by Maria Russo in Shows, October 22nd, 2014
by Maria Russo in Food Network Chef, Shows, October 22nd, 2014
To survive — and thrive — on Cutthroat Kitchen, it’s not enough to be able to work quickly under pressure or to deliver a well-seasoned plate; chefs must be able to strategize their every move, budget their $25,000 bank account and bid productively with three rounds of competition in mind. Fans saw what happened when a contestant didn’t take that approach during tonight’s Heat 3 of the Superstar Sabotage tournament. For Chef Johnny Iuzzini, it didn’t matter how much he spent during Rounds 1 and 2 so long as he advanced to Round 3, while Chef Eric Greenspan frugally saved his money for charity — until the last round, when Chef Johnny was forced to compete with only $100 and Chef Eric was armed with a full $25,000.
“Once you’re down to $100, you can’t fight back. It doesn’t matter how good you are,” Alton Brown revealed to judge Simon Majumdar on the host’s latest After-Show. “This is a game, and you have to be able to play the game. And if you walk into a final round with a $100 bill in your hand, you’re going to have a really tough time winning regardless of how good you are.” Thanks to the force of his full funds behind him, Chef Eric was able to saddle Chef Johnny — a famed pastry chef — with a duo of sabotages during the lemon bar test, and that maneuver ultimately set up Chef Eric for the win. “Eric said it was just now even,” Alton told Simon of their Round 3 matchup.
by Maria Russo in Shows, October 19th, 2014
When it comes to dishing out culinary evils, no one does it quite like the host of Cutthroat Kitchen, Alton Brown. Now in its fifth season, Cutthroat is known for no-nonsense sabotages befalling even those contestants already in the thick of kitchen struggles, and on the recent Halloween-themed episode of Cutthroat Kitchen, the situation turned even scarier with ghostly challenges. FN Dish recently checked in with Alton to learn his candy must-have on Halloween, plus his best idea for next-level pumpkin carvings. Read on below to hear from the host in an exclusive interview, then catch Alton in costume on his Halloween After-Show.
What’s your favorite candy?
Alton Brown: Milk Duds
by Maria Russo in Recipes, Shows, October 16th, 2014
It’s no secret that Cutthroat Kitchen judges are secluded from the sabotages taking place during competitions and forced to evaluate the dishes based solely on what’s in front of them — such a strategy guarantees the focus remains on the food at all times. But on tonight’s all-new Alton’s After-Show, judge Jet Tila revealed that after learning what one chef had endured in the name of sabotage, he felt a tinge of guilt — especially after his decision led to the contestant’s elimination.
“You feel so bad after the fact. Now I realize,” he admitted after Alton spoke of how Chef Alex had to use only kitchen tongs to cut her wrap ingredients. “I was dinging so badly on her just horrible knife cuts. They literally looked like she’s just tearing things apart. But now I get it.” Alton went on to explain that because the judges are blind to the sabotages, they’re forced to evaluate on “flavor, presentation and ‘does it remind me of the thing it’s supposed to remind me of.'” But he admitted, “It doesn’t mean they’re all equally weighted. The truth is is anybody’s who’s a chef is going to more heavily weight flavor above all.”
by Maria Russo in Shows, October 12th, 2014
While host Alton Brown didn’t offer the chefs any pancake shortcuts during yesterday’s Cutthroat Kitchen: Superstar Sabotage, he’s giving one to fans in the form of his “Instant” Pancake Mix (pictured above), a go-to recipe that lets you do most of the hands-on work in advance and keeps work simple when you’re ready to cook.
Better than the boxed stuff you buy from the supermarket, Alton’s DIY mix comes together with only a few pantry staples, like flour, baking soda and salt, and, perhaps best of all, it keeps for up to three months and yields as many as three batches of pancakes. Keep it on hand for when you want a stress-free morning meal, and when you’re ready to enjoy, stir in eggs, buttermilk and butter to create the ultimate quick-fix breakfast.
by Maria Russo in Recipes, Shows, October 9th, 2014
From funny food puns to inventive plays on a key ingredient, Cutthroat Kitchen host Alton Brown will stop at nothing when it comes to dishing out appropriately themed sabotages to align with each round’s dish. On tonight’s all-new episode, he stayed true to his ways by forcing one chef to put a literal spin on coffee cake — something that’s traditionally made without coffee — by holding a tray of cups of coffee while cooking in Round 3. “Coffee and oysters will kill me,” judge Simon Majumdar said on the After-Show after learning that the drink played a part in the challenge. Sure enough, though, Alton knew this, and he noted that the terms of the sabotage included starting over should the contestant spill coffee into any element of the dish.
While this sabotage may seem daunting, it turns out that the competitor saddled with the test, Chef Alberico, took it in stride and was able to overcome it for ultimate glory. “The fact that he … was able to create a cake of any sort I think is really remarkable,” the judge explained looking back on the contest.
by Maria Russo in Shows, October 8th, 2014
In true Cutthroat Kitchen fashion, even the simplest dishes become seemingly insurmountable challenges once Alton Brown‘s evilicious sabotages make their way to the competitors. In this week’s premiere heat of the first-ever Superstar Sabotage tournament, the host turned a breakfast staple — French toast — into a near-nightmare for Round 3 rivals Chefs Michael Psilakis and Aarti Sequiera, as they were forced to make the plate using onion-scented bread and a small conveyor toaster, respectively. But when the mind games end, it turns out that for Alton, all it takes to make his winning French Toast (pictured above) is just a handful of ingredients — no sabotages in sight.
Ready to eat in a hurry, Alton’s fuss-free morning meal is the kind of staple you’ll want to master and make a permanent part of your recipe repertoire. He opts for a mix of eggs, half-and-half and a squeeze of honey to make the creamy custard for his brioche-based French toast. Cook the bread in butter until the slices are golden-brown, and top with sweet maple syrup or fluffy whipped cream for an indulgent finish. Click the play button on the video above to watch him make it.
by Maria Russo in Shows, October 5th, 2014
“I don’t know what to say sometimes to these things,” judge Antonia Lofaso revealed to Alton Brown on the host’s After-Show after learning of a particularly shocking challenge that befell Chef Michael. Tonight’s all-new episode marked the preliminary heat in the first-ever Cutthroat Kitchen: Superstar Sabotage tournament featuring A-list chefs, so of course the sabotages proved to be as over the top as the crop of talent facing off in the kitchen.
After hearing that within the French toast offering Chef Michael gave her were slices of “crispy, old cheese bread” harvested from the top of French onion soup, Antonia was quick to understand, though not excited to admit, “That’s what I ate.” She also proclaimed that when it came to one chef being forced to simultaneously prepare a salmon dinner and walk on a treadmill, “There can’t be more.” Sure enough, however, Alton noted: “There’s always more. It’s Cutthroat Kitchen.” And then he revealed a critical station swap that would ultimately do in Chef Susan.
by Maria Russo in Shows, October 2nd, 2014
For a competition as entrenched in evil as Cutthroat Kitchen, the contest would have to turn especially ghostly to spook the chefs in the midst of battle, and that’s just what happened on tonight’s first-ever Halloween-themed episode. With the help of costumes, devilish-sounding dishes and terrifying tests, host-turned-vampire Alton Brown pulled off a fright-night battle like no other, and he filled in judge Jet Tila, who was appropriately dressed in judicial garb, on all of his scary secrets during his exclusive After-Show.
“It was a very spooky day here in Cutthroat Kitchen,” Alton revealed before a crew member rolled in the first sabotage: a coffin, which served as a makeshift prep station for one unfortunate competitor. Jet mused as to whom he would have sabotaged with this test during the first-round deviled egg dish: “The tallest person — for sure.” And sure enough, that’s what Chef Emme had in mind when she picked Chef Caulden for the challenge. Despite the creepy conditions, however, Chef Caulden managed to earn Jet’s praises, as the judge said: “Wait, so he composed his entire dish in there. The foam, the green, the everything. He did quite a good job.”
by Maria Russo in Shows, September 28th, 2014
Considering the scary-good surprises that befall chefs when they’re least expecting them, and the ghostly sabotages auctioned off by host Alton Brown, no competition does evil quite like Cutthroat Kitchen. And this weekend, for the first time ever, the Cutthroat arena will be transformed into an extra-spooky kitchen as the set gets dressed up for the show’s first Halloween-themed episode. Of course, no Fright Night contest is complete without costumes, and that’s where Alton comes in.
In the sneak-peek photo above from Sunday’s all-new Halloween episode, the host has gotten into the spirit of the day by donning his best vampire cape and a look of impending terror. What do you think Alton has in store for the unsuspecting chefs? Will he be handing out more tricks than treats this year?
Before you tune in on Sunday at 10|9c to see what mysterious mind games arise on the special Halloween episode, we’re challenging you, Cutthroat Kitchen fans, to write your best captions (tastefully appropriate, please) for this moment in the comments below.
While challenge dishes featured on Cutthroat Kitchen are classics and easy to prepare, many, like Thai coconut soup and falafel, aren’t necessarily appealing to children. On tonight’s all-new episode, however, the competition took a turn for the kid-friendly, as Alton Brown introduced one dish that’s perhaps enjoyed more by children than by adults: chicken fingers. “The chicken finger is featured on pretty much every single kids’ menu on the planet,” Alton told judge Jet Tila on this week’s After-Show. To celebrate the plate and honor one place many chicken fingers are eaten, Alton auctioned off a giant highchair, one intended not for kids but for an unlucky chef saddled with sabotage. “Look at the view,” Alton said jokingly to Jet, who willingly climbed onto the chair to experience the test for himself. “You can see further in Cutthroat Kitchen than ever before.”
While the sights may have been ideal up there, the working conditions were not, as Chef Joel found mini utensils, plastic plates and an electric cooktop waiting for him at the table of the highchair. Lucky for him, though, he didn’t stay there long, as he won the mid-round sabotage and forced Chef Oz to take his place and finish prepping the dish there as his own. He “simply cannot recoup,” Alton noted to Jet, who surely tasted the struggle in Chef Oz’s dish, as the judge sent him home after a failed chicken-finger offering.