Alton's Cutthroat Kitchen Survival Techniques

By: Sarah De Heer
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As Season 2 of Cutthroat Kitchen approaches (tune in Sunday, Dec. 15 at 10pm/9c), FN Dish thought it was an optimal time to look back on the first season with the host himself, Alton Brown, and some of the best lessons learned. This quickly translated into Alton’s Survival Techniques.

1. Never leave the pantry unless your basket is full. There is absolutely no excuse for not having a full basket — to the brim.

2. Always grab flour and eggs. Even if you think you're not going to need them, you can make a lot of things with those two ingredients that you can't make with other things.

3. Never bid in more than $100 increments. Why in the world would you do otherwise? Say you and your opponent are at a bidding war and your opponent bids $4,000 (could be for anything). Why would you bid $6,000? Nobody does that in a real auction. You go in $100 increments because you might have been willing to quit at $1,500 less. Don’t throw away your money. People go over this increment to make an impression and because they think it will garner them a win. It only guarantees that you'll wind up spending more money.

People need to be aware that others are bidding against them just to get them to spend money. An opponent might not have any intention of using the ingredient or tool.

4. Take time to look around the kitchen. Find out what's really there to use. If competitors would just take a moment to look at the tools, it might save them. I found in Season 1 that chefs tended to look at what they needed and not at what was available to them. It's just a matter of panic. It takes 10 seconds to look, and you always have 10 seconds. There are a lot of options. Look at the kitchen before you start bidding. For example: Why would I bid to keep my knives when there's a deli slicer I need behind me?

5. Always leave the pantry with something that has salt in it. Example: soy sauce. Competitors might take your salt away, but they probably won’t touch your sauce. It’s a source of sodium.

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