Chefs know that when they compete on Cutthroat Kitchen, they’re subjecting themselves to all manners of ruthless sabotages, but now it seems that even host Alton Brown will come face-to-face with eviliciousness. Check out the GIF above to see him try to outrun a rolling boulder, and tune in Sunday at 10|9c to see what challenges are in store on an all-new episode of Cutthroat Kitchen.
Tag: Cutthroat Kitchen
In this week’s latest installment of Cutthroat Kitchen: Superstar Sabotage, a seemingly approachable dessert, banana bread, was nearly insurmountable for Pastry Chef Elizabeth Falkner once she felt the full weight of her duo of sabotages: firm green bananas and the mandate to mix and cook the loaf in banana leaves. But for fans watching at home, classic banana bread is indeed doable, and it’s one such recipe that surely all home cooks can — and should — master.
From school bake sales and simple family desserts to DIY holiday presents, Food Network’s go-to Banana Bread recipe (pictured above) will prove useful time and again. The key to making this tried-and-true recipe is not overworking the batter; once you’ve incorporated the dry ingredients into the cinnamon-laced mashed bananas, the batter is complete and ready to bake. For an extra-special presentation, serve the sliced loaf with sweet honey or creamy vanilla ice cream once the bread has cooled.
Ingredients, utensils and heat — that’s all that is needed to create most of the dishes on Cutthroat Kitchen, but as fans know, those three elements aren’t always available to the contestants, at least not in their expected and desired forms. On tonight’s all-new episode of Superstar Sabotage, host Alton Brown doled out a dooming challenge that seemed nearly insurmountable: a mandate forcing Chef Elizabeth Falkner, a famed pastry chef, to prepare and bake her banana bread in banana leaves. While most classic recipes would recommend that she mix the dry and wet ingredients in several sturdy bowls, then cook the batter in traditional loaf pans, she had to do all of that with and in the leaves.
Before Alton could auction off that sabotage, however, the Cutthroat Kitchen culinary crew first had to attempt the challenge. After all, would such a sabotage be feasible, and would it be fair to ask a contestant to attempt it given the time constraints? The team testing the sabotage approached the banana bread in two ways before ultimately finding the challenge possible for future contestants.
While it’s true that no Cutthroat Kitchen sabotage is simple, many are surely less daunting than others, while some seem so insurmountable that chefs are willing to bid nearly their entire sums in order to avoid them. That’s just what happened on tonight’s all-new episode, when Alton auctioned off a “north-south border thing” that would force two chefs to split the prep work and cooking, one contestant doing either for both of them. Once all of the bidding was done, Alton Brown sold this doozy of a sabotage for a whopping $18,100, the largest amount to date on Cutthroat Kitchen.
Such a challenge is a way of “forcing them to communicate and get along,” according to Alton, who detailed the sabotage to judge Antonia Lofaso during the latest After-Show. Ultimately, however, the sabotage means that rivals are responsible for executing key steps in each other’s dishes, and once again the opportunity for sabotage exists. “Chef Michael definitely set him up by leaving it in,” Alton explained of how a too-fibrous stem found its way onto Chef Luca’s eventually doomed plate.
At its most basic, a surf and turf dish includes one seafood and one land-based element, so on this week’s Cutthroat Kitchen: Superstar Sabotage tournament Heat 3 battle, host Alton Brown stretched that definition to include inferior versions of those components when he auctioned off ingredient swaps that included canned tuna for surf and liver for turf. For fans watching at home, surf and turf most likely connotes a dinner of lobster and steak, and likely an elegant one at that, but when it comes to steak, it doesn’t have to be saved for a special occasion.
If you don’t often make steak at home, try Alton’s simplest-ever recipe as a go-to starting place. His Pan-Seared Rib Eye (pictured above) boasts more than 500 user reviews and a glowing 5-star rating. Best of all, since his foolproof technique suggests making the steak on the stove, there’s no grilling required, which means you can enjoy meaty flavors year-round.
To survive — and thrive — on Cutthroat Kitchen, it’s not enough to be able to work quickly under pressure or to deliver a well-seasoned plate; chefs must be able to strategize their every move, budget their $25,000 bank account and bid productively with three rounds of competition in mind. Fans saw what happened when a contestant didn’t take that approach during tonight’s Heat 3 of the Superstar Sabotage tournament. For Chef Johnny Iuzzini, it didn’t matter how much he spent during Rounds 1 and 2 so long as he advanced to Round 3, while Chef Eric Greenspan frugally saved his money for charity — until the last round, when Chef Johnny was forced to compete with only $100 and Chef Eric was armed with a full $25,000.
“Once you’re down to $100, you can’t fight back. It doesn’t matter how good you are,” Alton Brown revealed to judge Simon Majumdar on the host’s latest After-Show. “This is a game, and you have to be able to play the game. And if you walk into a final round with a $100 bill in your hand, you’re going to have a really tough time winning regardless of how good you are.” Thanks to the force of his full funds behind him, Chef Eric was able to saddle Chef Johnny — a famed pastry chef — with a duo of sabotages during the lemon bar test, and that maneuver ultimately set up Chef Eric for the win. “Eric said it was just now even,” Alton told Simon of their Round 3 matchup.
When it comes to dishing out culinary evils, no one does it quite like the host of Cutthroat Kitchen, Alton Brown. Now in its fifth season, Cutthroat is known for no-nonsense sabotages befalling even those contestants already in the thick of kitchen struggles, and on the recent Halloween-themed episode of Cutthroat Kitchen, the situation turned even scarier with ghostly challenges. FN Dish recently checked in with Alton to learn his candy must-have on Halloween, plus his best idea for next-level pumpkin carvings. Read on below to hear from the host in an exclusive interview, then catch Alton in costume on his Halloween After-Show.
What’s your favorite candy?
Alton Brown: Milk Duds
It’s no secret that Cutthroat Kitchen judges are secluded from the sabotages taking place during competitions and forced to evaluate the dishes based solely on what’s in front of them — such a strategy guarantees the focus remains on the food at all times. But on tonight’s all-new Alton’s After-Show, judge Jet Tila revealed that after learning what one chef had endured in the name of sabotage, he felt a tinge of guilt — especially after his decision led to the contestant’s elimination.
“You feel so bad after the fact. Now I realize,” he admitted after Alton spoke of how Chef Alex had to use only kitchen tongs to cut her wrap ingredients. “I was dinging so badly on her just horrible knife cuts. They literally looked like she’s just tearing things apart. But now I get it.” Alton went on to explain that because the judges are blind to the sabotages, they’re forced to evaluate on “flavor, presentation and ‘does it remind me of the thing it’s supposed to remind me of.'” But he admitted, “It doesn’t mean they’re all equally weighted. The truth is is anybody’s who’s a chef is going to more heavily weight flavor above all.”
While host Alton Brown didn’t offer the chefs any pancake shortcuts during yesterday’s Cutthroat Kitchen: Superstar Sabotage, he’s giving one to fans in the form of his “Instant” Pancake Mix (pictured above), a go-to recipe that lets you do most of the hands-on work in advance and keeps work simple when you’re ready to cook.
Better than the boxed stuff you buy from the supermarket, Alton’s DIY mix comes together with only a few pantry staples, like flour, baking soda and salt, and, perhaps best of all, it keeps for up to three months and yields as many as three batches of pancakes. Keep it on hand for when you want a stress-free morning meal, and when you’re ready to enjoy, stir in eggs, buttermilk and butter to create the ultimate quick-fix breakfast.
In true evilicious fashion, Cutthroat Kitchen host Alton Brown has been known to not only sabotage chefs’ ingredients, but also to disrupt their means and methods of preparing and cooking them so as to guarantee the most hilariously challenging situation possible. And during tonight’s second preliminary heat of the Superstar Sabotage tournament, he proved he wasn’t about to forgo those unfavorable trials simply because of the all-stars’ celebrity status when he auctioned off mandatory — and inferior — mixing and cooking vessels during the Round 1 pancake test.
A colander and a Bundt pan took the place of two chefs’ bowls and skillets, as the chefs were doomed with sabotages that forced them to both combine all of their ingredients and cook their pancakes in those sole vessels. Given that pancakes ought to come together with both dry and liquid ingredients, would it be possible to prepare a batter in a colander, and what would happen when they tried to cook round pancakes in a fluted pan? It turns out that the Cutthroat Kitchen culinary team had similar questions before these items were sold at auction, and they tested the sabotage ahead of the battle to make sure the challenge was feasible.