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Top of the Pontch Chef Will Compete on "Cutthroat Kitchen"

Chef Justin Vaiciunas is balancing preparations for the International Auto Show and the filming of Cutthroat Kitchen.

Top of the Pontch.
Top of the Pontch.
Michelle and Chris Gerard
Brenna Houck is a Cities Manager for the Eater network. She previously edited Eater Detroit and reported for Eater. You can follow her on the internet at @brennahouck.

Executive chef Justin Vaiciunas of Top of the Pontch will compete in an episode of Cutthroat Kitchen for a $25,000 prize, the high-end restaurant announced today on Facebook.

Vaiciunas, not one for watching cooking competitions, says he was caught a little off guard when the producers, "reached out to me, just looking for top chefs in local areas." While he had never heard of Cutthroat Kitchen, the chef has since begun acquainting himself with the challenge, hosted by Alton Brown.

After filling out a questionnaire and completing a Skype interview, Vaiciunas says he received word over the weekend that he had been selected to appear in one episode.

With the North American International Auto Show coming up in just a few weeks, the chef already has his hands full preparing menus for Top of the Pontch, which opened over the summer on the top floor of the Crowne Plaza Hotel across from the Cobo Center. "We're booked up very, very heavily with a lot of high-end clients," he notes. The producers wanted him to fly out for filming in February, but that date has since been pushed back to accommodate his schedule.

In terms of strategy, Vaiciunas is still getting to know the show. "It's a very different show-something that going to take me out of my element. I really don't know how I'm going to do it until I get there."

Chef Vaiciunas trained at Schoolcraft College and previously worked for the shuttered ZIN Wine Bar.

Top of the Pontch

2 Washington, Detroit, MI (313) 782-4313