by Maria Russo in Shows, May 3rd, 2015
by Maria Russo in Shows, April 26th, 2015
From climbing atop an oversize highchair to donning the now-infamous blueberry suit, Jet Tila will stop at nothing to prove his Cutthroat Kitchen allegiance and attempt to understand what chefs had to endure in the throes of sabotage. On tonight’s all-new After-Show, Jet, alongside Alton Brown, took his devotion one step further by trying his hand at a particularly sweet sabotage as they reflected on the challenges to befall the Evilicious tournament chefs.
The name of the game was doughnuts in Round 3, and in true diabolical fashion, Alton auctioned off a timesuck that forced one competitor to use only his mouth to free a row of doughnuts suspended from strings. Upon learning of this sabotage and seeing it for himself, Jet could do little other than laugh in sheer disbelief, though Alton was quick to challenge him to an impromptu attempt. “I’ll meet you in the middle,” Alton told him. And Jet admitted, “This sucks,” after just a few seconds of grabbing at the first doughnut. “I can’t do this!” he joked, later taking a light-hearted approach to the game, while Alton used all of his determination to power through the task at hand.
by Maria Russo in Shows, April 12th, 2015
By now Cutthroat Kitchen superfans know that when it comes to evaluating the plates before them, judges assess just three elements of the offering: its taste, its presentation and whether or not it reminds them of the challenge dish at hand. While that indeed seems simple enough, Alton Brown and Jet Tila discussed a common mistake chefs make when facing off in battle: muddling their dishes with non-essential components.
During tonight’s installment of the After-Show, the two looked back on Heat 2 of the Cutthroat Kitchen: Evilicious tournament and a sabotage that introduced what Alton deemed to be “a distraction” to chefs’ dishes. The sabotage at hand afforded one chef sole control over the ingredients needed to make chicken-fried steak and another chef control over the required tools. It was up to them to share both sets of items, considering what they wanted to keep for themselves and what they’d be willing to part with. As for the cornmeal Jet found within the ingredient basket, Alton explained, “That’s a distraction, ’cause what it says is ‘Hey, make a side.'” Jet agreed, adding that the distinction between what’s required of the test at hand and what isn’t is a key to success in this contest. “That is a huge tip,” Jet noted. “Make the challenge and don’t go crazy.”
by Maria Russo in Shows, April 5th, 2015
It’s one thing to watch Cutthroat Kitchen competitors endure the hilariously evilicious sabotages that have been dealt them, but it’s another to attempt those challenges for yourself, experiencing the struggles they did firsthand and learning to bear them as best you can. As the judges learn on Alton’s After-Show what diabolical situations have led to chefs’ finished dishes, even they are wowed by the lengths to which sabotages have forced contestants to go just to cook a seemingly simple meal. For Jet Tila tonight, that surprise came when he tried his hand — or, rather, his foot — at wearing a 30-pound rum barrel.
“It’s really heavy,” Jet admitted, strapped into the contraption and feebly making his way around the kitchen. Alton Brown agreed that this was indeed a doozy of a sabotage; as he told Jet, “Of all the things I wouldn’t want, wearing that barrel … that’s physically grueling.” But when Jet told him just how “quite uncomfortable” this challenge was,” Alton was quick to remind him that such is the nature of the Cutthroat beast. “Yeah, it’s quite uncomfortable,” said Alton. “That’s why we do these things.”
by Maria Russo in Shows, March 22nd, 2015
Canned whole chickens, vending-machine cheese, water-soaked hot dog rolls. Each of these items has been the focus of a Cutthroat Kitchen sabotage, and while they may be cringe-inducing (and downright hilarious) to fans watching at home, they’re nevertheless part of the offerings that the judges are forced to consume, as Simon Majumdar reminded us during the latest Alton’s After-Show.
“I have to eat this stuff; just remember that,” he told Alton Brown as he two looked back on a particularly doozy of a competition round on tonight’s all-new episode. The Round 3 challenge asked the chefs to make carrot cake in this spring-themed battle, and in the spirit of freshness and renewal in springtime, a sabotage forced one chef to “harvest ingredients new ingredients for their cake,” Alton explained. This involved digging through a makeshift garden for individually wrapped fixings, some classic like eggs and others not so traditional, like canned pickled carrots and cinnamon candies. “His sauce was odd, but now I know why,” Simon said of the offering from Chef Jeffrey, who was dealt this diabolical lot and called his dish Carrot Cake Surprise. “It’s Muggins here who gets to eat it,” he joked, adding of his own British sensibilities, “We never say something’s horrible. We go, ‘This is interesting’ or ‘This was a very brave choice.’ His was a very brave choice.”
by Maria Russo in Shows, March 8th, 2015
From the wonderfully weird to the disturbing and downright diabolical, Cutthroat Kitchen judges have seen nearly everything in the seven seasons of evilicious competition. But something in tonight’s all-new battle forced longtime judge Simon Majumdar to simply cover his eyes in disbelief as he recounted the horror during Alton’s After-Show.
The Round 1 challenge — eggs Benedict — may have started simply enough, but after a few required cooking implements were put in place, the situation turned grisly as Chef Trevor was forced to use a conveyor toaster to prepare his plate. “He actually made … a serviceable hollandaise, but he decided at the last minute to put it on a plate and keep it warm in the top of that,” Alton Brown told Simon. “And in the time that he did that, it went from sauce to scrambled egg. It because a hollandaise crumble.” While Simon had no choice but to rest his head in his hands as he looked back on that doomed dish, fans were reminded of what Simon said after tasting Chef Trevor’s offering: “I never need to eat another hollandaise crumble as long as I live.” Nevertheless, though, Chef Trevor managed to survive the round, as Simon explained that another rival, Chef Monterey, presented a poor egg, which was ultimately unforgivable.
by Maria Russo in Shows, March 1st, 2015
Omelets may seem easy enough to make — after all, it takes just one, maybe two, ingredients to prepare them. But as judge Antonia Lofaso explained to Alton Brown on the host’s all-new Alton’s After-Show tonight, “maybe people don’t actually know what an actual omelet is,” as several Cutthroat Kitchen competitors presented her with scrambles instead. Ever the master of Good Eats, Alton took this opportunity to demonstrate the ins and outs of proper omelet technique, and along with Antonia, he dished out a quality omelet offering. Read on below for their top 10 tips to mastering winning omelets every time, then click the play button on the video above to watch their culinary lesson unfold.
1. “I like three eggs for an 8-inch pan,” Alton told Antonia, who agreed that’s an ideal amount.
2. It’s best to start with room-temperature eggs so it doesn’t take them as long to warm up, noted Alton.
3. “I don’t want to add my salt too early,” Antonia explained as she whisked her eggs. “I want to get a fluff first.” She told Alton that salt could actually start the cooking process of the egg and thus change its color, so it’s best to wait until just before cooking to stir in salt.
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.”
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.”