Around the World in 80 Plates - Season 1

The final three contestants of Around the World in 80 Plates arrive in Uruguay and are ready to kick butt for the final challenges.  Chefs Nookie Postal, Avery Pursell and Liz Garrett are competing for the $150,000 grand prize plus a brand new Infinity.

The final 3 arrive via ferry and Nookie assures us that if it comes down to him and Liz Garrett, he’s confident that Avery will choose him.  Avery meanwhile lets us know that since she’s the sole provider for her kids, she’ll do whatever it takes to win this thing.

The team gets off the boat and is met with their first challenge – they have two hours to purchase ingredients (from the three shops listed) and prepare a traditional Uruguayan dish.  The contestant to impress the chef with their dish will earn the exceptional ingredient.   Liz thinks the two hour timeline is insanity.


Avery hits the produce store first, deciding she’s going to do a seafood dish – until she arrives at the butcher shop and realizes there is no seafood to be had.  Since they’re not allowed to shop anywhere else, she reluctantly goes with chicken as it’s the only thing that will go well with what she’s already purchased.

Nookie grabs a jar of carmelized onion because the shop keeper assures him it’s standard in Uruguayan faire.

Avery is the first to arrive, followed by Nookie and then Liz coming in last.  They find that Curtis Stone and Cat Cora are going to be their special diners instead of locals.  They’re going to taste each dish without knowing which of the final three prepared it.

As Liz starts to prepare her steak, she realizes that she has not picked up any salt to season her meal.  She does ask Nookie, but he coldly tells her “I got salt”, but won’t give her any.  Liz doesn’t even bother to ask Avery.   She decides to crumble sausage on top of the steak to give it some salty flavor.

Curtis isn’t impressed at the lack of seasoning in Liz’s dish, but they did love her salad and the rest of her dish.  Cat and Curtis are both disappointed in Nookie’s simple dish of grilled chorizo and the “jam” (aka carmelized onions in a jar). It was more of a reheated meal rather than anything he “made”.  They both loved Avery’s chicken dish and she wins the exceptional ingredient.

The twist at the awarding of the exceptional ingredient is that the “ingredient” is a plane ticket to Los Angeles, where the finale will take place.  Avery has to choose between Liz and Nookie.  And she, shockingly, picks Liz!

Both are thrilled to be heading to L.A., thinking they’ll be more confident cooking back on their “home turf”.  They’ll have to prepare dishes from their travels for the locals in L.A. as the final challenge.

In what seems cruel to me, the ladies are given an Infinity to drive to the grocery stores and markets once they arrive home.  Nothing like falling in love with the car and then having to give it back!  Cold hearted, Bravo, cold hearted.

Avery chooses her three dishes from their adventures in Thailand, Morocco and Argentina.  Liz chooses to prepare her three dishes from Thailand, Argentina and Italy.

As Avery arrives at the first grocery store, she realizes former contestants Nick Lacasse and Nicole Lou are waiting out front with an envelope. She has to choose one chef at each location to help her with the meal.  She doesn’t even hesitate when she picks Nick because he can cook and communicate.

Liz arrives at Whole Foods and chooses Chaz Brown immediately (even though she sent him home) because she trusts him more than Jenna Johansen and Sai Pituk.  When Avery arrives at the same store, she picks Jenna because even though she annoys the pants off of everyone, she can cook.  At the next location, Liz picks John Vermiglio because he knows his Italian.  (That’s about all he knows/cooks, right?)

Avery is cooking first.  She has three hours to prepare food for forty people.   Both teams are furiously working away – at Wolfgang Puck’s restaurant no less – when Avery hears her kids.  Not good timing as she’s under the gun for time and needs to focus, but she’s ecstatic to finally see them.   Liz gets a visit from her BFF and her boyfriend.

Avery let Nick take over the entire meat dish and she finds that it is very under seasoned and she’s worried it’ll cost her the competition.

Nookie (and the other booted contestants) is out in the dining room and he’s being sweet, telling Avery’s kids how much she loves them, especially after she sent him packing.  Then we find out he was really being crappy, telling them how she sent him home.  Keepin’ it classy.

The dining room is filled with chefs from the top restaurants around L.A., as well as Wolfgang Puck himself.  No pressure, ladies!  Avery comes out to explain her three dishes – a head-on shrimp and a traditional papaya salad for Thailand, a grilled beef filet from Argentina and a Moroccan mint tea with a special Moroccan dessert.

Wolfgang loves the look of dish #2, but said the first was a little one dimensional.  All of the chefs seemed to agree that her dessert was a hit.  Avery tries to relax and realize that the decision is in the hands of diners now. She leaves and lets Liz do her thing (hoping just a little that Liz will mess things up).

Liz’s dishes will be a Thai beef salad on coconut crispy rice, then mushroom braised chicken thighs for her Italian dish (really??!) and for dessert, a vanilla custard and orange empanada.

The diners are in love with Liz’s first dish, Wolfgang says he’d serve it for lunch in his restaurants.  He doesn’t love the second dish, saying that it was more slow roasted chicken than braised.  Some are questioning just how Italian this dish is.  The presentation was lacking in her dessert – it looked like a tiny little puff of pastry in some cream/soup.  Part of the problem was that ginormous bowl she served it in.  Cat wasn’t impressed.  Wolfgang did love the taste, though.

Wolfgang says overall Avery has more experience in the kitchen, better technique, but Liz has some great talent and sometimes that overcomes experience.  Cat and Curtis think the competition is close.  Wolfgang wants to hire them both.

After polling the diners, it’s time to get down to business and hand over the wad of cash and the keys to the Infinity.   Cat and Curtis share that the diners felt that Liz’s beef dish was the winner of the night.  After counting the votes, the judges and diners chose AVERY as the winner of the competition. Only FOUR votes separated Liz and Avery in the final challenge!

Liz was clearly disappointed, but optimistic about her future.  Avery was letting it all sink in and was excited to celebrate with her family.

I’ve loved the show this season and hope they’ll do a second.  It had a tinge of drama, but not the crazy, over-the-top kind that Bravo is so famous for.  I do wish they would’ve showed us a little more of each country, though!


[Photo credit: Bravo/NBC]


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