by Maria Russo in Shows, February 22nd, 2015
by Maria Russo in Shows, February 8th, 2015
A competition like Cutthroat Kitchen can surely be a transformative undertaking for the chef contestants, as they’re almost always pushed beyond their culinary comfort zones. But their ingredients, too, are often forced to become something they’re usually not in order to satisfy a challenge — that’s where Testing the Sabotages comes in. Before Alton Brown could auction off a test to, say, turn potato chip crumbs into gnocchi, as he did on tonight’s all-new episode, the Cutthroat culinary crew had to attempt the conversion firsthand to make sure it was both possible and fair within the time limits.
Just minutes into starting his test, food stylist Hugo Sanchez struggled to work with the gnocchi dough, and he admitted, “The chips in it are preventing it from binding as a normal dough would. It’s actually turning out to be a bigger deal than I expected.” Nevertheless, he soon managed to roll the dough into a log and lob off bite-size dumplings, and in the spirit of evilicious cooking, he said, “It may not taste like gnocchi, but it’s going to look like gnocchi.” Sure enough, after a quick boil and pan-fry, he served up a simple yet presentable gnocchi offering, though he wondered if chefs could use their imagination to create an even better rendition. “It’s definitely something you can play with,” Hugo noted. “Maybe some bacon, some sour cream — call it a baked potato gnocchi.”
by Maria Russo in Shows, February 1st, 2015
In celebration of Valentine’s Day, tonight’s all-new episode of Cutthroat Kitchen focused on perhaps the ultimate sweet treat — chocolate — and surely no chocolate showcase is complete without molten lava cake. Boasting a tender, moist cake on the outside and a warm, gooey center, this dressed-up dessert is tricky to master, even for the most-experienced chefs under optimal conditions. And inside the Cutthroat arena, the circumstances for preparing this cake turned even trickier when a sabotage forced one chef to mix all of the cake ingredients within the tiny compartments inside a now-empty box of chocolates.
As with all sabotages, the Cutthroat Kitchen culinary team tried its hands at this doozy of a test before Alton Brown sold it at auction, and within just minutes of starting, Food Stylist Codii realized, “The key to this is patience, which I think Cutthroat Kitchen lacks on a daily basis.” Despite her initial struggles, however, Codii managed to incorporate her ingredients as best as possible, and ultimately turned out cakes that, while “not pretty,” featured the signature lava river flowing from within.
by Maria Russo in Shows, January 25th, 2015
From canned whole chickens to dairy milked from a plastic cow, Cutthroat Kitchen is no stranger to strangeness. In fact, it welcomes such oddness. It’s a good thing that’s the case, because on tonight’s all-new episode, one chef was tasked with making a turkey burger out of not moist ground turkey meat, as would be expected, but processed deli turkey meat. But before the contestant could be saddled with such a sabotage, the Cutthroat culinary team had to try its hands at the challenge to make sure that whatever burger resulted — if any did — was edible, given the amount of time on the clock.
Food stylist Jamie took to the kitchen to attempt this next-level ingredient swap-out, and after making what he deemed “turkey dust,” mixing it with chopped bacon and cooking the patty, he realized he’d made something “real weird.” He explained, “It’s a funky-looking patty; there’s no two ways about it.” Nevertheless, despite its nontraditional appearance, Jamie added that the more important question would be whether or not the patty tasted fine. Much to his surprise, it did. “It’s that good. I’m voluntarily eating my own sabotage cooking,” he said.
by Maria Russo in Shows, December 21st, 2014
Cutthroat Kitchen is nothing if not punny, as Alton Brown is notorious for putting literal spins on the challenge dishes, all in an effort to create hilariously diabolical sabotages. When it came time for the competitors to make brownies for dessert on tonight’s all-new big-game episode, he reached for what else but brown bags to auction off as one contestant’s sole mixing and cooking vessel. These everyday bags are surely thin and weak, so would such a mandate be fair to ask of a chef, and is brown-bag baking even possible?
The Cutthroat Kitchen culinary crew set out to answer that very question as they attempted this sabotage before the contest in the latest installment of Testing the Sabotages. After a quick triple-ply maneuver to prevent batter seepage, food stylist Chelsea proclaimed, “Brown-bag brownie. Nailed it,” proving once and for all that brownies can indeed be made in brown bags.
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, 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.
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.