by Maria Russo in Shows, November 5th, 2014
by Maria Russo in Shows, November 2nd, 2014
Not just a competition, Cutthroat Kitchen is a game, and to win, chefs must be able to not only outcook their contestants but also outthink them, both during auction and in the midst of their food prep. During tonight’s finale heat of Superstar Sabotage, Chef Marcel Vigneron proved just how useful it is to be a savvy contestant — one that can anticipate the judging process and use it to his advantage.
In Round 1’s meatball challenge, Marcel was forced to make the star of his dish with either canned soup or canned ham, and he opted for the ham, a seemingly doozy of an ingredient but perhaps ultimately his saving grace. “It freaking tastes good,” host Alton Brown revealed on his After-Show. “It’s salty, so it’s got those spices.” Judge Simon Majumdar agreed, explaining that while the salt of such a canned product has the potential to be overwhelming, Marcel used the “competition smarts” to use that flavor to his benefit. “He knew that I was only going to take a taste, mix it with the other things on the plate and then make my decision based on that,” Simon said. “It’s not like I was going to chow down on the whole big meatball.”
by Maria Russo in Shows, October 31st, 2014
Since Cutthroat Kitchen judges are secluded from all aspects of competition, they’re not privy to the diabolical sabotages that befall contestants, which means that when they receive a plate before them, they don’t know what inferior ingredients went into the dish or under what conditions it was made. On tonight’s all-new episode, host Alton Brown saw the power of that unawareness when judge Simon Majumdar enthusiastically tasted one chef’s ice cream sandwich offering.
A Round 3 sabotage forced Chef Krystal to try her hands — literally — at homemade ice cream, and unbeknownst to Simon, he tasted her version of a chilled treat that she made using the salt-and-ice shake method. “Her ice cream actually was pretty good,” Simon conceded to Alton on the host’s After-Show after reflecting on Chef Krystal’s dish. “It was just very sweet.” Alton told him simply that when it comes to Simon’s willingness to taste the mystery dishes in front of him, “I learned that you’ll eat anything with sprinkles on it,” to which the judge did not contest.
by Maria Russo in Recipes, October 30th, 2014
Chefs know that when they compete on Cutthroat Kitchen, they’re subjecting themselves to all manners of ruthless sabotages, but now it seems that even host Alton Brown will come face-to-face with eviliciousness. Check out the GIF above to see him try to outrun a rolling boulder, and tune in Sunday at 10|9c to see what challenges are in store on an all-new episode of Cutthroat Kitchen.
by Maria Russo in Shows, October 29th, 2014
In this week’s latest installment of Cutthroat Kitchen: Superstar Sabotage, a seemingly approachable dessert, banana bread, was nearly insurmountable for Pastry Chef Elizabeth Falkner once she felt the full weight of her duo of sabotages: firm green bananas and the mandate to mix and cook the loaf in banana leaves. But for fans watching at home, classic banana bread is indeed doable, and it’s one such recipe that surely all home cooks can — and should — master.
From school bake sales and simple family desserts to DIY holiday presents, Food Network’s go-to Banana Bread recipe (pictured above) will prove useful time and again. The key to making this tried-and-true recipe is not overworking the batter; once you’ve incorporated the dry ingredients into the cinnamon-laced mashed bananas, the batter is complete and ready to bake. For an extra-special presentation, serve the sliced loaf with sweet honey or creamy vanilla ice cream once the bread has cooled.
by Maria Russo in Shows, October 26th, 2014
Ingredients, utensils and heat — that’s all that is needed to create most of the dishes on Cutthroat Kitchen, but as fans know, those three elements aren’t always available to the contestants, at least not in their expected and desired forms. On tonight’s all-new episode of Superstar Sabotage, host Alton Brown doled out a dooming challenge that seemed nearly insurmountable: a mandate forcing Chef Elizabeth Falkner, a famed pastry chef, to prepare and bake her banana bread in banana leaves. While most classic recipes would recommend that she mix the dry and wet ingredients in several sturdy bowls, then cook the batter in traditional loaf pans, she had to do all of that with and in the leaves.
Before Alton could auction off that sabotage, however, the Cutthroat Kitchen culinary crew first had to attempt the challenge. After all, would such a sabotage be feasible, and would it be fair to ask a contestant to attempt it given the time constraints? The team testing the sabotage approached the banana bread in two ways before ultimately finding the challenge possible for future contestants.
by Maria Russo in Recipes, Shows, October 23rd, 2014
While it’s true that no Cutthroat Kitchen sabotage is simple, many are surely less daunting than others, while some seem so insurmountable that chefs are willing to bid nearly their entire sums in order to avoid them. That’s just what happened on tonight’s all-new episode, when Alton auctioned off a “north-south border thing” that would force two chefs to split the prep work and cooking, one contestant doing either for both of them. Once all of the bidding was done, Alton Brown sold this doozy of a sabotage for a whopping $18,100, the largest amount to date on Cutthroat Kitchen.
Such a challenge is a way of “forcing them to communicate and get along,” according to Alton, who detailed the sabotage to judge Antonia Lofaso during the latest After-Show. Ultimately, however, the sabotage means that rivals are responsible for executing key steps in each other’s dishes, and once again the opportunity for sabotage exists. “Chef Michael definitely set him up by leaving it in,” Alton explained of how a too-fibrous stem found its way onto Chef Luca’s eventually doomed plate.
by Maria Russo in Shows, October 22nd, 2014
At its most basic, a surf and turf dish includes one seafood and one land-based element, so on this week’s Cutthroat Kitchen: Superstar Sabotage tournament Heat 3 battle, host Alton Brown stretched that definition to include inferior versions of those components when he auctioned off ingredient swaps that included canned tuna for surf and liver for turf. For fans watching at home, surf and turf most likely connotes a dinner of lobster and steak, and likely an elegant one at that, but when it comes to steak, it doesn’t have to be saved for a special occasion.
If you don’t often make steak at home, try Alton’s simplest-ever recipe as a go-to starting place. His Pan-Seared Rib Eye (pictured above) boasts more than 500 user reviews and a glowing 5-star rating. Best of all, since his foolproof technique suggests making the steak on the stove, there’s no grilling required, which means you can enjoy meaty flavors year-round.
by Maria Russo in Food Network Chef, Shows, October 22nd, 2014
To survive — and thrive — on Cutthroat Kitchen, it’s not enough to be able to work quickly under pressure or to deliver a well-seasoned plate; chefs must be able to strategize their every move, budget their $25,000 bank account and bid productively with three rounds of competition in mind. Fans saw what happened when a contestant didn’t take that approach during tonight’s Heat 3 of the Superstar Sabotage tournament. For Chef Johnny Iuzzini, it didn’t matter how much he spent during Rounds 1 and 2 so long as he advanced to Round 3, while Chef Eric Greenspan frugally saved his money for charity — until the last round, when Chef Johnny was forced to compete with only $100 and Chef Eric was armed with a full $25,000.
“Once you’re down to $100, you can’t fight back. It doesn’t matter how good you are,” Alton Brown revealed to judge Simon Majumdar on the host’s latest After-Show. “This is a game, and you have to be able to play the game. And if you walk into a final round with a $100 bill in your hand, you’re going to have a really tough time winning regardless of how good you are.” Thanks to the force of his full funds behind him, Chef Eric was able to saddle Chef Johnny — a famed pastry chef — with a duo of sabotages during the lemon bar test, and that maneuver ultimately set up Chef Eric for the win. “Eric said it was just now even,” Alton told Simon of their Round 3 matchup.
by Maria Russo in Shows, October 19th, 2014
When it comes to dishing out culinary evils, no one does it quite like the host of Cutthroat Kitchen, Alton Brown. Now in its fifth season, Cutthroat is known for no-nonsense sabotages befalling even those contestants already in the thick of kitchen struggles, and on the recent Halloween-themed episode of Cutthroat Kitchen, the situation turned even scarier with ghostly challenges. FN Dish recently checked in with Alton to learn his candy must-have on Halloween, plus his best idea for next-level pumpkin carvings. Read on below to hear from the host in an exclusive interview, then catch Alton in costume on his Halloween After-Show.
What’s your favorite candy?
Alton Brown: Milk Duds
It’s no secret that Cutthroat Kitchen judges are secluded from the sabotages taking place during competitions and forced to evaluate the dishes based solely on what’s in front of them — such a strategy guarantees the focus remains on the food at all times. But on tonight’s all-new Alton’s After-Show, judge Jet Tila revealed that after learning what one chef had endured in the name of sabotage, he felt a tinge of guilt — especially after his decision led to the contestant’s elimination.
“You feel so bad after the fact. Now I realize,” he admitted after Alton spoke of how Chef Alex had to use only kitchen tongs to cut her wrap ingredients. “I was dinging so badly on her just horrible knife cuts. They literally looked like she’s just tearing things apart. But now I get it.” Alton went on to explain that because the judges are blind to the sabotages, they’re forced to evaluate on “flavor, presentation and ‘does it remind me of the thing it’s supposed to remind me of.'” But he admitted, “It doesn’t mean they’re all equally weighted. The truth is is anybody’s who’s a chef is going to more heavily weight flavor above all.”