Cutthroat Kitchen

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Cutthroat Kitchen
GenreReality, cooking
StarringAlton Brown
JudgesSimon Majumdar, Antonia Lofaso, Jet Tila, Richard Blais
Country of originUnited States
Original languageEnglish
No. of seasons15
No. of episodes189 + 1 special (list of episodes)
Executive producersShauna Minoprio, Julia Cassidy, Michael Davies, Melissa Stokes, Alton Brown
Running time60 minutes
Production companyEmbassy Row
Original release
NetworkFood Network
ReleaseAugust 11, 2013 (2013-08-11) –
July 19, 2017 (2017-07-19)

Cutthroat Kitchen is an American 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 15th season in July 2017.[1] 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.


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.[2] 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 later 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.[3][4] The auctions are followed by the chefs preparing and plating their dishes within a set length of time, most commonly 30 minutes. 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. On occasion, Brown holds an auction before the chefs enter the pantry, offering a sabotage that can be used to hinder a chef's ability to move or carry ingredients.

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 to ensure an unbiased opinion, the judge is 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 representation of the original dish assigned. 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.

Guest Judge Episode
Giada De Laurentiis "The Yolk's on You" (Season 2)
Geoffrey Zakarian "Well, Hot Clam!" (Season 3)
Jaime Martin del Campo and
Ramiro Arvizu
"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 Tournament[edit]

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.[5] 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.

2014 contestants

Heat/episode Contestants
Superstar Sabotage: Heat One Michael Psilakis
Jeff Mauro
Susan Feniger
Aarti Sequeira
Superstar Sabotage: Heat Two Nadia Giosia
Justin Warner
Marcel Vigneron
Brian Malarkey
Superstar Sabotage: Heat Three Anne Burrell
Eric Greenspan
Damaris Phillips
Johnny Iuzzini
Superstar Sabotage: Heat Four Fabio Viviani
Alex Guarnaschelli
Melissa d'Arabian
Elizabeth Falkner

2015 contestants

Heat/episode Contestants
Superstar Sabotage: Knife, Knife Baby Richard Blais
Cat Cora
Aarti Sequeira
Melissa d'Arabian
Superstar Sabotage: All About the Bouillabaisse Justin Warner
Eric Greenspan
Kelsey Nixon
Josh Elkin
Superstar Sabotage: Deep Pu Pu Fabio Viviani
Claire Robinson
Rocco DiSpirito
Duff Goldman
Superstar Sabotage: Burrito the Line Alex Guarnaschelli
Bobby Deen
Marcel Vigneron
Sherry Yard

Evilicious Tournament[edit]

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.


Heat/episode Contestants Original episodes
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

Camp Cutthroat[edit]

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."[6] These episodes were filmed in Santa Clarita, California, at the same movie ranch site as the 2014 FOX reality series Utopia.[7]

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.

2015 contestants

Heat/episode Contestants Original episodes
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
  1. ^ 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.[8] The 2016 Tournament brought back 16 contestants and was filmed in Big Bear, California.[9] 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.

2016 contestants

Heat/episode Contestants Original episodes
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
  1. ^ Third separate appearance on Cutthroat Kitchen
  2. ^ Contestant in the Evilicious Tournament

Time Warp Tournament[edit]

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.


Heat/episode Contestants Original episodes
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
  1. ^ a b c Third separate appearance on Cutthroat Kitchen
  2. ^ Also competed in the Holiday special "Holi-Dazed and Confused"
  3. ^ a b Contestant in the 2015 Camp Cutthroat tournament

Tournament of Terror[edit]

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.


Heat/episode Contestants Original episodes
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.


On April 23, 2013, Food Network announced Cutthroat Kitchen as part of a package of new series to be presented on Food Network.[4][10][11]


SeasonEpisodesOriginally aired
First airedLast aired
113August 11, 2013 (2013-08-11)November 3, 2013 (2013-11-03)
213December 15, 2013 (2013-12-15)March 9, 2014 (2014-03-09)
313March 16, 2014 (2014-03-16)June 8, 2014 (2014-06-08)
413June 22, 2014 (2014-06-22)September 14, 2014 (2014-09-14)
513September 21, 2014 (2014-09-21)November 9, 2014 (2014-11-09)
613November 16, 2014 (2014-11-16)February 8, 2015 (2015-02-08)
714February 15, 2015 (2015-02-15)May 17, 2015 (2015-05-17)
812May 24, 2015 (2015-05-24)August 9, 2015 (2015-08-09)
913August 12, 2015 (2015-08-12)October 4, 2015 (2015-10-04)
1013October 11, 2015 (2015-10-11)December 2, 2015 (2015-12-02)
1113December 6, 2015 (2015-12-06)February 21, 2016 (2016-02-21)
1213February 28, 2016 (2016-02-28)May 22, 2016 (2016-05-22)
1312June 1, 2016 (2016-06-01)August 17, 2016 (2016-08-17)
1413August 24, 2016 (2016-08-24)February 8, 2017 (2017-02-08)
158June 7, 2017 (2017-06-07)July 19, 2017 (2017-07-19)


The episode "My So-Called Trifle" (season 11 episode 11; 3 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).[12]

Alton Brown announced a hiatus in the fall of 2016, in order to work on new projects. However on July 9, 2018, he announced on Twitter, while responding to a fan, that the show was cancelled.[13]


  1. ^ "Cutthroat Kitchen Episodes". Food Network. Retrieved March 11, 2018.
  2. ^ "Alton Brown on Twitter". Twitter.
  3. ^ "Food Network: Cutthroat Kitchen". Food Network. Retrieved 8 August 2013.
  4. ^ a b "No-Mercy Culinary Antics to Take Over Alton Brown's Cutthroat Kitchen". Food Network Via FN Dish Blog. Retrieved 10 August 2013.
  5. ^ The Deadline Team (22 April 2014). "Food Network Adds Valerie Bertinelli Project To Daytime Lineup". Deadline.
  6. ^ Steinberg, Brian (22 April 2015). "Rachael Ray, Bobby Flay, Guy Fieri Return In New Food Network Series". Retrieved 2015-07-27.
  7. ^ "Utopia filming location". Virtual Globetrotting. 12 September 2014.
  8. ^ "Alton Brown on Twitter". Twitter. Twitter. Retrieved 18 January 2017.
  9. ^ "Camp Cutthroat 2: Alton's Revenge: Heat One, Axe to Grind : Cutthroat Kitchen : Food Network". Retrieved 18 January 2017.
  10. ^ "Food Network Announces New Series for 2013". Food Network Gossip. Retrieved 8 August 2013.
  11. ^ "Cutthroat Kitchen To Premiere August 11th". Food Network Gossip. Retrieved 8 August 2013.
  12. ^ "My So-Called Trifle". Cutthroat Kitchen. Season 12. Episode 1. 13 March 2016. Food Network.
  13. ^ Ho, Rodney. "Alton Brown's "Cutthroat Kitchen" is officially over". ajc. Retrieved 2019-07-04.

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