by Maria Russo in Shows, September 12th, 2013
by Maria Russo in Shows, September 8th, 2013
Once the competitors on Cutthroat Kitchen
complete their brief 60 seconds of pantry shopping, they can’t say for certain what will come next, blissfully unaware of the ingredient swaps, time freezes and utensil prohibitions with which they will be forced to comply when cooking. Host Alton Brown
‘s deliciously mischievous competition is just four weeks into its premiere season, yet chefs have already experienced interferences like prepared pie crust in place of pizza dough, the inability to use salt in their taco dishes and the challenge of fashioning their only utensils out of aluminum foil.
Two of the seemingly most insurmountable sabotages, however, occurred in the first two weeks of the series, when Alton revealed French wine and blue cheese, which had to be featured in one chef’s French toast preparation, and bright-green sour apple gummy candies, which were to be used in place of fresh apples when making a dish of pork chops and apple sauce. What happened next in both instances was a no-nonsense bidding war, with several contestants willing to go to great lengths — and exorbitant sums — to avoid cooking with these products themselves.
by Maria Russo in Shows, September 1st, 2013
No matter how prepared a chef may be when he walks into Cutthroat Kitchen
, or how well-conceived his ideas are for one round’s challenge dish, he can’t say for certain whether he’ll be able to use those skills or his thought-out plan, as a sabotage may ultimately get the better of him. The key to success in this contest is a competitor’s ability to adapt to culinary interferences as he meets them — finding new ways to add flavor to food when salt isn’t an option and learning how to fashion utensils out of foil when traditional devices are prohibited, among them.
But what happens when, whether because of strategic game play or simple good fortune, a chef has the opportunity — the time, ingredients and equipment — to make just what he had intended?
In the latest installment of Alton’s After-Show, the host and this week’s judge, Antonia Lofaso, dished on the competitors’ seeming need to do more and cook more than they ought to have or needed to simply because they could.
by Maria Russo in Shows, August 25th, 2013
When chefs enter Cutthroat Kitchen
, they’re likely expecting a bit — or a lot — of sabotage to be dealt upon them by their rivals. After all, it’s this play-or-be-played mentality that makes the competition as fiercely cutthroat at is it. But what they may not expect is that some of their most prominent challenges will likely come not from their dwindling cash supply, another contestant or unexpected ingredient swaps, but rather from themselves and their ideas about how to succeed in Cutthroat Kitchen.
On this week’s After-Show, judge Simon Majumdar and host Alton Brown noticed that in almost every round of cooking, chefs faced significant obstacles — some so damaging that they led to eliminations — on account of their own shortcomings. “He wasn’t sabotaged there,” Alton told Simon of Chef Scipione’s absence of bread in his Round 1 cheese steak sandwich. “He just didn’t make it out of the pantry with any bread.” This oversight ultimately cost Chef Scipione his place in the competition, as Simon noted that the chef’s finished dish “wasn’t a Philly cheese steak in any form that I would recognize.”
by Maria Russo in Shows, August 18th, 2013
On last week’s After-Show
, judge Simon Majumdar said: “Being a great chef is one thing. Being a strategic chef is another. If you can combine those, you can actually end up winning Cutthroat Kitchen without being technically the best chef.” And tonight Alton
may have proved that theory to be true when he told Simon the lengths to which one competitor went to claim the win.
The name of the game in Cutthroat Kitchen is indeed sabotage, but with that comes personal advantages for the competitor dealing those devastating blows to his or her rivals. With every big-ticket disruption one chef purchases and assigns to another contestant, he’s essentially buying himself safety from that challenge. Alton told Simon that, in this week’s final auction, one chef — who would ultimately go on to win the battle — spent almost all of his or her money ensuring his or her own smooth finish by assigning someone else the challenge of making crab cakes without a binder, like mayonnaise. This person “bought victory,” Simon said of the outcome, chalking up this reality to the fact that “anything is possible in Cutthroat Kitchen.”
by Maria Russo in Shows, August 11th, 2013
To succeed in the Cutthroat Kitchen
, it’s not enough for a chef to come equipped with his lucky knife kit and years of experience at the stove. After all, a fellow competitor may prevent his use of that cutlery and make him question the extent of his skills, all with the help of $25,000 in spending money and the will to disrupt. Chefs must take assigned curve balls in stride and turn out quality dishes for a judge, who, without knowledge of the earlier mind games, will decide based on taste alone whose plate is the weakest. On Alton’s After-Show, host Alton Brown
will reveal to the judge what’s gone down, and together they’ll dish on how the events unfolded and the food ultimately came to light.
In the series premiere, judge Simon Majumdar joined Alton in the Cutthroat Kitchen, and even after learning of some chefs’ use of inferior pork products in Round 1, revealed, “They all produced dishes that were kind of passable with one or two errors, rather than bad dishes with one or two good things about them.” Even though Chef Gianchetti had the most sought-after meat — thick-cut bone-in chops — in that round, his pork was severely overcooked, so much so that Simon admitted that “is actually worse than getting a poor ingredient and making it tasty.”
by Maria Russo in Shows, July 9th, 2013
When judge Antonia Lofaso entered the Cutthroat Kitchen
and tasted the chefs’ turkey dinner, French toast and lobster roll dishes, she wasn’t privy to the events that had unfolded and ultimately led to those particular plates of food. Simply critiquing and praising the offerings based solely on taste, she knew not of the thousands of dollars that had been spent to force a competitor to cook with a precooked, processed turkey instead of a fresh bird, to prepare a meal sans utensils, to feature red wine and blue cheese in French toast, and to make bread from scratch in only 30 minutes. On his first-ever Alton’s After-Show, Alton
revealed these secrets and others to judge Antonia, who finally realized the making of the meals she had just tasted.
“It’s all coming together now,” she told Alton. In perhaps the most telling reveal, she learned that all of these sabotages, seemingly insurmountable given the time constraints and demands of the challenge, had been inflicted on one competitor: Chef Frankie. It was up to him to adapt to these struggles — sometimes multiple ones in a single round — and attempt to turn out passable plates.
by Gabriela Rodiles in Food Network Chef, June 21st, 2013
They are the cooking show competitor’s top-two wishes: to be able to mess with rivals enough to sabotage their game and to gain an advantage to improve their own chances of winning. On Alton Brown’s brand-new upcoming series, contestants will have the opportunity to enjoy both experiences.
Premiering Sunday, August 11 at 10pm/9c, Cutthroat Kitchen pits four culinary superstars against each other, and to be victorious in this three-round contest, they’ll need to put savvy mind games to work as much as they do cooking chops. Each will have access to $25,000 in cash, and it’s up to them to decide how to spend their money in an auction: Do they pay out to earn the exclusive use of a crucial ingredient, like salt, or do they sentence their opponents to a brutal round of cooking, one in which they’re prohibited from tasting their dishes? In the ultimate balance of risk and reward, the competitors must determine on which benefits it’s worth spending their funds and which curveballs may eventually prove damaging enough to others to ultimately pay off, as the winner’s prize is whatever money he or she has left over afterward.
by Maria Russo in Shows, December 19th, 2012
Both on and off camera, celebrity chefs are saying goodbye to aprons and hello to chic style. Four Food Network chefs — Alton, Giada, Geoffrey and Marcus — made Vanity Fair’s Best-Dressed Chefs list. We all know their food and/or restaurants are worthy of praise, but their individual styles earned applause from the fashion world.
Bad fashion is on the chopping block for Geoffrey Zakarian. His slick New York City style includes tortoiseshell glasses (he actually has 12 pairs) and pastel button-downs. Geoffrey seamlessly trades his chef’s jacket for a crisp gingham shirt and sport coat.
Alton Brown’s come a long way from his quirky Good Eats costumes. Now he can be spotted with his trademark modern vintage style including dapper bow ties, hipster spectacles and tweed blazers. On this season of Food Network Star, you’ll find him rocking plaid button-downs, retro fedoras and well-tailored suits.
More chefs named best-dressed
by Maria Russo in Shows, December 14th, 2012
By now you’ve noticed that after Alton announces, “Let the cooking begin,” at the start of every Chairman’s Challenge, he takes his place in his kitchen alongside the rivals as they spend each of their precious minutes prepping ingredients, cooking and plating. Instead of just watching what goes down, however, he interacts with the chefs, questions their plans for their challenge, explains their cooking techniques and comments on ingredients, all while playing cameraman. That small gray box you’ve seen Alton toting this season, propping on top of workstations, inside blenders and above stoves — that’s his very own GoPro video camera, and he’s used it to record behind-the-scenes happenings, rival chef banter and all of the flare-ups and meltdowns that a large camera couldn’t catch.
Since we can’t be in the kitchen with the Redemption rivals, Alton’s video footage is the next-best way to experience exactly what the chefs are thinking, feeling and cooking. Want to watch the challenges from Alton’s point of view? Check out this exclusive video clip (or click the play button below) of Alton chatting with Chef Marcel Vigneron and tasting the rival’s blue cheese ice cream, then browse this photo gallery to find insider images of Alton with his GoPro camera.
Be sure to tune in Sunday at 9pm/8c to watch the finale of The Next Iron Chef: Redemption.
On last Sunday’s episode of The Next Iron Chef, the remaining rivals packed up their knife kits and flew east to Sin City after five weeks of challenges and showdowns in Los Angeles. For the chefs, the move to Las Vegas proved to be a turning point in the competition, a sign that they are one step closer to claiming the only title that matters.
For Alton Brown, however, the move to Vegas was an opportunity to dabble in matchmaking — ingredient matchmaking, that is. With an altar of savory delicacies and sweet confections, he created a series of odd pairs like squid and marshmallows, chicken livers and peppermint candies, and bone marrow and fruit candies, which forced the rivals to think beyond the ordinary and create harmonious marriages out of culinary confusion.
Looking ahead to this week’s episode and the sneak-peek image above, it may seem as though Alton is once again experimenting with something new: flying. It turns out, however, that he is a frequent flier, and not just in the passenger sense. For more than 10 years, he’s been operating his own private airplane and only relies on commercial flights when there’s no other option.
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