by Maria Russo in Shows, July 12th, 2015
by Maria Russo in Shows, July 7th, 2015
A Cutthroat Kitchen judge since the earliest days of the series, Antonia Lofaso surely knows the ins and outs of the competition. But on tonight’s all-new episode, she proved just how much of an expert she is in the world of master sabotage. “Round 3: blondies. And our very first one was this interesting brownie pan,” Alton Brown said to her during the host’s After-Show while introducing her to the pan. He was about to explain the intricacies of the sabotage but didn’t manage to finish his thought — “Whoever got stuck with this had to do all of their mixing” — as Antonia simply cut him off, knowing exactly what he was about to say. “Mixing and prepping inside of the container!” she said, much to Alton’s chagrin. “You mock me!” he joked with her.
She was somewhat certain that “we always do this for cakes,” and indeed similar vessels have made appearances for past baking rounds. But Alton noted: “We don’t need new ideas when the ideas we have work. Maybe we just need judges that aren’t so pointing out of that.” They laughed about their exchange, and sure enough, Antonia was able to discern which of the two remaining chefs received this challenge for his blondies.
by Maria Russo in Shows, July 5th, 2015
You know those sleepy summer camps that encourage community, camaraderie and nighttime kumbayas by the fire? This is not that. Led by none other than the master saboteur himself, Alton Brown‘s Camp Cutthroat takes everything you know and love about classic Cutthroat Kitchen — the over-the-top challenges, demanding judges and tight time constraints — and brings it to the great outdoors for a five-part tournament that shines a (hilarious) light on the most-evilicious sides of summer camp.
Premiering Wednesday, Aug. 12 at 9|8c, Camp Cutthroat takes place not in the cozy confines of the traditional Cutthroat arena but outside in the rural woods, which means that the 12 chef contestants will have to contend not only with each other, but also Mother Nature and, of course, the themed sabotages Alton has up his camp-uniform sleeve. From unforeseen wild animals and pesky fellow campers to a murky lake on the grounds, this adventure will test the competitors in downright diabolical ways before ultimately culminating in a finale that crowns one rival the Camp Cutthroat Champion.
by Maria Russo in Shows, June 28th, 2015
While all rounds of Cutthroat Kitchen are full of hilarious eviliciousness, tonight’s all-new episode took the funny to another level when Alton Brown, ever the sabotage ringleader, revealed that the entire show was dedicated to clowning around. From a ring-of-fire sabotage to themed eats like corn dogs and funnel cake to judge Simon Majumdar‘s over-the-top clown getup —complete with a round red nose, of course — the name of the game was fun at the circus, though perhaps some of the magic of the spectacle was lost on the four chefs who were dealt challenge upon challenge.
In Round 1’s corn dog assignment, Alton auctioned off a tray of concession-stand goodies that one chef had to use in order to make the dish. Corn dogs may seem simple, as they’re made of just two components — the corn-flavored batter and the hot dog — but with ingredients like candy, popcorn and cotton candy, this corn dog test would prove to be anything but ordinary. That’s where the Cutthroat Kitchen culinary crew comes in.
by Maria Russo in Shows, June 21st, 2015
While surely all Cutthroat Kitchen sabotages are designed for a bit of shock-and-awe factor, perhaps no single challenge delivered as much wow-worthy reaction as the brand-new dollhouse that was rolled out — literally — for tonight’s Round 3 oatmeal cookie battle. For host Alton Brown, this is quite simply “the most-spectacular thing that we’ve ever done here on Cutthroat Kitchen,” he said to guest judge Susan Feniger during the After-Show.
He explained that in this at once oversize and miniature house, one chef not only had to prep all of the cookie ingredients, but also cook them in there by way of the mini kitchen. “This was like a miniature kitchen dropped into the middle of hell,” Alton told Susan, adding that in true evilicious fashion, this sabotage wasn’t just what met the eye.
Aubrey, who works on the show’s team bringing the sabotages to life, explained that this house featured “some challenging ways for the chef to have to use the kitchen.” Think hanging through wall cutouts to reach the kitchen and crawling along stairs to get to the bathroom, where Chef Demarco, who was gifted this unprecedented challenge, chose to use the shower basin as a mixing bowl. “Our Cutthroat Kitchen workshop wasn’t big enough to build the whole thing in one piece, so we had to build [the house] in two separate pieces,” Aubrey explained, “and then when we rolled it into stage, we could actually put the roof on.”
Check out more photos below to see inside the dollhouse and get an up-close look at what this sabotage entailed.
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.
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.”