Cooking under a strict time limit while TV cameras catch a chef"s every mistake has to be difficult. Throw in part ridiculous kitchen sabotages that can require a chef to prepare a meal in a giant ball pit or v toy food preparation utensils, and also the cooking challenge becomes even more intense. It"s specifically those kind of kooky booby traps that make Cutthroat Kitchen a cooking competition unlike any type of other. 


Cutthroat Kitchen definitely has aspects of various other TV cooking competitions, however it additionally is a bit of a black sheep. Trash talking is encouraged, the judges have actually no idea what got in the meal that they"re eating, and also the chefs competing almost certainly have actually not cooking under similar conditions before. If over there was ever a food preparation show that employed a dog-eat-dog mentality, Cutthroat is absolutely it. Native the pitfalls that can damage a chef prior to the food preparation even starts to the sabotages that undermine a chef"s skills, here"s everything you ever before wanted to know about this important twisted show.

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For the Cutthroat Kitchen uninitiated, at the beginning of every episode hold Alton Brown to walk out v a steel suitcase and opens it increase to reveal $100,000 precious of fresh dollar bills. The contestants" eye light up together he hand them each $25,000 to try to hold onto and also use because that bidding ~ above tortuous scenarios because that their other competitors. Anyone is constantly excited to have actually a couple stacks of Benjamins in their hands, yet the thing is, that cash is completely worthless. Yep, if they were to run out of the studio v it and shot to buy other they would certainly come up completely empty-handed due to the fact that it"s not genuine money.


Whether it"s Cutthroat Kitchen, Let"s do a Deal, or some big budget Hollywood crime drama, studios rarely use actual money to movie with. There"s simply too lot liability at hand when using actual cash, for this reason instead, studios use prop money. Studios take great care to ensure that the prop money doesn"t look fully fake on camera, however must still adhere to strict U.S. Counterfeit laws. 

Even though the cash in the briefcase to be fake, the excitement from contestants that won the cash compensation was an extremely much real.


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Cutthroat Kitchen didn"t have actually much in usual with Good Eats, the display Alton Brown hosted from 1999-2012. The idea behind having actually chefs shot to chef a dish in the middle of the most ridiculous situations feasible came around during Brown"s time through The Next Iron Chef. 


Brown defined that during a few of the Next steel Chef episodes, they walk a collection of obstacles where certain ingredients would certainly be auctioned off based on how conveniently a chef asserted they could cook it. "So if we"re bidding on tuna: "I can cook that tuna in five minutes," "I can cook that tuna in four minutes,"" Brown explained. The went on to say the the scenes proved to be exceptionally fun because that both the chefs and the audience, and this caused discussions of how the auctioning concept could be broadened on its own. "My thing was, the judges shouldn"t recognize what"s walk on, due to the fact that then everyone"s judged top top a level play field, and that provides the game much more fun," Brown said. The course, what Brown might think about "fun," Cutthroat Kitchen contestants probably taken into consideration downright evil.


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Aside indigenous literally setting a challenger on fire, there appeared to it is in no border to the mayhem that chefs inflicted top top each other in Cutthroat Kitchen. The challenges lobbed in ~ the chefs are anywhere the map. They could be as simple as having actually their ingredients swapped the end for gas station condiments, or be together messy as having to search with a giant vat that honey. The one thing that every the obstacles have in common, however, is that they must actually be possible before making it onto the show. 


"Not just do us test castle multiple times to make certain they"re doable, yet we actually test them in tandem with various other sabotages the we could put in the exact same round," host Alton Brown explained. "We would favor for people to have the ability to survive two sabotages."

Brown stated that the Cutthroat team frequently worked for weeks before a display taping to come up v the challenges and then put them into practice to see if cooking the assigned dish would certainly actually work-related with the sabotage thrown in the mix. It also wasn"t unusual for sabotages to be so ridiculous the they had to it is in cut. In fact, Brown claimed that roughly 20 percent that the sabotages pitched came to be just as well over-the-top or tricky to pull off and also never do it right into the show.


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While the contestants ~ above Cutthroat Kitchen all begin out through $25,000, bidding wars practically always ensue and also most chefs leave with much less than that. That"s not to say that there wasn"t the sometimes chef who controlled to make it through until the an extremely end and walk out v almost all of their initial cash — it just didn"t take place often. 


Chef Huda, a Washington, D.C.-based chef, showed up on the display in 2014 and also made Food Network history when she winner her episode ("S"Mortal Combat") and walked away v $23,900. On the other side that the Cutthroat Kitchen coin space the chefs who win however end up bidding away all of their cash, just to leave with a quite lackluster purse. 

Brown described that it usually boils under to two varieties of winners: Those through the goal of making bank, and also those who simply want to win at all costs. "There space others that come in deciding, "I"m going to buy this win; ns don"t care what ns walk out with,"" he said before adding, "The lowest anybody"s walked out of Cutthroat Kitchen through is $300." Hey, $300 and also some fact TV case to fame tho isn"t a poor deal.


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From Hell"s Kitchen come Chopped, there"s no shortage the TV food preparation competitions for chefs that aren"t fear to acquire in prior of the camera and also show off your skills. Once it concerns Cutthroat Kitchen, though, there are really just two reasons for a chief to appear on the show: bragging rights and also the possibility of go away through up come $25,000. (Alright, probably some chefs gain the abuse, however that"s a totality other thing we won"t gain into.) Some food preparation shows pay your contestants, however others just pay the final winner. Once it concerns the money, however, Cutthroat Kitchen is a display where the victor and also only the victor took every the spoils. 


"We were no paid to it is in on the show as a competitor, however, all travel and also expenses were absorbed by the network," Cutthroat veteran Joe Arvin said. Arvin, who appeared on among the show"s Thanksgiving-themed episodes didn"t win his episode, but noted that act the show was still worth his time. "Probably an ext than anything, ns learned to it is adapted to being on a studio collection and in former of the camera," Arvin explained, including that the media exposure (he likewise appeared ~ above The Taste and also Food Truckers) had been beneficial.

It"s dubbed Cutthroat Kitchen — you didn"t mean them to offer money come everybody, walk you?


Finding civilization who want to perhaps earn $25,000 because that a day"s work most likely isn"t the difficult. At the very least until friend tell castle they"ll be placed through the ringer and also might to walk away v absolute zilch. Chef Joe Arvin stated that he was contacted by the show"s producers after they stumbled upon his cooking channel ~ above YouTube. "They at first wanted to understand how strong of a contender I was and also if I believed that i would be able to handle the push of completing on a show like Cutthroat Kitchen," Arvin said. 


According to Arvin, it"s pretty common for the show"s producer to reach out to potential contestants with YouTube or assorted other social media platforms. Once somebody claims they"re interested in appearing on the show, they then send in a resume in addition to a few photographs of their finest dishes. Native there, contestants have a few Skype calls v the show"s producer to discuss their culinary background and also if they have actually the right mindset to save their cool in the kitchen under pressure. 

In total, Arvin claimed his audition procedure took about four months and also oddly enough, there was never any type of actual cooking as part of his audition. Maybe producers assumed nobody that didn"t have actually legit cooking skills would it is in crazy enough to topic themselves to Alton Brown"s kitchen torture.


Competitive food preparation shows often tend to often fall into one of two categories: supportive and friendly compete or dog-eat-dog bloodbaths. Whereas contestants top top a present like Baking Championship or Chopped are generally cordial with one another, contestants ~ above a program such as Hell"s Kitchen and Cutthroat think nothing of letting loosened with the rubbish talking.


After all, it can seem a little out of ar for contestants ~ above a display with the format and also title that Cutthroat Kitchen to it is in buddy-buddy with one another. Competitor interaction ~ above Cutthroat isn"t scripted, yet producers definitely shot to nudge the chefs in a certain direction. "There is not any type of "planned drama" per se, yet the producers extremely encourage the rivals to bash every other," contestant Joe Arvin said. Billy Ngo, who appeared on season 2 of the show, said he also was motivated to communicate in some trash talking. Ngo didn"t victory his episode however did regulate a zinger, telling his competitor, "That looks like a TV dinner, bro."

The show even had actually a lawyer on deck to aid ensure that nothing got too crazy and also that each episode had a balance the real people versus the Hollywood developed experience. "It"s one entertaining show, but it"s more of a video game show. You can win without being the best chef," provided Ngo.


Whereas food shows favor Top Chef and also Mind the a Chef have been lauded v praise by critics, Cutthroat Kitchen never garnered comparable accolades. In ~ best, that was called "intriguing" by an Entertainment Weekly critic. That course, that very same critic likewise advised viewers of exactly how to clock it and keep their "faith in mankind intact." Ouch. The AV Club"s review of Cutthroat wasn"t lot kinder, with critic Phil Dyess-Nugent questioning whether Alton Brown possibly had a twin brother without any type of sense of shame, saying the the only thing entertaining about the challenges were "the fleeting glimpses of improvisational thinking." 


So why for this reason much crucial hate for a present that rotate the standard cooking competition ~ above its head? Plenty of TV cooking competitions such together Iron Chef, optimal Chef, and Chopped have competitors trying to prepare a dish under a time border using, at times, out of the ordinary ingredients. Cutthroat Kitchen take it the premise one step further and injected an element of comedy. The competitors were serious, yet the display never took itself as well seriously. Possibly Cutthroat was just too low-brow because that foodies. 

As one testimonial from Vulture stated — and something that too many other critics missed — the genuine stars that the display weren"t necessarily the chefs. What make Cutthroat Kitchen work-related were the writers, who episode ~ episode, discovered a method to take the standard food preparation competition and combine it with circus-like absurdity.


Every successful TV cooking competition deserves a spin-off series, right? Cutthroat Kitchen was no different and also in 2015 it obtained its own spin-off v Camp Cutthroat, a variation of the present that took chefs out of the studio and put lock "in a mystery location deep in the wilderness." quite than simply have actually Cutthroat newbies, the spin-off collection brought in previous competitors and also upped the prize money by placing $75,000 top top the line. 


As for the "secret location" in the middle of the wilderness, well, together viewers i found it pretty quickly, the wasn"t exactly uncharted TV territory. Camp Cutthroat to be filmed in Santa Clarita, California on the collection of a vault Fox truth TV show called Utopia.(Though producer did at least make some slight transforms like putting up a new sign at the entrance.) Utopia was described as having aspects of the reality show Big Brother, however proved come be far less popular and also only it s long 13 episodes. As for Camp Cutthroat, well, maybe it was simply too "extreme" since camp ended for good a year later.


There appears to be no border to the zaniness and absurdity of the sabotages on Cutthroat Kitchen. Cooking in a hammock? Sure. Make gnocchi through a potato masher taped to your hand? Yep. The writers of Cutthroat showcased their devilish creative thinking with each episode and occasionally turned the reins end to the fans as soon as it involved coming increase with new sabotages. Since what fan of Cutthroat wouldn"t desire the chance to make the chefs in the kitchen sweat a little?


"Food Network is right now accepting submissions because that upcoming challenges, and also it"s as much as you, Cutthroat fans, come decide with what interruptions future contestants will need to adapt," review the show"s website. Pan were invited to send their principles either in the comment ar or via Twitter through the hashtag #Evilicious. 

Who to know how countless fan submissions in reality made that onto the show, but there were certainly some creative ones thrown the end there. One fan suggested strapping a contender to a Silence that the Lambs-style dolly. An additional suggested hiding the clock with only the greatest bidder gift able come see exactly how much food preparation time to be left. #Evilicious indeed.


After watching just a handful of Cutthroat Kitchen episodes, it"s pretty obvious that there"s definitely some strategy come walking away through the cash, besides simply being handy with a skillet. Among the best pitfalls that means too numerous chefs loss victim come is bidding too much money up front in the first round. 


"While this may aid them endure in the short term, their over spending will frequently come ago and bite them in the backside during the last stages," Cutthroat referee Simon Majumdar explained. "On much more than one occasion, I have seen the far better chef lose because they had insufficient funds to respond to their opponent"s bidding in the last round and were sabotaged to defeat." 

Poor shopping habits are an additional thing that can really carry out a cook in prior to the bidding or food preparation even begins. If a chief is do a cheesecake and also forgets cream cheese and sugar they"re walk to have a real uphill battle. "The No. 1 sabotage is the sabotage the chefs do to us in the pantry," Alton Brown said. There"s likewise a high probability that chefs will lose at the very least some of their ingredients. "Finding alternate acceptable ideologies to key is always a really great idea," added Brown.

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The whole idea behind Cutthroat Kitchen is to check chefs to find out if they deserve to prepare a dish and still make it taste great while jumping with hoops. That wouldn"t be lot fun if the judges knew a chef had to make chicken marsala if wearing Mickey computer mouse gloves, so the judges have actually no idea what sabotages unfold throughout the cooking part of the show. 


"I to be locked away, and I have the right to tell you the they are really strict about that," judge Simon Majumdar said. "I go and also hide far in my really comfortable trailer, yet the men in assembly don"t tell me a thing..." The judges perform eventually uncover out just what type of kitchen torture the rivals went v — those scenes simply aren"t in the continuous episodes. For the truly specialized Cutthroat viewer, there to be the After-Show internet series. In the post-show series, Alton Brown walks the judges v the miscellaneous sabotages that caused both the winning and losing dishes indigenous the contestants. Periodically the judges us even try their hand at cooking with the sabotages in place.

While the judges might not recognize what the sabotages are, castle still want to make sure that food preparation through lock is possible for the challengers. "I just hope that they store it to a level whereby the chefs deserve to still cook," Majumdar said. "Because otherwise, apart from anything else, ns still have to eat the stuff."


Cutthroat Kitchen had actually a solid run on TV, and over the course of 4 years churned out 192 episodes of culinary mayhem. The present is still frequently on TV and various streaming platforms, however the Food Network officially traction the plug top top taping any brand-new episodes. Cutthroat viewers obtained the bad news native Alton Brown himself once a pan asked the hold if there to be any brand-new episodes in the works. Brown preserved it short and also sweet, informing the fan that Cutthroat Kitchen had been cancelled, including "#probablymyfault." 


As come why the Food Network chose to release the show, well, it"s an extremely likely that Brown just wanted to execute something else. In 2016, the TV present host announced via a video clip message ~ above Twitter the he would certainly be acquisition a break from the display to emphasis his time top top a brand-new "internet venture."

So what was the "internet venture" exactly? Well, that did launch Good Eats: Reloaded in 2018, however that showed up on The food preparation Channel... No the internet.