by Maria Russo in Shows, May 11th, 2014
by Maria Russo in Shows, May 4th, 2014
Cutthroat Kitchen competitors know that when they begin their time in the contest, they’re agreeing to as many as three rounds of unforeseeable problems; chances are high that no matter what dish host Alton Brown asks for, the chefs won’t be able to execute their dream versions of it, be that on account of sabotage, poor planning or simply bad luck. Adapting to challenges is the name of the game on Cutthroat Kitchen, and a contestant’s inability to do that may ultimately do him or her in.
That’s precisely what happened on tonight’s all-new episode when Chef Kristina was gifted a can of spiced ham to use in place of fresh meat in her sloppy joes dish. “I think she wasn’t willing to embrace an ingredient,” Alton told judge Jet Tila on the After-Show. “She saw something that she knew came out of a can, and it was, like, checkout,” he added. Instead of sticking with a traditional approach of ground protein in sloppy joes, Chef Kristina simply sliced the canned product, and Jet wasn’t willing to pardon her for that. “It was slop on a plate,” Jet admitted, and Alton reminded fans, “You’ve got to embrace the ingredient, regardless of its origin.”
by Maria Russo in Shows, April 27th, 2014
From ingredient swaps and time-sucks to inferior utensils and makeshift workstations, Cutthroat Kitchen sabotages are notoriously evilicious and designed to keep the competitors guessing at all times. On tonight’s all-new episode, the chefs were wowed when host Alton Brown introduced a never-before-seen challenge, what he deemed the Wheel of Heat.
Labeled with multiple heat sources like oven, microwave, stove and broiler, this sabotage would forced the rival who was gifted this challenge to spin the wheel while cooking and switch his or her cooking method to whichever heat source was landed upon. It turns out that the wheel offered no beginner’s luck, as Chef Renae found out when she was forced to work with it during the Round 2 blackened-fish test. “Every time she spun it, it came up ‘microwave,’” Alton explained to judge Simon Majumdar during the After-Show. “This, I think, was the end for Chef Renae because she had to do her entire blackened dish with a microwave,” he added. Simon admitted, “The fish was dry. It lacked that crust, which you expect from blackened fish.” But he noted that had other elements of her dish been executed better, he may have been more likely to excuse her microwave seafood. “There were too many things wrong,” Simon said, “whereas I could have forgiven her if she’d served that fish that wasn’t perfect with a really good accompaniment.”
by Maria Russo in Shows, April 20th, 2014
Since Cutthroat Kitchen judges are sequestered from the kitchen while the chefs are cooking, they’re not privy to the evilicious sabotages that unfold during each round. This means that when they first lay eyes on the dish before them, they have no information other than how it’s presented; then once they’ve tasted it, of course, they can take its flavor and texture into consideration.
Tonight’s judge, Simon Majumdar, explained what that feeling is like as he approaches the kitchen and sees contestants’ plates for the first time. “Sometimes as you come down the stairs,” he told Alton Brown on the host’s After-Show, “and you look at the dishes as they’re laid, and you go, ‘Uh, I think I know the way this is going to go.’ And often I’m wrong because they taste great.” It turns out, however, that Simon’s worst suspicions were confirmed when it came to tonight’s Round-2 Reuben sandwich challenge.
by Maria Russo in Shows, March 23rd, 2014
Chicken has a storied past on Cutthroat Kitchen: Just last season when Giada De Laurentiis stopped by for a special episode, one rival was gifted a whole chicken in a can, which she was forced to turn into chicken and waffles for the guest judge. And on tonight’s all-new episode, subpar chicken — or something like it — once again appeared on the auction table, this time during a General Tso’s Chicken challenge. After being gifted a sabotage of MREs, which Alton deemed “meals ready to eat,” one chef was forced to pick through the innards of such prepared and packaged dishes as “a chicken stew [and] a chicken fajita,” according to Alton.
For Antonia, these products were “mushy,” and on the host’s After-Show, Alton told her with a smile, “It’s the best kind of sick that you could possibly imagine.” It turns out, however, that for the competitor who worked with this sabotage, the inferior meat wasn’t a hindrance at all. “She really didn’t have any choice but to make a fritter,” Alton explained to Antonia. “And it looked just like General Tso’s chicken.”
by Amy Reiter in Events, News, March 17th, 2014
For the first time in Cutthroat Kitchen history, Alton Brown welcomed four of the “wickedest winners” back to the contest to see who among them could uphold their victorious records and outcook their competition yet again. After claiming wins in Season 1, Chefs Brian, Charles, Frankie and Gwen took their places at their workstations, confident that they would be able to keep up with their newest culinary rivals — but ultimately only one proved his or her staying power.
After three hard-fought rounds that found him making impromptu drinks for Alton, cooking in bed and deep-frying bread pudding, Chef Brian claimed a second Cutthroat win. Jet told Alton on the host’s After-Show that Chef Brian’s cocktail-concoction sabotage was “a giant time killer,” but it was surely not as wow-worthy as his Round 2 challenge, which forced him to prepare a breakfast burrito in bed atop a small cook station. “Are you kidding me?” Jet asked Alton with a smile when he saw the bed rolled in the kitchen.
by Maria Russo in Shows, March 16th, 2014
The International Association of Culinary Professionals presented its prestigious annual awards, honoring food literature, journalism and digital media in a variety of categories, at a ceremony in Chicago on Saturday.
The 2014 winners of the IACP cookbook awards, which aim to “promote quality and creativity” in culinary writing, include Matt and Ted Lee’s The Lee Bros. Charleston Kitchen (in the American category — get the authors’ recipe for Shrimp and Deviled-Egg Salad Rolls), Jacquy Pfeiffer’s The Art of French Pastry (in the Baking: Savory or Sweet category), Andrew F. Smith’s The Oxford Encyclopedia of Food & Drink in America, Second Edition (Beverage/Reference/Technical) and Los Angeles chef and restaurateur Suzanne Goin’s The A.O.C. Cookbook (Chefs and Restaurants). John McReynolds’ Stone Edge Farm Cookbook was named Book of the Year; it was also honored in the First Book category.
Pastry chef and Institute of Culinary Education creative director Michael Laiskonis was named Culinary Professional of the Year. Biochemist and author Shirley Corriher was presented with an award for Lifetime Achievement. (Try Shirley’s recipes for Homemade Mayonnaise, Chipotle Salt, Juicy Roast Chicken, Marinated Grilled London Broil, and Fresh Green Bean Salad with Basil and Tomatoes.)
Food Network’s own Alton Brown won the Culinary Audio Series award for the Alton Browncast (pictured above). Chopped judge Maneet Chauhan was honored along with Katy Sparks, Alex Raij, Rita Sodi and Kathleen Squires in the E-Cookbook category for the online cookbook series The Journey.
Check out a full list of winners after the jump or click here.
by Maria Russo in Shows, March 9th, 2014
While many Cutthroat Kitchen sabotages may be downright evilicious, most are, at least in some way, related to the challenge dish in any given round, and they are often inspired by common ingredients, tools and processes used to make that plate. On tonight’s all-new episode, Alton took that idea one step further during the Round 3 souffle battle when he auctioned off what he deemed “a souffle suit,” an oversize, puffed-up outfit that would force a contestant to match the general qualities of a souffle: rounded and inflated.
Chef Millie ultimately found herself victim of the getup, and when judge Simon Majumdar learned of her unfortunate apparel, he told Alton on the host’s After-Show, “The fact that she was able to deliver anything is really remarkable.” Although he was impressed by her ability to cook while dressed up, he couldn’t excuse her dish, which was a sorry attempt at a souffle, as it was wholly without egg whites. “Chef Milly’s was so far away from being a souffle that I just couldn’t make the call any other way,” he explained to Alton of his decision to eliminate Chef Millie. Alton admitted, however, that no matter the outcome, “Chef Millie was an incredible sport” in the face of the sabotage.
by Maria Russo in Shows, March 2nd, 2014
It’s no secret that success on Cutthroat Kitchen often entails strategy; it’s not enough to show up and cook on this evilicious competition, as at its heart the contest is a game that requires careful manipulation in order to win. While catching up with judge Antonia Lofaso on tonight’s all-new installment of Alton’s After-Show, the host explained that in Round 2′s quiche challenge, two of the remaining chefs could have potentially bettered their own outlooks had they joined forces to sabotage and outcook one rival in particular.
“If I’d been playing the game,” Alton said, “and I was Chef Gregory, I would [have] wanted to preserve Chef Bryan, so then I could have killed him in the end.” He mused of Chef Emmanuel, who likely had vast experience in cooking quiche on account of heritage: “Who wants a French guy to be able to fight a quiche battle?” Antonia agreed and suggested later, “They should have all actually ganged up on [Chef Emmanuel].” She added that it was “lights out” once Chef Emmanuel presented a quiche with Gruyere and bacon on account of these naturally rich, flavorful ingredients. “Everything else could be bad because I put Gruyere and bacon together,” Antonia imagined as Chef Gregory.
by Maria Russo in Shows, February 23rd, 2014
While some challenge dishes on Cutthroat Kitchen are straightforward, like apple pie, a burrito and grilled cheese, the Round 1 plate on tonight’s brand-new episode left some room for interpretation. The task was to create an all-American breakfast in 30 minutes — Alton gave no other instructions and simply let the chefs prepare their own definitions of that morning meal.
“Usually it would feature eggs, bread, perhaps a smoked pork product — bacon, ham,” judge Jet Tila said on the latest installment of Alton’s After-Show of his idea of an all-American breakfast. It turns out that nearly all of the competitors held similar beliefs, as three attempted to turn out egg-focused dishes and another offered two takes on toast. Within these plates, however, there existed strong disparities, and each highlighted unique inspirations, including California flair, Southern ingredients and a love of hash.
Even if a competitor manages to secure a win on Cutthroat Kitchen, it is likely only earned after some of the most-painstakingly fierce cooking in his or her career. From mandatory ingredients to forbidden appliances and inferior tools, Cutthroat sabotages are notoriously grueling, and most chefs will only endure this kind of face-off once. But on tonight’s all-new episode, four previously eliminated competitors returned to the kitchen for a second chance to overcome sabotage. These chefs had fallen in battle before, but with experience on their side, they took their places in front of Alton, ready to attempt to prove themselves once again.
“All of these people learned the first time they were on the show that at the end of the day, you got to secure the win, or you don’t win anything at all,” Alton told judge Jet Tila on the host’s After-Show. “I would rather walk out of here with a grand than walk out of here with nothing.” He didn’t make the chefs’ return to the contest any easier this time around, auctioning off waterlogged buns during a hot dog challenge and the forced use of strainers as mixing bowls during a brownie challenge. Jet deemed the mixing bowl sabotage “amazingly diabolical,” and indeed it ultimately contributed to Chef Zadi’s elimination.