Fairfield County Chef Competes On Food Network’s ‘Cutthroat Kitchen’

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Westport Chef Molly Brandt of CM Gourmet Market will compete on the Food Network game show "Cutthroat Kitchen" Sunday at 10 p.m. Photo Credit: Vanessa Inzitari

WESTPORT, Conn. — Inside the kitchen at CM Gourmet Market in Westport, Executive Chef Molly Brandt and her staff work together as a team — the exact opposite of what happens in the Food Network’s “Cutthroat Kitchen,” where it’s every chef for him or herself.

Brandt, a Minnesota native now living in Norwalk, competes against three other chefs in Sunday’s episode of the cooking game show, in which contestants sabotage one another in their fight to become champion. The episode will air at 10 p.m.

“It was such a great experience,” said Brandt, 33, who filmed the episode in September. “It was very exciting and a lot of fun.”

In “Cutthroat Kitchen,” four chefs face off in three timed cooking challenges. At the start, each chef is given $25,0000, which they can use to help themselves or foil their opponents. For example, chefs can bid on having the exclusive right to taste their food during a challenge. 

Not being able to taste your food is one of the lesser hardships dished out. More diabolical examples of sabotage have included forcing another to cook without the use of utensils; not being able to use a stove top; taking away a key ingredient; being forced to use strange ingredients; having to fry something without a fryer; and using unconventional tools, such as a hockey skate instead of knives.

Because judges are sequestered during the challenges, they are unaware of the obstacles the chefs had to overcome. At the end of the competition, the winning chef takes home whatever money they have left of the original $25,000.

Due to a confidentially agreement, Brandt was not able to discuss details of the show. However, when asked whether she sabotaged her fellow competitors, she smiled and said, “It’s safe to say that’s the point of the game.”

Brandt, a graduate of the Culinary Institute of America, said the competition forced her to think outside the box.

“I had to do something I’ve never done before in my life, so I definitely learned something new and different,” she said with a laugh. “Unexpected situations often arise in a kitchen, but the scenarios on the show are just so ridiculous, you can’t help but laugh— and I did a lot of laughing.”

"Cutthroat Kitchen" isn't Brandt's first time on TV. Back in 2011, she was a contestant on the Bravo reality show "Top Chef."

Before CM Gourmet Market, Brandt spent two years as chef de cuisine of a restaurant aboard a Royal Caribbean cruise ship. She also owned her own catering company and worked as a line cook at Cafe Boulud in New York City.

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