‘Cutthroat Kitchen’ Is ‘Chopped’ For Jerks

Cutthroat Kitchen is the food competition genre’s jump the shark moment. Food Network took the basic formula of Chopped and made some minor changes that cheapen the concept.

Chopped has four competitors take unusual ingredients and attempt to make the best dish possible. After each round, one person is eliminated. At the end of the third round, a winner is decided. Skill and creativity win Chopped. There is no sabotage. Cutthroat Kitchen‘s producers took one look at that format and said “forget skills, let’s give the contestants money and have them screw each other over repeatedly,” resulting in a show that targets the coveted aspiring sadist demographic and everyone else finds off-putting. Even if you find the concept intriguing, anyone with a conscience will watch five minutes and give up because they have standards.

Fans of Good Eats will be incredibly disappointed in Alton. He relishes being the maestro of meanness and has a new found appreciation for the word ‘diabolical.’ It is awkward and cringeworthy. Encouraging jerks to embrace their natural tendencies was not a good career move for Alton.

On Cutthroat Kitchen, the food doesn’t really take center stage. Alton announces a dish, such as Thanksgiving dinner or french toast, and the contestants have to come up with something that probably only loosely fits into Alton’s given category because they have to overcome so many obstacles. The first obstacle is that the contestants only have 60 seconds to shop for ingredients. Of course, some of the chefs forget important ingredients, such dairy or eggs for french toast. Sometimes they get lucky and can bid on taking ingredients,┬áthat they happen to need themselves, away from their competition. Other times, they don’t and get their utensils replaced by a Swiss Army knife because one of the other competitors is willing to spend a lot of money on sabotage.

For some reason, many chefs are willing to bet huge chunks of money in the first round. In the debut episode, one woman spent over $10,000 to spite other contestants, before the competition even began. Unsurprisingly, when a single portable gas burner was auctioned off in the middle of the round, another contestants stuck her with it. Pretty much, the more money you spend to handicap your competitors, the more likely you are to be eliminated, because everyone else wants revenge.

When it came time to introduce the judges, Alton introduced a single judge. Only one person, who has no idea what disadvantages certain contestants were given, determines who gets sent home and who wins. The woman with the portable gas burner was eliminated, but only because she left a bone in her turkey. Cutthroat Kitchen repeats the same routine with different challenges, and in this case sabotages, until a winner is determined.

As more episodes of Cutthroat Kitchen are produced, the dynamic between the contestants will probably change. Someone will eventually realize that the best strategy would be to join the competition, take your $25,000, and refuse to engage in bullying your competitors. This would provide the benefit of not pissing off the other competitors, making them less likely to be sabotaged, which in turn will allow them walk away with all their money. At the very least, they could wait until the final round before doing anything nasty, which would maximize the amount of money they get to take home.

About Allison Lips

I am the editor and founder of "Wait! What's a Dial?". I graduated from Rowan University with degrees in both Radio/TV/Film and Journalism.

Posted on August 12, 2013, in Cable, Food Network, Game Shows, Primetime and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.

  1. Huh, I’ve never heard of this show. Guess my ‘Food’ watching has been on the light side recently XD This gave me a pretty good idea of what the show’s like though, & I don’t think I’ll be watching it ;D It is a bit heavy on Chopped references though, so anyone not familiar with that might be a bit more confused than I am. Also, the sentence that starts “Resulting in a show” is a sentence fragment because it’s meant to follow the sentence in front of it, but is grammatically cut off from said sentence by the period. Also also, at the end of that paragraph the word ‘conscious’ is used, but I think it should be ‘conscience.’ Good stuff though!

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