When it comes to hosting cooking competition shows, Alton Brown has one main qualification for deciding to sign on or not: it needs to be fun.
“When they asked me to host Cutthroat Kitchen, I told them that if it’s a competition show, unless it’s fun, I don’t want to do it,” he told The Daily Meal. “I just won’t do it if it isn’t fun.”
The show, which premieres on Food Network on Sunday, August 11th at 10 p.m., certainly looks like it’s whole lot of fun to host, and a real challenge to play. At the beginning of each episode, four competitors are each given $25,000 to play with. During the competition, they have the opportunity to bid on items that can either help them or hinder their opponents, and after each round a judge samples the food (without any knowledge of what took place during the round) and the competitor with the least appetizing food gets the boot. At the end, the winner leaves with however much cash he or she has leftover. As opposed to a more cut-and-dry competition show like Chopped, where there’s one basket of ingredients per round and everyone is on equal footing, there are a lot more variables at play here.
“It’s all about how you play the game,” Brown, who also hosts Food Network’s Iron Chef America and is a mentor on Food Network Star, said. “The judge has no idea what’s unfolded, so that makes it so much fun. One contestant paid a huge amount of money for exclusive use of salt, and the judge told him that his dish could have used more! It’s really every man for himself, and you never know how it’s going to turn out. The winner might end up bringing home no money because it had all been spent. It’s not just about skill; it’s about human nature and how you play the game.”
For Brown, hosting the show has been a ton of fun. “When we shot the pilot, I knew that it was a lot of fun, and really hope that it shows,” he said. “I get to be devilish, and I really have no idea who’s going to win. On Iron Chef America, I can usually tell who’s going to win within the first ten minutes. On Cutthroat Kitchen, it’s really anyone’s game.