By Lori Fredrich Senior Writer & Dining Editor Published Nov 10, 2014 at 11:02 AM Photography: Bobby Tanzilo

On Sunday, Jan. 4, you can see Milwaukee chef Matt Kerley compete on the popular Food Network Show, "Cutthroat Kitchen." The show airs at 8 p.m., central time.

Kerley was most recently executive chef at Blue Jacket, where he showed particular prowess in creating dishes with Asian flair. Prior to cooking at Blue Jacket, he was at the helm at Bartlotta’s Rumpus Room.

The show, says Kerley, was an experience that really took him out of his comfort zone.

"It was really hard for me because I’m one who is used to sitting back and accepting what comes at me," he says. "Part of my job as a chef is to really meet the challenges that come with the day to day with customers.  So, my mentality going into it was really to sit back, accept the challenges, and just cook really good food."

"Cutthroat Kitchen" – a show which has been described as "'Chopped' on steroids" is hosted by food geek Alton Brown. The premise of the show asks: "Just how far is a chef willing to go to win a cooking competition?"

In each episode, four chefs are greeted by Brown with a briefcase filled with $100,000 in cold hard cash and each contestant receives $25,000 to spend wisely over the course of the game on auction items to help themselves or sabotage their competitors. After each cooking challenge is given, chefs have 60 seconds to gather ingredients in the pantry and then regroup for an auction to bid on culinary curveballs such as the exclusive use of salt or not allowing their opponents to taste their dishes. One chef is eliminated after each of the three rounds, and the last competitor to survive wins the money they have left in their bank.

Filming for the January show wrapped up in August, and Kerley says that, overall, it was a blast.

"It was loads of fun," says Kerley. "But, you know, it was also the perfect example of what we do everyday in the kitchen, only magnified tenfold. But it was tough. Harder than cooking ten beer dinners. It was 14 hour days of filming. Really hard work."

More on "Cutthroat Kitchen" is here.

Lori Fredrich Senior Writer & Dining Editor

Lori is an avid cook whose accrual of condiments and spices is rivaled only by her cookbook collection. Her passion for the culinary industry was birthed while balancing A&W root beer mugs as a teenage carhop, fed by insatiable curiosity and fueled by the people whose stories entwine with each and every dish. She’s had the privilege of chronicling these tales via numerous media, including OnMilwaukee and in her book “Milwaukee Food.” Her work has garnered journalism awards from entities including the Milwaukee Press Club. 

When she’s not eating, photographing food, writing or recording the FoodCrush podcast, you’ll find Lori seeking out adventures with her husband Paul, traveling, cooking, reading, learning, snuggling with her cats and looking for ways to make a difference.