Food Network's Cutthroat Kitchen, the quirkiest competition show, was officially cancelled in 2018. With over 200 episodes and 15 seasons, it came as a shock that it would be cancelled in the first place. Alton Brown, the show's host, credits himself for ending the cooking competition. In a signature Alton Brown move, he announced on Twitter that, "Cutthroat Kitchen got cancelled. Sorry. #ProbablyMyFault." In 2016, during a Facebook Live video, he stated, "I've had enough, guys. I need to get back to what I do."
Alton got his start as the eccentric cook who explained the science behind food, on his hit TV show, Good Eats. From there, he went on to be the main host and commentator of Iron Chef America. He's made appearances on Guy's Grocery Games, Worst Cooks in America, and a slew of other cooking shows, and he is a staple on the Food Network scene. His passion for cooking was a key element in what was missing from Cutthroat Kitchen. The show itself is billed as a cooking show, but according to a critic at Entertainment Weekly, "It is NOT a show about cooking." Brown himself said in his Facebook live, "I think I've game-show hosted about all I can take, and life is short." Reality TV won't quite be the same without stars like Bobby Flay and Guy Fieri battling it out over a breakfast sandwich, burrito, or taco.
What Made Cutthroat Kitchen Unique
Cutthroat Kitchen involved four chefs competing in a cooking competition, with three rounds of elimination leaving one chef standing. Throughout the show, the goal was to outlast your competitors, using your clever sabotages and trying to outsmart the fellow chefs. To make it even more intense, contestants on Cutthroat Kitchen were expected to cook in situations with the most bizarre sabotages. The four chefs were given 25K at the beginning of the show and could purchase sabotages to dole out to their competitors to save themselves. Ultimately, clever game play, and not necessarily cooking skills, determine the winner.
Cutthroat Kitchen shares some similarities with other popular cooking shows like Guy's Grocery Games. The four-chef, three-round show involving eliminations at each round is one used in many Food Network shows to determine the winner. Unlike other competition food shows like Chopped and Iron Chef, trash talk is encouraged on Cutthroat Kitchen. Hence the name, Cutthroat Kitchen was even more intense than the average cooking show because of how "cutthroat" it could be. The show kept lawyers on standby to make sure nothing got too out of control.
Along with being a "cutthroat" atmosphere due to trash talking, the sabotages doled out to chefs are as malicious and imaginative as it gets. In one episode, Chef Eric Greenspan had to sit in a ball pit overflowing with balls as he made meatballs. In another, Chef Alexis had to prepare his meal in a hammock. Ingredients and cooking tools kept falling through the holes, and the chef had to deal with the unstable swinging motion of the hammock as he did his best to make a pineapple upside-down cake. In one of the most ridiculous turn of events, Chef Kyle had to compete in the final battle wearing a dog cone on his neck and mixing his ingredients in large orange traffic cones rather than bowls.
When you combine the challenges, sabotages and free-flowing trash talk, cutthroat kitchen was as competitive and difficult as you can imagine. However, like Brown said himself, this combination lended itself more to elaborate sabotages and ridiculous circumstances than high-quality cooking performances.
In 2015 Cutthroat Kitchen adopted a spin off called Camp Cutthroat. While the premise was the same, the show took the competitors out of the kitchen and brought them to "A secret location deep in the wilderness." The spin-off didn't fare too well, as it was cut in the first round after only one year.
Cutthroats Kitchen's Famous Faces
Cutthroat Kitchen wouldn't be a Food Network show without appearances from well know Food Network stars. For the Super Sabotage episodes, Cutthroat Kitchen brought in the big guns, with competitors Anne Burrell and Alex Guarnaschelli, to name a few.
The judges also varied with several Food Network stars like Giada, Jet Tila, and Simon Majumdar. The judges never knew before judging what sabotages were inflicted and to whom. In the web series Alton's After-Show, he discusses the sabotages with the judges and even has them compete.
Alton Brown Continues On
Unfortunately, at the end of 2016, Netflix pulled all of its Food Network shows from the platform. The good news is that Alton Brown has not gone away. He revamped Good Eats with his new show, Good Eats: Reloaded. You can catch new episodes on Hulu, as well as Cooking Channel for investigations into dives, food trucks, and BBQ joints among others. Recently, he brought this back with The Return of the Eats.
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