut out (i,e., didn't show) bids for the sake of time.

    I've grown to love the show (and wish they would just stop using chef Antonia (somebody) she is the absolute worst!).

  2. Shelley McKinney says:

    Love the show. I think a an awesome sabbotage would be to make someone cook an entire round in a rolling office type chair.

  3. theV says:

    Fantastic show. Certainly my favorite on FN. Amazing what some of the chefs come up with when they are given a pile of whatever that was. Another tip for the contestants is to bring a bit of game theory to the sabotage decisions. All you need to do is to get to the next round, so if one of your opponents has already been given a sabotage, PILE ON.

  4. Stephen says:

    As an economist who teaches game theory, I often get very exasperated by the poor strategic choices of the chefs. The goal in rounds one and two is not to win; it is to avoid losing. If you win the third sabotage, don't waste it on someone who hasn't been sabotaged to try to even things out. Hit the person who's been sabotaged the worst already. If they go down in flames, you survive the round.

    A nice side effect of targeting already-sabotaged chefs is that they probably have more money; after all, they didn't buy whatever sabotage they've been hit with. People with lots of money are a bigger threat in later rounds.

    Retaliation is particularly foolish, especially in round one, because whomever you're retaliating against has just spent a lot of money and probably isn't sabotaged yet. Finish that person off in a later round.

    Given that many chefs seem to enjoy irrational retaliation, though, I would try to be very quiet in the first round auctions, especially the first item….

  5. Sanaya Das says:

    Loved the show before!! Now I think the show allow to win those people who has the less money
    Last few episodes makes me believe that it doesn't matter if your dish doesn't taste good and even if you are lacking the main ingredient . What matters in 'Cutthroat Kitchen' is how much money you have. If you are having lowest money, then you are gonna win. NO MATTER HOW IS YOUR DISH TASTE!!!! What kind of show is this???? Alton Brown, if you are running some shows, please make it more meaningful. Otherwise, shut your Cutthroat Kitchen show off. We know the tricks already. How can u guys cheat to participants?

  6. mary says:

    Alton Brown has hit bottom. Too bad, he used to be interesting to watch. He is a boob. The The show is insulting.

    • PipeMike says:

      You're very narrow minded. He's always a good host. He's nowhere NEAR the bottom. Emeril? Tyler Florence? Sandra Lee? They may be – But not AB!

      Pull your head out……….. OR – At least lift your skirt and take peek through your belly button!

  7. Deb says:

    Hate this show. Please stop this trend of meaness. Focus on skill and good sportsmanship.

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