From baking cookies and roasting ham to hosting your relatives and preparing for Christmas brunch, the road to the holidays can be a long one, and when it comes to tackling seasonal cooking and entertaining questions, there’s perhaps no one better outfitted for the task than Alton. Cutthroat Kitchen‘s master of eviliciousness and the longtime host of Good Eats stopped by Food Network’s Facebook page yesterday for the ultimate holiday tell-all, dishing on the hows, whys and whats of his best party-ready recipes. Read on below for the top snippets from the chat, to learn Alton’s answers to some of the most-asked questions and to get his tried-and-true recipes you can count on.
Tag: Alton Brown
Just in time for the holidays, Alton Brown decked the Cutthroat Kitchen halls on tonight’s all-new episode with a series of seasonal challenges — and even a Christmas tree-adorned sweater worn by judge Simon Majumdar. In true evilicious fashion, Alton didn’t shy away from punny sabotages inspired by the traditional holiday meals or activities, as the challenge dishes included a ham dinner, cocktail party fare and holiday cookies. And in Round 1 the chefs played a not-so-merry game of gift swap.
In the final round’s cookie challenge, Alton doled out the ultimate in seasonal sweets — a gingerbread house — but this one wasn’t exactly a treat. Complete with shortening, sugar, flour and leavening agents, plus various candies and decorations, this “gingerbread diorama,” as Alton called it, contained everything needed to make a cookie, and Chef Keith could use only the given ingredients to prepare his dish. While the contestant used nearly everything in Alton’s “majestic scene” in preparing his ultimately doomed cookies, only one element remained: a triple-decker butter figure shaped like a snowman. “Is he called Pat?” Simon jokingly asked Alton on the host’s After-Show, and Alton simply replied with a smile, “Yes, Pat, the Snowman Made Out of Butter.”
From chip-based cooking vessels and tools to mandatory claw hands and honey-soaked ingredients, Cutthroat Kitchen judge Jet Tila is no stranger to the most-diabolical sabotages to befall competition. But even this veteran judge could hardly believe his ears when host Alton Brown asked the crew to “bring in the compost pile” during the latest installment of his After-Show.
“Did you say ‘compost pile’?” Jet asked Alton, laughing. Sure enough, Jet had heard correctly, and indeed Alton had auctioned off a compost pile-inspired challenge that forced one chef to surrender his shopping basket and dig for all of his ingredients amongst 200 pounds of coffee grounds. “I don’t know what that is,” Jet admitted as he sifted through the pile and found — and later sniffed — a mound of mystery meat. According to Alton, it was simply “some kind of canned ham product.”
For the first time in Cutthroat Kitchen history, the limits of evilicious sabotage were tested tonight as two sets of twins took their places in the no-holds-barred arena for a brother-versus-brother battle. In true diabolical fashion, the contestants proved that while siblings’ will to stick together may be strong, their desire to win is ultimately more compelling, as one by one, brothers fell until just one was standing victorious.
Host Alton Brown relived the auctioning and game play that went on in tonight’s episode as he dished with judge Antonia Lofaso during the latest installment of the After-Show. Together they reflected on the competitors’ offerings, and Alton revealed some of the most-extreme sabotages to befall the rivals, including those that required teamwork in the unlikeliest of settings. “You think that twins are connected? No,” Alton told Antonia, who agreed, after she learned of the plank-walking sabotage with which two brothers were forced to contend. “Hilarious,” she said of this challenge, which made two brothers sync up their strides in order to finish the Caribbean-dinner round on time.
There are some Cutthroat Kitchen sabotages that test a chef’s ability to think on his or her feet, make inferior ingredients shine on the plate and work with a rival under tense circumstances. Then there are sabotages that serve little purpose beyond time-wasting — but oftentimes it’s these seemingly over-the-top challenges that fans appreciate most. On tonight’s all-new Thanksgiving-themed episode of Cutthroat Kitchen, host Alton Brown introduced the latest sabotage that’s sure to be counted among the most memorable with fans: The Turkey Suit.
Like the now-infamous souffle suit from Season 3, this heavily stuffed turkeylike contraption transformed one contestant into an oversize version of himself and forced the competitor to learn to perform basic movements with superfluous padding. “I couldn’t have anybody ride on a Thanksgiving turkey float, so we made this Thanksgiving turkey float costume,” Alton explained to judge Simon Majumdar on the host’s After-Show. Lucky for Simon, Alton spared him the experience of donning the getup, as Alton noted, “Poor Chef Jake sweat approximately 6 liters of sweat into that.”
While many consider meatballs the ultimate accompaniment to classic spaghetti and tomato sauce, these traditionally beefy rounds go beyond Italian comfort food, as Superstar Sabotage winner Eric Greenspan showed off on last night’s finale when he presented them in an Asian-style dish. Host Alton Brown, too, puts a creative spin on the everyday meatball in his easy-to-make recipe for Swedish Meatballs (pictured above).
Ideal for weekend tailgating or a casual appetizer, Alton’s top-rated meatballs are made with a mix of ground beef and pork, and they’re portioned into bite-size rounds so they’re easy to eat at a party. The key element of Alton’s recipe is his gravy; instead of simmering the meatballs in a tomato-garlic sauce, he sautes them on the stove before blanketing them in a rich, creamy broth-based topping laced with fragrant allspice.
In true tournament fashion, the final moments were some of the most anticipated in Cutthroat Kitchen‘s first-ever installment of Superstar Sabotage. Over the course of four weeks, 16 of your favorite A-list culinary masters took their places in the Cutthroat arena for no-holds-barred competition, subjecting themselves to sabotage upon sabotage all in the name of charity. But last night, the final four rivals — Chefs Aarti Sequeira, Eric Greenspan, Fabio Viviani and Marcel Vigneron — went to battle in the last heat, and as fans might have expected, host Alton Brown saved some of his shock-and-awe flashes until the very end. Read on below to hear from Alton as he looks back at a most-memorable finale.
For the first time ever, you doubled chefs’ bank accounts and gifted them a total of $50,000 to spend during the finale. Is that allowance a blessing or a curse, and do you think that allowance changed the course of play?
Alton Brown: It’s only a blessing or a curse if you’re on the receiving end of it at the end of the day. For whatever charity gets the money, then it can be a huge blessing. But really, in the kitchen environment, it’s kind of play money in a way. It almost doesn’t matter. It could be millions and it wouldn’t matter.
Not just a competition, Cutthroat Kitchen is a game, and to win, chefs must be able to not only outcook their contestants but also outthink them, both during auction and in the midst of their food prep. During tonight’s finale heat of Superstar Sabotage, Chef Marcel Vigneron proved just how useful it is to be a savvy contestant — one that can anticipate the judging process and use it to his advantage.
In Round 1’s meatball challenge, Marcel was forced to make the star of his dish with either canned soup or canned ham, and he opted for the ham, a seemingly doozy of an ingredient but perhaps ultimately his saving grace. “It freaking tastes good,” host Alton Brown revealed on his After-Show. “It’s salty, so it’s got those spices.” Judge Simon Majumdar agreed, explaining that while the salt of such a canned product has the potential to be overwhelming, Marcel used the “competition smarts” to use that flavor to his benefit. “He knew that I was only going to take a taste, mix it with the other things on the plate and then make my decision based on that,” Simon said. “It’s not like I was going to chow down on the whole big meatball.”
Since Cutthroat Kitchen judges are secluded from all aspects of competition, they’re not privy to the diabolical sabotages that befall contestants, which means that when they receive a plate before them, they don’t know what inferior ingredients went into the dish or under what conditions it was made. On tonight’s all-new episode, host Alton Brown saw the power of that unawareness when judge Simon Majumdar enthusiastically tasted one chef’s ice cream sandwich offering.
A Round 3 sabotage forced Chef Krystal to try her hands — literally — at homemade ice cream, and unbeknownst to Simon, he tasted her version of a chilled treat that she made using the salt-and-ice shake method. “Her ice cream actually was pretty good,” Simon conceded to Alton on the host’s After-Show after reflecting on Chef Krystal’s dish. “It was just very sweet.” Alton told him simply that when it comes to Simon’s willingness to taste the mystery dishes in front of him, “I learned that you’ll eat anything with sprinkles on it,” to which the judge did not contest.
Chefs know that when they compete on Cutthroat Kitchen, they’re subjecting themselves to all manners of ruthless sabotages, but now it seems that even host Alton Brown will come face-to-face with eviliciousness. Check out the GIF above to see him try to outrun a rolling boulder, and tune in Sunday at 10|9c to see what challenges are in store on an all-new episode of Cutthroat Kitchen.