Cheviot chef competes on 'Cutthroat Kitchen'

Posted at 7:00 AM, Oct 16, 2015
and last updated 2015-10-16 07:00:27-04

CHEVIOT, Ohio -- When interviewing out for a job, most people stick to polite language. Exception: If the gig is a contestant’s spot on the Food Network’s deliciously evil "Cutthroat Kitchen." And not if you’re Chef Vitor Abreu.

Owner of Vitor’s Bistro in Cheviot, Abreu recently was one of four guest-contestants on the reality cooking show in which chefs are given opportunities to sabotage one another by taking away all of a competitor’s eggs, for example, or grabbing all the milk in a run for ingredients. It’s cooking under duress, problem solving in kitchen-emergency situations. Abreu’s episode will be broadcast at 10 p.m. Nov. 15.

A confidentiality contract Abreu signed prohibited him from telling WCPO whether he had won or what dish(es) he ended up serving the judges until the show airs.

He did say, however, that the f-bomb helped land him on "Cutthroat."

“The interview process was pretty interesting,” Abreu said. “They were like, ‘Cuss as much as you can, swear as much as you can, say the f-bomb – be enthusiastic, and why do you want to do this?’

“So that’s exactly what I gave them. … I dropped the f-bomb quite a few times and (I was) cussing and swearing. The biggest thing is you gotta act like you’re a badass and can handle your own.

“‘Your s**t sucks, my s**t’s awesome,’ you gotta play it that way. ‘Why are you the badass, and why should you make it to the next round?’ That’s what we played off of.”

Abreu is the second Cincinnati chef this year to compete on "Cutthroat." Chef Mike Florea of Maribelle’s in Oakley was a contestant in an episode that aired in May.

And why did Abreu want to throw himself into the lion’s den?

“One of my longterm goals is to have a breakfast cooking show,” he explained. “Breakfast isn’t necessarily covered all that well (on TV cooking shows). And I’m pretty strong at it, so I ... thought this was a great way to get my foot in the door.”

Despite the dirty tricks among chefs, Abreu said he had a blast.

“The camaraderie between the other chefs was great,” he said. “Everybody got along although everybody was talking s**t" and committing sabotage. I didn’t take anything personally. I knew it was all part of the show. … We had a great time -- the set is really, really cool. ”

Abreu said he first got a call in May of this year from the producers of "Cutthroat," having been recommended by a friend, Chef Joe Rego of New Bedford, Massachusetts, who has appeared on the Food Network show "Chopped."

They flew Abreu to Los Angeles to demonstrate that he could cook, cuss and think on this feet. And, of course, play dirty. In July, he returned to Los Angeles for the actual showdown.

Abreu said it meant a lot to him to represent Cincinnati.

“The growth in the food (scene in Cincinnati) has just exploded over the past two years, as far as becoming a foodie kind of city like Chicago or New York. Cincinnati has put themselves on the map, and the food scene is just off the chain now … (with) local eating, the local scene with farming," he said. "There are some great, talented chefs here in the Cincinnati area, you know, Mike (Florea) and (Dana) Atkins and several other chefs, they’re the bomb. And that’s why Cincinnati has such a great food scene.”

Abreu and his wife, Heather, will be hosting a viewing party at Vitor’s Bistro on Nov. 15. It’s open to the public, but don’t expect him to serve any creations from "Cutthroat Kitchen."

When asked if he was happy with what he cooked on the show, Abreu said "yes."

Asked if he would prepare said dish(es) again, he laughed uproariously. The answer: A definitive “no!”