by Amy Reiter in Food Network Chef, News, March 5th, 2015
by Maria Russo in Shows, March 1st, 2015
On May 4, Alton Brown, Cutthroat Kitchen’s master of eviliciousness, will take on the master of ceremonies duties as the host of the 2015 James Beard Foundation Awards, a prestigious awards ceremony that is the culinary’s world’s answer to the Oscars. After being held in New York for 24 years, the event will take place in Chicago this year at the city’s appropriately sumptuous Civic Opera House, home of its Lyric Opera. It will be Alton’s second stint hosting the awards; he previously hosted in 2012. Alton is also a repeat James Beard Foundation Award winner, most recently honored as Outstanding Television Host – for his work on Good Eats — in 2011.
You can find a full list of this year’s restaurant- and chef-award semifinalists here. The foundation will announce the final nominees in these categories, as well as the nominations for its book, journalism, broadcast media and restaurant design awards, on Tuesday, March 24. The annual James Beard Foundation Book, Broadcast & Journalism Awards Dinner, to be held in New York on April 24, will be hosted by Carla Hall, of ABC’s The Chew.”
by Maria Russo in Shows, February 15th, 2015
No matter chefs’ culinary skill levels or the amount of time they’ve prepared for competition, nothing can ready them for battle on Cutthroat Kitchen. Combined with the fierce time constraints in any given round, the unruly sabotages doled upon them practically guarantee they must reimagine any preconceived ideas about their dish and simply attempt to finish on time. For many finalists, however, the only way to complete the round is to offer a deconstructed version of their dish, featuring just its parts, which when combined, may make up a whole.
Such a maneuver is risky, as judges — especially seasoned ones like Antonia Lofaso, Jet Tila and Simon Majumdar — can see past a chef’s mention of purposely deconstructing a dish and realize that it’s likely a last-ditch effort to plate his or her food. On tonight’s all-new episode, Chef Jenny was faced with a doozy of a sabotage that landed her in a racecar seat, so her ability to cook quickly was compromised. And much to the judge’s horror, Chef Jenny told Antonia that her lasagna was “deconstructed.” Antonia explained of her reaction to Alton Brown on the host’s After-Show, “I almost can’t take it seriously when they say ‘deconstructed’ to me anymore.” Alton added, “Because nobody actually does it unless they’re in trouble.” Antonia said of Chef Jenny sarcastically, “She’s like, ‘Oh, I really meant to just throw the noodle down the center and put some raw tomato on it with a dollop of ricotta.'” Ultimately the curse of the deconstructed dish struck again: Chef Jenny said goodbye after the lasagna round.
by Maria Russo in Shows, January 19th, 2015
Cutthroat Kitchen isn’t for the faint of heart, that’s for sure, and Anne Burrell learned that the hard way when she took her place in the arena as a competitor in the Superstar Sabotage tournament a few months ago. But on tonight’s all-new episode, she experienced the contest from a judge’s perspective as she guest-starred in this particularly evilicious battle.
A Round 2 sabotage forced Chef Ventura to dictate to Chef Emily how he wanted his food to be prepared, though he couldn’t see what she was doing because there was a wall between them, and vice versa. So when it came time for Anne to judge the competitors’ taco offerings, she judged Chef Ventura’s on a taco that was ultimately prepared by Chef Emily — and, again, vice versa. “She wildly underseasoned it,” Anne said of Chef Emily’s preparation of Chef Ventura’s taco. And, sure enough, Anne found Chef Emily’s dish to be “delicious,” though of course it was prepared by Chef Ventura.
by Maria Russo in Shows, January 11th, 2015
So often in the Cutthroat Kitchen arena, chefs split their focus between the challenge dish and a side dish or two to round out their offerings for the judge, only to find out later that the sides did more harm than good, perhaps detracting from the primary dish or suffering a flaw that the judge cannot ignore. But on tonight’s all-new episode, it turns out that the side dish saved the day for one competitor and ultimately clinched his win.
It was up to judge Simon Majumdar to decide which of two chefs’ granola bars was worthy of the prize, and while Chef Julio’s plate indeed featured a bar, Simon noted of the taste during the After-Show, “It wasn’t the best granola.” That prestige was awarded to Chef John’s dish, as Simon explained, “John’s was really good granola, but it wasn’t a bar.” Therein lies the problem. “The fact that both of them had real problems — one didn’t have a bar and one didn’t have great granola — meant I had to judge the dish as a whole,” Simon said, “and [Chef Julio’s] pineapple dish was really great.” While such a judgment doesn’t happen regularly on Cutthroat, Alton Brown told Simon, “In that case, it was the side item that sealed the victory.”
by Maria Russo in Shows, January 9th, 2015
It’s no secret that when Antonia Lofaso, Jet Tila and Simon Majumdar enter the Cutthroat Kitchen arena as judges, they’re evaluating chefs’ dishes based on three and only three elements: taste, presentation and authenticity. But what happens when these judges come face to face with an ingredient they simply don’t enjoy? While it may seem as though they’d be likely to mark down a competitor for featuring a taste that’s off-putting to them, Antonia revealed to Alton Brown on tonight’s all-new After-Show that that’s not the case.
“I don’t think any of us judges judge based on our own personal preference,” she revealed after Alton noted the possibility of some judges not liking sardines, which one chef was forced to contend with in a sabotage. “I’m actually not a big fan of sardines, but I do appreciate their flavor, and I would know what to be looking for in a good sardine,” Antonia told Alton. She added of sardines, “I wouldn’t have judged against it.” It turns out that while Chef Gina — who was tasked with working with sardines in Round 1’s fish taco test — was ultimately sent home, it wasn’t for too much sardine but rather too little. As Alton noted to Antonia, “You got rid of Chef Gina because you didn’t like the mushrooms and the fact that there wasn’t enough sardine in there to make it a fish taco.”
by Maria Russo in Shows, January 4th, 2015
There are culinary competitions, and there’s Cutthroat Kitchen, where no one and nothing is safe. Thanks to master of eviliciousness Alton Brown and his devious fondness for a little — or a lot — of well-meaning kitchen sabotage, Cutthroat Kitchen competitors have come face to face with canned whole chickens, mincemeat pork chops and coffee grounds turned compost pile, not to mention oddball tools and prep stations (think potato mashers for hands and a mini worktable suspended atop a bunk bed).
Just recently BuzzFeed showcased its picks of the most-jaw-dropping sabotages to ever enter the Cutthroat arena, looking back on that time one chef sourced all of her ingredients from a gumball machine and the day another was forced to make breakfast in a bed.
In the spirit of embracing all thing hilariously heinous, Food Network fans, too, have picked their favorite diabolical challenges to befall the competitors. From warped crepe pans and camping stoves to steaming mussels with a laundry steamer, it’s the best of eviliciousness in our fans’ roundup of top Cutthroat sabotages. Click the photo below to begin the photo gallery of those wow-worthy challenges.
by Maria Russo in Food Network Chef, Shows, December 30th, 2014
While even the seemingly most-approachable sabotages are still a challenge for Cutthroat Kitchen competitors, Alton Brown took the game to extreme heights and lengths on tonight’s all-new episode when he auctioned off not one but two next-level tests. “We really stepped up our sabotages,” Alton explained on the latest installment of his After-Show, introducing judge Simon Majumdar to these evilicious unfoldings.
“We thought we would up the ante this time and make somebody cook in a bunk bed,” Alton told Simon of a sabotage for the breakfast hash round. “Prep on the bottom, cook on the top,” he added of the doozy. After checking out the top bunk’s burner and work station, Simon cited the potential areas of struggle as “just about everything,” though he noted of Chef Jouvens, who was forced to contend with this sabotage, “He got the heat, so that’s why he managed to get a crust on his potatoes.”
by Maria Russo in Shows, December 28th, 2014
Spices, flour, bread, vinegar. These versatile ingredients are seemingly crucial to making and transforming myriad challenge dishes on Cutthroat Kitchen, but according to host Alton Brown, none of these is the most-crucial ingredient to grab while shopping.
On this week’s all-new episode of the After-Show, he revealed that when it comes to those precious 60 seconds in the pantry, contestants ought to be sure to grab one ingredient above all else: eggs. “I don’t care what you think you’re making. Don’t come out of the pantry without eggs,” he said. “It’s liquid meat and can do so many different things.” From binding meats and creating batters and doughs to beefing up vegetarian dishes, eggs can shine both in and on countless dishes, and it’s chefs’ ability to know that before shopping that could ultimately save them while cooking.
by Maria Russo in Community, Food Network Chef, December 15th, 2014
It’s the name of the Cutthroat Kitchen game to face sabotage, so it’s no surprise when chefs meet an oddball challenge or two throughout the contest as they must balance saving and spending their money in an effort to defend themselves. But in tonight’s all-new episode, one competitor was prepared to face an onslaught of sabotages. Chef Kyle intended to complete the contest without making a single bid, and sure enough, he succeeded, walking away with his entire $25,000 starting sum.
Despite Chef Kyle’s success, his win didn’t come without struggle, as host Alton Brown and judge Jet Tila revealed when they dished on several of his sabotages on the latest installment of the After-Show. Not only did Chef Kyle contend with a chopped-up pork chop in Round 2’s pork-chop-and-applesauce test, but he also faced a double onslaught of sabotage in Round 3. In true diabolical fashion, Alton put a literal spin on ice cream cones when he auctioned off traffic cones as the sole mixing vessels and then later sold an oversize protective cone to be worn around the neck. Chef Kyle accepted both of these. Upon trying on the cone for himself, Jet noticed that it would compromise the chef’s vision, “especially at your workstation.”
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.