How The Cutthroat Kitchen Concept Originated

Cutthroat Kitchen stands as one of Food Network's more popular food competition shows. TV Line listed the iconic program as number four of Food Network's "12 Greatest Shows So Far," citing its "boldly innovative spirit and wicked sense of humor" as just two of the reasons why. 

To say the concept is simple would be a lie, with the aim of Cutthroat Kitchen centering around four chefs handpicked by Food Network to throw down in a culinary competition. The chefs are given money to spend throughout the episode on tricks and gadgets to stump their opponents and make cooking more difficult. 

With Alton Brown at the helm, Food Network noted, "Ingredients will be thieved, utensils destroyed and valuable time on the clock lost when the chefs compete to cook delicious dishes while also having to outplot the competition." Well, after watching Cutthroat Kitchen for years between 2013 and 2017 (or reruns), the question on many viewers' minds is: where did they get the idea for such insanity and mild torture?

Shows inspire shows

As it turns out, Cutthroat Kitchen was inspired by another Food Network classic that Brown also worked on, The Next Iron Chef. There was a featured segment on the show in which ingredients would be auctioned based on how quickly chefs thought they could be cooked, and the rest, as they say, is history. The auction sparked ideas as to how to elaborate and expand on the concept, and eventually grew into the wacky show that is Cutthroat Kitchen (via Yahoo! Entertainment).

As Showbiz Cheatsheet notes, people have been re-watching the show as of late despite the fact that Cutthroat Kitchen was cancelled in 2017; fans took to Reddit in 2021 singing its praises, with one user noting the show is "Peak Alton Brown." But despite the supposed "peak," Brown continues to innovate, most recently with his popular Quarantine Quitchen; the YouTube series in which Brown calmly cooks with his wife and streams it to the public is a stark contrast to the antics on Cutthroat, but it's entertaining for true Brown fans nonetheless.