by Maria Russo in Shows, December 14th, 2014
by Maria Russo in Shows, November 9th, 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, October 29th, 2014
Steak, lasagna, chicken, potatoes — these dishes and more can be made in nearly any pan you have in the kitchen and can even move from the stove to the oven seamlessly. But when it comes to waffles, there’s just one all-important tool available for making them — or so Cutthroat Kitchen chefs thought before tonight’s all-new episode. In a doozy of a sabotage, Alton Brown auctioned off exclusive rights to the lone waffle iron in the kitchen, while other competitors were forced to tackle the waffle challenge using an ice cube tray and a metal meat mallet as their only cooking vessels.
Before the contestants attempted their next-level waffles with these seemingly oddball gadgets, the Cutthroat Kitchen culinary crew got to work on the same sabotages to make sure they were indeed fair and possible given the tight time restraints in the competition. Click the play button on the video above to watch the tests unfold and see how the team turned out untraditional waffles with the ice cube tray and meat mallet.
by Maria Russo in Shows, October 15th, 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 Shows, September 15th, 2014
In true evilicious fashion, Cutthroat Kitchen host Alton Brown has been known to not only sabotage chefs’ ingredients, but also to disrupt their means and methods of preparing and cooking them so as to guarantee the most hilariously challenging situation possible. And during tonight’s second preliminary heat of the Superstar Sabotage tournament, he proved he wasn’t about to forgo those unfavorable trials simply because of the all-stars’ celebrity status when he auctioned off mandatory — and inferior — mixing and cooking vessels during the Round 1 pancake test.
A colander and a Bundt pan took the place of two chefs’ bowls and skillets, as the chefs were doomed with sabotages that forced them to both combine all of their ingredients and cook their pancakes in those sole vessels. Given that pancakes ought to come together with both dry and liquid ingredients, would it be possible to prepare a batter in a colander, and what would happen when they tried to cook round pancakes in a fluted pan? It turns out that the Cutthroat Kitchen culinary team had similar questions before these items were sold at auction, and they tested the sabotage ahead of the battle to make sure the challenge was feasible.
by Maria Russo in Shows, August 24th, 2014
For the Cutthroat Kitchen judges to be wowed by a dish in front of them, the offering must be not only appealing to the eyes and tastes, but it must be at least somewhere reminiscent of the classic rendition of the challenge dish. When it comes to crispy rice treats — those gooey, marshmallow-laced desserts mixed with rice cereal — the need for a crispy element is baked right into the name, so it’s no surprise that when Alton Brown auctioned off a sabotage that would threaten that crunchy texture, chefs had every reason to be concerned.
Instead of cooking with true crisp rice cereal, one competitor would be forced to work with soggy, milk-soaked cereal. How could he or she resurrect the crispy texture from such a limp state? Is it even fair to ask a chef to make crispy rice treats with mushy cereal? It turns out that it is indeed possible to turn out a solid finished dish, as the Cutthroat Kitchen culinary team tested this sabotage before Alton opened it up for auction.
by Nikhita Mahtani in Shows, July 27th, 2014
The mini kitchen is no stranger to Cutthroat Kitchen
, as chefs have been asked to work in kid-size constraints challenge after challenge. But on tonight’s all-new episode, Alton Brown
unveiled a different tiny tool capable of doling out similar great trials during the Round 3 chocolate cake test: the toy stand mixer. Would this kid-friendly apparatus consisting of little more than a short, hand-powered wooden whisk and a shallow plastic bowl be enough to serve as a chef’s sole means of mixing? After all, to make chocolate cake, a competitor would need to be able to incorporate both wet and dry ingredients.
Before Alton auctioned off this doozy of a sabotage, Cutthroat Kitchen’s culinary team tested on the mixer to make sure it was indeed possible to execute within the contest, and Chelsea, a food stylist on set, wondered, “Does the cute factor, you think, count as extra points for this challenge?”
Click the play button on the video above to see the test in action, and learn how the mixer earned an “approved” rating.
by Nikhita Mahtani in Shows, July 13th, 2014
Creating tiramisu can be time-consuming, as it involves soaking lady fingers in an espresso mixture and topping them with a sweet mascarpone cheese-based cream. This specifically requires the use of superior utensils, like whisks and mixing bowls, in order to make sure each layer has the perfect flavor profile. Host Alton Brown
decided that the contestants on Cutthroat Kitchen
needed to forgo these tools – one of the contestants had to replace all of his cooking tools with coffee strainers and stirrers. This made the dish especially difficult, because the coffee filter didn’t allow the mascarpone creation to be mixed properly, and it also starting soaking up all the espresso meant for the lady fingers. How could the Food Network team deem it an appropriate sabotage for the show?
Click play on the video above to see how the Food Network culinary team could create the tiramisu with this sabotage.
by Nikhita Mahtani in Shows, July 6th, 2014
While Cutthroat Kitchen
often involves sabotages that take away a contestant’s desired cooking utensils like knives or spatulas, most chefs would agree that the most valuable tool in the kitchen is one’s hands. That’s why this sabotage is especially diabolical: It makes sure that the contestants aren’t allowed to touch their food without using some kind of tool to pick it up. The chef is given a pair of white gloves and isn’t allowed to get them dirty under any cost, which causes major difficulty when trying to assemble a club sandwich, as it involves a plethora of ingredients: Chicken, salt, mayonnaise, lettuce, bacon and more. A lot of foods need to be handled, but is it possible to do so without using your hands?
Click play on the video above to see whether the Food Network culinary team could create a dish with this sabotage.
by Nikhita Mahtani in Shows, June 29th, 2014
On Cutthroat Kitchen
, there is nothing worse than an ingredient swap. Ingredients can make or break a dish, and switching out quality ones for those that are inferior can completely ruin the elevated flavors the competitors are trying to accomplish. In this week’s episode, the contestants have to make biscuits with gravy, so the culinary team was experimenting with an ingredient swap where the butter was replaced by cooking spray. While the team realized that the cooking spray could be gathered and solidified to develop a butter-like consistency, the real test was whether the cooking spray could provide the same taste and texture that butter could in a buttermilk biscuit. The taste of the biscuit alone would determine whether the cooking spray swap would work for the episode.
Click play on the video above to see whether this sabotage was approved or rejected by the Food Network culinary team.
Many times on Cutthroat Kitchen
, host Alton Brown
demonstrates his truly evilicious side by taking away the contestants’ ingredients, their heating appliances and even all their knives. In this week’s episode, Alton takes evil to a whole new level — he takes away all pots, pans and mixing bowls, and replaces them with a bread bowl for one of the contestants and a soup ladle for the other. The two contestants have to make both a soup and a salad without all their mixing equipment. This challenge didn’t come without its share of difficulty — the soup ladle was extremely small and could heat up only a small amount at a time, and the bread bowl kept soaking up all the liquid for both the dressing and the soup. While sabotages on Cutthroat Kitchen have to slow the contestants down and make things difficult for them, they can’t make it impossible for them to make a dish.
How did these two sabotages get approved by Food Network’s culinary team for this episode? Click the play button on the video above to find out.