Top of the Pontch and Brera Pizza & Salad Co. chef Justin Vaiciunas will be competing in this Sunday's episode of Cutthroat Kitchen. The episode titled "Taco Dirty to Me" airs at 10 p.m. EST on Food Network and features host Alton Brown and guest judge David Alan Grier (In Living Color, Jumanji). Vaiciunas and three other contestants will compete to avoid elimination and win a $25,000 grand prize.
"Going into it, all I ever thought of cooking shows was [that they're] very scripted," he says, but "this show isn't like that. When the 30-minute timer hits that's when it goes live." Vaiciunas says he managed to stay ahead of the timer during the competition, but had to weather several "sabotage" attempts by other contestants. The episode filmed in January and kicks-off with breakfast tacos followed by a soup challenge where Vaiciunas is required to dig through a "giant, fresh-baked, frosted wedding cake" for vegetables.
While the types of challenges he faced on Cutthroat aren't likely to occur at Top of the Pontch, Vaiciunas says he learned did learn something. "No matter what, if you trust your abilities and you trust yourself you'll be able to come out of it." Vaiciunas says he probably wouldn't do Cutthroat again, but would be willing to participate in other reality shows in the future. "I would want to do one that's a little more about how good the food actually is or how good the presentations are."
Viewers will have to wait and see if Vaiciunas went the distance this weekend. In the meantime, the chef reveals that he's gearing up for a big fall with several projects including an expansion of the Brera brand and maybe more than one brick-and-mortar restaurant in the works. "My life is about to get extremely crazy," he says. Stay tuned.