The format changes from episode to episode but the premise is generally the same. Every cook starts with $20,000 that Alton hands to him or her at the beginning of the show. Alton tells the contestants what dish they are cooking. Each contestant has 30 seconds to visit the food pantry and grab as many ingredients as possible to use to cook their dish. After returning to their station, the various sabotages are auctioned off. For example, a sabotage may be that the winner of the auction gets to take away another contestant’s fresh ingredients and replace them with freeze-dried ingredients. Another sabotage may be that the auction winner gets to make the other contestants lose their cooking utensils resulting in his or her using their hands instead of traditional tools.
There is a fine balance between not wanting to lose an auction and also not wanting to spend all of your money. The winning contestant only keeps the money that hasn’t been spent on auctions. There is a different judge assigned to each episode. The judge is kept in a noise proof room during each round so when the judge tastes the food, he or she has no idea what events led up to the dish’s formation. They don’t know who had which sabotage. Based on the judge’s determination, one person is eliminated each round.
The final round is usually dessert and it’s a head to head with the two remaining contestants. After one is eliminated, the winner is declared and is free to keep all remaining cash.
Cutthroat Kitchen airs on Food Network. Past seasons can be viewed on Netflix or FoodNetwork.com.
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