Just call him “Cutthroat Clay.” Recently, local chef Clay Carnes became the first chef to win three championships with his cooking on the Food Network’s hit show Cutthroat Kitchen finale.
The “Cutthroat Kitchen: Time Travel Tournament” pitted 16 past winning chefs against one another to create iconic meals from five decades, spanning the 1950s to the 1990s. Carnes first won his 1970s-themed week before taking home the Cutthroat Kitchen title in the 1990s-inspired finale.
Each episode challenged contestants to prepare an appetizer, entrée and dessert while celebrity chef host Alton Brown auctioned off themed sabotages for the chefs to use against their opponents.
Carnes won his 1970s heat, defeating three other chefs despite the sabotages like having to prep and cook while riding a banana seat bicycle. The finale episode saw him having to dance as a member of a boy band, wear the baggy pants inspired by MC Hammer while nailing bags of thyme to a board, share a ship’s bow with another chef, and navigating a DoubleDare themed obstacle course of desserts.
Carnes used strategy, saving most of his money to purchase the harder sabotages at the final round, while accepting sabotages he knew he could handle.
Carne is set to open his newest restaurant, Cholo Soy Cocina in West Palm Beach later this summer, serving Latin street food with Andean-American selections and tacos crafted from freshly made Florida organic white corn tortillas, locally grown produce, non-GMO corn tortillas, and top-quality meats and ingredients.
The French Culinary Institute and ALMA (La Scuola Internazionale di Cucina Italiana) graduate made his start as chef de cuisine at Cucina Dell’ Arte in Palm Beach. From there, he transplanted to Cuenca, Ecuador, leading the team at Mansion Alcazar.
Carnes returned to South Florida in 2011 to open the Grille in Wellington. He was then executive chef of the White Horse Tavern. Known for an eclectic cuisine that reflects his Italian, Mediterranean, Latin and North American exposure, Carnes is routinely invited to the Palm Beach Food & Wine Festival and Swank Table farm dinners.
At Cholo Soy Cocina, Carnes will work with a number of local farms and purveyors. Staff will grow peppers, herbs and other vegetables on the patio and rooftop garden to create specific flavors found only in certain regions of the world.
ABOVE: Chef Clay Carnes