by Maria Russo in Shows, November 29th, 2015
by Maria Russo in Shows, November 26th, 2015
No matter the dish of the day or the chefs competing in battle, Alton Brown frequently auctions off sabotages that send Cutthroat Kitchen contestants to the seemingly strangest of work stations to prep their plates. (Remember the ball pit, the canoe and the high chair?) This week’s face-off was no exception as the Round 2 barbecue bacon cheeseburger test landed one competitor — where else? — atop a mechanical bull for the ultimate in ready-for-anything cooking. In true After-Show fashion, Alton wasted no time in saddling the judge of the day to this diabolical fate, and Antonia Lofaso took her turn at the challenge. Luckily for her, though, she didn’t have to prep burgers from scratch.
“You’ve got mise en place for the papaya salad,” Alton explained to her, as she had everything she’d need to make the Round 1 dish so long as she could stay atop the bull. “This is actually not that hard,” Antonia said while reaching for her ingredients and assembling the salad. But that was before Alton showed off the power of the bull controls. “How hard is it now?” he joked with her, after turning her around on the bull so she faced squarely away from the prep table. Once Alton repositioned her at the table, it was all about making do with the bucking and handling the moves in stride before she ultimately turned out a finished papaya salad.
by Maria Russo in Shows, November 22nd, 2015
Alton Brown challenges the chefs. The chefs challenge each other. That’s how a typical Cutthroat Kitchen battle unfolds, even in the midst of a Superstar Sabotage tournament. But when it comes to Alton’s After-Show, Alton gets even more diabolical: He challenges the judges.
On the latest installment of the After-Show following last night’s Heat 4 tournament face-off, Alton and judge Jet Tila experienced firsthand the eviliciousness that was the hamster wheel prep table, which Chef Bobby Deen was forced to contend with in Round 1’s Denver omelet test. While their mission began simply enough — Alton and Jet working and walking together to make a joint omelet — the situation turned even more dreadful when it came to the final step in omelet prep, the all-important flip. “I dare you to flip that,” Alton told Jet. “Double-dog dare.” Ever the good sport, Jet said, “I can’t say no.” And it’s a good thing he didn’t, because he managed to pull off a (near) perfect flip while he and Alton continued to walk the wheel. One bit of the omelet didn’t turn over, but Jet explained simply, “I’m going to hide it,” before successfully plating the omelet.
by Maria Russo in Shows, November 19th, 2015
It’s no secret that Cutthroat Kitchen host Alton Brown is game to try his hands at the eviliciousness he forces upon the competitors. Not only has he bobbed for doughnuts and walked the hamster wheel with Jet Tila, but he’s jumped into the ball pit with Simon Majumdar. On the latest installment of his After-Show, however, Alton sat out one sabotage in particular and made Antonia Lofaso take it on instead.
It was up to Antonia to blindly choose which challenge among three that she’d attempt, all of which Alton said “were especially cunning and horrible,” and ultimately she was saddled with making hushpuppies in the Hush Puppet Theatre. In true Antonia fashion, she quickly gauged the demands of the mirrored sabotage and adapted to its oddball stresses. But no sooner did she begin prep work of her hushpuppies did she encounter an unexpected challenge: Alton chatting next to her. “Shh. You’re confusing me,” she joked with him. As he wasn’t competing in this sabotage alongside her, he — and his chef hand puppet — could focus on making sure that she appreciated all of the eviliciousness this sabotage had to offer. But even though Alton may have stopped Antonia’s train of culinary thought, she looked to the host to help her in grabbing necessary equipment around the kitchen. “This is fun, isn’t it?” Alton asked the judge, though she wasn’t eager to agree. “This is actually the worst challenge I’ve ever been a part of,” Antonia admitted. No matter her struggles, she indeed managed to turn out impressive hushpuppies, as she said after seeing them for the first time, “These look fantastic.”
by Maria Russo in Shows, November 15th, 2015
If Chef Rocco DiSpirito’s struggle with this challenge was any indication, Alton Brown‘s black-and-white prep station, which demands identically mirrored, side-by-side cooking with both hands, is one doozy of a sabotage. The chef ultimately lost the Heat 3 battle of the Superstar Sabotage tournament to Chef Fabio Viviani on account of mismatched sweetness levels in his cake halves. But after Fabio claimed the crown, Alton and Jet Tila, the judge of the day, tried their hands at the same black-and-white workstation to see who could turn out the batter for Alton’s evilicious Doom Cake recipe — which, the host admitted, “doesn’t actually make cake, by the way” — in the least amount of time.
It didn’t take Jet long to realize the demands of the challenge, especially as he encountered the second ingredient in Alton’s cake: a mere 7 ounces, not a full 8-ounce cup, of milk. “You are so evil. I got to tell you,” the judge told Alton. While both guys looked to creative shortcuts while working one-handed, when Alton took his turn at the sabotage, he managed to finish the recipe nearly a minute faster than Jet did, though the host admitted to the judge, “I think your batters are more consistent.”
by Maria Russo in Shows, November 12th, 2015
Though it was only one year ago that Alton Brown unveiled the now-infamous turkey suit during last fall’s special Thanksgiving episode of Cutthroat Kitchen, the host took the holiday to the next diabolical level tonight when he made one chef hunt for his own turkey — so to speak. The name of the game in Round 2 was turkey tacos, but instead of using traditional ground meat, Chef Vitor was forced to grab his (Nerf) arrow and (plastic) bow and attempt to shoot one of three kinds of turkey meat: turkey pastrami, which was the tiniest turkey, on the top shelf; turkey hot dogs, on the middle level; and the biggest and perhaps least desirable turkey, the jerky, in the bottom row.
Though Chef Vitor spent precious time shooting for the turkey pastrami he craved for his dish, Alton told judge Antonia Lofaso on the After-Show, “I would want the turkey jerky.” He explained after the duo tried their hands at the makeshift shooting range, “They’re the biggest targets, so they’re the easiest to hit and you’d have more time.” For Antonia, though, it was all about scoring the turkey hot dogs, which Alton wasn’t shy about tasting — straight up, on their own — after their friendly face-off. “Did you just [take a] bite of it?” Antonia jokingly asked the host. He challenged her to one more contest, but this time it was a self-sabotage battle. “You wrap up the show and I’ll eat as many of these as I can while you’re talking,” Alton told Antonia as he prepped to shovel hot dogs into his mouth. As she signed off from the After-Show, Alton wasted no time in beginning his challenge, which ended just as you might expect.
by Maria Russo in Shows, November 8th, 2015
It was just last night that Chef Justin Warner put all of his hopes for evilicious glory into three plates for judge Antonia Lofaso during Heat 2 of the Superstar Sabotage tournament. And lucky for Justin, Antonia was so wowed by the offerings before her that he won the round and earned the right to advance to the tournament finale. But not long after claiming the preliminary crown did Justin learn firsthand just what it’s like to judge — while Antonia learned a bit about what went into that day’s diabolical sabotages. On the latest installment of the After-Show, host Alton Brown offered himself and Antonia up for a not-so-friendly competition featuring an evilicious sabotage — Round 2’s turntable prep station — while Justin took on the role of judge.
After just barely finishing her grocery shopping within the allotted 60 seconds in the pantry, Antonia ran to the turntable where she and Alton were to cook Swedish pancakes side by side, and it didn’t take long for her to realize the difficulties of the rotating table. “I’m getting really dizzy,” she admitted, while Alton was trying to recover from his momentary panic over a missing whisk. Justin watched the duo wrangle with the sabotage and couldn’t help but smile at the scene before him. “Antonia, could you tell me what you’re making?” he asked the judge before questioning Alton. “Could you tell me what you’ve put in yours?” Justin asked the host, who couldn’t hide the fact that his pancake had darkened more than he would have liked. “I’m folding up my badly burned pancake,” Alton said. But then he corrected himself: “No, it’s perfect. What am I saying?”
by Maria Russo in Shows, November 5th, 2015
For the first time ever on Cutthroat Kitchen, Alton Brown hosted a special military battle in which four members of the armed services faced off for evilicious glory, and in true evilicious fashion, Alton debuted a series of military-focused sabotages with diabolical effects. In what would ultimately be her undoing, Chef Bella had to cook inside a pintsize tank in Round 2 and also cook with only the remnants of blown-up basket ingredients. “Tiny tank, tiny food, tiny results,” Alton said on his After-Show to judge Antonia Lofaso about the competitor’s elimination in Round 2. “That’s a lot to handle,” Antonia admitted, and indeed she knows a bit about the difficulty of Chef Bella’s burden.
Before she saw firsthand the food fragments left over from the culinary explosion, which ultimately made up Chef Bella’s submarine sandwich ingredients, Antonia climbed into the tank for a few spins around the arena — while chasing Alton. “Come get me, Antonia,” the host joked as he ran away from the moving tank. “I bet you can’t get me over here.” After a few too many close calls and a minor collision with the After-Show chair setup, Antonia was forced to exit the tank.
by Maria Russo in Shows, November 1st, 2015
The second-ever Superstar Sabotage tournament kicked off in the Cutthroat Kitchen arena last night, and in true evilicious fashion, host Alton Brown held nothing back in the way of diabolical challenges for the first lot of A-list chefs to do battle. Richard Blais, normally a judge on Guy’s Grocery Games, was one of the chefs competing for Cutthroat glory last night — and indeed he achieved it, but not without perhaps more than his share of sabotages. “Richard actually got all of my best sabotages,” Alton told Simon Majumdar, who joined the host and Richard on the After-Show for a look back at Richard’s road to victory.
Simon, always game to attempt the sabotages himself, walked on set in full body armor so he could begin to understand just what Richard endured in the first round’s English-breakfast test. “It gets hot in there,” Richard told Simon, who also saw firsthand the limited ingredients available to Richard when he was saddled with yet another English-breakfast sabotage: a mandate to use only the items set up on an English breakfast table. “Very rarely does someone in the first round with two sabotages survive,” said Alton to Richard, who agreed that it came down to “absolutely survival.”
by Sara Levine in Events, October 26th, 2015
Remember that time on Alton’s After-Show when judge Jet Tila joined host Alton Brown for a quick round of bobbing for doughnuts and things got a little silly? On tonight’s newest installment of the After-Show, the situation turned similarly hilarious when Alton challenged Jet to take on a duo of sabotages that plagued the Cutthroat Kitchen chefs. Elbow throwing, army crawling on the floor and even a swift knee-to-chest roll — it all happened tonight.
After unveiling The Half-Cooked Cafe that forced two chefs to scramble to the cafe window to pick up a Bob’s plate of raw food and use it as their sole ingredients, Alton and Jet took their turn at a friendly battle — but then it turned intense. With the guys scrambling for dishes and Alton practically running a Bob right off the stage, it didn’t take long for food to start flying. After the scuffle nearly broke out into an all-out brawl, Alton and Jet managed to return to their seats, and the host attempted to move on to the recap at hand, saying, “So, now that we’ve lost our dignity forever.”
Last week at the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of American History, where Julia Child’s famous Cambridge, Mass., kitchen now lives, the first-ever Julia Child Award was presented to Jacques Pepin, her longtime friend and cooking partner. At a gala dinner emceed by Alton Brown, Daniel Boulud presided over the menu, which featured dishes from Child’s repertoire of French classics. As the evening progressed, chefs including Boulud, Sara Moulton and Marcus Samuelsson took the stage to share the many ways that Child influenced their lives and careers. Here’s just a snapshot of what they learned from the iconic “French Chef” who brought French cooking, as well as a love of gastronomy, to mainstream America. Read more