by Sara Levine in Events, October 26th, 2015
by Maria Russo in Shows, October 18th, 2015
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
by Maria Russo in Shows, October 11th, 2015
The road to Cutthroat Kitchen glory is hardly ever a straightforward one, since the name of the game, of course, is eviliciousness. But some competitors, whether because of their rivals’ determination, their own bidding strategy or perhaps just sheer bad (good?) luck, end up saddled with a particularly diabolical lot of challenges each and every round. Chef Michael was one such contestant; on tonight’s brand-new episode, he endured several especially trying sabotages that challenged not only his mental prowess in the face of culinary disruptions but also his physical competency.
In Round 1, Chef Michael no sooner started the fish sandwich battle than he found himself seated in a three-person rowboat — and a tipsy one at that. With every movement, the boat rocked from side to side, throwing his prep work off balance. “I like that,” Susan Feniger, the guest judge of the day, told host Alton Brown with a smile during the After-Show. Unfortunately for Chef Michael, the challenges only worsened as the day went on, as Round 2’s chili test again saddled him with an inferior situation: this time seated atop a bucking horse ride. It “really didn’t have anything to do with food,” Alton told Susan. “It was just painful and horrible to watch.” But not matter the bumpy ride, Chef Michael kept his cowboy hat held high and proclaimed from the horse, “Yee-haw!”
by Maria Russo in Shows, October 4th, 2015
Cook the assigned dishes and win the game — that’s all there is to Cutthroat Kitchen, right? Yes, but of course there are those tricky sabotages to contend with as well. But even in the midst of daunting challenges, many competitors make the rounds harder on themselves by going far beyond what’s asked of them. After tonight’s brand-new episode, judge Jet Tila and Alton Brown sat down on the host’s After-Show to dish about how one chef’s determination to do more and put more on the plate ultimately cost her the competition.
In the first round’s Monte Cristo assignment, Chef Jourdan was saddled with working with bread from a French onion soup to make her sandwich. While Jet suggested ideas for making the sabotage work, Alton noted that Chef Jourdan did not pursue them. Perhaps that was because, as Alton said, she was “too busy making soup and a tomato salad,” neither of which is a required element of a classic Monte Cristo. “A tip to the chefs: Don’t ever do more dishes than what is required,” Jet told Alton as the judge pondered Chef Jourdan’s elimination, and Alton agreed. “Do the required one correctly,” the host added. For Chef Jourdan, no matter the seemingly superfluous items on her plate, her sandwich wasn’t a win either, as Jet found it to be “beefy” on account of the soup sabotage.
by Maria Russo in Shows, October 1st, 2015
If the over-the-top outdoorsy sabotages that Alton Brown recently unveiled at Camp Cutthroat are any indication, the host’s devotion to eviliciousness knows no bounds, and he’s not one to shy away from a theme. And it’s a good thing that’s the case, because on tonight’s special Halloween episode of Cutthroat Kitchen, he answered the call of fright-night duty by dressing up as none other than Dr. Evil, complete with a bald cap and a telling facial scar. Simon Majumdar, who — like Alton — will stop at nothing for the betterment of the show, donned a series of getups, including a pink-lipped Princess Leia costume, which he showed off on Alton’s After-Show. The duo looked back on the most-haunting Halloween-themed sabotages of the day, from chainsawed sandwich wraps to a time-sucking coffin.
“It was a coffin break, Simon,” Alton told the judge of the Round 2 midround challenge as the crew rolled out the coffin. “The Bobs are awakening,” Simon noted, looking into the coffin as a wigged Bob waved back at him. But not long after the Bob was revealed did Alton slam the top of the coffin upon him, and Simon learned that Chef Adia was forced to spend a spooky five minutes inside that coffin. No matter her lost time, though, Chef Adia ultimately proved her scary-good sabotage prowess by surviving the challenges and earning evilicious glory.
by Maria Russo in Shows, September 20th, 2015
There are culinary competitions, sure. And then there’s Cutthroat Kitchen, full of high-price auctioneering, ruthless peer sabotage and just-when-you-least-expect-them challenges. Beginning Wednesday, Nov. 4 at 9|8c, 16 all-star chefs will take their places in host Alton Brown‘s evilicious arena for Cutthroat Kitchen: Superstar Sabotage Tournament, a five-week tournament that will make even these culinary mavens sweat when subjected to Alton’s diabolical antics.
On the line this season is up to a whopping $75,000 in prize money for the winning chef’s charity of choice — and bragging rights, of course. For this group of fierce competitors, many of them past contest rivals and friends on- and off-screen, nothing will be off-limits as they face off in five heats — four preliminary rounds and a no-holds-barred finale — for evilicious glory.
Read on below to find out which of your favorite chefs are competing each week, and be sure to mark your calendars for a fall full of sabotage of the most-sinister sort.
by Maria Russo in Shows, September 13th, 2015
It was just a few weeks ago that Alton Brown revealed “the human rotisserie” for the special grilling-themed episode of Cutthroat Kitchen. And on tonight’s all-new episode, he put a cuckoo spin on that fan-favorite sabotage to create what he called “the showstopper of the day,” otherwise known as his “cuckoo clock prep station,” which made its debut in the first round’s German apple pancake test.
“Come on! Take a ride,” Alton urged Simon Majumdar, who, never one to shy away from trying his hands at a sabotage, hopped atop the moving floorboard to take a few spins around the clock — along with a Bob and Alton, of course. Looking back on Chef Paper’s turn at the sabotage, Alton revealed to Simon that the challenge ultimately caused her dish’s demise. “That’s why it was burned,” Alton said. “Because right when she got done, it was time to cuckoo around.” While some chefs indeed manage to survive their sabotages and ultimately turn out successful dishes, Alton revealed that this particular sabotage “did render the desired effect” in that it did one chef in, as Chef Paper was ousted after Round 1.
by Maria Russo in Shows, September 9th, 2015
It’s not every week that a newcomer joins the ranks of judges to enter the hollowed arena that is Cutthroat Kitchen, but tonight comedian David Alan Grier became one of the lucky few. And in true evilicious fashion, host Alton Brown‘s sabotages of the day were nothing short of diabolical.
In what proved to be a doozy of a challenge during the Round 2 Italian wedding soup assignment, one chef was forced to harvest all of his ingredients from — what else? — a wedding cake, stuffed with everything from peanut butter and a root beer to ground beef and carrots. But for David, it wasn’t these savory flavors that stuck out the most in Chef Justin’s dish, though the judge couldn’t quite decipher what it was that he found. “I taste a sweetness, and I don’t really know if this is rice, pasta or grain. I mean, I don’t know what it is,” David said during tasting, and on Alton’s After-Show, he finally learned from Alton what he ate. “Cake, sir, and a little bit of frosting to boot,” Alton told David, who admitted to being stumped by that flavor of “mystery.” When it came to the all-important meatballs in Chef Justin’s Italian wedding soup, David was once again unsure of what to make of them, and Alton finally revealed why: “He decided to put cocoa powder in his meatballs,” Alton said. “I didn’t perceive chocolate,” David told him. “I just perceived off — a little sweet, not what I was expecting.” Ultimately these oddball flavor combinations were enough for David to send Justin home once and for all.
by Maria Russo in Shows, September 6th, 2015
For the first-ever Camp Cutthroat tournament finale, you can be sure that host Alton Brown held nothing back in the name of diabolical sabotages — not even a pitcher of bright-red trout soaked in an eye-catching, crimson-colored bug juice (read: fruit punch). Chef Monterey, who was saddled with this doozy of a challenge, chose not to cook around the sweet flavor, but rather to embrace it with ingredients that complemented that taste. She did not, however, make enough amends for the sugars, and the trout’s skin stuck to the grates of the grill during cooking, and its flesh ultimately turned red.
According to to Alton and judge Antonia Lofaso, this fate didn’t have to befall Chef Monterey, as they explained during the After-Show. “Had Chef Monterey actually cooked the skin properly, it would have looked less red and probably a little bit more brown,” Antonia told Alton, who added his own idea for how to avoid the stuck skin altogether. “With the added sugar that that soaked up, she had to put a lot more oil on it to keep it from sticking, and she did not do that,” Alton said. “And so she lost the skin to the grill.” But, Antonia adds, even with the torn skin and lackluster appearance of the fish, there were ways to dress up the dish. “She also had a really beautiful salad, and I felt like had she put the salad on top of the fish, I may not have noticed it so much,” Antonia admitted. “I mean, this was just a giant red fish on a plate.”
by Maria Russo in Food Network Chef, Shows, September 3rd, 2015
Given the high-stress competition, the pressures to cook within just 30 minutes and, of course, the sting of sabotages, Cutthroat Kitchen is the fiercest of fiercest of environments and perhaps no place for a grandmother — or so it would seem. On tonight’s special episode of Cutthroat Kitchen, four home-cook grannies took their places in the arena, ready to prove their seniority in the kitchen. “I was always taught to respect my elders, so I just want to say right now I’m very, very sorry for everything that happened here tonight,” host Alton Brown said with a sly grin as he opened the After-Show with judge Jet Tila. The guys looked back on a momentous three rounds, which ultimately had one grandma using her experience as a home cook to her advantage.
Come the Round 3 pie challenge, after being saddled with the mandate to shop and cook from the confines of a slow-moving power chair and being forced to use her mouth to fish for ingredients buried in pie, Grandma Nancy enlisted the help of a trusty appliance: the microwave. “Nancy, running out of time, knows that her custard is a real problem. She goes over to the microwave and she starts microwaving, stopping, whisking, microwaving,” Alton explains to Jet. “She cooked that custard, poured it before it had set, and the only thing you busted her for was it was too firm,” added Alton. Shocked by the realization of how Nancy’s pie came to be, Jet admitted, “I’ve never even heard of that technique.” And Alton noted that’s likely because of her skill set as a home cook. “Restaurant-trained chefs [are] never taught to use the microwave. This is a home cook from Grandmaville, from Texas, and so for her, it’s a completely viable tool,” Alton said. And indeed the microwave managed to save the day for Nancy, as she was crowned the champion.
The rock walls, the bouncy houses, the blindfolds and, of course, Bob the Bear — Camp Cutthroat isn’t short on eviliciousness, thanks in part to Camp counselor extraordinaire and host Alton Brown. Last night’s Round 4 battle — the last one until next Wednesday’s finale — was full of diabolical outdoor sabotages, including the now-infamous lookout tower from which one chef had to make a skillet breakfast high atop the campsite. While all of the drama played out on TV, Alton Brown took to Twitter @AltonBrown to offer you fans an insider’s look at the competition and answer a few of your most-pressing Camp questions. Read on below to see some of his best tweets.