Alton Brown is tired of professional kitchens with their professional chefs and curated pantries — he wants a real challenge. He wants to break into the homes of regular Americans and cook them dinner with what they’ve got in a show he’s titled Backdoor Kitchen.
Instead of speed-dialing Food Network with his new idea, but Alton Brown brought it directly to the people on Wednesday and even nominated a partner in crime: Los Angeles restaurateur and frequent Kitchen Nightmares guest judge Jet Tila. “Show pitch — @jettila and I sneak in back door of average homes & cook meal with whatever we find,” he posted on Twitter, along with the hashtag #BackdoorKitchen.
— Alton Brown (@altonbrown) July 25, 2018
Surely, his career of challenging chefs with diabolical sabotages on Cutthroat Kitchen and forcing them to use impossible ingredients on Chopped — not to mention his years as a Boy Scout — have all led up to this for Alton Brown. And while the title needs some work, the internet couldn’t be more excited about the concept:
This is all I got right now. Good luck pic.twitter.com/x4ErGZqZrL
— Verlis ? (@Verliswolf) July 25, 2018
My door’s unlocked! (Not really but it could be for you two). I’ve basically been eating the same salad for dinner for about 4 years. I could use the help! @jettila #bringyourdog #welcome #goodeats #doorsopen
— Lynne Dorr (@lynnedorr) July 25, 2018
Do you need my address? #BackDoorKitchen
— Meredith Cavalier (@TheMerCavDaily) July 25, 2018
And the sequel “Cooking Behind Bars” when you guys get arrested for breaking and entering
— Space Force Ranger Lucky Yates (@luckyyates) July 25, 2018
Commenters quickly got to work fleshing out the concept, and even making the chefs’ jobs more complicated. One suggested they each be limited to two items they can bring into any challenge — Alton Brown went with a chef’s knife and kosher salt, while Jet Tila chose a cast iron pan and oyster sauce. So get on it, Food Network!
Though as great as Alton Brown and Jet Tila are at what they do though, we don’t see them having to make something out of ketchup and boxed pancake mix for the fifth time without losing their minds.
Longtime Food Network fans also pointed out that Alton Brown would not be the first to want to help hapless American families make dinner after they’ve looked in the fridge and declared “There’s nothing to eat.” That would be food journalist Gordon Elliott, who with the help of guest chefs including Paula Deen and Tyler Florence invaded kitchens on a series called Door Knock Dinners in the 1990s and early 2000s.
Some of the resulting recipes are a little dubious — you’ve got the ingredients for sea scallops with parsley pesto but couldn’t make it yourself, huh? — but most will make you nod your head in recognition: chicken cooked in beer, black bean salad, fried apple pie.
If nothing else, it would be cathartic to watch Alton Brown face his own obstacles after so much gleeful cruelty on Cutthroat Kitchen.