by Maria Russo in Shows, December 27th, 2015
by Maria Russo in Shows, December 20th, 2015
Surviving Cutthroat Kitchen is tricky enough for a chef who’s trying to manage his or her own lot of eviliciousness, but when a particularly diabolical challenge requires two chefs to work together in the hopes of surviving, the feelings of doom in the arena only increase. Such a scene unfolded during tonight’s all-new episode, and during the After-Show later on, host Alton Brown revealed what he deemed a challenge diabolical enough for the ages. “This is probably [among the] top 10 sabotages of all time,” he told Simon Majumdar, the judge of the day, while revealing a pair of wraparound bars that forced chefs Betty and Michael to work in tandem while making tandoori chicken.
“As you dose out the pain of sending people home, I figured that it would be good for you to kind of get an idea of what this felt like,” Alton explained to Simon as the guys attempted to settle into this oddball contraption. Though they didn’t have to attempt tandoori chicken on the After-Show, Alton and Simon indeed tried their (tied) hands at potato pancake prep work. After a few initial fumbles, the host and judge found their rhythm, and Simon couldn’t help but wonder about the chefs who had to endure this sabotage. “We’re grating, so that’s easy peasy, lemon squeezy,” he said. “But what were they doing?” Alton explained that the competitors had a few more tasks at hand, like “trying to cut chicken and make all their seasonings and mix up everything that they needed.” As for the host, he could only somewhat describe how such an experience felt as he endured it. “It’s kind of like you’re being a puppet and not being a puppet,” Alton said.
by Maria Russo in Shows, December 16th, 2015
After finishing up his judging duties for tonight’s all-new episode of Cutthroat Kitchen, Jet Tila experienced life as a competitor during the After-Show when he was tasked with taking on a sabotage from the shrimp stir-fry test in Round 2. One particularly evilicious sabotage required one chef to cook with a tiny wok and chopsticks while the other was saddled with an oversize pair — and that’s what Jet was forced to contend with as well.
As he finagled with the extra-large chopsticks as he chopped his vegetables, the situation appeared to be somewhat under control. But that was quickly lost when he attempted to lift and pour his mise en place setup into the wok. After several dropped bowls, host Alton Brown couldn’t help but lend Jet a hand — by covering the camera lens so Jet could cheat the sabotage (or not) and manually add his ingredients to the wok without anyone noticing. “Go ahead and do whatever you need to do,” Alton told him, and sure enough, after just a few seconds, the camera returned to a full wok.
Even while Jet worked with this trick equipment, he and Alton were quick to dole out what it takes to make a classic stir-fry. After all, as the world record holder for the largest stir-fry ever made, Jet knows just how to execute it properly. “The wok should give a little smokiness to the dish,” he explained, and he and Alton noted the importance of the wok being steel. When it comes to accomplishing the right taste, Alton and Jet note that it’s best to deglaze the pan as the stir-fry comes together. “The deglazing is absolutely important because all of that fond that was stuck in there from the ginger, garlic and the shrimp has to come back in,” Jet said.
by Maria Russo in Shows, December 13th, 2015
In a ball pit, strapped to a life-size rotisserie, high atop a high chair, on top of a mechanical bull — the Cutthroat Kitchen After-Show has seen the judges in some downright diabolical (and downright hilarious) locales. But on tonight’s all-new installment, the scene turned a bit more seasonal when host Alton Brown and judge Jet Tila found themselves atop Santa’s lap following the Holi-Dazed and Confused holiday special.
“Alton, I’ve never felt this uncomfortable,” Jet — clad as what else but a holiday elf, of course — told Alton as the duo landed atop Santa’s lap. “Oh, we’re just getting started,” Alton joked. Not only did the guys have to work while seated, but they each had an additional sabotage to simultaneously contend with. Since Alton won the coin toss, he chose the spinning-dreidel challenge for himself — which meant that he had to keep a dreidel spinning during the whole time he was cooking — while Jet was forced to send all of his ingredients down an ice luge before working with them. “You’re, like, weighing [ingredients]?” Jet asked Alton as the host used a kitchen scale to precisely measure the components. “I won’t even be able to get sugar down the luge.” Sure enough, though, Jet as well as Alton did manage to create presentable eggnog, and even Santa was able to partake in the holiday cheer with a cup for himself.
by Maria Russo in Shows, December 9th, 2015
“You got to learn to twist the core.” That was Alton Brown‘s advice to a less-than-enthused Simon Majumdar as he took his turn — literally — around what Alton called “the human rotisserie.” This downright diabolical sabotage made its return to tonight’s all-new Cutthroat Kitchen episode for the gyro challenge, and in true After-Show fashion, Alton forced the judge of the day, this time Simon, to get a hands-on feel for the demands of eviliciousness.
“I’m getting a little cramp here,” Simon admitted as he strained from side to side and attempted to reach the prep and cook stations while the rotating spit was in motion. It didn’t take long, however, for Simon to realize that perhaps the most-efficient way to cook his dish — a crab cake instead of the challenge gyro — was to simply carry the pan as he turned. He managed to fry the crab cake and watch over it, instead of risking burning it in what was a screaming-hot skillet. “I suggested that she do this as well,” Alton told Simon of Chef Melanie, who was saddled with this sabotage during the competition. “But she didn’t. She wanted to keep the pan on the heat the whole time.”
by Maria Russo in Shows, December 6th, 2015
In tonight’s brand-new seasonal special, host Alton Brown decked the diabolical halls of the Cutthroat Kitchen arena with a holiday-themed Naughty vs. Nice battle. Of course no celebration of the season is complete without Santa Claus — and with that, a peek inside Santa’s workshop. Chef Jackie got an up-close and personal look at this miniature house when forced to make a snack for Santa, and so too did judge Antonia Lofaso when Alton challenged her to make a dip in the same space on the After-Show. The catch for Antonia? She had to harvest all of her ingredients from the doors of an advent calendar, which Chef Jackie also had to do, thanks to a double sabotage in Round 3.
It didn’t take long for Chef Antonia to realize the limitations — and potential hazards — of Santa’s tiny workshop. “I’m totally going to hit my head — ow!” she exclaimed. After discovering the first set of ingredients, which included mascarpone and ciabatta, in doors one through five, Antonia got to work on a crostini-and-dip plate; ultimately she made do with little else, as many of the remaining doors provided her with seemingly useless goods, like fortune cookies and pineapples. “I’m feeling good about this now,” Antonia said as she kneeled down in the prep area of the workshop and got to work.
by Maria Russo in Shows, December 3rd, 2015
Englishman Simon Majumdar is likely acquainted with bangers and mash, the Round 2 dish on tonight’s new episode of Cutthroat Kitchen. But he wasn’t familiar with the concept of a Round 1 sabotage — double dutch jump rope — that put a punny twist on Dutch baby pancakes, as host Alton Brown revealed on the After-Show. Alton explained that the goal of the game was for two people to jump rope in tandem, and Simon couldn’t help but wonder, “Are you making this up?” The host assured him that such a game was indeed “a major pastime,” and Alton and Simon went on to don the joint double dutch table sabotage, on which they had to whisk egg whites while simultaneously jumping.
Despite his first few missed attempts to successfully jump the rope, Simon admitted, “I’m getting there.” Both he and Alton were forced to whisk vigorously as they were whipping their egg whites by hand, and Alton explained one minor impediment to a quicker process: “I didn’t add any cream of tartar to this,” Alton said. “Cream of tartar, of course, helps you when you’re beating eggs like this because the acid breaks down some of the bonds so that you can form brand-new ones.” As both Simon and Alton held on to their tools and jumped with each call of “double Dutch baby” from the Bobs, Simon said simply, “I’m exhausted.”
by Maria Russo in Shows, November 29th, 2015
It was a finale of evilicious proportions last night when the top-four chefs took their places in the Cutthroat Kitchen: Superstar Sabotage arena for the fifth and final face-off. Fabio Viviani ultimately claimed the win after several downright diabolical sabotages, but it was Richard Blais who landed what was perhaps the most “hands-off” challenge of the battle. In the Round 3 dessert test, a Bob lent Richard a hand — or rather, both of his hands — which acted as Richard’s own while the Bob finished the round behind him. And in keeping with After-Show tradition, of course, it was only a matter of time before Alton Brown and Simon Majumdar, the judge of the day, tried their hands at this sinister setup.
Simon opted to prepare a cranachan, a layered trifle-like dessert spiked with whiskey, though of course it was Alton who’d be doing the actual prepping with verbal cues from Simon. While the situation started out efficiently enough, with Alton following Simon’s commands and executing each step gently, it indeed didn’t end that way, as Alton could hardly see his moves before him. “Not even close!” Simon said as Alton struggled to pour a glug of brandy into the glass. What resulted was a finished dessert, but also a messy prep station, a messy Alton and a messy Simon.
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.
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.”