First of all- I can’t thank you guys enough for all of your incredible support. The outpouring of liove from friends, family, readers, and total strangers was incredible! I could feel everyone rooting for me and it meant so much to hear from so many of you afterwards! XOXOXOXO
Ok. So now on to a few details about the whole Cutthroat Kitchen Experience!
Sometime in late winter I was contacted and asked if I was interested in being on the show Cutthroat Kitchen. After I got over my initial deep sweating and anxiety attack, I just sort of said yes, and figured I would work through the panic. It’s not that I was scared to be on TV, or to put myself out there- I just felt freaked out at the idea of hard core in the moment competition with strangers! Not to mention that I wasn’t sure that I would be able to keep up with the “in the moment” cooking decisions. It has been years and years since I worked a line or was in a high stress cooking situation- so I felt like that was probably going to put me at a real disadvantage.
So if you remember when I was traveling for like almost a month in April- this is one of the “projects that I was working on.” It was quite the experience!
The most important thing to understand when watching this is what a blur the whole thing was to me. Your brain just SERIOUSLY is not operating on any type of normal level. It is like fight or flight. You are going to culinary war.
Also, let me say that I think that we got more difficult stuff than usual!!! I mean the recipes, not the challenges. The last episode I saw they had to make things like Chinese Chicken Salad and Club Sandwiches and Um, ours were a little more obscure/difficult challenges, don’t you think!? Like there were so many components of these recipes that would traditionally be slow cooked- it was a crazy thing…
So first things first. I wore bootleg jeans with considerable stretch. You never know. I also wore kitchen clogs. I just figured we would be standing all day and they would be the most comfortable. In hind site- I probably should have worn running shoes. I also went full bore red lipstick and mani. Because that is how I always am. I even wear sweat pants and red lipstick at home, you know? But boy did I hear about it from the second I walked in. They wrote me off twice. Once for being a female, and again for being a blogger.
Ok. So the competitors. While being playful, there was a lot of razzing of me- most of which you did not see. Lots of comments about the lipstick and the manicure and me going back to my “sorority house”. Lots of eye rolling about being a “blogger.” (I did not mention at any point that I was a trained chef and published cookbook author). I think that Bloggers are constantly underestimated in the culinary arena, and I knew that they would probably write me off right away because of it. That was ok with me. It even felt like an advantage- because as any good blogger knows, we are innovative…
Let me break it down:
Chef Jason- he was just how he seemed on the show.
Chef Ruddy- is awesome. I am still in touch with him- a truly great guy and side splittingly funny!
Chef Marcus- He was actually nicer than he seemed on the show. A total gentleman in person.
First challenge. The biggest problem was that I didn’t get any mustard because the boys took it all. I also got a big bottle of mirin and I thought it was rice wine vinegar. I had planned to make my own pickled spicy red onions to make up for the lack of mustard. Then I realized that it was mirin. GAH!!!! The whole thing was a blur. I just remember looking at that hideous sandwich in front me just cringing at the presentation- like “seriously Heather!?” I could have done better than that!! But then I scraped through….
Second Round. Stuffed Peppers. I was so elated I can’t even tell you. You guys know I am married to a Greek Man, and I have made stuffed peppers many times. My mother-in-law makes gorgeous stuffed peppers. I really wanted to do her proud. But I was locked in a freaking box. It was so much more chaotic and crazy than it looked- SO MUCH MORE.
But my Greek Pepper won out!!!
And then we were on to our dessert round…. I have never made real Tiramisu. I have never even had it I don’t think!? (sweet cheese is not my thing) Maybe in Culinary School?? Anyways- at least I knew what went into it.
Then came the coffee strainers and stir sticks. Was that not ridiculous? So during the judging I could smell the booze wafting from Chef Marcus’s station. Like it was really strong. Plus I knew he had no sugar in his dessert. On the other hand- for once I knew I had all of the correct components, I had done the best with what I had to work with and I started to let myself believe that it was possible…
Then in the judging it seemed like she didn’t really like mine that much!! And by the way- who ever heard of a too sweet dessert!??
But in the end she was faking me out a little bit! I won Cutthroat Kitchen!!
What they didn’t show was that I started Bawling when they said I won. Like full on ugly cry- totally uncontrollable. I could tell in my final little clips that my face was all sweaty and puffy from crying. Good God what a crazy day that was.
The next day, when I rolled out of bed I almost thought there was something seriously wrong with me. My legs were sore on a whole other level than anything I have ever, ever experienced. Like they were as sore as if I had run a marathon cold with no training. The were so sore that I had to manually cross my legs on the airplane ride home. That means I had to pick up one thigh with my hands and drape it over the other leg- because they didn’t work on their own. Seriously. The only thing I can think of is that I had so much adrenaline and lactic acid built up over the course of the day that it just demolished my muscles! So weird- just like everything else that happened!
I also love how they made it seem like I was all perfectly powdered the whole time. In reality I was like the grossest sweatiest girl ever. My clothes should have been burned afterwards. Just a side note.
OK. At the end of the day I am so happy I did this show. Not because of the money. Not because I can say I won (although that is pretty cool), but because I wanted to represent the food blogging community well.
And the very best part of the whole experience? Watching it unfold with my girls tonight. They were in total suspense and loved every minute of it. I felt proud that I could bring home the win for Team Christo J
Thanks for any of you who tuned in, I have to go now because my eye lids are snapping shut. XOXOPrint Recipe
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ahhhhh congrats! I knew you could do it Heather!
Just watched it. oh my, what drama!! You see, at the end it pays to be nice!! All the fighting makes people mad, and they gang up on you. You did not say a world about Elton, how was he?
Was too fun too see you in real life!! Good job and congratulations!
Great show and you did yourself and the the blogging world proud!
OM God, Congratulations!!! I did not watch it , I don’t subscribe to a lot of television stations but laugh, your written rendition of it has me in stiches, I could feel your excitement and anxiety and fear! You go girl! (oh and love your new hair color!)
You did great! Those guys should have never under estimated you!!
I thought you were such a natural!
Loved the show..
It’s funny it’s not my favorite at all.
But with you in it..
I was happy you were so happy to have won..and you deserved to win!
Poor you the next day!
Kudos kudos kudos.
PS you’re so pretty too..had to say it..it’s the truth.
PS to just keep saying “Blogger”..check the credentials..yes a blogger but so much more ..:)
Education..degrees.. experience..and a spouse and mom..your girls are so cute~
Had the cherry almond buttermilk cake been the first challenge they would have declared you the winner right away:)
It was so fun to watch you prevail over the other competitors! I cannot imagine the pressure. But hey, aside from your excellent education, training and experience, YOU ARE A MOM and we all know moms can think on their feet and get the job done better than any other creature on earth! You just keep wearing that red lipstick, sister. You rocked!
You have a new reader out of it–and I’m glad I came to look–didn’t know you had a book!
CONGRATS!!!!! I so wish I had the Food Network channel to see it! Is it online anywhere?
Congratulations! We watched the show last night and you were amazing!
Rooted for you the whole time. You did awesome.
You, my friend, rock!!
Congrats Heather! I have not seen it yet but can’t wait. Sounds like quite the experience.
Wow! What a CRAZY experience. I can’t wait to watch this tonight…it’s on my DVR! How frustrating it must be to be “dismissed” just cause you’re a blogger. We definitely don’t get the respect we deserve – I’m so glad you won and beat the odds and how you can say “LOOK AT THIS BLOGGER THAT WON!!” haha! congratulations!! xoxo
Congratulation’s from Missoula, Montana Heather! We watched the show last night and my wife and I were rooting for you the whole time. Great job! It was interesting reading your blog above and getting some real insight on the show. Great job again!
Congrats Heather and what an amazing experience. Representing food bloggers everywhere!!
YOU are amazing!!
I didn’t know you were going to be on the show, but my daughter and I kept watching FN after food network star. And there you were! I so admire you for having the guts to do this. I can only imagine the anxiety level. You were awesome and should be proud!
Thank you Liz- that means so much 🙂
This is so awesome! Thanks for representing us so well and giving team food bloggers a win! You are awesome!
Happily Courtney!! thank you!
OMG! How awesome. I am sooooo sorry I missed it (prior committment). Do you have any idea if and when it will be repeated so I can see it?
Hi Pat- it is on demand and on iTunes 🙂
You did an amazing job! Way to represent! You have star quality!
Seattle Theta Alum
very sweet Karen! thank you so much!
That was awesome!! CONGRATULATIONS!! What an incredibly proud moment. I wasn’t sure if it was you, but now I am SO happy to know that it was!! High-Fives!
Thank you Kate!! High Five back!
Way to go! That is so awesome, heather! Congrats!
Huge congratulations, Heather! You were AMAZING!
Congrats! It’s so funny to hear how someone feels on the inside when they look so composed on the outside. Great job!
Seriously Marly- and that recap was about the half of it. Pretty crazy mind trip!
Congrats! So happy for you!
aaaaghrh! I was too tired and I fell asleep, so I didn’t get to see you win, but I knew you would. That’ll teach them. You won’t be underestimated ever again.
Thanks for giving us “bloggers” and “serious home cooks” a win!
Lets hope so Kelley! I am proud to have brought it home to all of you 🙂
Wow!!! What a thrill for you! I haven’t seen the episode, but just read about it this a.m.
And you are so gracious and kind to shout out the food blogger community.
BIG CONGRATS to you!
I couldn’t ask for a better community of colleagues and friends Patricia- thank you!
I watched last night and thought you were great! Congrats on the win!
You were AWESOME! Well deserved win!!
thank you so much Angela!!
I had no idea you were on Cutthroat!! I LOVE that show. My DVR records all of them so I’ll have to hunt down the episode. It was fascinating hearing your perspective. I always wonder how things go behind the camera. I’d love to meet Alton Brown, too. What an awesome guy. Congrats! I’m so proud of you representing the blogging community. That means so much! <3
Thank you so much Natalie- Alton was indeed awesome!
Congratulations! I was so excited to see you as a contestant last night on Cutthroat Kitchen and I was rooting for you the whole time. So glad you won. And your makeup looked AMAZING the WHOLE TIME. No one had any idea you were the sweatiest girl ever. Congrats and hope you’re enjoying the win!!
haha!! thank you Lisa!!
Heather it was so much fun to watch you last night. You really appeared so confidant and had some good retorts to your fellow chefs comments. Way to go!
Thanks Sue!! I tried… It’s hard to be witty when you are so focused on what you are doinG!
What an awesome recap! I couldn’t watch the show and forgot to DVR it so it was fun to read the play by play…but now I really want to see it so I can check out this Chef Jason
Haha- yeah- he was a total jerk!
You.Are.Awesome! So proud of you for facing your fears and kicking ass! It’s so sad that in 2014, regardless of the industry, women are still professionally judged based on their looks.
I totally agree and appreciate it Courtney 🙂
Heather….proud to say we cheered you on in Beaufort, SC! You were amazing, fun, professional, and a super good sport, especially in that crazy box contraption. Enjoy your hard earn and well deserved cash. Keep up the good work and know we enjoy your blog and skills!
Thank you Kiki very much!!
So amazing!!! Love hearing the story – congratulations!!
Thank you so much Liz!!
CONGRATULATIONS!! i love CTK! i didn’t see last nights episode, but i’m going to get it from On Demand tonight! that’s so exciting!! how was alton?! i love him!
Julianne- Alton was feisty and snarky and hilarious. I loved him 🙂 thank you for checking in!
CONGRATS!!! You rocked! I’m so glad you went in there with red lips and a mani…men just need to get over it. We can do anything they can do WHILE looking fabulous. #fact
I love that Lindsey! thank you so much!!
I knew you would win! Congrats! My family was so exited for you!
I am a GIANT FAN (I am going into 6th grade)
Oh Anna!! thank you so much!!
As a food blogger, I was rooting for you the moment you stepped onto Cutthroat Kitchen. I am so glad you won! Congratulations!
Woo hoo for Bloggers Debra!! thanks for watching!
Heather, Do you happen to know when it will air again? I missed it and would like to try to catch a re-run.
Caroline- I know you can catch an episode on-demand or on iTunes
I just stumbled onto your blog while searching for a recipe. When I printed the recipe, there was a picture of you on the page. I thought “Hey, that looks like the chick that won Cutthroat Kitchen last night!” That was an awesome episode. You were amazing! Thanks for the Lemon Summer Squash Bread recipe (that’s what I originally came for).
That is totally crazy Marie! I love it!
So excited for you! Congratulations, Heather! What a wild and crazy experience! Good on you for staying true to yourself <3
Thank you so much Rachel!
New reader from Texas – you were great! That stuffed cooking station looked, um, hilarious and awful. 🙂 Congrats on the win!
BethanyAnne- it was totally hilarious and awful! thank you for reading 🙂
Kudos. Great job on the show!
thank you Mindi!
At the beginning of the show, when they introduced you, I became intrigued so I looked up your website and perused a bit before watching the episode.
You were right to buy those first two auctions, they saved you so much grief. It was also a great strategy to sit back and let the others battle it out. When everyone had to share that basket, I figured you were safe. The lack of mustard had me worried, but the cigar cutter and vice Jason got dealt gave you the advantage.
Thankfully, the other two didn’t take the basket sharing personally and they went after each other because they didn’t consider you a threat. That was their second mistake, underestimating you.
For the stuffed peppers, when you got stuck in the cage, I would’ve filled those peppers with water or a liquid of some kind and used the torch to heat the water, which would’ve permeated the heat throughout the pepper to cook it, then use the torch on the outer part of the peppers when they were cooked enough.
No spices for Ruddy’s lack of flavor did him in. I really liked how Marcus didn’t miss a beat on the reversed stuffed pepper. If you get flavor right, that’s a big plus on Cutthroat Kitchen.
By the time you got to Tiramisu and got dealt the stirring sticks and filters, that was a small price to pay, considering you avoided the worst items throughout the challenge. I think on the last challenge you need to stay as close to expectations as possible to win. Marcus not having sugar and using too much alcohol had me convinced you were going to win before she took her first bite.
I’ve never read your blog, didn’t know it existed until the show. I do have to admit that infectious smile of yours won me over and you became my favorite to win. It’s always rewarding when the person you pick to win knocks it out of the park. Congratulations.
Thank you for detailing your experience on the show. I do have one question. Are the challenges done one after another or do you take breaks?
Thank you for the comments Freth! We did get very short breaks in between challenges. But just to go to the bathroom and let them get set up…
Congratulations! I just watched the show and I thought you were great. You handled yourself with grace and dealt with the pressure really well. I feel like bloggers often get a bad rap, but there are amazing, creative bloggers out there that just blow people out of the water with all of their ideas, recipes, or projects. Good for you!
That is so nice to say Jennifer and you are right- bloggers are so amazing and filled with such wonderful intentions to share with the world!
I was rooting for you the whole time and was so glad you won. Your blog and Pinterest boards have a new subscriber 🙂
Thank you so much Vikki!!
Thank you Vikki! I am so excited to hear that!
You won!!! Awesome. 🙂
Heather, that was so fun to watch, regardless of who won, but a double bonus for you to actually win. Be proud…you worked hard!
Thank you aunt Mary!! I appreciate that 🙂
Hooray! Super proud of you, Heather!! XO
Thank you Sharon!!
OMG, you are amazing on so many levels. So proud of you girl!!!!!
Thank you so much Kate 🙂
CONGRATS!!! Somehow, I didn’t realize that was YOU until seeing your recap – it was such a good episode!
So funny! thank you Phil!
Way to go, Heather! I loved watching you on the show and definitely was cheering for you the whole time:-) You were a complete rock star and I love that you came off as nice and professional vs. how some of the other contestants can be. Seriously, so great! You definitely represented us well:-)
Oh Heather, you just handled it all with such aplomb. Every year I volunteer for a charity event where they bring in a famous celebrity chef and we prep for him/her and then cook with them, plate and all the things that go with preparing a $700 a plate dinner. I am usually the only female and the men (except for the celebrity chef and his assistants) treat me as if I am not there. I may go 4 hours without anyone saying a word to me. The first year, there were three other women, but they worked together and basically ignored me too. Thereafter, it has only been me as the sole woman chef. At first, I was upset, but now I have come to expect it and don’t really care. Most of the lower men cooks and even a few trained chefs think it’s a locker room or good old boy’s club. They look sloppy and their whites are stained. But I was trained to stay clean and stay calm. I will participate again this year but it will be a lonely two days! You held your own by staying classy and letting your talents speak for you intend of your mouth. Congratulations!!!
What a great job! Just finished watching and was pulling for you the second I heard you were a food blogger. You handled yourself beautifully and with grace. It was so fun to watch you and read a “backstage” account, I always wonder what it’s like.
One a side note, would you be willing to share what lipstick you’re wearing? Its stunning! As a fellow redhead, red is so tough for me to find that I just HAD to ask!!
Thank you Michelle! That lipstick is a Scarlett Ibis from MAC- I always go for the orangey reds with the red hair 🙂
How incredibly exciting, Heather! I can’t wait to try and find it tonight, now that our TV has been installed in our new house. 🙂 Anyone who dares to underestimate you in the kitchen is in for a rude awakening, lol. Rock on with your bright red lips!!
So glad I saw your post about your being on the show. Entirely enjoyed the show. So glad you won. Thanks for everything!
Awesome win! Just watched it. Rooting for you all the way. SO happy you won and you definitely did the food blogging world well! Congrats.
Chef Heather, I am just a college student and I am just starting to cook for myself and my friends. I’ve always loved cooking and baking and I saw you on cut throat kitchen and was so impressed. You are my new cooking Buddha!!!
Hi Heather: You have a new fan in me ! I watched the Cutthroat Kitchen episode and so hoped you would come out victorious and yeah – you did !!
Thank you so much Gail!
Congrats, Heather! I’m so happy for you!
As a fellow Seattleite (hmmm, not sure it that’s right) I was cheering for you the whole time, especially when I saw how your competitors seemed to be looking down at you as being a ‘blogger’ in the beginning of the show. Yay Heather!!! Maybe you can get your own Food Network show?
I record the show and watch it later….like tonight. This was the best one, yet!
It was also the first time I looked up one of the chefs, on line, to read about them.
I so enjoyed reading your recap. Thank you for blogging!
I love to use up what I have and having been raised by a German gourmet chef, my meals turn out pretty good.
Thank you, again, for being on the show.
Great job! I just watched on the mobile ap and was proud of you! Good playing and good cooking! Blessings!
Watched you beat the guys, they were so smart and the blogger showed them, Loved it!!
I was so excited to see you on the show and I was so happy you won!
Congratulations Heather! We had so much fun watching you last Sunday! My kids even found the show On Demand and were able to watch it again. So exciting! Great job!!
Heather you are awesome! Pretty, smart, AND talented – a triple threat!
I loved watching! You were awesome and seem soooo nice and came off really well. Great to see a blogger not only be on the show but also win. A win for all of us 🙂
You did a great job. Great show.
It’s not just food bloggers that get underestimated. It was SO GREAT to see you represent the ENTIRE blogging community! We love the Food Network and I always root for the bloggers because we all need to stick together! You’ve got a new subscriber here “sister”. 😉
Thank you so much Tamar!! #BLOGGERSARETHEBEST!
Thank you for being so sweet on the show. You stayed a lady and beat out the men.
Hi! I’ve been craving stuffed peppers since I saw you make them on the show. Any chance you will be posting the recipe? ! Please and thank you lol
you are SO adorable. my boyfriend and i watch every episode of ctk, and by far you have been my favorite contestant. not only because of your positivity and great energy, but you smile non stop and thats the lovliest thing about a person. your blog and food look so charming. keep up the good work and much success on all your endeavors:)
danielle and aaron
ps stuffed peppers are my specialty 🙂
That is so incredibly nice Danielle!! thank you very much for all of your well wishes 🙂
How wonderful for you, your family and your blog family! Thank you for all you do, Heather!
Thank you so much Donna- how nice of you 🙂
Omg! heather, after following you forever, my hub turned it on tonight. Probably a replay. Was soooo proud of you and happy to see a fellow blogger! You ROCKED!!!!
Thank you Katie!!
Heather!! I love you! 🙂 I’m am sick with the flu and had been watching food network all day and just watched your cutthroat kitchen. Heck yeah sister, you kicked butt!! I just started blogging and do some food but love cooking so I was happy you were there to represent us all with such glory! Yeah congrats girl!!!! 🙂
I cannot believe I am so out of touch that I missed this! Reading about it was a hoot…not only can you cook, you really are a great writer as well. Congrats, you deserve it!
Thank you so much Stacy! Hope all is well there on the farm!
I just watched this episode! Kudos to you girl! You kept positive & kept your cool! The last 2 guys showed their true colours & despite their games, you are the Winner!!!
Congrats! Either the show did an awesome job making you look good or you really kept it together. It did not at all look like you were in a cutthroat war. I mean, you were smiling the whole time! Those other competitors were definitely foolish to write you off. It was clear, if not after the first round then for sure after the second that you have true skills beyond blogging. I have to say though that you really lucked out that Chef Rudy was there. You spent most of your cash out of the gate. With barely enough to defend yourself with, Rudy’s aggressive purchases saved your behind. Having said that, you held your own and some. Well done.
Just wanted to tell you you’re beautiful, but I’m sure you already hear that all the time. Saw you on cutthroat kitchen briefly, didn’t actually get to see the episode, but hope and strongly believe you kicked bottom
Disappointed my statement was cut short
Watched the show tonight very crazy congrats to you!!!
I will always love and support you!!! You are amazing and strong and i wish you the best and with success populating your entire life!!
Just watched this episode on Netflix! You did great. Congratulations! 🙂
You made me want your Tiramisu It looked so good! And I don’t like Tiramisu. Great job
Just saw you on Cutthroat kitchen. I was pleasantly surprised to find that you make allergen free recipes. My husband is allergic to so many things and I can’t wait to try some of your recipes! YAY!
I loved your show! I just watched it on Netflix? Hulu? …I don’t remember.
I was cheering for you the WHOLE TIME because I’m a female and a blogger too. Girl, you did amazing and you totally rocked it with 100 level confidence despite their jaunts. I didn’t even realize it happened 5 years ago. hope everything is going well for you now, especially as the blogging industry has skyrocketed!!
Cutthroat Kitchen has just hit tv screens in New Zealand, and I love it … Hadn’t heard of you before you appeared, but had to pause halfway through the episode to google and bookmark you! Awesome win, and I love that you have kept in contact with some of yr competitors – shows true spirit. Consider me a new follower!