by Maria Russo in Shows, April 27th, 2014
by Maria Russo in Shows, April 20th, 2014
Since Cutthroat Kitchen judges are sequestered from the kitchen while the chefs are cooking, they’re not privy to the evilicious sabotages that unfold during each round. This means that when they first lay eyes on the dish before them, they have no information other than how it’s presented; then once they’ve tasted it, of course, they can take its flavor and texture into consideration.
Tonight’s judge, Simon Majumdar, explained what that feeling is like as he approaches the kitchen and sees contestants’ plates for the first time. “Sometimes as you come down the stairs,” he told Alton Brown on the host’s After-Show, “and you look at the dishes as they’re laid, and you go, ‘Uh, I think I know the way this is going to go.’ And often I’m wrong because they taste great.” It turns out, however, that Simon’s worst suspicions were confirmed when it came to tonight’s Round-2 Reuben sandwich challenge.
by Maria Russo in Shows, March 23rd, 2014
Chicken has a storied past on Cutthroat Kitchen: Just last season when Giada De Laurentiis stopped by for a special episode, one rival was gifted a whole chicken in a can, which she was forced to turn into chicken and waffles for the guest judge. And on tonight’s all-new episode, subpar chicken — or something like it — once again appeared on the auction table, this time during a General Tso’s Chicken challenge. After being gifted a sabotage of MREs, which Alton deemed “meals ready to eat,” one chef was forced to pick through the innards of such prepared and packaged dishes as “a chicken stew [and] a chicken fajita,” according to Alton.
For Antonia, these products were “mushy,” and on the host’s After-Show, Alton told her with a smile, “It’s the best kind of sick that you could possibly imagine.” It turns out, however, that for the competitor who worked with this sabotage, the inferior meat wasn’t a hindrance at all. “She really didn’t have any choice but to make a fritter,” Alton explained to Antonia. “And it looked just like General Tso’s chicken.”
by Maria Russo in Shows, March 16th, 2014
For the first time in Cutthroat Kitchen history, Alton Brown welcomed four of the “wickedest winners” back to the contest to see who among them could uphold their victorious records and outcook their competition yet again. After claiming wins in Season 1, Chefs Brian, Charles, Frankie and Gwen took their places at their workstations, confident that they would be able to keep up with their newest culinary rivals — but ultimately only one proved his or her staying power.
After three hard-fought rounds that found him making impromptu drinks for Alton, cooking in bed and deep-frying bread pudding, Chef Brian claimed a second Cutthroat win. Jet told Alton on the host’s After-Show that Chef Brian’s cocktail-concoction sabotage was “a giant time killer,” but it was surely not as wow-worthy as his Round 2 challenge, which forced him to prepare a breakfast burrito in bed atop a small cook station. “Are you kidding me?” Jet asked Alton with a smile when he saw the bed rolled in the kitchen.
by Maria Russo in Shows, March 9th, 2014
While many Cutthroat Kitchen sabotages may be downright evilicious, most are, at least in some way, related to the challenge dish in any given round, and they are often inspired by common ingredients, tools and processes used to make that plate. On tonight’s all-new episode, Alton took that idea one step further during the Round 3 souffle battle when he auctioned off what he deemed “a souffle suit,” an oversize, puffed-up outfit that would force a contestant to match the general qualities of a souffle: rounded and inflated.
Chef Millie ultimately found herself victim of the getup, and when judge Simon Majumdar learned of her unfortunate apparel, he told Alton on the host’s After-Show, “The fact that she was able to deliver anything is really remarkable.” Although he was impressed by her ability to cook while dressed up, he couldn’t excuse her dish, which was a sorry attempt at a souffle, as it was wholly without egg whites. “Chef Milly’s was so far away from being a souffle that I just couldn’t make the call any other way,” he explained to Alton of his decision to eliminate Chef Millie. Alton admitted, however, that no matter the outcome, “Chef Millie was an incredible sport” in the face of the sabotage.
by Maria Russo in Shows, March 2nd, 2014
It’s no secret that success on Cutthroat Kitchen often entails strategy; it’s not enough to show up and cook on this evilicious competition, as at its heart the contest is a game that requires careful manipulation in order to win. While catching up with judge Antonia Lofaso on tonight’s all-new installment of Alton’s After-Show, the host explained that in Round 2′s quiche challenge, two of the remaining chefs could have potentially bettered their own outlooks had they joined forces to sabotage and outcook one rival in particular.
“If I’d been playing the game,” Alton said, “and I was Chef Gregory, I would [have] wanted to preserve Chef Bryan, so then I could have killed him in the end.” He mused of Chef Emmanuel, who likely had vast experience in cooking quiche on account of heritage: “Who wants a French guy to be able to fight a quiche battle?” Antonia agreed and suggested later, “They should have all actually ganged up on [Chef Emmanuel].” She added that it was “lights out” once Chef Emmanuel presented a quiche with Gruyere and bacon on account of these naturally rich, flavorful ingredients. “Everything else could be bad because I put Gruyere and bacon together,” Antonia imagined as Chef Gregory.
by Maria Russo in Shows, February 23rd, 2014
While some challenge dishes on Cutthroat Kitchen are straightforward, like apple pie, a burrito and grilled cheese, the Round 1 plate on tonight’s brand-new episode left some room for interpretation. The task was to create an all-American breakfast in 30 minutes — Alton gave no other instructions and simply let the chefs prepare their own definitions of that morning meal.
“Usually it would feature eggs, bread, perhaps a smoked pork product — bacon, ham,” judge Jet Tila said on the latest installment of Alton’s After-Show of his idea of an all-American breakfast. It turns out that nearly all of the competitors held similar beliefs, as three attempted to turn out egg-focused dishes and another offered two takes on toast. Within these plates, however, there existed strong disparities, and each highlighted unique inspirations, including California flair, Southern ingredients and a love of hash.
by Maria Russo in Shows, February 16th, 2014
Even if a competitor manages to secure a win on Cutthroat Kitchen, it is likely only earned after some of the most-painstakingly fierce cooking in his or her career. From mandatory ingredients to forbidden appliances and inferior tools, Cutthroat sabotages are notoriously grueling, and most chefs will only endure this kind of face-off once. But on tonight’s all-new episode, four previously eliminated competitors returned to the kitchen for a second chance to overcome sabotage. These chefs had fallen in battle before, but with experience on their side, they took their places in front of Alton, ready to attempt to prove themselves once again.
“All of these people learned the first time they were on the show that at the end of the day, you got to secure the win, or you don’t win anything at all,” Alton told judge Jet Tila on the host’s After-Show. “I would rather walk out of here with a grand than walk out of here with nothing.” He didn’t make the chefs’ return to the contest any easier this time around, auctioning off waterlogged buns during a hot dog challenge and the forced use of strainers as mixing bowls during a brownie challenge. Jet deemed the mixing bowl sabotage “amazingly diabolical,” and indeed it ultimately contributed to Chef Zadi’s elimination.
by Maria Russo in Shows, February 9th, 2014
“Let nobody ever say that I am not a risk taker,” Simon proclaimed on Alton’s After-Show following this week’s brand-new episode of Cutthroat Kitchen. He and Alton were catching up after the latest rounds of sabotage had unfolded, and they reflected on Simon’s no-holds-barred maneuver of testing the viscosity of Chef Billy New England clam chowder in Round 2.
During what Alton deemed “one of the finest moments,” Simon picked up Chef Billy’s bowl of soup and held it upside down directly on top of his head. “Chef, there’s thick,” Simon told the rival of his soup during tasting, “and there’s you-can-hold-it-over-your-head-without-danger-of-it-splashing-on-my-bald-bonce thick.” According to Alton, Chef Billy “had some starch manipulation issues,” which ultimate turned his chowder into a nearly solid soup. “It was just kind of wobbling there rather threateningly for a while,” Simon explained.
by Maria Russo in Shows, February 2nd, 2014
While some Cutthroat Kitchen sabotages, like mandatory utensils and the exclusive use of salt, are frequently used on the show, some are used far less often. On tonight’s all-new episode, Alton unveiled a never-before-seen sabotage that was enough to turn the kitchen into a party of sorts.
In Round 3′s birthday cake challenge, Chef Jessica was gifted what every birthday girl surely wants on her special day: a tower of beautifully wrapped presents. Some boxes were filled with silly toys and games, but Chef Jessica was after the select few containing critical ingredients needed to execute her cake, including flour, eggs and sugar. “Make them unwrap presents until they found [what they needed],” Alton explained to judge Jet Tila of the objective of this particular sabotage. “It was one of my proudest moments,” he joked with a smile during his After-Show. “If you picked incorrectly, this would take 20, 30 minutes,” Jet mused.
Surviving a round of Cutthroat Kitchen is no small feat, and for most chefs, each of the 30 minutes on the clock is precious. On this week’s all-new episode, however, one competitor learned what it’s like to attempt a round in half that time — in only 15 quick minutes.
In what judge Jet Tila deemed “the worst sabotage I think I’ve heard of,” Alton announced halfway through Round 2′s huevos rancheros challenge that the mid-round sabotage was to begin the entire challenge over again, from scratch. Chef David was gifted this task, and he was ultimately forced to not just start over in cooking, but to also grocery shop and prep his ingredients for a second time. “It totally makes sense why his dish didn’t come together,” Jet noted to Alton during the host’s After-Show. “You can’t hit the reset button,” Alton added.