by Maria Russo in Shows, October 18th, 2015
by Maria Russo in Shows, October 11th, 2015
The road to Cutthroat Kitchen glory is hardly ever a straightforward one, since the name of the game, of course, is eviliciousness. But some competitors, whether because of their rivals’ determination, their own bidding strategy or perhaps just sheer bad (good?) luck, end up saddled with a particularly diabolical lot of challenges each and every round. Chef Michael was one such contestant; on tonight’s brand-new episode, he endured several especially trying sabotages that challenged not only his mental prowess in the face of culinary disruptions but also his physical competency.
In Round 1, Chef Michael no sooner started the fish sandwich battle than he found himself seated in a three-person rowboat — and a tipsy one at that. With every movement, the boat rocked from side to side, throwing his prep work off balance. “I like that,” Susan Feniger, the guest judge of the day, told host Alton Brown with a smile during the After-Show. Unfortunately for Chef Michael, the challenges only worsened as the day went on, as Round 2’s chili test again saddled him with an inferior situation: this time seated atop a bucking horse ride. It “really didn’t have anything to do with food,” Alton told Susan. “It was just painful and horrible to watch.” But not matter the bumpy ride, Chef Michael kept his cowboy hat held high and proclaimed from the horse, “Yee-haw!”
by Maria Russo in Shows, October 4th, 2015
Cook the assigned dishes and win the game — that’s all there is to Cutthroat Kitchen, right? Yes, but of course there are those tricky sabotages to contend with as well. But even in the midst of daunting challenges, many competitors make the rounds harder on themselves by going far beyond what’s asked of them. After tonight’s brand-new episode, judge Jet Tila and Alton Brown sat down on the host’s After-Show to dish about how one chef’s determination to do more and put more on the plate ultimately cost her the competition.
In the first round’s Monte Cristo assignment, Chef Jourdan was saddled with working with bread from a French onion soup to make her sandwich. While Jet suggested ideas for making the sabotage work, Alton noted that Chef Jourdan did not pursue them. Perhaps that was because, as Alton said, she was “too busy making soup and a tomato salad,” neither of which is a required element of a classic Monte Cristo. “A tip to the chefs: Don’t ever do more dishes than what is required,” Jet told Alton as the judge pondered Chef Jourdan’s elimination, and Alton agreed. “Do the required one correctly,” the host added. For Chef Jourdan, no matter the seemingly superfluous items on her plate, her sandwich wasn’t a win either, as Jet found it to be “beefy” on account of the soup sabotage.
by Maria Russo in Shows, September 20th, 2015
If the over-the-top outdoorsy sabotages that Alton Brown recently unveiled at Camp Cutthroat are any indication, the host’s devotion to eviliciousness knows no bounds, and he’s not one to shy away from a theme. And it’s a good thing that’s the case, because on tonight’s special Halloween episode of Cutthroat Kitchen, he answered the call of fright-night duty by dressing up as none other than Dr. Evil, complete with a bald cap and a telling facial scar. Simon Majumdar, who — like Alton — will stop at nothing for the betterment of the show, donned a series of getups, including a pink-lipped Princess Leia costume, which he showed off on Alton’s After-Show. The duo looked back on the most-haunting Halloween-themed sabotages of the day, from chainsawed sandwich wraps to a time-sucking coffin.
“It was a coffin break, Simon,” Alton told the judge of the Round 2 midround challenge as the crew rolled out the coffin. “The Bobs are awakening,” Simon noted, looking into the coffin as a wigged Bob waved back at him. But not long after the Bob was revealed did Alton slam the top of the coffin upon him, and Simon learned that Chef Adia was forced to spend a spooky five minutes inside that coffin. No matter her lost time, though, Chef Adia ultimately proved her scary-good sabotage prowess by surviving the challenges and earning evilicious glory.
by Maria Russo in Shows, September 13th, 2015
It was just a few weeks ago that Alton Brown revealed “the human rotisserie” for the special grilling-themed episode of Cutthroat Kitchen. And on tonight’s all-new episode, he put a cuckoo spin on that fan-favorite sabotage to create what he called “the showstopper of the day,” otherwise known as his “cuckoo clock prep station,” which made its debut in the first round’s German apple pancake test.
“Come on! Take a ride,” Alton urged Simon Majumdar, who, never one to shy away from trying his hands at a sabotage, hopped atop the moving floorboard to take a few spins around the clock — along with a Bob and Alton, of course. Looking back on Chef Paper’s turn at the sabotage, Alton revealed to Simon that the challenge ultimately caused her dish’s demise. “That’s why it was burned,” Alton said. “Because right when she got done, it was time to cuckoo around.” While some chefs indeed manage to survive their sabotages and ultimately turn out successful dishes, Alton revealed that this particular sabotage “did render the desired effect” in that it did one chef in, as Chef Paper was ousted after Round 1.
by Maria Russo in Shows, September 9th, 2015
It’s not every week that a newcomer joins the ranks of judges to enter the hollowed arena that is Cutthroat Kitchen, but tonight comedian David Alan Grier became one of the lucky few. And in true evilicious fashion, host Alton Brown‘s sabotages of the day were nothing short of diabolical.
In what proved to be a doozy of a challenge during the Round 2 Italian wedding soup assignment, one chef was forced to harvest all of his ingredients from — what else? — a wedding cake, stuffed with everything from peanut butter and a root beer to ground beef and carrots. But for David, it wasn’t these savory flavors that stuck out the most in Chef Justin’s dish, though the judge couldn’t quite decipher what it was that he found. “I taste a sweetness, and I don’t really know if this is rice, pasta or grain. I mean, I don’t know what it is,” David said during tasting, and on Alton’s After-Show, he finally learned from Alton what he ate. “Cake, sir, and a little bit of frosting to boot,” Alton told David, who admitted to being stumped by that flavor of “mystery.” When it came to the all-important meatballs in Chef Justin’s Italian wedding soup, David was once again unsure of what to make of them, and Alton finally revealed why: “He decided to put cocoa powder in his meatballs,” Alton said. “I didn’t perceive chocolate,” David told him. “I just perceived off — a little sweet, not what I was expecting.” Ultimately these oddball flavor combinations were enough for David to send Justin home once and for all.
by Maria Russo in Shows, September 6th, 2015
For the first-ever Camp Cutthroat tournament finale, you can be sure that host Alton Brown held nothing back in the name of diabolical sabotages — not even a pitcher of bright-red trout soaked in an eye-catching, crimson-colored bug juice (read: fruit punch). Chef Monterey, who was saddled with this doozy of a challenge, chose not to cook around the sweet flavor, but rather to embrace it with ingredients that complemented that taste. She did not, however, make enough amends for the sugars, and the trout’s skin stuck to the grates of the grill during cooking, and its flesh ultimately turned red.
According to to Alton and judge Antonia Lofaso, this fate didn’t have to befall Chef Monterey, as they explained during the After-Show. “Had Chef Monterey actually cooked the skin properly, it would have looked less red and probably a little bit more brown,” Antonia told Alton, who added his own idea for how to avoid the stuck skin altogether. “With the added sugar that that soaked up, she had to put a lot more oil on it to keep it from sticking, and she did not do that,” Alton said. “And so she lost the skin to the grill.” But, Antonia adds, even with the torn skin and lackluster appearance of the fish, there were ways to dress up the dish. “She also had a really beautiful salad, and I felt like had she put the salad on top of the fish, I may not have noticed it so much,” Antonia admitted. “I mean, this was just a giant red fish on a plate.”
by Maria Russo in Shows, September 2nd, 2015
Given the high-stress competition, the pressures to cook within just 30 minutes and, of course, the sting of sabotages, Cutthroat Kitchen is the fiercest of fiercest of environments and perhaps no place for a grandmother — or so it would seem. On tonight’s special episode of Cutthroat Kitchen, four home-cook grannies took their places in the arena, ready to prove their seniority in the kitchen. “I was always taught to respect my elders, so I just want to say right now I’m very, very sorry for everything that happened here tonight,” host Alton Brown said with a sly grin as he opened the After-Show with judge Jet Tila. The guys looked back on a momentous three rounds, which ultimately had one grandma using her experience as a home cook to her advantage.
Come the Round 3 pie challenge, after being saddled with the mandate to shop and cook from the confines of a slow-moving power chair and being forced to use her mouth to fish for ingredients buried in pie, Grandma Nancy enlisted the help of a trusty appliance: the microwave. “Nancy, running out of time, knows that her custard is a real problem. She goes over to the microwave and she starts microwaving, stopping, whisking, microwaving,” Alton explains to Jet. “She cooked that custard, poured it before it had set, and the only thing you busted her for was it was too firm,” added Alton. Shocked by the realization of how Nancy’s pie came to be, Jet admitted, “I’ve never even heard of that technique.” And Alton noted that’s likely because of her skill set as a home cook. “Restaurant-trained chefs [are] never taught to use the microwave. This is a home cook from Grandmaville, from Texas, and so for her, it’s a completely viable tool,” Alton said. And indeed the microwave managed to save the day for Nancy, as she was crowned the champion.
by Maria Russo in Shows, August 26th, 2015
Though the judges may not be privy to the evilicious extents of host Alton Brown‘s sabotages, what each chef has been forced to endure is ultimately illuminated when Alton breaks down the challenges on his After-Show. It took nine seasons and multiple special tournaments full of diabolical sabotages, including the likes of canned haggis, human rotisseries and warped pans, but for the first time tonight — after the fourth heat of the Camp Cutthroat tournament — one judge finally admitted to feeling sorry for a chef.
The challenge in question didn’t involve any oddball ingredient or over-the-top suit of armor. Instead, it was none other than Alton’s lookout tower, from which Chef DeMarco was forced to cook his skillet breakfast high above his cook station using extremely long utensils. “Any food had to be simply dropped into the pan,” Alton told Jet Tila, as the judge took his place on the tower to try his hand at landing chopped ingredients in the pan. “I officially, for the first time in Cutthroat Kitchen, I feel bad,” Jet admitted. Though Chef DeMarco may have earned Chef Jet’s sympathies, they were perhaps not needed; the competitor managed to not only survive the first-round battle, but also outcook Chef Trevor in the chili-and-cornbread test and score a place in next week’s finale.
by Maria Russo in Shows, August 19th, 2015
By now fans know that no one is safe from the diabolical sabotages up for auction — not even the judges. After the third round of outdoor eviliciousness on Camp Cutthroat tonight, host Alton Brown caught up with the judge of the day, Jet Tila, and wasted no time in putting him to work in some of the most-trying challenges of the day. Up first: the bouncy-house obstacle course. “I have to go over this thing?” Jet yelled as he made his way through the course. “This totally sucks.” No matter his dislike of the sabotage, though, he indeed made it through unscathed, and in less than a minute.
But perhaps the real doozy of a sabotage came in the form of the rock wall, which, just like Chef Jessica did, Jet attempted. Not only was he snugly strapped into the harness, but he also pulled himself up the wall, only to meet his fate at the top when he attempted to concoct a sandwich. “I don’t care,” he admitted, after quickly giving in to the sabotage, stuffing a sandwich into his pocket and rappelling down the wall in the hopes of feeding Alton.
Not one to shy away from even the most-dramatic Cutthroat Kitchen sabotages, judge Simon Majumdar has been known to enjoy a hands-on attempt of some of the challenges of the day — just last week on the After-Show, he chugged a shot of fish sauce with abandon. And lucky for fans at home, it turns out that Simon hasn’t lost his diabolical spirit just because the competition has moved outdoors. After tonight’s episode of Camp Cutthroat, the judge willingly partook in several of the battle’s most-evilicious sabotages, including going face to face with a powerful wind gust. “I like that. I like that a lot. We need to use that more,” Simon said, after a Bob held the powered-up wind machine near Simon’s face.
When it came time for the dodge ball demonstration, however, it wasn’t Simon who was getting pelted with plush balls; instead, Simon and Alton joined forces to take down a Bob. “Beat him while he’s down!” Simon joked. In what was perhaps Simon’s most-adventurous challenge, he yanked up his waders and hightailed it down to the lake at Camp, where he used the same oversize skimming rod that Chef Candice had used to pick up ingredients. “If you feel anything nibbling at your feet or your legs,” Alton warned Simon, “it’s probably either the catfish or the snapping turtles.” But in true superjudge fashion, Simon enjoyed the outing in the water. “Could I keep these?” Simon asked Alton about the waders. “They’re rather fun.”