by Maria Russo in Shows, September 20th, 2015
by Maria Russo in Shows, September 13th, 2015
It was just a few weeks ago that Alton Brown revealed “the human rotisserie” for the special grilling-themed episode of Cutthroat Kitchen. And on tonight’s all-new episode, he put a cuckoo spin on that fan-favorite sabotage to create what he called “the showstopper of the day,” otherwise known as his “cuckoo clock prep station,” which made its debut in the first round’s German apple pancake test.
“Come on! Take a ride,” Alton urged Simon Majumdar, who, never one to shy away from trying his hands at a sabotage, hopped atop the moving floorboard to take a few spins around the clock — along with a Bob and Alton, of course. Looking back on Chef Paper’s turn at the sabotage, Alton revealed to Simon that the challenge ultimately caused her dish’s demise. “That’s why it was burned,” Alton said. “Because right when she got done, it was time to cuckoo around.” While some chefs indeed manage to survive their sabotages and ultimately turn out successful dishes, Alton revealed that this particular sabotage “did render the desired effect” in that it did one chef in, as Chef Paper was ousted after Round 1.
by Maria Russo in Shows, September 9th, 2015
It’s not every week that a newcomer joins the ranks of judges to enter the hollowed arena that is Cutthroat Kitchen, but tonight comedian David Alan Grier became one of the lucky few. And in true evilicious fashion, host Alton Brown‘s sabotages of the day were nothing short of diabolical.
In what proved to be a doozy of a challenge during the Round 2 Italian wedding soup assignment, one chef was forced to harvest all of his ingredients from — what else? — a wedding cake, stuffed with everything from peanut butter and a root beer to ground beef and carrots. But for David, it wasn’t these savory flavors that stuck out the most in Chef Justin’s dish, though the judge couldn’t quite decipher what it was that he found. “I taste a sweetness, and I don’t really know if this is rice, pasta or grain. I mean, I don’t know what it is,” David said during tasting, and on Alton’s After-Show, he finally learned from Alton what he ate. “Cake, sir, and a little bit of frosting to boot,” Alton told David, who admitted to being stumped by that flavor of “mystery.” When it came to the all-important meatballs in Chef Justin’s Italian wedding soup, David was once again unsure of what to make of them, and Alton finally revealed why: “He decided to put cocoa powder in his meatballs,” Alton said. “I didn’t perceive chocolate,” David told him. “I just perceived off — a little sweet, not what I was expecting.” Ultimately these oddball flavor combinations were enough for David to send Justin home once and for all.
by Maria Russo in Shows, September 6th, 2015
For the first-ever Camp Cutthroat tournament finale, you can be sure that host Alton Brown held nothing back in the name of diabolical sabotages — not even a pitcher of bright-red trout soaked in an eye-catching, crimson-colored bug juice (read: fruit punch). Chef Monterey, who was saddled with this doozy of a challenge, chose not to cook around the sweet flavor, but rather to embrace it with ingredients that complemented that taste. She did not, however, make enough amends for the sugars, and the trout’s skin stuck to the grates of the grill during cooking, and its flesh ultimately turned red.
According to to Alton and judge Antonia Lofaso, this fate didn’t have to befall Chef Monterey, as they explained during the After-Show. “Had Chef Monterey actually cooked the skin properly, it would have looked less red and probably a little bit more brown,” Antonia told Alton, who added his own idea for how to avoid the stuck skin altogether. “With the added sugar that that soaked up, she had to put a lot more oil on it to keep it from sticking, and she did not do that,” Alton said. “And so she lost the skin to the grill.” But, Antonia adds, even with the torn skin and lackluster appearance of the fish, there were ways to dress up the dish. “She also had a really beautiful salad, and I felt like had she put the salad on top of the fish, I may not have noticed it so much,” Antonia admitted. “I mean, this was just a giant red fish on a plate.”
by Maria Russo in Food Network Chef, Shows, September 3rd, 2015
Given the high-stress competition, the pressures to cook within just 30 minutes and, of course, the sting of sabotages, Cutthroat Kitchen is the fiercest of fiercest of environments and perhaps no place for a grandmother — or so it would seem. On tonight’s special episode of Cutthroat Kitchen, four home-cook grannies took their places in the arena, ready to prove their seniority in the kitchen. “I was always taught to respect my elders, so I just want to say right now I’m very, very sorry for everything that happened here tonight,” host Alton Brown said with a sly grin as he opened the After-Show with judge Jet Tila. The guys looked back on a momentous three rounds, which ultimately had one grandma using her experience as a home cook to her advantage.
Come the Round 3 pie challenge, after being saddled with the mandate to shop and cook from the confines of a slow-moving power chair and being forced to use her mouth to fish for ingredients buried in pie, Grandma Nancy enlisted the help of a trusty appliance: the microwave. “Nancy, running out of time, knows that her custard is a real problem. She goes over to the microwave and she starts microwaving, stopping, whisking, microwaving,” Alton explains to Jet. “She cooked that custard, poured it before it had set, and the only thing you busted her for was it was too firm,” added Alton. Shocked by the realization of how Nancy’s pie came to be, Jet admitted, “I’ve never even heard of that technique.” And Alton noted that’s likely because of her skill set as a home cook. “Restaurant-trained chefs [are] never taught to use the microwave. This is a home cook from Grandmaville, from Texas, and so for her, it’s a completely viable tool,” Alton said. And indeed the microwave managed to save the day for Nancy, as she was crowned the champion.
by Maria Russo in Shows, September 2nd, 2015
The rock walls, the bouncy houses, the blindfolds and, of course, Bob the Bear — Camp Cutthroat isn’t short on eviliciousness, thanks in part to Camp counselor extraordinaire and host Alton Brown. Last night’s Round 4 battle — the last one until next Wednesday’s finale — was full of diabolical outdoor sabotages, including the now-infamous lookout tower from which one chef had to make a skillet breakfast high atop the campsite. While all of the drama played out on TV, Alton Brown took to Twitter @AltonBrown to offer you fans an insider’s look at the competition and answer a few of your most-pressing Camp questions. Read on below to see some of his best tweets.
by Maria Russo in Shows, August 30th, 2015
Though the judges may not be privy to the evilicious extents of host Alton Brown‘s sabotages, what each chef has been forced to endure is ultimately illuminated when Alton breaks down the challenges on his After-Show. It took nine seasons and multiple special tournaments full of diabolical sabotages, including the likes of canned haggis, human rotisseries and warped pans, but for the first time tonight — after the fourth heat of the Camp Cutthroat tournament — one judge finally admitted to feeling sorry for a chef.
The challenge in question didn’t involve any oddball ingredient or over-the-top suit of armor. Instead, it was none other than Alton’s lookout tower, from which Chef DeMarco was forced to cook his skillet breakfast high above his cook station using extremely long utensils. “Any food had to be simply dropped into the pan,” Alton told Jet Tila, as the judge took his place on the tower to try his hand at landing chopped ingredients in the pan. “I officially, for the first time in Cutthroat Kitchen, I feel bad,” Jet admitted. Though Chef DeMarco may have earned Chef Jet’s sympathies, they were perhaps not needed; the competitor managed to not only survive the first-round battle, but also outcook Chef Trevor in the chili-and-cornbread test and score a place in next week’s finale.
by Maria Russo in Shows, August 26th, 2015
A risotto’s success greatly depends on frequent stirring. So when Alton Brown auctioned off a fixed spoon — one suspended several inches in the air — on tonight’s brand-new episode of Cutthroat Kitchen, the eviliciousness was in full effect for the chef forced to stir his risotto using only that spoon.
The Cutthroat culinary crew attempted this challenge in the latest installment of Testing the Sabotages, and while the team indeed found the sabotage to be doable, attaining that result was nothing short of surprising — or risky. Filling in for a prop to hold the stationary spoon, food stylist Abel Gonzalez was on hand to assist Jamie Peterson, another food stylist, who tried his hand at making shrimp-studded risotto with the spoon that Abel held. “It’s going to be really difficult, because as soon as I lift [the pan] up, I’m getting it off the heat,” Jamie said, explaining the drop in temperature every time he moved the pan to meet the spoon. As the rice continued to cook, Jamie managed to remedy that problem by increasing the heat, but in doing so, he nearly singed a few arm hairs off of Abel when a cloud of hot steam shot up from the pan. “I’m actually human, and you actually burned me,” Abel told Jamie, reminding his fellow food stylist that he’s indeed not a table prop without feelings.
by Maria Russo in Shows, August 23rd, 2015
By now fans know that no one is safe from the diabolical sabotages up for auction — not even the judges. After the third round of outdoor eviliciousness on Camp Cutthroat tonight, host Alton Brown caught up with the judge of the day, Jet Tila, and wasted no time in putting him to work in some of the most-trying challenges of the day. Up first: the bouncy-house obstacle course. “I have to go over this thing?” Jet yelled as he made his way through the course. “This totally sucks.” No matter his dislike of the sabotage, though, he indeed made it through unscathed, and in less than a minute.
But perhaps the real doozy of a sabotage came in the form of the rock wall, which, just like Chef Jessica did, Jet attempted. Not only was he snugly strapped into the harness, but he also pulled himself up the wall, only to meet his fate at the top when he attempted to concoct a sandwich. “I don’t care,” he admitted, after quickly giving in to the sabotage, stuffing a sandwich into his pocket and rappelling down the wall in the hopes of feeding Alton.
by Maria Russo in Shows, August 20th, 2015
For mobile eateries like food trucks as well as brick-and-mortar hot spots, social media is the name of the game in terms of guaranteeing success. When Alton Brown auctioned off a savvy @-shaped pan in Round 1’s breakfast sandwich battle, however, success seemed impossible for the chef competitors. But believe it or not, cooking up the classic morning meal on this metal contraption was indeed possible. Codii Lopez, a member of the Cutthroat Kitchen culinary crew, showed off her approach to this doozy of a challenge on tonight’s latest installment of Testing the Sabotages.
For Codii, perhaps the trickiest aspect of the pan proved to be its signature shape, as she explained, “My main concerns here is that it’s all just going to fall off, because I only have these little pieces of metal and the rest is fire.” That fire indeed caused a few flare-ups when Codii took to frying the bacon: “The flame is licking the fattiest part of this bacon,” she said. “It’s hissing at me. It’s an angry pan,” she noted, attempting to move the bacon just a smidge away from the open heat. No matter a few bright-red flames, though, she managed to turn out well-done bacon before facing her next hurdle: cooking a sunny-side-up egg using just the narrow edges of the pan. No sooner did she crack an egg onto the pan did the yolk flop into the burner, forcing her to resort to squeezing out a scrambled mixture instead.
From re-creating the pantry with working doors to stocking chefs’ prep stations, building the sabotages and even constructing a judges’ tasting platform, the process of moving the grand Cutthroat Kitchen arena to the great outdoors for Camp Cutthroat was no small feat. Even the Bobs had to be considered — and you know they’re a fickle bunch. As fans have seen in the first two heats of competition, no shortcuts were taken and no details missed, as the resulting Camp set was not only as fully functional as its indoor counterpart but also shockingly similar to it. Check out a few side-by-side photos of both sets to see just how alike they are.