UCF grad takes the cake in 'Cutthroat Kitchen'
Four chefs entered Cutthroat Kitchen Sunday night, but only one — UCF grad Emily Ellyn — walked out with a few thousand dollars in her pocket.
After surviving four rounds of culinary sabotage and proving her cooking prowess to chef judge Anne Burrell, Ellyn added Cutthroat Kitchen to her list of Food Network conquests — as well as $17,800 to her bank account. She has previously competed on The Next Food Network Star and Cupcake Wars, the latter of which was alongside Hollis Wilder of Sweet by Holly.
Donning red lipstick, gem stone-studded glasses and a polka dot scarf, Ellyn entered the first round. Ellyn and her competitors — Chef Jack, Chef Rob and Chef Ventura — were challenged to construct a classic deli sandwich. After being forced to harvest her ingredients from a vending machine and sit out for five minutes, the UCF alumna produced a sandwich whose ingredients, Burrell said, "could have been combined more cohesively."
And although Burrell thought the bread was too small to keep the ingredients from falling out, it was Chef Rob who was let go and Ellyn squeezed through to the next round, during which the competitors were tasked with churning out the perfect taco.
With all of her $25,000 remaining, Ellyn bid $3,600 on a frozen chocolate taco, which she bestowed upon Jack, who, undeterred, would make it to the next round.
In return, Jack shelled out $15,500 for a brick wall to be placed between Ellyn and Ventura, who would be forced to cook each other's meals with only verbal instruction for assistance. The set-up resulted in a situation that reminded Ellyn of an episode of I Love Lucy, with Ventura shouting orders in a thick Spanish accent.
Burrell praised the skirt steak tacos Ventura produced for Ellyn. However, his own were found to be under seasoned, the deciding factor in his elimination.
"I thought we were working as a team. I know I put 100 percent in what i was doing for Emily. I don't know if she put in 100 percent for what she was doing for me. I feel like she sabotaged me," said Ventura, who Ellyn commented didn't communicate properly.
After learning of the secret sabotage, Burrell said, "I feel really bad now," according to the Food Network website. But that, host Alton Brown explained, is all part of the fun.
For the final round, Ellyn and Jack sweat it out to produce a classic ice cream sundae. With only $3,500, Jack was outbid by Ellyn, which landed him in a very slow motorized scooter — his only form of transportation to get around the kitchen.
Although Ellyn's sundae, accompanied by a chocolate raspberry sauce, possessed a "soupy" consistency, it was Jacks's peanut butter banana split sundae that received the ax.
Walking away with $17,800 — what was left of her initial $25,000, Ellyn had one thing to say.
"I didn't know I had it in me to be so devilish."
Caroline Glenn is the News Editor at the Central Florida Future. Follow her on Twitter @bycarolineglenn or email her at CarolineGCentralFloridaFuture.com.