by Maria Russo in Shows, March 24th, 2015
by Maria Russo in Shows, March 23rd, 2015
All Cutthroat Kitchen chefs are notoriously diabolical — with their penchant for mind games and ease in doling out doom. But every once in a while we see a contestant who isn’t just a wicked-good competitor but rather a contender on a whole new level of evil. In the all-new upcoming tournament, Cutthroat Kitchen: Evilicious, these especially fierce fighters will take their places in the Cutthroat arena for a second round of battles and, of course, all-new opportunities to sabotage.
On Sunday, April 19 at 10|9c, the first round of this five-part tournament will kick off with four returning chefs. The winner from that heat, plus the victors from the next three matchups, will come together in a nail-biting tournament finale on Sunday, May 17 at 10|9c, and ultimately only one competitor will earn the title of Evilicious Champion. Since all 16 of the competing chefs have battled before, they’re no strangers to the hilariously awful tests they’ll face in the name of sabotage. In fact, they relish in the chaos — especially when they’re responsible for creating it for others.
by Maria Russo in Shows, March 22nd, 2015
If you’ve ever found yourself watching Cutthroat Kitchen on the couch at home and thinking you have the chops to survive Alton Brown‘s diabolical sabotages, we have news for you: You might not be diabolical enough to handle the heat of the Cutthroat arena. After all, it takes an especially evilicious lot to stand up to challenges like the now-infamous mini kitchen or a mandate to dress up in a themed suit (remember that Thanksgiving turkey getup?). Take the quiz below to find out which of Alton’s wonderfully wicked sabotages would ultimately slay you in the midst of the battle for Cutthroat glory.
by Maria Russo in Shows, March 15th, 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 8th, 2015
Though it just so happens that many sabotages lead Cutthroat Kitchen chefs to turn out inferior dishes, thanks to the oddball ingredients and haphazard tools, each challenge is — believe it or not — designed to ensure that the competitors have what they need to succeed. That’s where Testing the Sabotages comes in; before a sabotage is sold at auction, the Cutthroat Kitchen culinary crew must attempt it behind the scenes to ensure that it is indeed fair for contestants.
In the latest test, on a spicy-tuna sushi swap-out during a tuna melt challenge, it turned out that this challenge not only allowed for a successful tuna melt, but ultimately set the scene for creating a sandwich far superior to the original. Food stylist Hugo Sanchez hollowed out sushi rolls to excavate the seafood inside, and after he combined the fish with a bit of mayo, plus fresh green and purple onions, and then mounded the mixture with cheese between slices of bread, the resulting dish turned out “better than a regular tuna melt,” he proclaimed. “It’s got a little spice, which I normally wouldn’t have added.”
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 22nd, 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, February 15th, 2015
A competition like Cutthroat Kitchen can surely be a transformative undertaking for the chef contestants, as they’re almost always pushed beyond their culinary comfort zones. But their ingredients, too, are often forced to become something they’re usually not in order to satisfy a challenge — that’s where Testing the Sabotages comes in. Before Alton Brown could auction off a test to, say, turn potato chip crumbs into gnocchi, as he did on tonight’s all-new episode, the Cutthroat culinary crew had to attempt the conversion firsthand to make sure it was both possible and fair within the time limits.
Just minutes into starting his test, food stylist Hugo Sanchez struggled to work with the gnocchi dough, and he admitted, “The chips in it are preventing it from binding as a normal dough would. It’s actually turning out to be a bigger deal than I expected.” Nevertheless, he soon managed to roll the dough into a log and lob off bite-size dumplings, and in the spirit of evilicious cooking, he said, “It may not taste like gnocchi, but it’s going to look like gnocchi.” Sure enough, after a quick boil and pan-fry, he served up a simple yet presentable gnocchi offering, though he wondered if chefs could use their imagination to create an even better rendition. “It’s definitely something you can play with,” Hugo noted. “Maybe some bacon, some sour cream — call it a baked potato gnocchi.”
by Maria Russo in Behind the Scenes, Shows, February 11th, 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, February 8th, 2015
While Cutthroat Kitchen may serve as home to Food Network’s most-diabolical cooking arena, it’s also a fully functional and well-outfitted kitchen, brimming with hundreds of ingredients, dozens of pots and pans, and enough tools and equipment to arm four chefs in battle — plus a single briefcase filled with $100,000, of course. Recently FN Dish traveled to the set of Cutthroat Kitchen for an insider’s look at what makes the space so special, including its close-quartered pantry, wall-to-wall shelves of gear and the chalkboard full of evilicious inspiration. We also caught up with Katie Allen, the show’s culinary producer, who’s responsible for equipping the kitchen, and she dished that during each week of filming, her team accepts a delivery of “43 boxes of vegetables, fruits and herbs,” and that’s just for the fresh produce. When it comes to food prep, there are some “86 pots and pans available on set”; for plating, no fewer than “27 varieties of plates, 16 varieties of bowls, 9 different types of glasses, and 21 different types of small dipping bowls, plates and spoon options” are available to the chefs during the contest.
Click the photo below to check out a behind-the-scenes photo tour of the set and peek inside the refrigerator, and look up close at the myriad ingredients, serving pieces, tools and utensils at the ready in each battle.
In celebration of Valentine’s Day, tonight’s all-new episode of Cutthroat Kitchen focused on perhaps the ultimate sweet treat — chocolate — and surely no chocolate showcase is complete without molten lava cake. Boasting a tender, moist cake on the outside and a warm, gooey center, this dressed-up dessert is tricky to master, even for the most-experienced chefs under optimal conditions. And inside the Cutthroat arena, the circumstances for preparing this cake turned even trickier when a sabotage forced one chef to mix all of the cake ingredients within the tiny compartments inside a now-empty box of chocolates.
As with all sabotages, the Cutthroat Kitchen culinary team tried its hands at this doozy of a test before Alton Brown sold it at auction, and within just minutes of starting, Food Stylist Codii realized, “The key to this is patience, which I think Cutthroat Kitchen lacks on a daily basis.” Despite her initial struggles, however, Codii managed to incorporate her ingredients as best as possible, and ultimately turned out cakes that, while “not pretty,” featured the signature lava river flowing from within.