by Maria Russo in Shows, March 1st, 2015
by Maria Russo in Shows, February 15th, 2015
No matter chefs’ culinary skill levels or the amount of time they’ve prepared for competition, nothing can ready them for battle on Cutthroat Kitchen. Combined with the fierce time constraints in any given round, the unruly sabotages doled upon them practically guarantee they must reimagine any preconceived ideas about their dish and simply attempt to finish on time. For many finalists, however, the only way to complete the round is to offer a deconstructed version of their dish, featuring just its parts, which when combined, may make up a whole.
Such a maneuver is risky, as judges — especially seasoned ones like Antonia Lofaso, Jet Tila and Simon Majumdar — can see past a chef’s mention of purposely deconstructing a dish and realize that it’s likely a last-ditch effort to plate his or her food. On tonight’s all-new episode, Chef Jenny was faced with a doozy of a sabotage that landed her in a racecar seat, so her ability to cook quickly was compromised. And much to the judge’s horror, Chef Jenny told Antonia that her lasagna was “deconstructed.” Antonia explained of her reaction to Alton Brown on the host’s After-Show, “I almost can’t take it seriously when they say ‘deconstructed’ to me anymore.” Alton added, “Because nobody actually does it unless they’re in trouble.” Antonia said of Chef Jenny sarcastically, “She’s like, ‘Oh, I really meant to just throw the noodle down the center and put some raw tomato on it with a dollop of ricotta.'” Ultimately the curse of the deconstructed dish struck again: Chef Jenny said goodbye after the lasagna round.
by Maria Russo in Shows, January 19th, 2015
Cutthroat Kitchen isn’t for the faint of heart, that’s for sure, and Anne Burrell learned that the hard way when she took her place in the arena as a competitor in the Superstar Sabotage tournament a few months ago. But on tonight’s all-new episode, she experienced the contest from a judge’s perspective as she guest-starred in this particularly evilicious battle.
A Round 2 sabotage forced Chef Ventura to dictate to Chef Emily how he wanted his food to be prepared, though he couldn’t see what she was doing because there was a wall between them, and vice versa. So when it came time for Anne to judge the competitors’ taco offerings, she judged Chef Ventura’s on a taco that was ultimately prepared by Chef Emily — and, again, vice versa. “She wildly underseasoned it,” Anne said of Chef Emily’s preparation of Chef Ventura’s taco. And, sure enough, Anne found Chef Emily’s dish to be “delicious,” though of course it was prepared by Chef Ventura.
by Maria Russo in Shows, January 11th, 2015
So often in the Cutthroat Kitchen arena, chefs split their focus between the challenge dish and a side dish or two to round out their offerings for the judge, only to find out later that the sides did more harm than good, perhaps detracting from the primary dish or suffering a flaw that the judge cannot ignore. But on tonight’s all-new episode, it turns out that the side dish saved the day for one competitor and ultimately clinched his win.
It was up to judge Simon Majumdar to decide which of two chefs’ granola bars was worthy of the prize, and while Chef Julio’s plate indeed featured a bar, Simon noted of the taste during the After-Show, “It wasn’t the best granola.” That prestige was awarded to Chef John’s dish, as Simon explained, “John’s was really good granola, but it wasn’t a bar.” Therein lies the problem. “The fact that both of them had real problems — one didn’t have a bar and one didn’t have great granola — meant I had to judge the dish as a whole,” Simon said, “and [Chef Julio’s] pineapple dish was really great.” While such a judgment doesn’t happen regularly on Cutthroat, Alton Brown told Simon, “In that case, it was the side item that sealed the victory.”
by Maria Russo in Shows, January 4th, 2015
It’s no secret that when Antonia Lofaso, Jet Tila and Simon Majumdar enter the Cutthroat Kitchen arena as judges, they’re evaluating chefs’ dishes based on three and only three elements: taste, presentation and authenticity. But what happens when these judges come face to face with an ingredient they simply don’t enjoy? While it may seem as though they’d be likely to mark down a competitor for featuring a taste that’s off-putting to them, Antonia revealed to Alton Brown on tonight’s all-new After-Show that that’s not the case.
“I don’t think any of us judges judge based on our own personal preference,” she revealed after Alton noted the possibility of some judges not liking sardines, which one chef was forced to contend with in a sabotage. “I’m actually not a big fan of sardines, but I do appreciate their flavor, and I would know what to be looking for in a good sardine,” Antonia told Alton. She added of sardines, “I wouldn’t have judged against it.” It turns out that while Chef Gina — who was tasked with working with sardines in Round 1’s fish taco test — was ultimately sent home, it wasn’t for too much sardine but rather too little. As Alton noted to Antonia, “You got rid of Chef Gina because you didn’t like the mushrooms and the fact that there wasn’t enough sardine in there to make it a fish taco.”
by Maria Russo in Shows, December 28th, 2014
While even the seemingly most-approachable sabotages are still a challenge for Cutthroat Kitchen competitors, Alton Brown took the game to extreme heights and lengths on tonight’s all-new episode when he auctioned off not one but two next-level tests. “We really stepped up our sabotages,” Alton explained on the latest installment of his After-Show, introducing judge Simon Majumdar to these evilicious unfoldings.
“We thought we would up the ante this time and make somebody cook in a bunk bed,” Alton told Simon of a sabotage for the breakfast hash round. “Prep on the bottom, cook on the top,” he added of the doozy. After checking out the top bunk’s burner and work station, Simon cited the potential areas of struggle as “just about everything,” though he noted of Chef Jouvens, who was forced to contend with this sabotage, “He got the heat, so that’s why he managed to get a crust on his potatoes.”
by Maria Russo in Shows, December 7th, 2014
It’s the name of the Cutthroat Kitchen game to face sabotage, so it’s no surprise when chefs meet an oddball challenge or two throughout the contest as they must balance saving and spending their money in an effort to defend themselves. But in tonight’s all-new episode, one competitor was prepared to face an onslaught of sabotages. Chef Kyle intended to complete the contest without making a single bid, and sure enough, he succeeded, walking away with his entire $25,000 starting sum.
Despite Chef Kyle’s success, his win didn’t come without struggle, as host Alton Brown and judge Jet Tila revealed when they dished on several of his sabotages on the latest installment of the After-Show. Not only did Chef Kyle contend with a chopped-up pork chop in Round 2’s pork-chop-and-applesauce test, but he also faced a double onslaught of sabotage in Round 3. In true diabolical fashion, Alton put a literal spin on ice cream cones when he auctioned off traffic cones as the sole mixing vessels and then later sold an oversize protective cone to be worn around the neck. Chef Kyle accepted both of these. Upon trying on the cone for himself, Jet noticed that it would compromise the chef’s vision, “especially at your workstation.”
by Maria Russo in Shows, November 30th, 2014
Just in time for the holidays, Alton Brown decked the Cutthroat Kitchen halls on tonight’s all-new episode with a series of seasonal challenges — and even a Christmas tree-adorned sweater worn by judge Simon Majumdar. In true evilicious fashion, Alton didn’t shy away from punny sabotages inspired by the traditional holiday meals or activities, as the challenge dishes included a ham dinner, cocktail party fare and holiday cookies. And in Round 1 the chefs played a not-so-merry game of gift swap.
In the final round’s cookie challenge, Alton doled out the ultimate in seasonal sweets — a gingerbread house — but this one wasn’t exactly a treat. Complete with shortening, sugar, flour and leavening agents, plus various candies and decorations, this “gingerbread diorama,” as Alton called it, contained everything needed to make a cookie, and Chef Keith could use only the given ingredients to prepare his dish. While the contestant used nearly everything in Alton’s “majestic scene” in preparing his ultimately doomed cookies, only one element remained: a triple-decker butter figure shaped like a snowman. “Is he called Pat?” Simon jokingly asked Alton on the host’s After-Show, and Alton simply replied with a smile, “Yes, Pat, the Snowman Made Out of Butter.”
by Maria Russo in Shows, November 23rd, 2014
From chip-based cooking vessels and tools to mandatory claw hands and honey-soaked ingredients, Cutthroat Kitchen judge Jet Tila is no stranger to the most-diabolical sabotages to befall competition. But even this veteran judge could hardly believe his ears when host Alton Brown asked the crew to “bring in the compost pile” during the latest installment of his After-Show.
“Did you say ‘compost pile’?” Jet asked Alton, laughing. Sure enough, Jet had heard correctly, and indeed Alton had auctioned off a compost pile-inspired challenge that forced one chef to surrender his shopping basket and dig for all of his ingredients amongst 200 pounds of coffee grounds. “I don’t know what that is,” Jet admitted as he sifted through the pile and found — and later sniffed — a mound of mystery meat. According to Alton, it was simply “some kind of canned ham product.”
by Maria Russo in Shows, November 16th, 2014
For the first time in Cutthroat Kitchen history, the limits of evilicious sabotage were tested tonight as two sets of twins took their places in the no-holds-barred arena for a brother-versus-brother battle. In true diabolical fashion, the contestants proved that while siblings’ will to stick together may be strong, their desire to win is ultimately more compelling, as one by one, brothers fell until just one was standing victorious.
Host Alton Brown relived the auctioning and game play that went on in tonight’s episode as he dished with judge Antonia Lofaso during the latest installment of the After-Show. Together they reflected on the competitors’ offerings, and Alton revealed some of the most-extreme sabotages to befall the rivals, including those that required teamwork in the unlikeliest of settings. “You think that twins are connected? No,” Alton told Antonia, who agreed, after she learned of the plank-walking sabotage with which two brothers were forced to contend. “Hilarious,” she said of this challenge, which made two brothers sync up their strides in order to finish the Caribbean-dinner round on time.
There are some Cutthroat Kitchen sabotages that test a chef’s ability to think on his or her feet, make inferior ingredients shine on the plate and work with a rival under tense circumstances. Then there are sabotages that serve little purpose beyond time-wasting — but oftentimes it’s these seemingly over-the-top challenges that fans appreciate most. On tonight’s all-new Thanksgiving-themed episode of Cutthroat Kitchen, host Alton Brown introduced the latest sabotage that’s sure to be counted among the most memorable with fans: The Turkey Suit.
Like the now-infamous souffle suit from Season 3, this heavily stuffed turkeylike contraption transformed one contestant into an oversize version of himself and forced the competitor to learn to perform basic movements with superfluous padding. “I couldn’t have anybody ride on a Thanksgiving turkey float, so we made this Thanksgiving turkey float costume,” Alton explained to judge Simon Majumdar on the host’s After-Show. Lucky for Simon, Alton spared him the experience of donning the getup, as Alton noted, “Poor Chef Jake sweat approximately 6 liters of sweat into that.”