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An Open Suggestion to the Producers of "Cutthroat Kitchen"

Stephanie and I have been watching back episodes of Cutthroat Kitchen lately during Lulabelle's feedings.

Image stolen shamelessly from the Food Network Blog.

If you haven't seen it, here's the premise: it's basically like any other competitive cooking show, except that the contestants can spend their prospective winnings from the competition to sabotage each other with ridiculous challenges.  For example: "You can no longer use your knives."  Or, "Instead of using steak to make carne asada, you have to use Slim Jims."

The result is one of the best competitive reality shows I've seen in awhile.

There's a hundred competitive cooking shows out there, and although some of them (like the first few seasons of Top Chef) are interesting, I find that most of them devolve into a disgusting celebration of all the worst things about America.  "I think I'll casually dismiss this chunk of meat that would feed a family of six in Uganda by calling it 'garbage' and then get pissy and scream at somebody who makes only a tenth of my annual salary while pretending that I'm somehow being objective.  Ho-hum."

Plus, they're boring.  There's only so many times you can be riveted by watching people cook stuff with a time limit.

Cutthroat Kitchen, on the other hand, looks like it was tailor-made for me.  They kept the foodie theme but cut out all the classist bullshit.  More importantly, they turned it into an actual game show for once.  I love watching how the chefs try to balance their sabotage / spending strategies against their cooking strategies, and I love seeing how they innovate under pressure.  It's all the best moments of every cooking show condensed into as short a time as possible, with very little of the tedium.

So all that being said, I do have a suggestion as to how they can improve it.  Food Network, I hope you're taking notes.

Okay, so here's the deal.  A lot of the sabotages that go up for sale involve messing with the  components of the dish.  Like, replacing fresh ingredients with processed ones. "You have to use Cheez-Whiz instead of cheddar to make a grilled cheese sandwich," or what have you.  Or maybe introducing something random and bizarre and forcing a contestant to incorporate into their dish.  "You now have to add gorgonzola cheese to your bananas foster dish."

So imagine this: you've got your chefs running down to the wire, sweating, weary, beaten, and cooking with a bunch of crap they didn't want in the first place.  They look up at the clock - there's only five minutes left to cook.  And then Alton Brown comes out to the floor.  "I've got one more surprise for sale," he announces.

And Chef Schmuck, who has to use ketchup and Jolly Ranchers to make his spaghetti carbonara, listens carefully to see if he's got an out.

Alton continues.  "If you buy this sabotage, you'll have the choice of either keeping the judge we've chosen... OR you can swap him out with Josiah Chiappelli."

Cut to me wearing an ill-fitting shirt and a stained bib, my mouth already greasy from the shitty burger I had (and enjoyed) for lunch.  And I utter my new famous catchphrase: "I'ma eat it!"

Y'see, I virtually never dislike the food I eat.  If it has calories and if I can swallow it, I'll clean the plate.  I am antithesis to food criticism; I am the West's bottomless pit; I am the black hole of leftovers, scraps, and gnarly semi- or non-foods the country over.

And Chef Schmuck, grinning from ear to ear, bids every last dollar he has, knowing that the other chefs' efforts will be in vain when put before me.  I am the ultimate field-leveler.  The anti-sabotage, if you will.  I will ruin all the best laid plans through sheer benevolence.  For every dish that comes to my lips will be met with the same gleeful, mindless joy of me eating food.

"I'ma eat it!  And I'ma like it!"

So how about it, Food Network?  You want to really fuck with the chefs' heads?  I'm happy to lend my services at a bargain price....