by Maria Russo in Shows, January 24th, 2016
by Maria Russo in Shows, January 17th, 2016
It’s not uncommon for Cutthroat Kitchen sabotages to throw competitors off their A-game, but one challenge in particular knocked them off their feet tonight — literally. Ever a fan of culinary puns, host Alton Brown auctioned off a sabotage that challenged two chefs to prep flatbread as they laid flat on their backs. In theory the execution seems simple: Just use your hands to feel, right? But what happens when it comes time to roll out the dough or chop ingredients? Simon Majumdar learned these lessons the hard way tonight, when he experienced the challenge firsthand during the latest installment of the After-Show as he was challenged to make flatbread.
“Chapati is a wheat-flour Indian bread,” Simon explained of the dish he set out to make, though in true Cutthroat fashion, he wasn’t allowed to prep it in a straightforward manner. Enter the flat-top prep table. “I want you to experience this the way that the competitors had to,” Alton told Simon. “So just hop up on here and lay flat.” While Simon managed to roll out his dough on a block atop his torso and ultimately move it to the stove, he dodged slicing duties, thanks to Alton. The host took over chopping the cucumber for Simon’s raita — and once again Simon’s midsection proved to be a worthwhile prep area, and Alton set up another cutting board there so the judge could lie down. “Lay still now. This knife is sharp. I’ve never cut on a moving surface like this, and I could slip,” Alton joked as he maneuvered the knife just inches from Simon’s face.
by Maria Russo in Shows, January 3rd, 2016
Just when you thought nothing could be funnier than the time Alton Brown and Jet Tila bobbed for doughnuts together, the Cutthroat Kitchen host-judge duo delivered what may be the most-hilarious After-Show to date. And that’s thanks in part to a key piece of equipment, or, rather, wardrobe: the sumo suit.
After a sabotage forced two chefs to don sumo suits and wrestle for ingredients during the yakitori round, Alton and Jet too found their way inside this oversize getup, only they made bananas Foster. And while they weren’t forced to tackle each other in the hopes of grabbing the necessary ingredients, the guys couldn’t resist a few friendly scuffles and some good-natured jostling while enduring the weight of the suits.
“This is the best day of my Cutthroat life, right here,” Jet admitted before he and Alton got started on their dessert face-off. But no sooner did they begin than the scuffles started. After Alton side-bumped Jet as they prepared to race to the pantry, Jet grabbed Alton’s suit, holding the host back from going inside. It didn’t take long before Alton threw what he deemed to be “counter measures,” aka the contents of a container, at Jet as they were shopping; soon afterward, Jet bombarded the host at the refrigerator. Though it may seem like the guys were focused more on play than prep in the kitchen, they indeed managed to turn out impressive bananas Foster, Jet even going so far as to make ice cream with liquid nitrogen.
by Maria Russo in Shows, December 27th, 2015
While some Cutthroat Kitchen chefs are able to endure the wrath of sabotage and survive to cook in the next round, many past competitors have met their doom when a downright diabolical challenge presented them with a test they couldn’t pass. On tonight’s all-new After-Show, host Alton Brown explained to judge Simon Majumdar that such was the scene on the latest episode for two contestants who were ultimately sent home on account of evilicious sabotages.
“We had two sabotages today that sent people home,” Alton said. “They were game-changing sabotages.” And sure enough, Alton added that it was those very same sabotages that he and Simon would be trying their hands at as well. Enter the weathervane and the ladle set; the former was Chef Sarah’s sole cooking vessel, and the latter Chef Matthew had to mix in and cook with. While the competitors had to prep chicken cacciatore and doughnuts with their sabotages, respectively, Alton and Simon were set to put scrambled eggs on the table instead.
by Maria Russo in Shows, December 20th, 2015
Surviving Cutthroat Kitchen is tricky enough for a chef who’s trying to manage his or her own lot of eviliciousness, but when a particularly diabolical challenge requires two chefs to work together in the hopes of surviving, the feelings of doom in the arena only increase. Such a scene unfolded during tonight’s all-new episode, and during the After-Show later on, host Alton Brown revealed what he deemed a challenge diabolical enough for the ages. “This is probably [among the] top 10 sabotages of all time,” he told Simon Majumdar, the judge of the day, while revealing a pair of wraparound bars that forced chefs Betty and Michael to work in tandem while making tandoori chicken.
“As you dose out the pain of sending people home, I figured that it would be good for you to kind of get an idea of what this felt like,” Alton explained to Simon as the guys attempted to settle into this oddball contraption. Though they didn’t have to attempt tandoori chicken on the After-Show, Alton and Simon indeed tried their (tied) hands at potato pancake prep work. After a few initial fumbles, the host and judge found their rhythm, and Simon couldn’t help but wonder about the chefs who had to endure this sabotage. “We’re grating, so that’s easy peasy, lemon squeezy,” he said. “But what were they doing?” Alton explained that the competitors had a few more tasks at hand, like “trying to cut chicken and make all their seasonings and mix up everything that they needed.” As for the host, he could only somewhat describe how such an experience felt as he endured it. “It’s kind of like you’re being a puppet and not being a puppet,” Alton said.
by Maria Russo in Shows, December 16th, 2015
After finishing up his judging duties for tonight’s all-new episode of Cutthroat Kitchen, Jet Tila experienced life as a competitor during the After-Show when he was tasked with taking on a sabotage from the shrimp stir-fry test in Round 2. One particularly evilicious sabotage required one chef to cook with a tiny wok and chopsticks while the other was saddled with an oversize pair — and that’s what Jet was forced to contend with as well.
As he finagled with the extra-large chopsticks as he chopped his vegetables, the situation appeared to be somewhat under control. But that was quickly lost when he attempted to lift and pour his mise en place setup into the wok. After several dropped bowls, host Alton Brown couldn’t help but lend Jet a hand — by covering the camera lens so Jet could cheat the sabotage (or not) and manually add his ingredients to the wok without anyone noticing. “Go ahead and do whatever you need to do,” Alton told him, and sure enough, after just a few seconds, the camera returned to a full wok.
Even while Jet worked with this trick equipment, he and Alton were quick to dole out what it takes to make a classic stir-fry. After all, as the world record holder for the largest stir-fry ever made, Jet knows just how to execute it properly. “The wok should give a little smokiness to the dish,” he explained, and he and Alton noted the importance of the wok being steel. When it comes to accomplishing the right taste, Alton and Jet note that it’s best to deglaze the pan as the stir-fry comes together. “The deglazing is absolutely important because all of that fond that was stuck in there from the ginger, garlic and the shrimp has to come back in,” Jet said.
by Maria Russo in Shows, December 13th, 2015
In a ball pit, strapped to a life-size rotisserie, high atop a high chair, on top of a mechanical bull — the Cutthroat Kitchen After-Show has seen the judges in some downright diabolical (and downright hilarious) locales. But on tonight’s all-new installment, the scene turned a bit more seasonal when host Alton Brown and judge Jet Tila found themselves atop Santa’s lap following the Holi-Dazed and Confused holiday special.
“Alton, I’ve never felt this uncomfortable,” Jet — clad as what else but a holiday elf, of course — told Alton as the duo landed atop Santa’s lap. “Oh, we’re just getting started,” Alton joked. Not only did the guys have to work while seated, but they each had an additional sabotage to simultaneously contend with. Since Alton won the coin toss, he chose the spinning-dreidel challenge for himself — which meant that he had to keep a dreidel spinning during the whole time he was cooking — while Jet was forced to send all of his ingredients down an ice luge before working with them. “You’re, like, weighing [ingredients]?” Jet asked Alton as the host used a kitchen scale to precisely measure the components. “I won’t even be able to get sugar down the luge.” Sure enough, though, Jet as well as Alton did manage to create presentable eggnog, and even Santa was able to partake in the holiday cheer with a cup for himself.
by Kristina Bornholtz in Community, Food Network Chef, December 12th, 2015
“You got to learn to twist the core.” That was Alton Brown‘s advice to a less-than-enthused Simon Majumdar as he took his turn — literally — around what Alton called “the human rotisserie.” This downright diabolical sabotage made its return to tonight’s all-new Cutthroat Kitchen episode for the gyro challenge, and in true After-Show fashion, Alton forced the judge of the day, this time Simon, to get a hands-on feel for the demands of eviliciousness.
“I’m getting a little cramp here,” Simon admitted as he strained from side to side and attempted to reach the prep and cook stations while the rotating spit was in motion. It didn’t take long, however, for Simon to realize that perhaps the most-efficient way to cook his dish — a crab cake instead of the challenge gyro — was to simply carry the pan as he turned. He managed to fry the crab cake and watch over it, instead of risking burning it in what was a screaming-hot skillet. “I suggested that she do this as well,” Alton told Simon of Chef Melanie, who was saddled with this sabotage during the competition. “But she didn’t. She wanted to keep the pan on the heat the whole time.”
by Maria Russo in Shows, December 9th, 2015
Can’t wait for tomorrow night’s episode of Cutthroat Kitchen (at 10|9c) to get your Alton Brown fix? Fear not. All day Sunday, Alton is staging a total takeover of Food Network’s Snapchat Discover page. Starting at 6 a.m., you can get exclusive access to everything Alton, but for 24 hours only.
If you’re not familiar with how Snapchat Discover works, here’s a quick rundown. Download the Snapchat app (for iPhone and Android), if you haven’t already. Swipe right twice (past the camera and the Stories page) and you’ll see a list of mini-magazines produced daily just for Snapchat users. Find the Food Network logo (the orange bubble!) and tap. You’re in!
by Maria Russo in Shows, December 6th, 2015
In tonight’s brand-new seasonal special, host Alton Brown decked the diabolical halls of the Cutthroat Kitchen arena with a holiday-themed Naughty vs. Nice battle. Of course no celebration of the season is complete without Santa Claus — and with that, a peek inside Santa’s workshop. Chef Jackie got an up-close and personal look at this miniature house when forced to make a snack for Santa, and so too did judge Antonia Lofaso when Alton challenged her to make a dip in the same space on the After-Show. The catch for Antonia? She had to harvest all of her ingredients from the doors of an advent calendar, which Chef Jackie also had to do, thanks to a double sabotage in Round 3.
It didn’t take long for Chef Antonia to realize the limitations — and potential hazards — of Santa’s tiny workshop. “I’m totally going to hit my head — ow!” she exclaimed. After discovering the first set of ingredients, which included mascarpone and ciabatta, in doors one through five, Antonia got to work on a crostini-and-dip plate; ultimately she made do with little else, as many of the remaining doors provided her with seemingly useless goods, like fortune cookies and pineapples. “I’m feeling good about this now,” Antonia said as she kneeled down in the prep area of the workshop and got to work.
Englishman Simon Majumdar is likely acquainted with bangers and mash, the Round 2 dish on tonight’s new episode of Cutthroat Kitchen. But he wasn’t familiar with the concept of a Round 1 sabotage — double dutch jump rope — that put a punny twist on Dutch baby pancakes, as host Alton Brown revealed on the After-Show. Alton explained that the goal of the game was for two people to jump rope in tandem, and Simon couldn’t help but wonder, “Are you making this up?” The host assured him that such a game was indeed “a major pastime,” and Alton and Simon went on to don the joint double dutch table sabotage, on which they had to whisk egg whites while simultaneously jumping.
Despite his first few missed attempts to successfully jump the rope, Simon admitted, “I’m getting there.” Both he and Alton were forced to whisk vigorously as they were whipping their egg whites by hand, and Alton explained one minor impediment to a quicker process: “I didn’t add any cream of tartar to this,” Alton said. “Cream of tartar, of course, helps you when you’re beating eggs like this because the acid breaks down some of the bonds so that you can form brand-new ones.” As both Simon and Alton held on to their tools and jumped with each call of “double Dutch baby” from the Bobs, Simon said simply, “I’m exhausted.”