by Nikhita Mahtani in Shows, August 17th, 2014
by Maria Russo in Shows, August 14th, 2014
It was a double-whammy this week on Cutthroat Kitchen, with host Alton Brown creating an elaborate sabotage that hit not only one, but two chefs with the biggest set ever created on the show. In the TV dinner round, two chefs had to do all of their cooking and prep in a 1974 version of Alton’s living room, complete with a couch, television, coffee table and even a smiling photo of Alton himself.
Chef Mitch won this challenge for a whopping $9,100 and gave it to his opponents. “Would you have been OK with this?” asked Alton to judge Jet Tila on this week’s After-Show. “With four components here — a dessert, a starch and a protein, a little tough. So no, I wouldn’t have been OK with this one,” said judge Jet.
Click play on the video above to see the living room up close, and hear judge Jet’s reaction.
by Nikhita Mahtani in Shows, August 10th, 2014
In just one year, Cutthroat Kitchen fans have watched as hopeful chefs have donned souffle suits, stooped inside mini kitchens and spun the Wheel of Heat, all in the name of sabotage — and at the hands of Alton Brown. The no-nonsense host is no stranger to the ruthless challenges that befall competitors round after round; after all, he’s doled out and auctioned off every single one. FN Dish caught up with Alton recently to learn his thoughts on a year of contests and get his advice for approaching infamous sabotages.
Cutthroat Kitchen recently celebrated its first on-air birthday, and it’s getting set to air its fifth season soon. Why do you think the show is so popular?
Alton Brown: It’s a game; it’s an actual game. People love games. And it’s a kind of game where anything can happen — and often does. And I think people like that too. That’s it. It’s a game; people like games. Sabotage is fun. It’s fun to see what is going to come out of that shelf later.
by Nikhita Mahtani in Shows, August 3rd, 2014
As this week’s episode of Cutthroat Kitchen demonstrates, sometimes the most-obvious sabotages don’t involve ingredient swaps or fancy equipment, but simply taking away a chef’s most-desired tool: his hands. In the falafel round, two chefs had to hold hands the entire time they were preparing their dishes.
“That’s so sweet!” said judge Antonia Lofaso on this week’s After-Show. But she learned how difficult the challenge could be when host Alton Brown explained to her that they couldn’t move their cooking stations closer together. “That defeats the purpose of peace,” said Alton. Still, the chefs made it through in the end, thanks to each of them having the opposite dominant hand in the round. “What are the chances?” said Alton.
Click play on the video above to see how the chefs worked through the sabotage, and hear what judge Antonia had to say about it.
by Nikhita Mahtani in Shows, July 27th, 2014
This week on Cutthroat Kitchen, history was made as an ingredient was sold for the highest amount ever paid for a sabotage on the show: $16,500. The sabotage in question was none other than the pickled ginger that replaced all of Chef Christina’s ground ginger in the gingersnap cookie round, as host Alton Brown tried to trip up the contestants by having them use ingredients that they were unfamiliar with in dishes that they know and love.
Judge Simon Majumdar, however, didn’t think that the ingredient should have gone for that much. “It has a flavor,” said judge Simon. “If you can use other spices alongside of it, you can get away.” This is exactly what Chef Christina did, and she secured the win. Alton explained, “I actually like that stuff in cookies, because I feel like it balances the sweetness, as well as the bitterness, of the molasses very well.” Chef Christina walked away with a whopping $18,500.
Click play on the video above to see how Chef Christina made use of the pickled ginger in her dish, and hear judge Simon’s reaction.
by Sarah De Heer in Food Network Chef, Shows, July 23rd, 2014
Creating tiramisu can be time-consuming, as it involves soaking lady fingers in an espresso mixture and topping them with a sweet mascarpone cheese-based cream. This specifically requires the use of superior utensils, like whisks and mixing bowls, in order to make sure each layer has the perfect flavor profile. Host Alton Brown decided that the contestants on Cutthroat Kitchen needed to forgo these tools – one of the contestants had to replace all of his cooking tools with coffee strainers and stirrers. This made the dish especially difficult, because the coffee filter didn’t allow the mascarpone creation to be mixed properly, and it also starting soaking up all the espresso meant for the lady fingers. How could the Food Network team deem it an appropriate sabotage for the show?
Click play on the video above to see how the Food Network culinary team could create the tiramisu with this sabotage.
by Nikhita Mahtani in Shows, July 20th, 2014
Cutthroat Kitchen is in full swing (now in its fourth season), and with time also come lessons learned — many lessons learned. Frequent judge Simon Majumdar recently revealed the mind of a Cutthroat judge to FN Dish, and now host Alton Brown is sharing survival techniques. From the pantry to the kitchen, Alton breaks down the most-common mistakes that can easily be rectified, as well as how a chef should best prep himself or herself for sabotages.
Click play on the video above to learn Alton’s tips for acing round after round in the Cutthroat arena.
by Sarah De Heer in Food Network Chef, Shows, July 16th, 2014
Cutthroat Kitchen host Alton Brown‘s sabotages can involve any number of evilicious plans, such as replacing a contestant’s prime ingredient with an inferior one or taking one’s cooking tools away. While these sabotages are bad enough themselves, Alton took evil to a new level in the fondue challenge, where he took away all of one chef’s ingredients and replaced them with his ‘Party Fondue Pot’, a large container of melted nacho cheese that hid a number of ingredients in its depth.
Chef Tom was given this sabotage and had to hunt through the 35 gallons of cheese to find something he could use for the fondue. Alton noted to judge Jet Tila on this week’s After-Show, though, that Chef Tom didn’t use any of the cheese from Alton’s pot in his fondue. “I would have used a little of this just as an emulsifier,” said Alton. “Because then you don’t have to worry about texture! This stuff’s never going to clump.” Still, Chef Tom walked away the winner, thanks to Chef Matt’s lack of starch in his cheese sauce.
Click play on the video above to see the Party Fondue Pot up close, and hear Jet’s reaction.
by Nikhita Mahtani in Shows, July 13th, 2014
Have you ever wondered what it would be like to be Alton Brown for a day? It’s not easy. I mean, sure, there are numerous perks and fun moments. But to tape a TV show, in this case Cutthroat Kitchen, takes a lot of work. FN Dish had the opportunity to shadow the host of this evilicious show and capture the ins and outs of a full day of taping (one day equals one episode). He opened up the door to his trailer, and showed us where he gets his coffee and how he enters each show and interacts with the culinary production team. Have you ever asked yourself whether the money in that briefcase is real? Alton dishes on that too.
Click play on the video above and follow Alton as he goes from his trailer to the set of Cutthroat Kitchen.
by Maria Russo in Shows, July 9th, 2014
While Cutthroat Kitchen often involves sabotages that take away a contestant’s desired cooking utensils like knives or spatulas, most chefs would agree that the most valuable tool in the kitchen is one’s hands. That’s why this sabotage is especially diabolical: It makes sure that the contestants aren’t allowed to touch their food without using some kind of tool to pick it up. The chef is given a pair of white gloves and isn’t allowed to get them dirty under any cost, which causes major difficulty when trying to assemble a club sandwich, as it involves a plethora of ingredients: Chicken, salt, mayonnaise, lettuce, bacon and more. A lot of foods need to be handled, but is it possible to do so without using your hands?
Click play on the video above to see whether the Food Network culinary team could create a dish with this sabotage.
From The Next Iron Chef to Iron Chef America, Simon Majumdar is no stranger to a judges’ table, but the difference between the evaluations on those shows and those on Cutthroat Kitchen is that with the latter, he isn’t aware of all that led to the chefs’ finished dishes. Round after evilicious round, Simon and the other judges are introduced to seemingly innocent plates, and they’re unaware of the oddball products and the perhaps inferior utensils and tools used to create them; it’s then up to Simon and the other judges to review chefs’ offerings as simply as the food they are, not as the results of sabotage. FN Dish checked in with Simon recently to chat about his experience judging on Cutthroat Kitchen, plus his memorable dishes from the show and the process of being hidden from the competition.
What are you most looking forward to as Cutthroat Kitchen continues to evolve into more seasons?
Simon Majumdar: Alton’s getting into his stride with it, so I think he loves the fact that it’s getting more and more evil .… There’s a lot more [that's] elaborate coming up. I mean there are fat suits, there are mini kitchens, there are – I mean it’s getting seriously crazy. I walk out of the studio sometimes to the trailer where they put us and I walk past the challenge producers — the ones who devise all this eviliciousness — and I have no idea what they’re doing. There are carpenters out there, bouncing table-tennis balls, I mean, and it’s basically becoming like Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus, and I think that’s what people love. Because I think people were worried at first; they were like, “It’s not a cooking show, and how can you eat that food?” but the thing is that some of the food is really good.