Three chefs took a tumble on this week's Cutthroat Kitchen. Four entered the kitchen with high hopes--Chef Gianchetti, Chef Gwen, Chef Harris and Chef Taylor. When everything was over, only one chef remained standing.
Host Alton Brown provided each chef with $25,000 in cash for bidding purposes. They were also given 60 seconds of shopping time in the pantry prior to each of the challenges. Cooking time varied depending on the dish involved.
The first challenge was to cook pork chops and apple sauce. The chefs were given 30 minutes to complete their dish. However, before cooking began, a few auctions took place to help spice up the competition.
The first auction consisted of a plate of assorted pork chops. It contained lovely thick, bone-in chops, some left over chops that had been overcooked, frozen thin cut pork chops and pulled pork. Whoever won the chops could replace their opponents' various proteins.
Chef Pink started bidding right away. She'd forgotten to pick up chops in the pantry. However, it was Chef Gianchetti who won the bid at $8,000. He gave the frozen pork chops to Chef Pink. The over cooked chops when to Chef Taylor. Chef Gwen received the pulled pork. Chef Gianchetti kept the thick-cut pork chops for himself.
The next auction was for sour apple candies. The winner could replace one of his opponent's apples with the sugary concoction. Chef Taylor won the bid at $8,400 and gave the candy to Chef Gianchetti.
The next auction was for a roll of tin foil. Whoever won could make an opponent use the foil as their utensils for cooking as well as for their pots, pans and bowls. Chef Pink won the auction for $10,000 and gave the foil to Chef Gwen.
The final auction was for raw apples. Chef Gwen bid $1,500 to give them to Chef Pink.
Finally cooking began. Chef Gianchetti went for roasted pork in a balsamic candy apple reduction with caramel apple sorbet. Chef Gwen opted to make pulled pork won tons along with brown sugar bacon topped with an egg and apple soup. Pink decided on an apple and fennel stuffed pork chop with sweet potato puree. Chef Taylor made beer braised pork with an apple crisp salad.
Once the dishes were complete, famed food writer Simon Majumdar served as the judge for the challenge. He was not made aware of any of the auctions or the conditions under which the dishes were made.
Simon was not a fan of Pink's dish. He said the pork was tough. He also said the dish lacked texture and that it was poorly seasoned. Next, he called Chef Gianchetti's dish disappointing. He claimed Chef Gwen's dish smacked of "desperation". Finally, he told Chef Taylor he hated the use of truffle oil in his dish. But who was eliminated in round one?
That was Chef Pink. Her lack of texture and seasoning made her slip to the bottom of the heap.
For the second challenge the chefs were tasked with making macaroni and cheese. They were given 30 minutes to complete the dish.
After pantry shopping the auctions began. The first one consisted of a basket of sweets; mostly chocolate, dried fruit and brown sugar. Whoever won it could make one opponent switch their dish to a dessert.
Chef Gianchetti, out to tank Chef Taylor, purchased the basket for $1,500. However, Chef Taylor seemed nonplussed over the change. Did that mean he a dessert idea in mind?
The second auction was for a basket of cheese products. Whoever won it was allowed to replace an opponent's cheese choice with the cheese products. Chef Taylor won that auction for $5,000 and gave the basket to Gianchetti.
Chef Gwen ignored the boys and began preparing her five cheese dish with roasted cauliflower. The boys kept fighting as another auction emerged. It allowed the winner to require the loser to stop using his stove top.
Chef Taylor won that auction for $2,100. He, of course, turned to Gianchetti and told him to stop using the burner. Would that mean certain defeat for the Italian chef?
Chef Gianchetti's baked cheese carbonara failed to please the judge. He called it a "salt bomb".
Gwen's deep fried macaroni and cheese with cauliflower pleased judge Majumdar. He called it "successful" and said it was "executed well."
Chef Taylor's chocolate mac 'n cheese with ricotta and marscapone actually pleased the judge at first. However, his addition of lobster into the dessert dish turned the judge off and lost him the challenge. He was eliminated from the competition.
Two chefs remained standing--Chef Gianchetti and Chef Gwen. Their final challenge was to make fish and chips in 20 minutes.
The first auction was for fresh turbo. Whoever won the auction could make their opponent clean, cut and use the fish for the most important ingredient of their dish. Chef Gianchetti opted to take the turbo, which he managed to skin and prepare within the time frame.
The only other auction was to keep an opponent from using the deep fat fryer. Chef Gwen struck again, requiring Chef Gianchetti to prepare his fish and chips dish in the oven.
Judge Majumdar, an expert on fish and chips, liked Chef Gwen's take on the dish. He said her batter was good. However, he wasn't happy with her veggie "chips". He said the idea was solid but the chips were not crunchy.
The judge was taken with how much he actually liked Chef Gianchetti's unusual take on fish and chips. However, he hated that the chef left the skin on his turbo without making sure it was crispy. That, along with potatoes that were too soft, cost the Italian chef the competition.
Because Chef Gwen was frugal with her auction money, she managed to take over $18,000 home along with the win. She played the game well, kept her head down and cooked from the heart.
Cutthroat Kitchen continues next Sunday night, 10:00 p.m. on the Food Network.