The premise of Bravo’s new Around the World in 80 Plates is following
Curtis Stone as he whisks me to amazing destinations…don’t I wish twelve remarkable chefs take over restaurants in all different parts of the world, and compete in team challenges to come up with tasty and exotic cuisine which show their creativity and knowledge of various regions. The critics will be the actual restaurant patrons themselves. The losing team must vote off their weakest link. Curtis Stone and Cat Cora will be along for the ride hosting the worldwide feast. First stop, London!
On last night’s premiere, we meet the chefs, including beef-lover Chaz Brown, private chef Gary Walker who fancies himself like Mrs. Garrett from Facts of Life, and Sai Pituk who strives to be a sexy Thai food personality. Um, okay. Nookie Postal is the executive chef for the Boston Red Sox who caters to the VIPs…he’s not passing out hotdogs in the vending area. Liz Garrett, who never went to culinary school, is hoping her young looks will make her competitors underestimate her talents. It works. When she meets Nookie and Chaz at the airport, Nookie comments that she looks like a twelve-year-old.
Arriving in London as well is Clara Moore who isn’t above fighting to get what she wants…even if it’s just your standard arm wrestling match. John Vermiglio has cooked for presidents and Oprah! Cheven (that’s short for Chef Kevin) Lee fancies himself a celebrity chef from Hollywood. All twelve (some we’ve yet to meet) assemble in a market in London to meet with (swoon) Curtis and Cat. They are given a short amount of time to form two teams. John hopes he’s not the last one picked. Avery Pursell has no clue who any of these people are. Once teams are chosen, they will have a challenge course which could potentially win them the “Exceptional Ingredient” which will help them when they do the restaurant takeover.
Their first challenge is a pub crawl, and immediately the red team hops in a cab…probably a good call as they have Nookie and some girl who takes a spill almost immediately upon losing a shoe. The black team takes a run for it, with executive chef Nick Lacasse wondering why everyone is blindly following a bossy Cheven. Sai is also in the military, so she comandeers the map from Cheven. The red team arrives first. Jenna Johansen is looking at this competition as a way to change the way she cooks for life…very big picture. The team must finish some black pudding hash and a Pimm’s cup (yum!) before heading to the next locale.
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The black team is struggling to get to the bar, and they are hazed by the exiting red team. Chaz is beyond frustrated. He’s trying to memorize everything about black pudding and cocktail. At the next pub, the menu consists of steak and kidney pie with yards of beer. For additional yards consumed, the teams can forgo the kidney pie in the interest of time. After a great deal of chugging, both teams are drunk, tired, and running around London. The red team is the first to arrive and be greeted by Curtis and Cat. The black team is a mere three minutes behind. Each team must consume six plates of fish and chips and a pint of cider. The red team speed eats better than the black team. Nick is concerned about his group’s ability to work together.
The take-over challenge involves the two pubs visited prior in the crawl. Each team will take over one of the pubs and create two authentic gastro-pub dishes while replicating the three dishes they ate during the pub crawl. The “Exceptional Ingredient” is the potato, and the red team is thrilled. The black team…not so much. How can they make fish and chips without the chips? Neither team is excited to learn that their peers, not judges, will be deciding who is the first to go.
That night, the black team (Sai, Chaz, Cheven, Avery, Liz, and Nick), meet to strategize and brainstorm their potato-ess meals. Cheven is hellbent on doing a dessert. They don’t feel like the red team will even consider dessert. The red team (Gary, John, Jenna, Nookie, Clara, and some tiny little girl) are debating a dessert, and Clara recommends having a vegetarian dish on the menu. The following day, each team has thirty minutes to shop. Chaz is ready to get created. Avery is worried as no one on the black team has made or eaten kidney pie, and Sai takes a backseat by taking over the service aspect as she is worried about her Asian training during this challenge.
The tiny little girl on the red team is Nicole Lou, and she isn’t trusting any of her teammates. Clara notices how disengaged she seems. In the black team’s kitchen, there is an oven emergency that Avery quickly remedies. The black team’s pub patrons are disappointed to hear that there are no potatoes. Cheven thinks Chaz is too loud, but Nick feels like he’s the clear leader of this challenge even though he is very annoyed by Chaz. The ladies find him hilarious. Curtis and Cat are joined by British food writer Nigella Lawson to sample the black team’s fare.
Gary takes on the front of the pub for the red team. Immediately he gets off the wrong foot with the judges when he announces they have changed the name of the pub. Nookie’s kidney pie isn’t very well received, but Clara’s vegetarian dish garners compliments. Nigella is disappointed that the red team had no dessert. All of the patrons are complimentary of both teams, with one pub having a stronger menu, while the other had a better atmosphere. Cheven has his sights set on Chaz in the event the black team loses. He wants to use his powers of manipulation to charm his teammates. Clara makes the mistake of divulging insecurities about her dish to Nookie.
At elimination, the red team is praised for their service, but Curtis reveals that Nookie came up short with his kidney pie. On the black team, Nick makes a dig about how loud Chaz was in the kitchen, only to have the women say he was the perfect motivator. Cheven is not happy when the idea that spawned his bread pudding is hijacked by Chaz. The black team wins, and Jenna is upset that her dessert idea wasn’t taken more seriously by her teammates. Cat announces that they will pick one stand-out chef from the black team to receive immunity in the next city, and Chaz is deemed the most valuable chef.
The red team is forced to have a round table discussion about who will be the first to go home. Nookie takes some heat from his teammates and then throws Clara under the bus. Gary is shocked and defends her, saying he heard several patrons comment on how much they enjoyed Clara’s dish. Each red teammate must announce their vote to the judges. Gary votes for Nookie, Nicole votes for Clara, Clara then votes for Nicole, and Nookie also votes for Clara. Jenna’s vote for Clara seals her fate, so John doesn’t even need to vote. Nookie thinks his plan worked like a charm even though he admittedly had the worst dish.
Next stop, Lyon, France!
WHAT DID YOU THINK OF AROUND THE WORLD IN 80 PLATES? WILL YOU KEEP WATCHING? WHO DO YOU THINK SHOULD HAVE GONE HOME?