by Maria Russo in Shows, January 19th, 2015
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.”
by Maria Russo in Shows, December 28th, 2014
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.
by Maria Russo in Shows, December 21st, 2014
It’s the name of the Cutthroat Kitchen game to face sabotage, so it’s no surprise when chefs meet an oddball challenge or two throughout the contest as they must balance saving and spending their money in an effort to defend themselves. But in tonight’s all-new episode, one competitor was prepared to face an onslaught of sabotages. Chef Kyle intended to complete the contest without making a single bid, and sure enough, he succeeded, walking away with his entire $25,000 starting sum.
Despite Chef Kyle’s success, his win didn’t come without struggle, as host Alton Brown and judge Jet Tila revealed when they dished on several of his sabotages on the latest installment of the After-Show. Not only did Chef Kyle contend with a chopped-up pork chop in Round 2’s pork-chop-and-applesauce test, but he also faced a double onslaught of sabotage in Round 3. In true diabolical fashion, Alton put a literal spin on ice cream cones when he auctioned off traffic cones as the sole mixing vessels and then later sold an oversize protective cone to be worn around the neck. Chef Kyle accepted both of these. Upon trying on the cone for himself, Jet noticed that it would compromise the chef’s vision, “especially at your workstation.”
by Maria Russo in Shows, December 14th, 2014
From giant whisks and ice cube trays to banana leaves and coffee filters, Cutthroat Kitchen contestants have faced their share of oddball trinkets that host Alton Brown eviliciously repurposed into mixing tools and vessels. But on tonight’s all-new episode, one chef was forced to use not a new tool to mix but something a bit more rustic — her hands — to make cupcakes.
Since the taste and texture of cupcakes depend upon a well-mixed batter, it’s important for the wet and dry ingredients to be thoroughly combined, and the limitations of people’s hands may indeed prevent that from happenings. After all, some people’s hands are smaller than others, and one of the chef’s two hands would likely be needed to add ingredients, so would this sabotage be fair to ask of the competitors? The Cutthroat Kitchen culinary crew got to work in testing the validity of the sabotage, and sure enough, after one somewhat slimy attempt, food stylist Jamie Peterson admitted that he was “starting to get into a cupcake place” with the batter forming within his hands.
by Maria Russo in Shows, December 7th, 2014
The lights, cameras, fellow contestants and host Alton Brown pacing through the kitchen — the scene in the Cutthroat Kitchen arena is plenty fierce and demands much attention from the competitors, and that’s even before they’ve been sabotaged. Once evilicious challenges are added to the contest and they’re forced to adapt to the unexpected while the clock is ticking, the competition is taken nearly over the edge. It’s up to the Cutthroat Kitchen culinary crew to make sure that every sabotage Alton auctions off is indeed possible for a contestant to complete within the allotted time frame. To make sure the challenges remain feasible, the team attempts each one.
On tonight’s all-new episode of Cutthroat Kitchen, Alton’s simple blueberry muffin request turned downright diabolical when he mandated that one chef use blueberry cartons as the sole mixing and cooking vessels in his prep work. Given the potentially liquid muffin batter and the multiple holes in the carton, mixing in those tiny squares was indeed evilicious — but it wasn’t impossible, as the team found during its test.
by Maria Russo in Shows, November 30th, 2014
Just in time for the holidays, Alton Brown decked the Cutthroat Kitchen halls on tonight’s all-new episode with a series of seasonal challenges — and even a Christmas tree-adorned sweater worn by judge Simon Majumdar. In true evilicious fashion, Alton didn’t shy away from punny sabotages inspired by the traditional holiday meals or activities, as the challenge dishes included a ham dinner, cocktail party fare and holiday cookies. And in Round 1 the chefs played a not-so-merry game of gift swap.
In the final round’s cookie challenge, Alton doled out the ultimate in seasonal sweets — a gingerbread house — but this one wasn’t exactly a treat. Complete with shortening, sugar, flour and leavening agents, plus various candies and decorations, this “gingerbread diorama,” as Alton called it, contained everything needed to make a cookie, and Chef Keith could use only the given ingredients to prepare his dish. While the contestant used nearly everything in Alton’s “majestic scene” in preparing his ultimately doomed cookies, only one element remained: a triple-decker butter figure shaped like a snowman. “Is he called Pat?” Simon jokingly asked Alton on the host’s After-Show, and Alton simply replied with a smile, “Yes, Pat, the Snowman Made Out of Butter.”
From chip-based cooking vessels and tools to mandatory claw hands and honey-soaked ingredients, Cutthroat Kitchen judge Jet Tila is no stranger to the most-diabolical sabotages to befall competition. But even this veteran judge could hardly believe his ears when host Alton Brown asked the crew to “bring in the compost pile” during the latest installment of his After-Show.
“Did you say ‘compost pile’?” Jet asked Alton, laughing. Sure enough, Jet had heard correctly, and indeed Alton had auctioned off a compost pile-inspired challenge that forced one chef to surrender his shopping basket and dig for all of his ingredients amongst 200 pounds of coffee grounds. “I don’t know what that is,” Jet admitted as he sifted through the pile and found — and later sniffed — a mound of mystery meat. According to Alton, it was simply “some kind of canned ham product.”