by Maria Russo in Behind the Scenes, Shows, February 11th, 2015
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.
by Maria Russo in Shows, February 2nd, 2015
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.
by Maria Russo in Shows, February 1st, 2015
While the never-ending onslaught of sabotages may be unnerving and downright frustrating for Cutthroat Kitchen competitors in the midst of battle, for fans at home who are watching the eviliciousness unfold, it’s nothing short of sidesplitting funny. It turns out, though, that there’s more hilarity to Cutthroat Kitchen than just the diabolical challenges. In the more than six seasons of the series, each episode has been given a telling — and amusing — title to signify either the dishes or the sabotages rivals would meet in the contest. FN Dish recently combed through the dozens of punny titles and rounded up the 15 best, and now it’s time for you, fans, to choose your ultimate favorite.
Browse this photo gallery to see each title and relive its corresponding episode, then vote for your pick of the top title ever in the poll below.
by Maria Russo in Shows, January 25th, 2015
From canned whole chickens to dairy milked from a plastic cow, Cutthroat Kitchen is no stranger to strangeness. In fact, it welcomes such oddness. It’s a good thing that’s the case, because on tonight’s all-new episode, one chef was tasked with making a turkey burger out of not moist ground turkey meat, as would be expected, but processed deli turkey meat. But before the contestant could be saddled with such a sabotage, the Cutthroat culinary team had to try its hands at the challenge to make sure that whatever burger resulted — if any did — was edible, given the amount of time on the clock.
Food stylist Jamie took to the kitchen to attempt this next-level ingredient swap-out, and after making what he deemed “turkey dust,” mixing it with chopped bacon and cooking the patty, he realized he’d made something “real weird.” He explained, “It’s a funky-looking patty; there’s no two ways about it.” Nevertheless, despite its nontraditional appearance, Jamie added that the more important question would be whether or not the patty tasted fine. Much to his surprise, it did. “It’s that good. I’m voluntarily eating my own sabotage cooking,” he said.
by Maria Russo in Shows, January 19th, 2015
Cutthroat Kitchen is nothing if not punny, as Alton Brown is notorious for putting literal spins on the challenge dishes, all in an effort to create hilariously diabolical sabotages. When it came time for the competitors to make brownies for dessert on tonight’s all-new big-game episode, he reached for what else but brown bags to auction off as one contestant’s sole mixing and cooking vessel. These everyday bags are surely thin and weak, so would such a mandate be fair to ask of a chef, and is brown-bag baking even possible?
The Cutthroat Kitchen culinary crew set out to answer that very question as they attempted this sabotage before the contest in the latest installment of Testing the Sabotages. After a quick triple-ply maneuver to prevent batter seepage, food stylist Chelsea proclaimed, “Brown-bag brownie. Nailed it,” proving once and for all that brownies can indeed be made in brown bags.
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.”
by Maria Russo in Shows, January 9th, 2015
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.”
by Maria Russo in Shows, January 4th, 2015
There are culinary competitions, and there’s Cutthroat Kitchen, where no one and nothing is safe. Thanks to master of eviliciousness Alton Brown and his devious fondness for a little — or a lot — of well-meaning kitchen sabotage, Cutthroat Kitchen competitors have come face to face with canned whole chickens, mincemeat pork chops and coffee grounds turned compost pile, not to mention oddball tools and prep stations (think potato mashers for hands and a mini worktable suspended atop a bunk bed).
Just recently BuzzFeed showcased its picks of the most-jaw-dropping sabotages to ever enter the Cutthroat arena, looking back on that time one chef sourced all of her ingredients from a gumball machine and the day another was forced to make breakfast in a bed.
In the spirit of embracing all thing hilariously heinous, Food Network fans, too, have picked their favorite diabolical challenges to befall the competitors. From warped crepe pans and camping stoves to steaming mussels with a laundry steamer, it’s the best of eviliciousness in our fans’ roundup of top Cutthroat sabotages. Click the photo below to begin the photo gallery of those wow-worthy challenges.
by Maria Russo in Food Network Chef, Shows, December 30th, 2014
While even the seemingly most-approachable sabotages are still a challenge for Cutthroat Kitchen competitors, Alton Brown took the game to extreme heights and lengths on tonight’s all-new episode when he auctioned off not one but two next-level tests. “We really stepped up our sabotages,” Alton explained on the latest installment of his After-Show, introducing judge Simon Majumdar to these evilicious unfoldings.
“We thought we would up the ante this time and make somebody cook in a bunk bed,” Alton told Simon of a sabotage for the breakfast hash round. “Prep on the bottom, cook on the top,” he added of the doozy. After checking out the top bunk’s burner and work station, Simon cited the potential areas of struggle as “just about everything,” though he noted of Chef Jouvens, who was forced to contend with this sabotage, “He got the heat, so that’s why he managed to get a crust on his potatoes.”
Spices, flour, bread, vinegar. These versatile ingredients are seemingly crucial to making and transforming myriad challenge dishes on Cutthroat Kitchen, but according to host Alton Brown, none of these is the most-crucial ingredient to grab while shopping.
On this week’s all-new episode of the After-Show, he revealed that when it comes to those precious 60 seconds in the pantry, contestants ought to be sure to grab one ingredient above all else: eggs. “I don’t care what you think you’re making. Don’t come out of the pantry without eggs,” he said. “It’s liquid meat and can do so many different things.” From binding meats and creating batters and doughs to beefing up vegetarian dishes, eggs can shine both in and on countless dishes, and it’s chefs’ ability to know that before shopping that could ultimately save them while cooking.