Category: Food Network

Cutthroat Kitchen – Casting Guide

Cutthroat Kitchen Logo
  • Contestants: Four per Episode
  • Top Prize: Upto $25,000
  • Selectivity: 3 Star
This is a single episode reality show appearing on the Food Network. The show is hosted by Alton Brown and features four features competing against each other in a format very similar to Chopped . The primary difference is that this show features culinary sabotages meant to hinder the contestants from completing their dishes. This is a fantastic show for someone who may not have the technical expertise to compete on a standard cooking show, and instead excel at thinking on their feet.

The sabotages can be divided into three primary categories. The first group are the ones that impact the ingredients in the dish. This can include losing their food basket or simply replacing key items. Statistically, these have the most impact and should therefore solicit the most bids. The second group are the challenges which impact the ability to cook or prepare the food. This includes limiting the chefs use of knives, heating sources, or mixing vessels. These can have a moderate impact when combined; however, on their own the recipient is rarely sent home for these. The final type of sabotage are the time wasters. These require the contestant to make hot dogs, remove sesame seeds, or chip shrimp from ice. These challenges are rarely the tipping point of the round and rather serve as the nail in the coffin when someone is already struggling.

Cutthroat Kitchen Show Overview & Strategy

When making a dish, the contestants should make an elevated version of the dish as close to possible to the standard dish. Contestants continually hurt themselves by trying to make something unique while shopping, and then the obstacles make it completely impossible for them to make a dish. Our team has watched every episode of Cutthroat Kitchen, and it is far more likely for the person who makes a traditional dish to make it through the round rather than someone who tries to “Think outside the box”. The time for creative thinking is after the auction, and not before. That being said, contestants should always get sugar, flour and eggs for every challenge regardless of the food. The eggs can serve as a binder and the flour a thickener. The sugar is used if the dish is made too salty or acidic to bring the flavor profile back in check. We’ve included a video of Alton’s suggestions below:

Cutthroat Kitchen Show Casting Process

The first step in applying for the show is to complete the application form here. The form has about 25 questions, many of which are simple one word responses such as First Name, Facebook ID, etc. This form could easily be completed in about 30 minutes. Once the form has been completed, if the casting team is interested in you, they will contact you and setup an camera test. For people who live in Los Angeles, this could be in person, but for everyone else it will be via Skype. There is a pretty quick turnaround time between when you submit the form and being contacted by the producers.

The next season of Cutthroat Kitchen is casting in December 2014 and January 2015. The filming occurs in Los Angeles and usually takes 2-3 days on set for each episode.

Applicant Restrictions:

Each episode has a unique set of restrictions. There are no set guidelines as any age or profession restrictions are lifted for the “Special Shows” some of which we have listed below. If you want to apply on Cutthroat Kitchen and are a legal US resident, it’s worth submitting your online application.
  • Fireman
  • Lunch Lady
  • Grandmother
  • Home Chef
  • Military
  • BBQ/Grill Master
  • Food Truck Chef

Finally, if you applied to be on this show, we’d love to hear your story whether or not you were selected to appear on air. Feel free to click the link below to share your story with us and our readers.


Cupcake Wars – Casting Guide

Cupcake Wars Logo  Copyright:  FoodNetwork

  • Contestants: Four Per Episode
  • Top Prize: $10,000
  • Selectivity: 2 Star
Cupcake wars is one of the best reality cooking shows. The show has a maximum prize of $10,000, but the real key is the exposure and marketing that the bakery gets for appearing on the show. Even if someone goes out in the first round, they will be able to advertise they were selected to appear on the show. By making it to the second round, the contestant can advertise they were in the “Top 3”, “Cupcake Wars Finalist” or “Cupcake Wars Winner”. Ultimately, appearing on this show is worth thousands of dollars in growing a business, and it will really allow the participants’ businesses to standout in the local market.

Show Details

The show is divided into three rounds which are judge by Florian Bellanger, Candace Nelson, and a guest judge that will change each episode. The first round will be a taste test in which the contestants will be provided ingredients which don’t normally go into cupcake. This could include raw seafood, green vegetables, meat or savory food. This really forces the contestant to think on their feet as they can’t simply come in with a predetermined recipes. After this round, the team which creates the worst cupcake is eliminated.

The second round requires each team to make three cupcakes which are judged equally on taste and appearance. There are no restrictions for ingredients in this round so it’s the best strategy is to come in with recipes set for 5-6 different cakes to cover different flavor profiles. The other half of this is decoration which is greatly undervalued by many teams. Before appearing on the show, at least one of the people on the team should be comfortable with fondant sculpting and molded chocolate. Even if this isn’t something that is done in your local shop, this is one of the main skills to win the show. Once again after this round another team is eliminated leaving two teams.

The third and final rounds pushes the bakers from someone who creates the treats to someone who is leading a small army. While the first rounds were based on making remarkable items, the final round gives only a couple of hours to create 1000 cupcakes. To put the task in perspective, each team has a head baker, an assistant, and four production workers who each have to create an average of 167 cupcakes in 3 hours meaning. The effectively works out to about 1 minute of labor for the entire cupcake. Additionally, each team is responsible for creating a stand for the cupcakes.

Show Tips

This is one of the most popular shows on our site, and we’ve gotten a lot of feedback for tips that we want to pass along to our readers when you make the show.
  1. In round 1, always avoid fish, onions, and hot dogs. You want to use one of the more memorable ingredients, but don’t pick the one with the strongest flavor on the table.

  2. In round 1, don’t play it entirely safe. There is almost always an option to choose two or three fruits that will fit a normal cupcake. This is a trap. The judges will grade more harshly expecting an amazing flavor, and there’s an incredibly high chance you’ll be going home.

  3. In round 1, use the minimum number of ingredients. In later seasons, many contestants try to prove their chops by throwing in more ingredients than necessary. You do not show off by adding more than the normal number, you are instead diluting the overall flavors.

  4. In round 1, decorate your cupcake. Having a nice appearing cupcake will greatly improve your chances should you make it to the final. Additionally, when a nicely decorated item is submitted in the first round, it very rarely gets eliminated.

  5. In between the first two round work with your assistant on your stand design. I recommend keeping some paper and pens with you to rough sketch and talk through ideas during the judging. This will allow the idea to simmer while working through round two.

  6. For Round 2, ignore all ingredients from the first round. One contestant will get stuck in the ideas from round one and try to incorporate those flavors going forward. This is a complete mistake as all previous ingredients should be forgotten.

  7. Create one chocolate cake, one spice/flavor cake and one fruit cake. The daily theme should not impact the cakes and frosting you make as you should focus the branding with the decorations.

  8. Decorations should demonstrate multiple techniques. You always want a piped chocolate and some fondant pieces. Additionally, adding a candied item like nuts, bacon or pretzels really helps add a bit of texture. These items be worked out in advance of appearing on the show, and only the decorations need to change.

  9. For round 3, create a 360 degree stand that has shelves starting about waist level. You want the logo and brand of the event front and center, and it helps to have an interactive element with a smoke machine or video screen.

  10. For round 3, avoid sparklers or fire. Contestants who go this approach usually don’t win the show as the decoration becomes a fire hazard. Find other ways of making the stand vibrant.

  11. Also patronize the judge and agree with their recommendations. In your kitchen, you are the boss, but on set listen to them and make the cake to their tasting even if you feel they are completely wrong.

  12. Don’t make red velvet cake. This cake is done too often, and making it is a sure way of having the judges feel your cake fell short.

Casting Videos

As we know a lot of you out there are creating your casting videos, our editors wanted to include some of the best /video submissions.
The submission from Rise cupcake is one of the best we’ve seen as it hits all the elements. The head baker and assistant are very photogenic and memorable. They look to have fun while dancing and being silly around the store. They also have a very nice store meaning that if they win, the cupcake wars brand wouldn’t be embarrassed to be associated with them. Additionally, the images of the cupcakes also show a high level of decorating skill. Finally, by talking about her staff and the large orders the store has done, they demonstrate the ability to lead a team of people to be able to accomplish the 1000 cupcake for the final round.

Applicant Requirements

  • Must Over 18 Years Old
  • Must Be Eligible to Work in United States

Casting Calls – Date & Location
This show has completed casting for the 2014 season and is currently airing. We will be updating this page when the casting for the next season opens up.

Finally, if you applied to be on this show, we’d love to hear your story whether or not you were selected to appear on air. Feel free to click the link below to share your story with us and our readers.


Food Truck Face Off – Casting Guide

Food Truck Face Off Logo
Food Truck Face Off Logo Contestants: 4 per episode
Top Prize: Customized Food Truck
Selectivity: 2 Star

Food Truck Face Off Overview

This show is a single episode elimination cooking show similar to chopped or cut throat kitchen. The premise is that four teams consisting of two people each pitch an idea for a food truck. The three judges evaluate the idea, the food and the contestants to identify the teams they believe have the highest likelihood of success. From there two of the four teams are eliminated and two of the teams are given a food truck for a one on one competition. They each sell items from their food truck over a weekend for about two hours each day, and the team who generates the most money gets to keep their truck.

This is a low two star show as it doesn’t seem incredibly difficult to be cast for the show. Many of the contestants have little or no cooking background and some seem like they merely want to be on a reality show or be on the Food Network.  There’s no harm if that’s your goal, and this one may be one of the easiest prime time shows to get a spot. In the premiere, one of the teams consisted of a salesman and an accountant neither of which had a culinary education or background running a food related business. They were quickly eliminated from the show, but they still got their few minutes of fame.

Food Truck Face Off Casting Tips

When applying for this show, the two most important aspects are to have a unique food that people will talk about. Whether you want to have some blowfish tacos or fried alligator, the more unique the food the higher the chance of being on the show. Even if you make the absolute best traditional Mexican tacos, it won’t matter for this show because they want items that will be memorable. The best approach would be to take a classic and add a twist to it. The winners of the pilot had a truck built around mac and cheese as an example. Unique food that is popular with a wide range of people, and they offered a very high end version of this food in several different dishes.

Applicant Restrictions:

  • Must be 18+ Years Old
  • Must be a US Resident

Food Truck Face Off Auditions

The list of cities and dates have not been set for the 2015 season of Food Truck Face Off. We will keep this page updated and sent out an announcement via twitter once the show’s production team makes the announcement.

Online Applications

This show has an online application in which you complete the four question survey and then upload a video. After the video, there is usually a couple of phone calls and a video chat before you arrive on site for filming.

Finally, if you applied to be on this show, we’d love to hear your story whether or not you were selected to appear on air. Feel free to click the link below to share your story with us and our readers.


Preparing for Marathon Cooking Shoes

A lot of people really enjoy shows like Ultimate Cakeoff, Cupcake Wars or Food Network Challenge, but they can be extremely challenging for the contestants.  What most viewers don’t know is that they timer is set for eight hours for the cake shows or three hours for cup cake wars and that there is absolutely no breaks until the clock reaches zero.  Contestants are given granola bars and can have bottles of water that are usually kept under their work station, but that’s it.  Even taking a bathroom break can be a significant disadvantage.  These shows are not for the weak at heart whatsoever so we will share a few tips that we’ve learned from our chats with people who have been on the shows:
  1. Eat a Big Breakfast – Most of the contestants and their assistants will work straight through the day.  You may take a break to grab a bar and scarf down water, but that will be the limit of it.   A lot of people simply don’t eat for the whole day, but this can put your team at a significant disadvantage.  The casting master food of choice is to have some high quality premade protein shakes..  These can be kept in the same area as the water, and you merely drink them.  It’s possible to consume an entire 300 calorie drink in under 15 seconds by chugging it down.  While drinking the protein shakes will keep your energy up, eating a large breakfast will really help fight over any feelings of hunger.  In the early hours, you will be pumped on adrenaline and won’t notice the hunger so it’s best to keep ahead of it.

  2. Drink a lot of Water – One of the best tips, we have heard is to drink 4 ounces of water every time a half hour passes on the clock.  This is a quick drink and of course you can have more than this if you’re thirsty, but keeping hydrated will help keep you on top form.  There will be minimal time lost to taking the extra sips of water, but this approach will result in an extra bathroom trip or two.  In the end, I think it’s very much worth it to stay on top of your game and be hydrated especially if you are a contestant who is 30+ years old or on medication.

  3. Bring Comfortable Clothes – One aspect of cupcake wars that I find the most funny is that people will often wear costumes to the event.  The fancy skirts or restrictive outfits can make baking more difficult.  I totally get the idea of branding from the clothes and wanted to look good for the camera, but if this is truly of the most importance, then you should consider getting specially made attire that will be comfortable.  On top of that, if the show allows, absolutely wear a branded shirt with your company name and logo on it.  This will just reinforce it in the audiences mind.

  4. Do a test bake – Most of the shows will give a set budget ahead of time, and you should practice making your cakes ahead of time.  I recommend even cutting 25% off the time given in the show to work within that.  You will be far faster and more familiar with your equipment than in the show kitchen so you want to build some buffer in.  Most of the time there is one contestant who doesn’t finish so you are moving your team one space higher by having someone else be the team that can’t manage their time.

  5. Shop for Supplies – A lot of shows provide a specific budget, like $800, to create a cake.  You may even need to show receipts of your purchases, but this can be a huge advantage if you understand the game.  The companies usually limit the amount of money that can be spent on supplies for the cake, but don’t have rules about coupon matching or if the store is offering discounts.  Using tactics from extreme couponing can lead to significantly higher end product for the chocolate and other flavors by minimizing the cost for products that will have less impact on the overall quality of the cake.

  6. Have Milestones and Fallbacks – This is a term that is fairly common when developing software so that the product can be released at a predictable time.  Essentially, the baker should know how long their cake takes to build from the test run, and should have 4-6 milestones throughout the process.  Let’s assume there are 4 milestones for an 8 hour back.  If milestone 1 doesn’t complete until the 3 hour mark, then it’s fair to assume that each milestone will take 3 hours meaning the whole cake will take 12 hours and be ridiculously late.  Instead of waiting until only one hour is left and being frantic, the approach is to have a fallback, where you pair back details of the design after each milestone.  If you are ahead the day of, just keep working to plan, but if you are behind then leave out elements of that milestone to get the schedule back on track.  It’s far easier to be deciding which elements to leave out during the competition if you already know what can safely be left out without risking the structure and how much time is saved by dropping a specific element.

  7. Remember, it’s a show – The purpose of this show from the producer’s perspective is to create entertaining television.  While you will want to be heads down and focused on the cake, the show is trying to create some drama around it.  You may want to think of some clever phrases before the show or create a nice little celebration dance with your team.  Being memorable will help your chance of getting called back.  Even if you win the show with the best cake, but are hard to work with or incredibly boring, you can count your chances of getting back again.  I really like having a list of phrases or quick soundbites that can be dubbed in to make the producers job as easy as possible.  Selfishly, I am also hoping this will result in more air time for us since we can be gap fillers.

  Those are all the tips that the CastingMaster team has for you to prepare for the day of cooking.  It’s a great opportunity to be on any major cooking show that can really send your business through the roof.  Facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterest

Restaurant Makeover – Casting Guide

Food Network Logo
Contestants: 1 Business
Top Prize $TBD
Selectivity: 1 Star

This show is casting for it’s premier season and as such we don’t have a lot of information on the Restaurant Makeover. From our research, this show focuses on helping restaurants rebrand their business to become more profitable.

Applicant Restrictions:
  • No Restrictions

If you are interested in appearing on the show, you can apply by visiting their website visiting their website .

Finally, if you applied to be on this show, we’d love to hear your story whether or not you were selected to appear on air. Feel free to click the link below to share your story with us and our readers.  Facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterest