Tag: alton’s after show

Did You See What Giada Had to Eat? — Alton’s After-Show

by in Shows, January 5th, 2014

From prohibited cooking utensils to forced ingredient swaps and mandatory products, Cutthroat Kitchen sabotages are the ultimate in culinary challenges. While these sabotages may send contestants into fits of panic during the competition, most rivals manage to turn out acceptable dishes for the judge of the day. No matter if chefs unapologetically show off or brilliantly hide the obstacles that befell them, it’s up to the judges to taste the plates before them and unknowingly eat sometimes hilariously inferior ingredients.

That’s what happened on today’s brand-new episode of Cutthroat Kitchen when special guest Giada De Laurentiis stopped by to judge. In Round 2, Chef La Salle presented her with a dish of chicken and waffles, but instead of using fresh chicken, Chef La Salle featured canned chicken. This chicken, which was packed in liquid, was first ground through a food processor and ultimately turned into chicken pate. When Giada finally saw — and smelled — the canned chicken firsthand during Alton’s After-Show, she couldn’t help but look away and hold her nose to avoid the stench. “The whole thing really reeks,” she admitted of the meat before Alton told her, “You put that in your mouth.”

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Cooking Without Necessities — Alton’s After-Show

by in Shows, December 29th, 2013


While Cutthroat Kitchen judges are quick to taste the food before them in each round of evilicious competition on the show, they don’t know exactly how that dish came to be, what ingredients were used to prepare it and which methods were undertaken to produce it. For help in clarifying the unknown, host Alton Brown sits down with the judges in his Web-exclusive After-Show to break down the ins and outs of the challenges; this week, he and Antonia Lofaso chatted about the latest contest to unfold.

Traditional wonton wrappers may seem like a must-have ingredient for chefs tasked with preparing pot stickers, but in Round 1, three of the four competitors were forced to work with wontons in other forms, like honey-soaked wontons, frozen wontons and wonton soup. Thinking about the offerings she had just tasted, Antonia correctly guessed that Chef Velez was the one fortunate enough to work with the fresh product. Although she was initially hesitant about Chef Miranda’s dish, which was crafted out of frozen wontons and featured cabbage-wrapped bites, Antonia ultimately told the finalist, “I’m not mad at it.” Later she explained to Alton: “When someone says ‘pot sticker,’ you have this idea in your head of exactly what you want. So when I walk over and there’s cabbage, and I’m like, am I going to get that texture on the outside? Am I going to get that little bit of, like, char? And then I really enjoyed it.”

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Hand Masher Gone Wrong and Indoor Campfires — Alton’s After-Show

by in Shows, December 22nd, 2013


For the first time this season, Antonia Lofaso took her turn judging four competitors in the latest round of evilicious contest on Cutthroat Kitchen, and because no judge is privy to the bidding for sabotages and cooking, she joined Alton Brown on his After-Show to learn what had gone down.

The chefs had to create gnocchi during Round 1 of the competition; though a hand masher may have been an appropriate tool for the job, it became an obstacle for Chef Gentile when he was forced to have it duct taped to his arm for the duration of the round. “He was looking for garnish that was going to build a dish,” Antonia told Alton, realizing that this impediment is what prevented Chef Gentile from breaking down ingredients and cooking with more precision.

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Hot-Iron Woes and a Chilly Ball of Ice Cream — Alton’s After-Show

by in Shows, December 15th, 2013


Having been a judge on the premiere season of Cutthroat Kitchen, Simon Majumdar is no stranger to the tricks and challenges that befall competitors in each round of cooking, but after eating set cheese and soupy ice cream on tonight’s all-new Season 2 premiere, he needed a few clarifications on how the dishes came to be. Host Alton Brown — who’s not only privy to the sabotages, but in charge of auctioning them off as well — filled in Simon during the latest installment of his After-Show.

It turns out that the patty melt-inspired dish that Chef Stratton gave Simon was mushroom-heavy on account of the Freeze Dried Meat product he was forced to work with after Chef Wiginton assigned it to him. “There was no patty in the dish, really,” Simon told Alton. “It was mushroom-heavy, and I guess that’s what he did to try and compensate, but it kind of overcompensated a bit.” This ingredient was so unlike fresh meat that it prevented Chef Stratton from turning it into a traditional patty.

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Two Times the Trouble — Alton’s After-Show

by in Shows, November 3rd, 2013


Cutthroat Kitchen fans knows that when competitors are gifted a sabotage, no matter how treacherous or simple it may seem, it could ultimately mean disaster for them if they don’t know how or do not have the time to remedy it. But what happens when a challenge must incorporate not just one sabotage, but multiple? Will they use the double dose of damage to further fuel their creative energy, or will they succumb to the pressure of the contest and crumble?

On this week’s installment of Alton’s After-Show, the host revealed to judge Jet Tila two competitors’ attempts to adapt to multiple challenges after finding themselves victim to an onslaught of sabotages. The first set occurred in the initial round’s sandwich-and-side battle, when a chef was forced to harvest bread from prepared convenience-store sandwiches before learning that he or she would also have to make the dish on a TV-dinner-size tray instead of an oversized workspace. “And I think from there [the contestant] went insane,” Alton joked of the competitor. This chef was ultimately overwhelmed by the tasks at hand, as he or she didn’t make it past the first round of competition.

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Back to Basics — Alton’s After-Show

by in Shows, October 27th, 2013


Given the unexpected sabotages, limited time on the clock and looming judgment with which they’re forced to adapt, it’s likely that when chefs compete on Cutthroat Kitchen, they’re cooking under a crushing amount of stress and pressure. For some, that anxiety may serve only to better their game, forcing them to work smartly and efficiently, but for others, such a burden may get the better of them.

In this week’s competition, a chef’s inability to cope with the competition’s demands ultimately led to his or her exit. Judge Antonia Lofaso told Alton on his After-Show that the contestant’s Round 1 lasagna offering featured such grievous errors that she had no choice but to eliminate him or her on account of these seemingly elementary errors. Although inexperienced with making fresh pasta, this chef was forced to make pasta dough from scratch, but the end result proved “dense,” according to Antonia, and was only one part of an overall unsuccessful plate. “It was just poorly executed, everything on the dish,” she said, “from the cuts of the bell peppers to them not being cooked to pasta that was just completely inadequate.”

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Struggling for Simplicity — Alton’s After-Show

by in Shows, October 20th, 2013


While the sabotages dealt to chefs on Cutthroat Kitchen may be downright devious and may cause the competitors to rethink their culinary approaches, the dishes they’re tasked to cook are, in fact, straightforward. Common plates like tacos, cupcakes, fried chicken and burritos have made appearances in the past, and all Alton asks of the contestants is that they create these meals for the judge. It sounds easy enough — until he reveals unknown curve balls, like mandatory ingredients and inferior cooking utensils, of course. It’s these challenging sabotages that cause — or, perhaps, force — the chefs to abandon all aspects of simplicity and ultimately reinvent the dishes as next-level versions.

Although this week’s battle indeed featured its share of sabotages, judge Antonia Lofaso told Alton Brown on the host’s After-Showthat the chefs’ culinary offerings could have been stronger, if only they had not tried to make the dishes complicated and too unlike the originals. In Round 2, one chef was given leftover fried rice to feature in jambalaya, and rather than merely steam it to outfit it with the proper texture, he or she turned it into rice patties, but the rice wasn’t apparent. “You would have been starting with a product that you can have control over,” Antonia told Alton. “[The chef] could have just resuscitated it, but instead [the competitor] ground it into a paste,” Alton added. “I would have simply just used it.”

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Respecting the Challenge Dish — Alton’s After-Show

by in Shows, October 13th, 2013


Although the stipulations of almost every Cutthroat Kitchen sabotage force competitors to reimagine the classic versions of challenge dishes, chefs still should be able to serve plates that are at least reminiscent of the original concept. They may not be able to cook with every seemingly crucial ingredient or prepare plates in the most traditional style, but the final offerings ought to be valid interpretations of assigned dishes; for this week’s competitors, that meant burritos, pie and teriyaki bowls.

“It has to come down to what the challenge is,” judge Jet Tila told Alton Brown on the latest installment of Alton’s After-Show. The competitor ousted in the Round 1 burrito challenge presented a deconstructed Vietnamese-style burrito that was, in fact, hardly a burrito at all, according to Jet. “I’m sorry, but it was a ridiculous play on a burrito,” Jet explained of the summer roll-inspired dish. He added, “If she took a few pieces of lettuce and actually made a tight, concise roll, at least I know you’re thinking burrito,” noting how the contestant could have improved.

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Wild Sabotages Revealed — Alton’s After-Show

by in Shows, October 6th, 2013


Some weeks on Alton’s After-Show the focus of Alton’s chat with the judge revolves primarily around the finalists’ abilities — or inabilities — to cook within the confines of Cutthroat Kitchen, particularly the sabotages. But other times it’s the sabotages themselves that dominate the conversation, almost too shocking or simply laughable for the judges to believe. That was the case this week as Alton revealed to returning judge Jet Tila the roster of culinary interferences to befall the chefs.

Perhaps most appalling to Jet was the ingredient swap-out in Round 2, when the competitors were tasked with preparing a dish of sausage and peppers. Instead of being able to cook with everyday salt, pepper, spices and herbs, the contestant to receive this sabotage would be forced to use jelly beans flavored with tastes like habanero, wasabi, buttered popcorn and bacon. “That’s genius,” Jet admitted after a hearty laugh, before wincing at the thought of incorporating such oddball flavors into a dish. “I would have bid the farm and torpedoed somebody.” He soon realized how the unlucky chef to receive this sabotage ultimately offered a too-sweet plate of sausage and peppers. “The sweet … sticky sweet — it worked,” Jet said, reflecting on the contest. “I almost felt bad offering it. Almost,” Alton told him later.

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Mastering the Garnish — Alton’s After-Show

by in Shows, September 29th, 2013


No matter the competition, judges aren’t shy about their desire to receive thoughtfully plated dishes. After all, the saying goes that we eat with our eyes before our mouths, and it’s important for food to look as appetizing as it tastes. But oftentimes contestants take the notion of inspired plates too far, opting to include edible — or not — garnishes atop their offerings. In a supposed effort to showcase their commitment to elegance and simple visual appeal, they end up self-sabotaging what would have been a fine meal with unnecessary toppings.

A frequent judge on Cutthroat Kitchen and Iron Chef America, Simon Majumdar knows what he likes to see on a plate, and superfluous finishes is not on his list of must-haves. In this week’s battle, several chefs learned the hard way that too much of a garnish — or the inclusion of something inedible — could be disastrous, as he explained on Alton’s After-Show. “Putting … what was for all intents and purposes a Christmas tree atop your steak is not a good idea,” Simon said of the oversize sprig of rosemary on one contestant’s steak. “Chefs really need to learn how to garnish when they’re doing a competition like this.”

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