by Maria Russo in Shows, June 21st, 2015
by Maria Russo in Shows, June 14th, 2015
“You want your flour, you want your leavener and a little bit of salt.” Those three things are what Cutthroat Kitchen food stylist Jamie Peterson says are needed in order to concoct the usual dry-ingredient mixture for waffle batter. On tonight’s all-new episode, one chef was forced to make waffles not with these traditional ingredients but with a platter of junk food, including butter crackers, gummy candies and potato chips; sure enough, those three items weren’t guaranteed. Before Alton Brown could auction off this diabolical challenge to the competitors, the culinary team had to test it, and what Jamie found was shocking.
Tackling the flour component was easy enough for Jamie — just grinding the butter cookies with butter powder. But making a leavener is far trickier. “I’m going to take the egg white powder and reconstitute it into egg whites, and then try to whip it into a meringue to make it become the leavening agent we need,” he explained. “This is a make-or-break moment.” Sure enough, it worked, and he achieved stiff peaks after just a bit of whisking. “You’re a waffle! I made you from nothing,” Jamie jokingly and excitedly told the waffle after lifting the top of the waffle machine to reveal an ideally formed waffle. He took a bite and was quick to boast, “First of all, that’s delicious.”
by Maria Russo in Shows, June 7th, 2015
In a Cutthroat Kitchen episode where the name of the game was The Best of the Worst, in which Alton Brown was to unleash a flurry of the most-diabolical sabotages ever created, it was expected that chefs would fall to these downright evilicious — and hilarious — challenges. While that was indeed the case a few times tonight, in Round 1 a chef stumbled not entirely because he’d been sabotaged. In fact, it was due to his own poor shopping that he faced an early elimination.
The task was to cook an all-American breakfast, and as Alton explained, “Chef Joe came out of the pantry without eggs and without meat.” For judge Jet Tila, who learned of this misstep on the host’s After-Show, the question was simply, “What was he thinking?” Both he and Alton agreed that in this case, it wasn’t the challenges that took the chef down, as they said in tandem, “He sabotaged himself.” And Jet noted of Chef Joe’s decision, “If you’re going to call something French toast and not have an egg custard, you’re done in my book.”
by Maria Russo in Shows, May 31st, 2015
Given the time constraints on the clock and the process of adapting to a brand-new kitchen, cooking in Cutthroat Kitchen can be tricky — and that’s not even taking into the consideration having to maneuver sabotages. Add in those unexpected and downright diabolical challenges, and it may seem like all bets are off when it comes to turning out winning food. But that wasn’t the case on tonight’s all-new episode, when in the first two rounds, the two chefs who did not have any sabotages to contend with were sent home.
In Round 1’s French omelet, Chef Craig was gifted by Chef Paul a tightly coiled pan in which he was forced to make his omelet, and he did it — and did it well. But Chef Paul, who had enjoyed a round of sabotage-free cooking, was eliminated, as judge Jet Tila explained, “It was just a weird plate. Nothing about that plate reminded me of an omelet.” Host Alton Brown noted that Chef Paul had focused on making an accompaniment for his eggs, and Jet warned against that: “Cook to the expectation of just the dish. Don’t go crazy.”
by Maria Russo in Shows, May 24th, 2015
From blueberry suits for a blueberry muffin test to the all-out costumes Alton Brown wears in honor of the special-edition Halloween episode, Cutthroat Kitchen surely appreciates a solid theme, and the team works hard to embrace it fully — and eviliciously. Tonight’s all-new episode celebrated the start of the summer season with a Grill or Be Grilled competition, and you can be sure that all three rounds of cooking, as well as the sabotages, celebrated this seasonal event in full.
For fans watching at home and even judge Simon Majumdar, perhaps no other challenge today was as memorable — and downright diabolical — as what Alton deemed “the human rotisserie” for Round 2’s skewers test. Telling Simon about this “big kahuna for the day,” Alton explained that one chef was tethered to a rotating poll, forced to prep and cook while spinning slowly. “Completely brilliant,” Simon said upon learning of the sabotage, laughing at the hilariousness that was this monstrous setup.
by Maria Russo in Shows, May 17th, 2015
As far as sabotages go, one that’s made out of metal, provides stable support for food and stands up well to heat is practically a gift in the eyes of Cutthroat Kitchen rivals. Or at least it likely seemed that way ahead of tonight’s brand-new episode when Alton Brown auctioned off a perforated French loaf bread pan on which one rival would have to cook a croque madame. Since a French loaf pan is a sturdy metal pan that’s indeed meant to be heated, the bread, meat and cheese elements of this classic French sandwich would be doable, but creating the bechamel — a creamy sauce — would prove downright difficult.
Before Alton could feature this sabotage on the show, it had to vetted by the Cutthroat culinary crew, and during the test, food stylist Hugo Sanchez noted his concern about making a liquid sauce in a holey vessel. “That’s going to be an issue here,” he said simply before getting set to tackle the challenge head-on. His solution involved filling the holes by mixing up a pastelike combination of flour and milk, as he explained: “It is sticky. It’s gooey, which is exactly what we want.” After covering the holes with this mixture, he quickly turned the heat on in an effort to bake the paste into the holes, thus closing them once and for all, and ultimately allowing him to use that now-solid surface to create his sauce — and approve the sabotage.
by Maria Russo in Shows, May 10th, 2015
What with its penchant for ruthless sabotage, Cutthroat Kitchen is surely an every-chef-for-himself-or-herself competition, but that doesn’t stop host Alton Brown from auctioning off a few strategically chosen team challenges. These unexpected tests force the rivals to learn to work together in the midst of their efforts at self-preservation, as was the case tonight during the fifth and final round of the Evilicious tournament, in which four previous victors came back for the chance to score the ultimate win and take home an additional $50,000.
With not one but two team sabotages up for grabs throughout the battle, the contestants quickly realized that their success was dependent on someone else’s agenda during the prep time. “This is a real test of teamwork,” Simon Majumdar noted of the Round 2 seesaw sabotage during the After-Show. He wondered how the two rivals split their time between working on their own dish and waiting for the other person to prep, and Alton told him simply, “They had to work it out.” Both Chef Yaku and Chef Jernard indeed managed to complete their dishes despite their teeter-tottering high above the arena, though Alton admitted, “This does explain why both of those chefs delivered the small amount of food they did.”
by Maria Russo in Shows, May 3rd, 2015
Just when you think you’ve seen it all on Cutthroat Kitchen, host Alton Brown unveils a next-level sabotage that just may take the cake in terms of creativity — and downright hilariousness. During tonight’s Heat 4 of the Evilicious tournament, the Round 2 dish was veal Milanese, and in true Milanese style, fashion was the name of the game. Two chefs strutted their stuff and struck more than a few poses as they walked from one catwalk to another, donning culinary getups complete with all of their allowed cooking tools. For Chef Tregaye, who, along with Chef Yaku, was saddled with this sabotage, the fashion show was less of a challenge and more of an enjoyable time for dress-up. “This might be the funnest sabotage ever,” she said. And it appears that Alton and Simon Majumdar, the guest of the day, would likely agree after the two of them attempted this very sabotage as well.
“No, you look like a deranged Terminator,” Simon jokingly told Alton after the host showed off his runway moves. To show Alton how it’s done, the judge took the floor, ending his impromptu catwalk with a fierce “sizzle.”
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 19th, 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.”
As is the nature of the Cutthroat Kitchen beast, the situation inside the battle arena is constantly changing: Ingredients get swapped, chefs move from one station to another, and tools come and go. Aside from Alton Brown‘s evilicious smile, there’s little competitors can count on, thanks to the diabolical sabotages the host doles out. But on tonight’s all-new episode — the first of five heats in the Evilicious tournament — there was one challenge in particular that made at least one element of the battle predictable.
In Round 3’s pound cake challenge, Alton revealed a chemistry set that, while ominous, offered a few opportunities, which food stylist Chelsey found out as she tried her hand at cake baking with the kit during the latest installment of Testing the Sabotages. The challenge would force a competitor to use only the tools within the set — beakers, stirrers, test tubes, a hot plate and a Bunsen burner, among other items — to make a pound cake, and although Chelsey found herself working hard to properly mix the cake batter, she took comfort in the hot plate. “The bottom is cooked,” she said as she flipped her petri-dish cake, “hopefully it will do the same thing on the other side … ’cause it’s science and it does that.” Sure enough, after only a few minutes, the opposite side of the cake was indeed browned; Chelsey said the treat she flipped out of the dish “cuts beautifully,” is “cooked all the way through” and “is delicious.