by Maria Russo in Shows, February 14th, 2016
by Maria Russo in Food Network Chef, Shows, January 31st, 2016
Where there’s a kitchen mixer there’s often a mixing bowl, right? Wrong, in fact. At least insofar as Cutthroat Kitchen is concerned. On tonight’s brand-new chocolate-themed episode, chefs were forced to prep chocolate cookies with a trio of diabolical mixing devices, including a stand mixer that forbid the use of an accompanying bowl, which meant one competitor was left using his hands to keep the batter fixings together. If such a challenge seems too evilicious to overcome, the Cutthroat culinary crew is here to dispel those worries: Jamie Peterson tested this very sabotage and the results were downright surprising.
“I’ve set up a baking sheet underneath my stand mixer because I’m going to need to catch all of the product that’s going to come running out of it and going everywhere,” Jamie explained of his first steps of prep. After that, the name of the game was keeping the speed on slow and using his hands to form the ingredients. “Time is definitely going to be an issue with this sabotage,” he explained as he attempted to combine the butter and sugar. “This is a very time-consuming process.” Despite the minor chaos of the flour mixture being incorporated — “It’s going everywhere,” Jamie revealed — he managed to combine the dry ingredients with the wet ones, and he was able to form the dough into balls for baking. “No bowl, no dignity — I still came out with chocolate cookies,” he said after tasting the results. While perhaps a bit tricky to manage, this sabotage was indeed ready for auction, thanks to the golden finished product.
by Maria Russo in Shows, January 24th, 2016
Fresh off the chopping block, Ted Allen joined the ranks of eviliciousness tonight when he stopped by for his first-ever turn as a Cutthroat Kitchen guest judge. The Chopped judge is used to watching chef competitors try their hands at downright oddball ingredients in their mystery baskets, but on Cutthroat Kitchen, he had no knowledge of chefs’ struggles with sabotages — until he experienced them for himself on the After-Show.
Alton Brown and Ted faced off in prepping — what else but — a chopped salad, which was the Round 1 dish of the day. And in true evilicious fashion, they could use only garden tools for their utensils. “Oh, no. Oh, no,” Ted said as he learned of the sabotage. He ultimately chose to work with the weed whacker in his mini battle with Alton, who was left to use a tiller to prep his salad. “Look at that. That’s gorgeous,” Ted proclaimed after successfully shredding lettuce with the weed whacker, though he found out later that the device “doesn’t work as well on the cucumber.” He admitted, “I don’t think I’m going to get an A+ in weed-whacker knife skills on that one.” Though Alton appeared to struggle a bit when it came time to chop a red pepper, he managed to serve a completed salad to a Bob, all while Ted was still working his way through ingredients.
by Maria Russo in Shows, January 17th, 2016
It’s not uncommon for Cutthroat Kitchen sabotages to throw competitors off their A-game, but one challenge in particular knocked them off their feet tonight — literally. Ever a fan of culinary puns, host Alton Brown auctioned off a sabotage that challenged two chefs to prep flatbread as they laid flat on their backs. In theory the execution seems simple: Just use your hands to feel, right? But what happens when it comes time to roll out the dough or chop ingredients? Simon Majumdar learned these lessons the hard way tonight, when he experienced the challenge firsthand during the latest installment of the After-Show as he was challenged to make flatbread.
“Chapati is a wheat-flour Indian bread,” Simon explained of the dish he set out to make, though in true Cutthroat fashion, he wasn’t allowed to prep it in a straightforward manner. Enter the flat-top prep table. “I want you to experience this the way that the competitors had to,” Alton told Simon. “So just hop up on here and lay flat.” While Simon managed to roll out his dough on a block atop his torso and ultimately move it to the stove, he dodged slicing duties, thanks to Alton. The host took over chopping the cucumber for Simon’s raita — and once again Simon’s midsection proved to be a worthwhile prep area, and Alton set up another cutting board there so the judge could lie down. “Lay still now. This knife is sharp. I’ve never cut on a moving surface like this, and I could slip,” Alton joked as he maneuvered the knife just inches from Simon’s face.
by Maria Russo in Shows, January 10th, 2016
Just when you thought nothing could be funnier than the time Alton Brown and Jet Tila bobbed for doughnuts together, the Cutthroat Kitchen host-judge duo delivered what may be the most-hilarious After-Show to date. And that’s thanks in part to a key piece of equipment, or, rather, wardrobe: the sumo suit.
After a sabotage forced two chefs to don sumo suits and wrestle for ingredients during the yakitori round, Alton and Jet too found their way inside this oversize getup, only they made bananas Foster. And while they weren’t forced to tackle each other in the hopes of grabbing the necessary ingredients, the guys couldn’t resist a few friendly scuffles and some good-natured jostling while enduring the weight of the suits.
“This is the best day of my Cutthroat life, right here,” Jet admitted before he and Alton got started on their dessert face-off. But no sooner did they begin than the scuffles started. After Alton side-bumped Jet as they prepared to race to the pantry, Jet grabbed Alton’s suit, holding the host back from going inside. It didn’t take long before Alton threw what he deemed to be “counter measures,” aka the contents of a container, at Jet as they were shopping; soon afterward, Jet bombarded the host at the refrigerator. Though it may seem like the guys were focused more on play than prep in the kitchen, they indeed managed to turn out impressive bananas Foster, Jet even going so far as to make ice cream with liquid nitrogen.
by Maria Russo in Shows, January 3rd, 2016
The garlic crusher, lemon squeezer, apple corer — each seems to serve only one purpose in the kitchen. But on tonight’s all-new episode of Cutthroat Kitchen, one chef proved that another such item, the popcorn popper, isn’t just for popping kernels. The name of the game was jalapeno poppers, and a sabotage forced a competitor to make that dish using only a traditional tabletop popcorn machine for a sole source of heat. Before host Alton Brown auctioned off this downright diabolical challenge, the Cutthroat culinary crew got to work in the latest installment of Testing the Sabotages to make sure it was in fact feasible.
“Let’s get this party popping,” food stylist Abel Gonzalez joked as he prepared to drop his stuffed and breaded jalapeno into the pot of hot oil within the machine. Though it may seem easy enough to let the popper cook in the oil, he noted that there’s “a spinning, agitating device” inside the small container, and it would “mess with my poppers,” he said. “I don’t know if it’s going to, like, knock most of the breading off,” he added. While the breading stayed mostly attached to the pepper, removing the popper from the oil proved to be trickiest moment of the test. “This isn’t as easy as it looks,” Abel said as he tried to maneuver his tongs into the machine and grab the popper. He managed to grab it once and for all, and what emerged from the oil was indeed a jalapeno popper that he deemed “pretty decent.”
by Maria Russo in Shows, December 27th, 2015
While some Cutthroat Kitchen chefs are able to endure the wrath of sabotage and survive to cook in the next round, many past competitors have met their doom when a downright diabolical challenge presented them with a test they couldn’t pass. On tonight’s all-new After-Show, host Alton Brown explained to judge Simon Majumdar that such was the scene on the latest episode for two contestants who were ultimately sent home on account of evilicious sabotages.
“We had two sabotages today that sent people home,” Alton said. “They were game-changing sabotages.” And sure enough, Alton added that it was those very same sabotages that he and Simon would be trying their hands at as well. Enter the weathervane and the ladle set; the former was Chef Sarah’s sole cooking vessel, and the latter Chef Matthew had to mix in and cook with. While the competitors had to prep chicken cacciatore and doughnuts with their sabotages, respectively, Alton and Simon were set to put scrambled eggs on the table instead.
by Maria Russo in Shows, December 20th, 2015
Surviving Cutthroat Kitchen is tricky enough for a chef who’s trying to manage his or her own lot of eviliciousness, but when a particularly diabolical challenge requires two chefs to work together in the hopes of surviving, the feelings of doom in the arena only increase. Such a scene unfolded during tonight’s all-new episode, and during the After-Show later on, host Alton Brown revealed what he deemed a challenge diabolical enough for the ages. “This is probably [among the] top 10 sabotages of all time,” he told Simon Majumdar, the judge of the day, while revealing a pair of wraparound bars that forced chefs Betty and Michael to work in tandem while making tandoori chicken.
“As you dose out the pain of sending people home, I figured that it would be good for you to kind of get an idea of what this felt like,” Alton explained to Simon as the guys attempted to settle into this oddball contraption. Though they didn’t have to attempt tandoori chicken on the After-Show, Alton and Simon indeed tried their (tied) hands at potato pancake prep work. After a few initial fumbles, the host and judge found their rhythm, and Simon couldn’t help but wonder about the chefs who had to endure this sabotage. “We’re grating, so that’s easy peasy, lemon squeezy,” he said. “But what were they doing?” Alton explained that the competitors had a few more tasks at hand, like “trying to cut chicken and make all their seasonings and mix up everything that they needed.” As for the host, he could only somewhat describe how such an experience felt as he endured it. “It’s kind of like you’re being a puppet and not being a puppet,” Alton said.
by Maria Russo in Shows, December 16th, 2015
After finishing up his judging duties for tonight’s all-new episode of Cutthroat Kitchen, Jet Tila experienced life as a competitor during the After-Show when he was tasked with taking on a sabotage from the shrimp stir-fry test in Round 2. One particularly evilicious sabotage required one chef to cook with a tiny wok and chopsticks while the other was saddled with an oversize pair — and that’s what Jet was forced to contend with as well.
As he finagled with the extra-large chopsticks as he chopped his vegetables, the situation appeared to be somewhat under control. But that was quickly lost when he attempted to lift and pour his mise en place setup into the wok. After several dropped bowls, host Alton Brown couldn’t help but lend Jet a hand — by covering the camera lens so Jet could cheat the sabotage (or not) and manually add his ingredients to the wok without anyone noticing. “Go ahead and do whatever you need to do,” Alton told him, and sure enough, after just a few seconds, the camera returned to a full wok.
Even while Jet worked with this trick equipment, he and Alton were quick to dole out what it takes to make a classic stir-fry. After all, as the world record holder for the largest stir-fry ever made, Jet knows just how to execute it properly. “The wok should give a little smokiness to the dish,” he explained, and he and Alton noted the importance of the wok being steel. When it comes to accomplishing the right taste, Alton and Jet note that it’s best to deglaze the pan as the stir-fry comes together. “The deglazing is absolutely important because all of that fond that was stuck in there from the ginger, garlic and the shrimp has to come back in,” Jet said.
by Maria Russo in Shows, December 13th, 2015
In a ball pit, strapped to a life-size rotisserie, high atop a high chair, on top of a mechanical bull — the Cutthroat Kitchen After-Show has seen the judges in some downright diabolical (and downright hilarious) locales. But on tonight’s all-new installment, the scene turned a bit more seasonal when host Alton Brown and judge Jet Tila found themselves atop Santa’s lap following the Holi-Dazed and Confused holiday special.
“Alton, I’ve never felt this uncomfortable,” Jet — clad as what else but a holiday elf, of course — told Alton as the duo landed atop Santa’s lap. “Oh, we’re just getting started,” Alton joked. Not only did the guys have to work while seated, but they each had an additional sabotage to simultaneously contend with. Since Alton won the coin toss, he chose the spinning-dreidel challenge for himself — which meant that he had to keep a dreidel spinning during the whole time he was cooking — while Jet was forced to send all of his ingredients down an ice luge before working with them. “You’re, like, weighing [ingredients]?” Jet asked Alton as the host used a kitchen scale to precisely measure the components. “I won’t even be able to get sugar down the luge.” Sure enough, though, Jet as well as Alton did manage to create presentable eggnog, and even Santa was able to partake in the holiday cheer with a cup for himself.
“You got to learn to twist the core.” That was Alton Brown‘s advice to a less-than-enthused Simon Majumdar as he took his turn — literally — around what Alton called “the human rotisserie.” This downright diabolical sabotage made its return to tonight’s all-new Cutthroat Kitchen episode for the gyro challenge, and in true After-Show fashion, Alton forced the judge of the day, this time Simon, to get a hands-on feel for the demands of eviliciousness.
“I’m getting a little cramp here,” Simon admitted as he strained from side to side and attempted to reach the prep and cook stations while the rotating spit was in motion. It didn’t take long, however, for Simon to realize that perhaps the most-efficient way to cook his dish — a crab cake instead of the challenge gyro — was to simply carry the pan as he turned. He managed to fry the crab cake and watch over it, instead of risking burning it in what was a screaming-hot skillet. “I suggested that she do this as well,” Alton told Simon of Chef Melanie, who was saddled with this sabotage during the competition. “But she didn’t. She wanted to keep the pan on the heat the whole time.”