A few scary images I found:
eat, drink and be scary — CUT THROAT KITCHEN and how to navigate the turmoil of social interaction and sabotage PART ONE : scott richard, san francisco (2015)
Image by torbakhopper
it’s important to note right from the start that CUT THROAT KITCHEN is not "just another competitive cooking show."
as one of the first genuine game shows that merely "revolves" around cooking, CUT THROAT KITCHEN (CTK) sets a new standard for entertainment and food competition concepts.
unlike most of the other food entertainment models for competitive cooking, CTK focuses on the concept of forced-handicapping strategies, economic leveraging and willful disruption of play to create a sporting event with gaming results.
that is, on this show, during each round, contestants are offered the opportunity to buy specific sabotages that affect the other contestants in auction style sell offs.
each contestant is given the same amount of cash at the beginning of the game.
the game has three rounds and starts with four contestants.
in the last round, the final two contestants compete for whatever money they still retain after bidding on sabotages and making it through the rounds.
each contestant starts with ,000 and the winner walks away with whatever she or he has left.
sabotages come in two forms — individual sabotages and collective sabotages.
individual sabotages can be bought by any of the contestants in an auction. each round usually has several auctions, but at least a minimum of two where sabotages are sold to the highest bidder.
an individual sabotage gives the highest bidder the right to penalize another opponent with an inhibiting/debilitating sabotage. and this is where alton brown’s creativity and genius takes over.
sabotages can range from a loss of ingredients, a replacement of ingredients to a complete change of ingredients.
they can also affect the way in which a contestant is allowed to play/cook. tools can be taken away and replaced. all appliances and cooking devices can be taken away and replaced.
restrictions that hamper physical movement are also sold as sabotages, forcing contestants to overcome extreme circumstances in order to fulfill the challenges.
the challenges themselves are pretty straight forward : "make ordinary french toast"; "your best hash browns"; "a banana-split sundae", etc.
and the goals by which the guest judge determines winners is based on three simple things:
does the dish remind the judge of the ideal version of the challenge?
does the dish taste good?
and lastly, does the dish look good?
so how does all of this equate toward social interaction outside the gaming kitchen?
well, interestingly, it’s all about how a contestant plays the game and the basic makeup skills within each individual. that is, different personality types will be more successful by playing upon their strengths and not succumbing to their weaknesses.
in real life, all interactions are competitive.
even if we don’t agree that the energy of competition isn’t genuine and prefer to interpret things from other angles and viewpoints, it won’t make the spirit force of competition disappear.
so i suggest embracing this idea right from the start — ALL your social interaction with others is based on competition. and you are competing with others at all times, whether you like it or not.
and this is where ms. manners and "handsome boy modeling school"-concepts come from — the art of competitive social interaction and how to behave and be "mannered".
and how to get ahead, because on CTK, the goal is to win all the money and it doesn’t really matter how you get there.
so let’s dive into our metaphor here.
CTK has a great format.
the show opens with the introduction — one at a time — of the contestants as they descend into the dungeon kitchen which is CTK, and take their place behind their cooking stations. the intro then covers their brief and cooking-related background.
after the contestants are introduced, alton brown comes down the staircase in a much more "deus ex machina" way. his maniacal enthusiasm is always evident, as is his pleasure in his own deviant genius.
he is, after all, the host.
many social interactions have hosts as well.
and realizing this is one of the key factors in "doing well" in any kind of organized social interaction.
hosts, by their nature, are usually powerful economic forces who dispense wealth/products and provide for others. and in this case, alton liberally hands out the 25 grand to each contestant via them reaching into a cash filled briefcase and retrieving two large bundles a piece.
and this is each contestants "starting wealth".
starting wealth, in the context of socializing, refers to all of your own basic traits that work in your favor.
maybe you have a great laugh or pretty eyes. maybe you wrote a book that was well received. perhaps you are funny and have good stories to share. or your job is interesting and you know talented people. you could also be a snappy dresser and bespoken by your wardrobe.
this is your original 25K, your "starting wealth".
in real life, not everyone has the same starting wealth.
in a closed operation system like a game show, you can equalize these factors with simple mathematics and contrivances.
but that’s not how reality works.
in reality, there is no such equality. equality is a liberal idea brought about by the numerical and imaginary intrusion of "the zero principle".
but just as there is no equality, there is also no such thing as a zero or "nothing". the absence of "something" does not equal nothing. these are grammar games that come from the mistakes which numbers have introduced into human thought systems.
and the key here, in any system which monopolizes wealth or acquisition, is to realize that the these number games allow for vast debt and embezzlement to take place — with or without punishment.
social interaction can follow these same rules of behavior.
understanding your "starting wealth" is fundamental to understanding how you play off your own concepts of "zero" and "nothing". the schill game can make money simply off bluffing.
so can you.
so, the fixed "starting wealth" in CTK is something each individual needs to figure out for themselves when applying these ideas to social interaction.
you should know your assets and your attractive factors.
you should know that you can improve these benefits by focusing on them and by emphasizing them.
and you should also be aware that, socially, others can use your assets and attractive factors in their favor as well — your strengths can be played against you as weaknesses.
on CTK this shows up most drastically in the form of CHEAPNESS. many contestants don’t realize the severities of the sabotages and therefore underestimate the actual damage. the result is not to bid on the auction items. failure to win these bids can cause ruin.
but being cheap and underestimating the value of using CASH to buy sabotages — and the basic economic rule that you have to spend money to make money — can be costly.
and this is one of the saddest ways to lose on CTK — a metaphorical cutting of your own throat.
the same things apply in a social context.
by chintzing out on those around you and keeping too close of an eye on your assets, you will fall out of the moment and potentially underbid the action which is required for social liquidity.
on CTK, if you lose the round, you are forced to put ALL your cash back into the briefcase and walk away — just another victim of the CTK syndrome.
suitably, if you are cheap, alton will point it out to you.
it’s one of the ways in which he does favors for people.
in fact, i’ll bet you real money that those who are cheap on CTK will always remember the sting of embarrassment and the terror of defeat. this will make them think twice before being cheap a$ $ cowards in the future…
in real life, these are the people who make plans and then try to get out of them. these are the people who become stingy with their time and try to opt for the easy options — canceling on others, rescheduling, half-heartedly feigning interest in the plans they’ve mindlessly created.
and socially, these people don’t have friends. they "know" people. but they are incapable of true relationships and therefore end up in a constant manufacturing mode that requires a steady stream of new faces and acquaintances.
in a sense, many of the first round losers on CTK are like this. they arrive in the kitchen dungeon fully prepared to lip off and show boat their way through the first challenge. these are the ones who mistakenly wave red flags around their heads and challenge the other contestants to notice them.
we all know these people socially. they are the loudest, they talk the most, they name drop and refer constantly to places and events as a means of establishing their worth. or they pick on others, criticizing those around them as a means to interact, inflate, rile and imbalance.
at a party, these kind of people create a force field that either attracts or dispels people, depending on the other person’s personality type. extroverted people ca
people have identified many of these people as having "low self esteem".
i think this is debatable. they could also be categorized as "untrained in acceptable social behavior".
some people may originally be drawn toward these "sore thumb" personalities because they give off so much free energy.
but introverts will generally avoid this type of person and stab them in the back with a kitchen knife the first chance they get.
on CTK, this kind of social gaming style begins immediately as the contestants are introduced. it shows itself in the hairstyle, the number of tattoos or piercings, the clothing worn and the shoes on a contestant’s feet — that is, all the things which comprise a first-impressioning scenario.
during the first round, the boundaries of the game are established — contestants spend one minute in the pantry gathering their supplies to make the dish assigned; followed by an auction in which sabotages are sold; and the first challenge begins.
so also do our social interactions in public spaces begin.
if we don’t make bids on the interaction, it will controlled by the other contestants or the host (assuming there is one).
in many of our social interactions, the starting wealth value is low. and this what keeps people from playing seriously — low investment usually yields low returns at best. in a sense, many people are at fault for engaging in completely meaningless and useless social interactions.
on the show, many first round contestant losers have engaged in low-level criticism of other contestants and end up taking the brunt of the sabotages. boisterous bragging and bating are actually common from many chefs during the pre-first round bantering.
but, ironically, as any "chronic" new kid at a school will tell you, it’s better to keep a low profile and suss things out instead of flapping off your big mouth or showing off in order to gain new friends. often, new friends are really just needy or over-friendly strangers you’ll end up not liking after their real cards fall down.
so the best contestant choices to make on the opening round of CTK and many unknown social interaction first rounds is to be humble and invisible while strategically assessing your own options.
with regard to this idea of strategy, let me add that most people don’t take into actual consideration the effect and impact that others have upon their life.
a single job interview can change the entire direction of your life forever. you are like a pachinko ball in a machine that is subject to gravity. you are falling through social space, bouncing off the counteractive parts of culture that hit you back.
people are not separated entities. they are your collusions and collaborations of other people and their ideas. we are syndications of manufactured personality with radically elaborate training and response systems developed through thousands and thousands of hours of interactive practice.
if one knows this in advance, one doesn’t have to pretend to protect their "personal interests" in social interaction. one can let go of the manufactured identification schemes and create the ones which they need in order to maximize their own personal intentions.
as i’ve mentioned above, on CTK the contestants are given the opportunity to sum each other up in the pre-opening round introductions. a surprising number of contestants who have had a chance to see many shows and the experiences of others still appear to suffer from a complete misunderstanding of the game and many contestants also fail to enact a strategic agenda with their starting wealth.
but the heart of the matter stays the same — there is only one winner in CTK per episode. that means there are three definite losers before the game even begins — it’s not easy to be a winner.
end part i