Cutthroat Kitchen is a cooking show hosted by Alton Brown that aired on the Food Network from August 11, 2013 to July 19, 2017. It features four chefs competing in a three-round elimination cooking competition. The contestants face auctions in which they can purchase opportunities to sabotage one another. Each chef is given $25,000 at the start of the show; the person left standing keeps whatever money they have not spent in the auctions. The show ended on its fifteenth season in July 2017. The series shares some basic elements with other four-chef, three-round elimination-style competitions on Food Network including Chopped and Guy's Grocery Games. Numerous Cutthroat Kitchen contestants have competed on these shows.
|Judges||Simon Majumdar, Antonia Lofaso, Jet Tila, Richard Blais|
|Country of origin||United States|
|No. of seasons||15|
|No. of episodes||189 + 1 special (list of episodes)|
|Executive producer(s)||Shauna Minoprio, Julia Cassidy, Michael Davies, Melissa Stokes, Alton Brown|
|Running time||60 minutes|
|Production company(s)||Embassy Row|
|Original network||Food Network|
|Original release||August 11, 2013 –|
July 19, 2017
Each episode features four chefs competing in a three-round elimination contest. Brown gives each chef $25,000 cash before the first round; for insurance reasons, prop money is used instead of actual currency. The chefs each have their own stations to prepare and cook food, and the kitchen includes a wide range of other tools and equipment as well as a pantry stocked with ingredients.
In each round, the chefs are assigned a dish to create. Although most dishes are specific, such as macaroni and cheese, French toast, or fish and chips, Brown occasionally issues a broader challenge such as British pub food or a skillet breakfast. Other than in the first season, and a handful of second and third-season episodes, the first two rounds typically feature savory dishes and the third features a dessert. After the dish is announced, the chefs have one minute to collect all of the ingredients they need from the pantry in one trip, using metal hand-held shopping baskets. When the time runs out, Brown shuts the pantry doors and confiscates one ingredient from any chefs who are still inside before letting them leave.
In each of the first two rounds, Brown follows the shopping time by auctioning off a series of items that the chefs can use to sabotage one another. Sabotage types include equipment/ingredient changes, restrictions on movement freedom, and loss of cooking time. Sabotages are often loosely themed around the assigned dish, such as being required to follow a maze of velvet ropes in order to move between prep and cook stations while making red velvet cake. The highest bidder pays for the item out of their remaining funds, and if necessary, decides which opponent(s) will face the sabotage. The auctions are followed by the chefs preparing and plating their dishes in 30 minutes (occasionally 45 for certain dishes). Brown occasionally offers additional auctions during the cooking time. In the final round, the two remaining chefs begin cooking immediately after shopping for their ingredients, and the auctions take place while they are working. As each round progresses, Brown offers comments (delivered as a piece to camera) on the chefs' cooking methods and strategies to compensate for the sabotages.
Once the cooking time has expired, all visible indication of the sabotages is removed from the set and a judge is brought into the kitchen to evaluate the dishes. In order for the judge to be able to offer an unbiased opinion, they are sequestered in an isolation room during each round and is not told about any of the sabotages that were in effect. Each dish is judged solely on three criteria: taste, presentation, and how well it resembles or reminds the judge of the assigned dish. The chefs are given a chance to describe and explain their dish and choices. They may not complain in general or disclose any sabotages they faced, but they may try to explain (truthfully or otherwise) the cooking choices they made or were forced to make.
The chef whose dish is judged the least satisfactory is eliminated from the game and forfeits all of their remaining money. After the final round, the surviving chef keeps whatever money they have not spent on auction items. Two episodes have ended in a tie, with both chefs keeping their remaining money.
Jet Tila, Simon Majumdar, and Antonia Lofaso served as regular judges throughout the show. In 2016, Richard Blais became a regular judge as well, starting with the Season 12 episode "The Breakfast and the Furious." With the exception of "Judging Judges" and "Valentine's Day Massacre" (see below), each episode features only one judge who evaluates the dishes in every round. The contestants do not learn the judge's identity until they enter the kitchen at the end of the first round, and the judge is not told in advance about any of the assigned dishes.
In the Season 3 episode "Judging Judges," Lofaso, Tila, Majumdar and former guest judge Geoffrey Zakarian competed against each other with their winnings going to a charity of their choice. Lofaso won the competition with $22,000 remaining, but her charity received the full $25,000; the other three chefs each received $5,000 for their charities.
Guest judges have appeared in some episodes, as shown below.
|Giada De Laurentiis||"The Yolk's on You" (Season 2)|
|Geoffrey Zakarian||"Well, Hot Clam!" (Season 3)|
|Jaime Martin del Campo and
|"Judging Judges" (Season 3), round 1|
|Daniel Holzman||"Judging Judges" (Season 3), round 2|
|Sherry Yard||"Judging Judges" (Season 3), round 3|
|"You Dim Some, You Lose Some" (Season 13)|
|Valerie Bertinelli||"Who Tarted?" (Season 6)|
|Anne Burrell||"Whatchoo Taco-ing About, Alton?" (Season 7)|
|"He's Just a Po' Boy" (Season 13)|
|"Tournament of Terror: Finale" (Season 14)|
|Susan Feniger||"Tikka Me Alton" (Season 8)|
|"A River Runs Canoe It" (Season 10)|
|Cat Cora||"All in a Day's Jerk" (Season 8)|
|David Alan Grier||"Taco Dirty to Me" (Season 9)|
|Ted Allen||"When Cherry Met Salad" (Season 11)|
|William Shatner||"The One With William Shatner" (Season 12)|
|Monti Carlo||"Shot Through the Tart" (Season 12)|
|Marc Summers||"Time Warp Tournament Grand Finale: 1990s" (Season 13)|
|Eric Greenspan||"Gettin' Judgey with It" (Season 13)|
|Chad Johnson||"Fry-Day Night Bites" (Season 14)|
|Ali Tila (co-judged with Jet Tila)||"Valentine's Day Massacre" (Season 14)|
|Clay Walker||"The Good, the Hash, and the Ugly" (Season 15)|
|Donal Skehan||"Do You Really Wonton Hurt Me?" (Season 15)|
|Duff Goldman||"Fast Times at Cutthroat High" (Season 15)|
Superstar Sabotage TournamentEdit
In October 2014, a special five-part celebrity tournament subtitled "Superstar Sabotage" began airing. The contestants competed on behalf of their favorite charities for a potential top prize of $75,000. Four preliminary heats were held, with four chefs participating in each heat. The winners received their unspent money as charity donations and advanced to the finals, where they were given an initial stake of $50,000. All chefs eliminated in the preliminary heats received $2,500 for their charities.
A second Superstar Sabotage tournament premiered in November 2015.
|Superstar Sabotage: Heat One||Michael Psilakis|
|Superstar Sabotage: Heat Two||Nadia Giosia|
|Superstar Sabotage: Heat Three||Anne Burrell|
|Superstar Sabotage: Heat Four||Fabio Viviani|
|Superstar Sabotage: Knife, Knife Baby||Richard Blais|
|Superstar Sabotage: All About the Bouillabaisse||Justin Warner|
|Superstar Sabotage: Deep Pu Pu||Fabio Viviani|
|Superstar Sabotage: Burrito the Line||Alex Guarnaschelli|
From April 19 to May 17, 2015, Cutthroat Kitchen aired a five-part "Evilicious" Tournament featuring 16 of the show's most memorable contestants. Similar to Superstar Sabotage, this tournament consisted of four preliminary heats, with the winners keeping their unspent money and advancing to the final round for a chance to win up to $50,000 more.
|Evilicious: Canoe Jack City||Robert Burmeister||Season 2: Foul Play|
|Matthew Grunwald||Season 3: Tso Good|
|Morgan Bonazzola||Season 4: I Can't Believe It's Not Udder|
|Tom Lin||Season 4: Welcome to the Jungle|
|Evilicious: Frying First Class||Kori Rayburn||Season 1: Steak Out|
|Leelee Wiginton||Season 2: Wham, Clam, Thank You, Ma'am|
|Sammy Monsour||Season 3: The Rice Stuff|
|Jason Febres||Season 3: Ladel-ayheehoo|
|Evilicious: 20,000 Leagues Under the Prep Table||Tommy Stevens||Season 3: Hawai'i 5-Oh No!|
|Frances Tariga-Weshnak||Season 3: Hakuna Frittata|
|Jernard Wells||Season 4: Anything but a Cake Walk|
|Alexis Hernandez||Season 5: Crabs of Steel|
|Evilicious: Moo-in' On Up||Aaron Crumbaugh||Season 4: Chili'd to the Bone|
|Yaku Moton-Spruill||Season 6: The Supper Bowl|
|Carlos Anthony||Season 7: Gno-cchi to Victory|
|Tregaye Fraser||Season 7: Whisk-ey Business|
From August 12 to September 9, 2015, Cutthroat Kitchen aired a five-episode Camp Cutthroat tournament, which Variety described as Brown "invit[ing] the most elite Cutthroat Kitchen alumni to a secret location deep in the wilderness for an extreme culinary throw down." These episodes were filmed in Santa Clarita, California, at the same movie ranch site as the 2014 FOX reality series Utopia.
Instead of the usual 16 contestants for a tournament, only 12 participated in the 2015 tournament. This meant that each preliminary round featured only three contestants and two rounds. The finale had the usual four contestants and three rounds. Due to there being fewer contestants in the preliminaries, there was potential for more than one mid-round sabotage in the first round in each of the heats. The second and final round of each of the heats also had the contestants bid on auctions before they began cooking their dishes. This was the first such occurrence in the history of Cutthroat Kitchen.
|Camp Cutthroat: Porks and Rec||Emmanuel Delcour||Season 2: Pressed or Steamed|
|Ruddy Bello||Season 4: I Like My Peppers Pulverized|
|Monterey Salka||Season 7: Great Egg-Scape|
|Camp Cutthroat: Wet, Hot, American Sabotage||Candice Wilson||Season 4: I Can't Believe It's Not Udder|
|Jack Taylor||Season 7: Whatchoo Taco'ing About, Alton?|
|Robyn Almodovar[a]||Season 9: The Truck Stops Here|
|Camp Cutthroat: Rock Wall Me, Amadeus||Jessica Entzel||Season 2: Melts in Your Pot, Not in Your Hand|
|Hop Phan||Season 5: S'Mortal Combat|
|Clay Carnes||Season 7: Great Egg-Scape|
|Camp Cutthroat: If It Bleeds, We Can Skillet||Emily Ellyn||Season 7: Whatchoo Taco'ing About, Alton?|
|Trevor Ball||Season 7: Great Egg-Scape|
|DeMarco Ellis||Season 8: Tikka Me Alton|
- Almodovar's preliminary heat aired before her original episode did
A second Camp Cutthroat Tournament, titled Camp Cutthroat 2: Alton's Revenge began airing August 2016. The 2016 Tournament brought back 16 contestants and was filmed in Big Bear, California. No auctions were held in the last round of the finale. Instead, both chefs were subjected to conditions of simulated warfare, collecting ingredients and prepping/cooking under a bombardment of water balloons.
|Camp Cutthroat 2: Alton's Revenge:
Heat One, Axe to Grind
|Willie Box||Season 11: A Dingo Ate My Dutch Baby|
|Vincent Purcell||Season 12: The Breakfast and the Furious|
|Kate Von Schledorn|
|Rue Rusike||Season 12: Shot Through the Tart|
|Camp Cutthroat 2: Alton's Revenge:
Heat Two, Big Foot Loose
|Mike Minor||Season 12: My So-Called Trifle|
|Razia "Raz" Sabour||Season 12: Duck L'Orange Is the New Black Coffee|
|Terry Matthews||Season 12: License to Grill|
|Greg Akahoshi||Season 13: The Upper Crustacean|
|Camp Cutthroat 2: Alton's Revenge:
Heat Three, We're Gonna Need a Bigger Boat
|Ulka Mohanty||Season 1: Vive le Sabotage|
|Aaron Crumbaugh[a][b]||Season 4: Chili'd to the Bone|
|Daniel Angerer||Season 7: Lamb-a Dama Ding Dong|
|Sidney Blackwell||Season 10: I'm Thanksgiving Up|
|Camp Cutthroat 2: Alton's Revenge:
Heat Four, How To Get Away With Burger
|Michael Gabriel||Season 12: My So-Called Trifle|
|Kenneth Thornhill||Season 12: Duck L'Orange Is the New Black Coffee|
|Niko Scimone||Season 12: Frankly Alton, I Don't Give a Clam|
|Emilia Cirker||Season 13: The Tong and Short of It|
- Third separate appearance on Cutthroat Kitchen
- Contestant in the Evilicious Tournament
Time Warp TournamentEdit
In June 2016, a special "Time Warp" Tournament aired. All 16 returning contestants were the winners of their original episodes. Each of the four heats and the finale featured dishes and sabotages from different decades, from the 1950s-80s in the four heats until the 1990s in the finale. This is the first tournament where the chefs in the finale were given the standard $25,000 to start. In all previous tournaments the chefs in the finale started with $50,000.
|Time Warp Tournament: 1950s||Chris Gentile||Season 2: Duck, Duck, Gnocchi|
|Dwayne Ingraham||Season 6: Alton and the Chocolate Factory|
|Jess Roy[a][b]||Season 8: Molasses Mo' Problems|
|Guilherme Barreto||Season 10: Actions Speak Chowder Than Words|
|Time Warp Tournament: 1960s||Perry Pollaci||Season 3: Life's a Mystery... Meat|
|DeMarco Ellis[a][c]||Season 8: Tikka Me Alton|
|Nancy Manlove||Season 9: Grandma-tage|
|Joe Rego||Season 11: Cacciatore by His Toe|
|Time Warp Tournament: 1970s||Chris Mortenson||Season 1: Un-Holy Trinity|
|Clay Carnes[a][c]||Season 7: Great Egg-Scape|
|Adia Benson||Season 9: Sabootage 2: Electric Boo-Galoo|
|Martha Esquivel||Season 11: Hit Me With Your Best Pho|
|Time Warp Tournament: 1980s||Won Kim||Season 6: Who Tarted?|
|Craig Jones||Season 8: Carne Diem|
|Guy Clark||Season 8: All in a Day's Jerk|
|Elizabeth Solheim||Season 10: Fajita the Moment|
- Third separate appearance on Cutthroat Kitchen
- Also competed in the Holiday special "Holi-Dazed and Confused"
- Contestant in the 2015 Camp Cutthroat tournament
Tournament of TerrorEdit
On September 28, 2016 a Halloween themed tournament, titled Tournament of Terror began airing. It brought back 16 previous contestants for a chance to win up to $50,000. The tournament concluded on October 30, 2016.
|Tournament of Terror: Heat One||Janet Ross||Season 3: Chain of Tools|
|Rouha Sadighi||Season 7: Live and Let Diner|
|Irvin Williams Jr.||Season 9: We Came, We See-Sawed, We Conquered|
|Trevor McGrath||Season 13: Superhero Sabotage: The Age of Alton|
|Tournament of Terror: Heat Two||Ian Russell||Season 4: When in Rome, Cook On A Scooter|
|Paul Friedman||Season 8: Carne Diem|
|Natalie Beck||Season 8: My Kitchen for a Horse|
|Josephine Proul||Season 13: The Upper Crustacean|
|Tournament of Terror: Heat Three||Ulfet Ralph||Season 9: We Came, We See-Sawed, We Conquered|
|Michael Jenkins||Season 10: A River Runs Canoe It|
|Christian Brown||Season 11: Get Rich or Die Frying|
|Jenny Goycochea||Season 13: You Dim Some, You Lose Some|
|Tournament of Terror: Heat Four||Osvaldo "Oz" Blackaller||Season 5: Tos-ta-da|
|Johnny Messina||Season 6: Thanks, but No Thanksgiving|
|Chase Meneely||Season 12: To Kale a Mockingbird|
|Tiffany Nelson-Ermon||Season 12: The Mother of All Episodes|
Two companion series are available on the Food Network website. In Alton's After-Show, Brown meets with the judge from a particular episode and reveals the sabotages that were in effect during each round of the competition. The two discuss methods by which the chefs could have adjusted their recipes to compensate for these disadvantages. Testing the Sabotages features food stylists' efforts to create assigned dishes while complying with restrictions on ingredients and equipment.
|First aired||Last aired|
|1||13||August 11, 2013||November 3, 2013|
|2||13||December 15, 2013||March 9, 2014|
|3||13||March 16, 2014||June 8, 2014|
|4||13||June 22, 2014||September 14, 2014|
|5||13||September 21, 2014||November 9, 2014|
|6||13||November 16, 2014||February 8, 2015|
|7||14||February 15, 2015||May 17, 2015|
|8||12||May 24, 2015||August 9, 2015|
|9||13||August 12, 2015||October 4, 2015|
|10||13||October 11, 2015||December 2, 2015|
|11||13||December 6, 2015||February 21, 2016|
|12||13||February 28, 2016||May 22, 2016|
|13||12||June 1, 2016||August 17, 2016|
|14||13||August 24, 2016||February 8, 2017|
|15||8||June 7, 2017||July 19, 2017|
The episode "My So-Called Trifle" (season 12 episode 3; 13 March 2016) included the show's only instance of an elimination due to injury; a chef cut off the tip of her own finger in the first round and was unable to continue. The three remaining chefs advanced to the second round, and the one whose first-round dish was judged the best had their funds restored to the original $25,000. This episode set records for both the highest total spent by one chef ($35,300) and the lowest amount won ($300).
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- "Alton Brown on Twitter". Twitter.
- "Food Network: Cutthroat Kitchen". Food Network. Retrieved 8 August 2013.
- "No-Mercy Culinary Antics to Take Over Alton Brown's Cutthroat Kitchen". Food Network Via FN Dish Blog. Retrieved 10 August 2013.
- The Deadline Team. "Food Network Adds Valerie Bertinelli Project To Daytime Lineup". Deadline.
- Steinberg, Brian. "Rachael Ray, Bobby Flay, Guy Fieri Return In New Food Network Series". Retrieved 2015-07-27.
- "Utopia filming location". Virtual Globetrotting.
- "Alton Brown on Twitter". Retrieved 18 January 2017.
- "Camp Cutthroat 2: Alton's Revenge: Heat One, Axe to Grind : Cutthroat Kitchen : Food Network". Retrieved 18 January 2017.
- "Food Network Announces New Series for 2013". Food Network Gossip. Retrieved 8 August 2013.
- "Cutthroat Kitchen To Premiere August 11th". Food Network Gossip. Retrieved 8 August 2013.
- "My So-Called Trifle". Cutthroat Kitchen. Season 12. Episode 1. 13 March 2016. Food Network.