by Nikhita Mahtani in Shows, August 17th, 2014
by Nikhita Mahtani in Shows, August 10th, 2014
It was a double-whammy this week on Cutthroat Kitchen, with host Alton Brown creating an elaborate sabotage that hit not only one, but two chefs with the biggest set ever created on the show. In the TV dinner round, two chefs had to do all of their cooking and prep in a 1974 version of Alton’s living room, complete with a couch, television, coffee table and even a smiling photo of Alton himself.
Chef Mitch won this challenge for a whopping $9,100 and gave it to his opponents. “Would you have been OK with this?” asked Alton to judge Jet Tila on this week’s After-Show. “With four components here — a dessert, a starch and a protein, a little tough. So no, I wouldn’t have been OK with this one,” said judge Jet.
Click play on the video above to see the living room up close, and hear judge Jet’s reaction.
by Nikhita Mahtani in Shows, August 3rd, 2014
As this week’s episode of Cutthroat Kitchen demonstrates, sometimes the most-obvious sabotages don’t involve ingredient swaps or fancy equipment, but simply taking away a chef’s most-desired tool: his hands. In the falafel round, two chefs had to hold hands the entire time they were preparing their dishes.
“That’s so sweet!” said judge Antonia Lofaso on this week’s After-Show. But she learned how difficult the challenge could be when host Alton Brown explained to her that they couldn’t move their cooking stations closer together. “That defeats the purpose of peace,” said Alton. Still, the chefs made it through in the end, thanks to each of them having the opposite dominant hand in the round. “What are the chances?” said Alton.
Click play on the video above to see how the chefs worked through the sabotage, and hear what judge Antonia had to say about it.
by Nikhita Mahtani in Shows, July 20th, 2014
This week on Cutthroat Kitchen, history was made as an ingredient was sold for the highest amount ever paid for a sabotage on the show: $16,500. The sabotage in question was none other than the pickled ginger that replaced all of Chef Christina’s ground ginger in the gingersnap cookie round, as host Alton Brown tried to trip up the contestants by having them use ingredients that they were unfamiliar with in dishes that they know and love.
Judge Simon Majumdar, however, didn’t think that the ingredient should have gone for that much. “It has a flavor,” said judge Simon. “If you can use other spices alongside of it, you can get away.” This is exactly what Chef Christina did, and she secured the win. Alton explained, “I actually like that stuff in cookies, because I feel like it balances the sweetness, as well as the bitterness, of the molasses very well.” Chef Christina walked away with a whopping $18,500.
Click play on the video above to see how Chef Christina made use of the pickled ginger in her dish, and hear judge Simon’s reaction.
by Nikhita Mahtani in Shows, June 22nd, 2014
Cutthroat Kitchen host Alton Brown‘s sabotages can involve any number of evilicious plans, such as replacing a contestant’s prime ingredient with an inferior one or taking one’s cooking tools away. While these sabotages are bad enough themselves, Alton took evil to a new level in the fondue challenge, where he took away all of one chef’s ingredients and replaced them with his ‘Party Fondue Pot’, a large container of melted nacho cheese that hid a number of ingredients in its depth.
Chef Tom was given this sabotage and had to hunt through the 35 gallons of cheese to find something he could use for the fondue. Alton noted to judge Jet Tila on this week’s After-Show, though, that Chef Tom didn’t use any of the cheese from Alton’s pot in his fondue. “I would have used a little of this just as an emulsifier,” said Alton. “Because then you don’t have to worry about texture! This stuff’s never going to clump.” Still, Chef Tom walked away the winner, thanks to Chef Matt’s lack of starch in his cheese sauce.
Click play on the video above to see the Party Fondue Pot up close, and hear Jet’s reaction.
by Nikhita Mahtani in Shows, June 15th, 2014
The Cutthroat Kitchen competitors are no strangers to host Alton Brown‘s diabolical sabotages – from ingredient swaps to alternate sources of heat, there’s no limit to the amount of tricks up his sleeve. Still, no one could have prepared for Sally, a mechanical cow that had udders underneath that one chef had to milk in order to get the dairy needed to create a Tres Leches cake, which involves three types of milk.
“Here’s the terrible thing. We didn’t label them either,” said Alton to Judge Jet Tila. “So they really had to know their dairies.” Chef Shane was given this sabotage and made an ice-cream, which turned out to be a very smart move. “The cool thing about ice-cream is that it makes your mouth cold and once your mouth is cold you don’t notice certain things in the rest of the food,” said Alton on this week’s After-Show. ‘If I didn’t trust the rest of my food, say my cake, I would so make you an ice-cream!” Ultimately, Chef Shane won the show and Chef Candace was eliminated, on account of her ‘cake’ being more like a crepe. “It just doesn’t work, man,” said Judge Tila.
Click the play button above to hear more from Alton and Jet, and to see Chef Shane try to milk Sally up close.
Don’s miss Cutthroat Kitchen on Sundays at 10|9c.
by Maria Russo in Shows, June 1st, 2014
On Cutthroat Kitchen, the sabotages are created to confuse the contestants and make them think on their feet. This is especially the case with the ingredient swaps, where the chefs have to trade in their gourmet ingredients with sub par foods of host Alton Brown‘s choosing. This is precisely what happened in the cheesecake round, where Chef Diana made Chef Eric harvest his cheese from a platter of leftover cream cheese bagels, cream cheese Danish, Philly cheese steaks and sour-cream-filled baked potatoes.
“That’s messed up,” said judge Jet Tila on this week’s Alton’s After-Show. “I don’t know how long that’s been sitting here!” Still, he admitted that he had no idea that the cheese had been adulterated in any way, stating, “It came together, it was cheesy, and I didn’t get any of the weird savory bits.” Chef Eric smartly harvested the cream cheese of the Danish and bagels, and, as Alton said, “He definitely earned every bit of it.”
by Maria Russo in Shows, May 18th, 2014
This week’s was a Cutthroat Kitchen episode like none other as host Alton Brown welcomed four of Cutthroat’s frequent judges into the kitchen — not to evaluate competitors’ dishes, but to be the battling chefs for the day. In true evilicious fashion, the sabotages didn’t stop just because the contestants were superstars Antonia Lofaso, Geoffrey Zakarian, Jet Tila and Simon Majumdar; in fact, this episode saw some of the trickiest tests yet, and what resulted were three rounds of brutal mind games. While Alton’s After-Shows are known for revealing all to the once-sequestered judges, this week’s catch-up found Alton with the judges-turned-competitors, and together they shared plenty of laughs as they looked back at the good-natured challenges that had just taken place.
The infamous mini kitchen made an appearance in Round 1, and much of the group agreed with Simon when he deemed it the “Best. Challenge. Ever.” After being gifted that challenge, Jet admitted, “I was deathly afraid of it. I didn’t even know how to, like, navigate that thing.” Geoffrey ultimately found himself tasked with adapting to this tiny workspace, but, according to him, “It’s not as bad as it appears.” And it’s a good thing that Geoffrey didn’t seem to mind the sabotage, as Simon — jokingly — noted later: “The reason it only went for $1,500 is I think some of us agreed that we should give it to Geoffrey for no other reason than we wanted to see Geoffrey Zakarian — the Iron Chef — kneeling down, cooking in the kitchen.”
by Maria Russo in Shows, May 11th, 2014
“This is awesome. I say that all the time, but I really mean it,” judge Jet Tila told Cutthroat Kitchen host Alton Brown on tonight’s brand-new After-Show. “I know I keep saying that. This really is awesome,” he added. Jet has judged multiple episodes of Cutthroat Kitchen and is no stranger to the kind of evilicious Alton is capable of bestowing upon the competitors. So when Jet showed such a wowed reaction to one particular sabotage featured on tonight’s episode, fans knew this challenge must have been especially diabolical.
The sabotage in question was none other than the paper cutter auctioned off during Round 3′s steak Diane test, which allowed Chef Frances to slice or dice Chef Jaron’s piece of meat for a whopping 30 seconds. Because a singular round of meat — usually a fillet — is a signature element of steak Diane, shredded meat could mean disaster, and it ultimately did for Chef Jaron, who failed to take advantage of his newly cut-up beef. Alton told Jet of how he would have approached the obstacle, explaining: “I’m going to chop it down to even smaller pieces, and I’m going to either do it like it started to be a tartare, or I’m going to make a fricken burger kind of thing out of it.” He added of Chef Jaron’s obvious demise, “The second that he didn’t do that, I thought, ‘This is over.’” And sure enough, Chef Jaron walked away empty-handed.
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.”
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.”