by Nikhita Mahtani in Shows, June 15th, 2014
by Simon Majumdar in Shows, June 14th, 2014
On Cutthroat Kitchen
, the sabotages are created to confuse the contestants and make them think on their feet. This is especially the case with the ingredient swaps, where the chefs have to trade in their gourmet ingredients with sub par foods of host Alton Brown
‘s choosing. This is precisely what happened in the cheesecake round, where Chef Diana made Chef Eric harvest his cheese from a platter of leftover cream cheese bagels, cream cheese Danish, Philly cheese steaks and sour-cream-filled baked potatoes.
“That’s messed up,” said judge Jet Tila on this week’s Alton’s After-Show. “I don’t know how long that’s been sitting here!” Still, he admitted that he had no idea that the cheese had been adulterated in any way, stating, “It came together, it was cheesy, and I didn’t get any of the weird savory bits.” Chef Eric smartly harvested the cream cheese of the Danish and bagels, and, as Alton said, “He definitely earned every bit of it.”
by Maria Russo in Shows, June 2nd, 2014
Thanks to a winning combination of one of the best production crews in the business and the #Evilicious leanings of its host, Alton Brown, Cutthroat Kitchen has not only become a huge hit, but it has also provided me, as a judge, with one of the most-fun jobs I’ve had since I moved over to this side of the pond.
Dozens of people ask me what it takes to succeed on the toughest culinary show on television. So, just in case you’re ever called upon to stand face-to-face with Mr. Brown, here are my top 10 tips on how to win in Cutthroat Kitchen.
1. Shop Smart: As I found in my one appearance behind the stoves to date, you don’t need Alton Brown to ruin your day in Cutthroat Kitchen; you can just as easily do it yourself. A bad showing in the pantry can easily lead to an early exit. Be sure not only to make a mental list of basics for the dish you are asked to prepare, but also grab some staples like eggs and flour, ingredients that can get you out of a bind if the bidding goes against you.
by Maria Russo in Shows, June 1st, 2014
After nearly three seasons of doling out constructive critiques and eliminations on dozens of chefs, the Cutthroat Kitchen judges took their turns in the contest and battled each other in an epic three rounds of competition. Antonia Lofaso, Geoffrey Zakarian, Jet Tila and Simon Majumdar faced the same kind of evilicious sabotages that host Alton Brown is notorious for auctioning off to other contestants, but the rivalries among the judges were fiercer, as each wanted to claim Cutthroat glory once and for all.
If you haven’t watched the episode yet, don’t read any further because FN Dish is about to break down the rounds and reveal the winner.
by Maria Russo in Food Network Chef, Shows, May 29th, 2014
This week’s was a Cutthroat Kitchen
episode like none other as host Alton Brown
welcomed four of Cutthroat’s frequent judges into the kitchen — not to evaluate competitors’ dishes, but to be the battling chefs for the day. In true evilicious fashion, the sabotages didn’t stop just because the contestants were superstars Antonia Lofaso
, Geoffrey Zakarian
, Jet Tila
and Simon Majumdar
; in fact, this episode saw some of the trickiest tests yet, and what resulted were three rounds of brutal mind games. While Alton’s After-Shows
are known for revealing all to the once-sequestered judges, this week’s catch-up found Alton with the judges-turned-competitors, and together they shared plenty of laughs as they looked back at the good-natured challenges that had just taken place.
The infamous mini kitchen made an appearance in Round 1, and much of the group agreed with Simon when he deemed it the “Best. Challenge. Ever.” After being gifted that challenge, Jet admitted, “I was deathly afraid of it. I didn’t even know how to, like, navigate that thing.” Geoffrey ultimately found himself tasked with adapting to this tiny workspace, but, according to him, “It’s not as bad as it appears.” And it’s a good thing that Geoffrey didn’t seem to mind the sabotage, as Simon — jokingly — noted later: “The reason it only went for $1,500 is I think some of us agreed that we should give it to Geoffrey for no other reason than we wanted to see Geoffrey Zakarian — the Iron Chef — kneeling down, cooking in the kitchen.”
by Maria Russo in Shows, May 25th, 2014
For the first time on Sunday night (at 10|9c), the contestants taking their turns on Cutthroat Kitchen won’t be everyday chef-competitors; instead the judges, Antonia Lofaso, Geoffrey Zakarian, Jet Tila and Simon Majumdar, will enter the throes of sabotage and battle against each other for Cutthroat glory. Although the group is most familiar with simply tasting the aftermath of a challenge, they’re keenly aware of the kinds of evilicious obstacles Alton‘s been known to auction off. Just ahead of this weekend’s special episode, FN Dish checked in with Alton to find out what he has planned. Read on below to hear from Alton in an exclusive interview and learn his thoughts on the competition plus his advice for the judges.
Regardless of who’s competing — contestants or judges — what is one key piece of advice you think everyone should know before beginning a Cutthroat battle?
Alton Brown: Shop for the unexpected. It’s easy to grab ingredients for a specific dish, but remember … in Cutthroat Kitchen you never know what sabotages might be coming your way. Don’t just load for bear; load for monsters.
by Maria Russo in Shows, May 18th, 2014
No matter what recipe you’re cooking, when it comes to being prepared in the kitchen, few things are more important than a quality heat source. From live flames from a gas stove to the warmth of an oven or the power from a microwave, heat is needed to make critical things happen, and without it, or with an inferior heat supply, cooking anything well can be nearly impossible. On tonight’s all-new episode of Cutthroat Kitchen
, host Alton Brown
auctioned off a sabotage that would seem to spell doom for one competitor: Instead of being able to prepare a clambake on a conventional stove, one chef would have to use tiny flame cubes set within a miniature prop. Was this too much to ask of a contestant in a 30-minute round? No, the sabotage was indeed fair, as the culinary team had tested the obstacle beforehand.
Click the play button on the video above to watch how this test unfolded, and learn which elements of the sabotage were approved and why some parts weren’t successful.
by Maria Russo in Shows, May 11th, 2014
“This is awesome. I say that all the time, but I really mean it,” judge Jet Tila told Cutthroat Kitchen host Alton Brown on tonight’s brand-new After-Show. “I know I keep saying that. This really is awesome,” he added. Jet has judged multiple episodes of Cutthroat Kitchen and is no stranger to the kind of evilicious Alton is capable of bestowing upon the competitors. So when Jet showed such a wowed reaction to one particular sabotage featured on tonight’s episode, fans knew this challenge must have been especially diabolical.
The sabotage in question was none other than the paper cutter auctioned off during Round 3’s steak Diane test, which allowed Chef Frances to slice or dice Chef Jaron’s piece of meat for a whopping 30 seconds. Because a singular round of meat — usually a fillet — is a signature element of steak Diane, shredded meat could mean disaster, and it ultimately did for Chef Jaron, who failed to take advantage of his newly cut-up beef. Alton told Jet of how he would have approached the obstacle, explaining: “I’m going to chop it down to even smaller pieces, and I’m going to either do it like it started to be a tartare, or I’m going to make a fricken burger kind of thing out of it.” He added of Chef Jaron’s obvious demise, “The second that he didn’t do that, I thought, ‘This is over.'” And sure enough, Chef Jaron walked away empty-handed.
by Maria Russo in Shows, May 4th, 2014
Cutthroat Kitchen competitors know that when they begin their time in the contest, they’re agreeing to as many as three rounds of unforeseeable problems; chances are high that no matter what dish host Alton Brown asks for, the chefs won’t be able to execute their dream versions of it, be that on account of sabotage, poor planning or simply bad luck. Adapting to challenges is the name of the game on Cutthroat Kitchen, and a contestant’s inability to do that may ultimately do him or her in.
That’s precisely what happened on tonight’s all-new episode when Chef Kristina was gifted a can of spiced ham to use in place of fresh meat in her sloppy joes dish. “I think she wasn’t willing to embrace an ingredient,” Alton told judge Jet Tila on the After-Show. “She saw something that she knew came out of a can, and it was, like, checkout,” he added. Instead of sticking with a traditional approach of ground protein in sloppy joes, Chef Kristina simply sliced the canned product, and Jet wasn’t willing to pardon her for that. “It was slop on a plate,” Jet admitted, and Alton reminded fans, “You’ve got to embrace the ingredient, regardless of its origin.”
by Maria Russo in Shows, April 27th, 2014
From ingredient swaps and time-sucks to inferior utensils and makeshift workstations, Cutthroat Kitchen
sabotages are notoriously evilicious and designed to keep the competitors guessing at all times. On tonight’s all-new episode, the chefs were wowed when host Alton Brown
introduced a never-before-seen challenge, what he deemed the Wheel of Heat.
Labeled with multiple heat sources like oven, microwave, stove and broiler, this sabotage would forced the rival who was gifted this challenge to spin the wheel while cooking and switch his or her cooking method to whichever heat source was landed upon. It turns out that the wheel offered no beginner’s luck, as Chef Renae found out when she was forced to work with it during the Round 2 blackened-fish test. “Every time she spun it, it came up ‘microwave,'” Alton explained to judge Simon Majumdar during the After-Show. “This, I think, was the end for Chef Renae because she had to do her entire blackened dish with a microwave,” he added. Simon admitted, “The fish was dry. It lacked that crust, which you expect from blackened fish.” But he noted that had other elements of her dish been executed better, he may have been more likely to excuse her microwave seafood. “There were too many things wrong,” Simon said, “whereas I could have forgiven her if she’d served that fish that wasn’t perfect with a really good accompaniment.”
Since Cutthroat Kitchen judges are sequestered from the kitchen while the chefs are cooking, they’re not privy to the evilicious sabotages that unfold during each round. This means that when they first lay eyes on the dish before them, they have no information other than how it’s presented; then once they’ve tasted it, of course, they can take its flavor and texture into consideration.
Tonight’s judge, Simon Majumdar, explained what that feeling is like as he approaches the kitchen and sees contestants’ plates for the first time. “Sometimes as you come down the stairs,” he told Alton Brown on the host’s After-Show, “and you look at the dishes as they’re laid, and you go, ‘Uh, I think I know the way this is going to go.’ And often I’m wrong because they taste great.” It turns out, however, that Simon’s worst suspicions were confirmed when it came to tonight’s Round-2 Reuben sandwich challenge.