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Offline apskip

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Around the World in 80 Plates
« on: January 26, 2012, 05:25:07 PM »
This is a new series that will be telecast starting May 2012 by BRAVO. It involves a culinary race around the world by 12 chefs to 10 countries in 44 days.

A new cooking competition series that takes its contestants around the world to test their skills in some of the world's greatest - and most demanding - restaurants. The budding chefs will be on the run across the globe, navigating a gauntlet of culinary tests along with changing cultures, customs and cuisines.


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Re: Around the World in 80 Plates
« Reply #1 on: May 11, 2012, 10:14:29 PM »
The chefs were introduced as they arrived in London. They were:
Nookie Postal
Hometown: Cambridge, MA
PROFESSION:  Executive Chef, Fenway Park
CULINARY EDUCATION: Cambridge School of Culinary Arts

Sai Pituk
Hometown: El Paso, TX
PROFESSION: Chef/Owner of Tara Thai in El Paso
CULINARY EDUCATION: Self-trained

Nicole Lou
Hometown: San Jose, CA Resides: San Francisco, CA
PROFESSION: SousChef at Bushi-Tei in San Francisco
CULINARY EDUCATION: A.O.S. from California Culinary Academy

Nick Lacasse
Hometown: Burlington, VT Resides: Chicago, IL
PROFESSION: Executive Chef of The Drawing Room, Chicago
CULINARY EDUCATION: Graduated from: New England Culinary Institute, 2002

Liz Garrett
Hometown: Los Angeles, CA
PROFESSION: Chef de Cuisine, Hotel Wilshire, Los Angeles, CA
CULINARY EDUCATION: Self-trained

Keven “Cheven” Lee
Hometown: Chatsworth, CA
PROFESSION: Executive Chef and CEO of My World on a Plate Catering and Events.
CULINARY EDUCATION: C.I.A. (Culinary Institute of America) located in Hyde Park New York and Dominican Carlton Tivoli located in Luzern, Switzerland.

John Vermiglio
Hometown: Clinton Township, MI  Resides: Chicago, IL
PROFESSION: Sous Chef, Graham Elliot Bistro
CULINARY EDUCATION: Education: B.S. Culinary Arts, Johnson & Wales University

Jenna Johansen
Hometown: Boulder, CO  Resides: Denver, CO
PROFESSION: Chef/Restaurateur, Cooking Class Instructor and Blogger: thelastthingweate.com
CULINARY EDUCATION: B. S. Restaurant and Resort Management from Colorado State University; A. O. S. Culinary Arts from Johnson & Wales

Gary Walker
Hometown: Detroit, MI  Resides: Los Angeles, CA
PROFESSION: Private Chef and Instructor
CULINARY EDUCATION: Culinary Diploma, '03, Institute of Culinary Education, New York, NY

Clara Moore
Hometown: St. Louis, MO
PROFESSION: Chef and General Manager at Local Harvest Café and Catering, also teaches and writes about food
CULINARY EDUCATION: Cooking and Baking at Baltimore International College

Chaz Brown
Hometown: Voorhees, NJ
PROFESSION: Chef de Cuisine at Fatty Crab in New York City
CULINARY EDUCATION: French Culinary Institute

Avery Pursell
Hometown: Los Angeles, CA  Resides: Sherman Oaks, CA
PROFESSION: Executive Chef/Owner, All Diced Up Catering, Sherman Oaks, CA
CULINARY EDUCATION: Los Angeles Culinary Institute

I rate their experience as higher than the competing chefs on Hell’s Kitchen and lower than those on Top Chef. At this point I cannot identify who the better and worse chefs are. The first assignment after meeting up with co-hosts Curtis Stone and Cat Cora is to separate into two teams of six chefs. They were:
RED Team – Nicole, Gary, Nookie, Jenna, John, Nick
BLACK Team – Cheven, Chaz, Liz, Avery, Nick, Sai

The real assignment was to navigate a “course” first to win a special ingredient. In this case the BLACK team put themselves far behind on the way to the first of 3 gastropubs by choosing to walk instead of hiring a taxi and they stayed way through the third gastropubs. The final assignment was to go back to the same 3 gastropubs and do this:
Pub 1 – drink a Pimm’s Cocktail and eat black pudding hash
Pub 2 – choice of eating 3 Steak and Kidney pies or drinking 3 “yards” of ale (a “yard” is a mostly cylinder with widening on the bottom and the top that is 36 inches long
Pub 3 – eat 6 plates of fish & chips and scrumpy (strong cider) 

The RED team finished first and won the special ingredient, potatoes. That became important because the final assignment was to make 3 classic British dishes (fish & chips, steak and kidney pie, black pudding) plus a choice of 2 other British dishes. 800 pounds was available to each team to spend to buy ingredients for 20 regular diners plus Curtis, Cat, British food celebrity Nigella Lawson and the owners of the 2 pubs which would be taken over by the chefs. The owner of Drapers Arms pub, Nick Gibson, was a commentator as was the owner of the Duke of Cambridge pub, Geetie. The decision power rested with the regular pub diners, who ate at each pub and voted.

The vote went decisively to the BLACK team. RED had poor steak and kidney pie and its extra good service was not enough to offset that. The BLACK team had both exceptional execution and bread pudding. There was a decision by the judges on which team member had contributed the most. They picked Chaz for his organization of the entire team. They did not know that Chaz had lied about his role (actually none although he claimed a primary role) in the bread pudding concept, which was Kevin’s. Chaz was awarded immunity for the next episode in Paris.

The RED team had to fire one member of their team. The top candidates were Nookie for his bad steak and kidney pie and Clara for general incompetence. Nookie threw her under the bus and Clara was eliminated.
Having experienced the first of 10 episodes as they cook their way around the globe, I would say this is a reality show worth seeing. However, be forewarned that it is more Gordon Ramsay-style than Tom Colicchio-style.


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Re: Around the World in 80 Plates
« Reply #2 on: May 19, 2012, 03:59:29 PM »
The second leg of this series started with a flight to Lyon, France. Chaz as MVP got to change out his team and he chose to dump Nookie. His team got to fly in first class.

The leg 2 course started with finding a sheep farm near Lyon. The teams had to locate its cheesemaster, who gave them 6 sheep cheeses to identify. Success there took them to an area of the farm where the BLACK teams had to herd black sheep and the RED team red sheep out of a mixed herd and move them into a pen WITHOUT touching them. The most appropriate solution was for a team to link arms and act like a "flying wedge" from football around 1900.  RED had finished the cheese identification first, but BLACK killed them on herding sheep. Next they had to find a specific barge in the Rhone River at Lyon. Once there a team had to pair 8 wines with food. The winner of this was BLACK, which gave them the Special Ingredient, which was very special indeed. It was a cooking lesson from a Meilleurs Ouvrier de France (M.O.F.), Chef Joseph Viola of the restaurant Daniel and Denise. They focused on a typical Lyonnaise meal including quenelles so the BLACK team knew exactly what ingredients they needed for that. RED demonstrated a lot of moxie by walking around Lyon until they found a restaurant serving quenelles and figuring out what the key ingredients for it were and how to make it (it was likened to gefilte fish with a fine sauce).
 
The challenge was a 4 course Lyonnaise meal including quenelles, with the most lingual in French (definitely Jeanna for RED and I think Kevin for BLACK) serving as Front of the House. RED cooked and served this meal in Bistrot du Palais:
Quenelles w/ ? and potatoes
Haddock Sous Gibbert by Nicole
Salad by Sai
Chicken in obscene portions by Chaz

I expect that Bistrot du Palais is the restaurant of Jacotta Brazier, an icon of Lyonnaise cuisine, but that does not appear to be the case.

The BLACK team was cooking and serving in Daniel et Denise. Joseph Viola was a judge along with Jacotta, Cat and Curtis. Their menu was:
Quenelle w/ Nashua sauce - Avery
Lyonnaise salad (4 major components)
Haddock

The diners clearly preferred the BLACK food, so BLACK won this round. The judges selected Avery as MVP. Chaz was attempting to denigrate her efforts, but he was ignored. That was more than appropriate since his only positive results were obtained after Avery cut up his chickens into much smaller portions. RED now had the responsibility for eliminating one member of their team. The individual who the rest of the team considered least helpful due to taking far too long to do something simple (a salad) was Sai, who was elected to walk the plank.
« Last Edit: May 19, 2012, 04:06:31 PM by apskip »

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Re: Around the World in 80 Plates
« Reply #3 on: May 25, 2012, 04:07:27 PM »
Teams have arrived into Barcelona and are sent to a port area. The BLACK team has the 4 remaining females plus Nookie. The RED team has Chaz, Kevin and 3 others. BLACK reached the port area and Curtis Stone 10 minutes ahead. Their task was in 3 parts: take out the livers for separate use and cut up monkfish; process merluza (hake); take the ink sacs from the monkfish and possibly also the merluza and transfer their contents into bottles. The winning team would get more euros to spend at the market on a cookie challenge later, with some unspecified formula based on liters of ink produced and number of monkfish and merluza. The RED team produced more ink than RED but Nookie almost overcame the RED lead with his skill in cutting up monkfish. Nookie was a machine. The end result was that RED was awarded 386 euros for shopping and BLACK was awarded 356 euros.

Each team caucused to develop a menu. Teams went to La Bouqueria market and bought what they needed (such are Serrano ham, spices, cheese, wine) to make the dishes they had specified. The exceptional ingredient was gamba  roja (red prawns).

The cooking challenge took place in Dos Cielos, the Michelin1 star restaurant of Sergio and Xavier Torres, who were on the judging team along with their friend Jose Andres, who apparently came from Washington DC to participate. Because Jenna is multilingual she again did the Front-of-House honors and she was very effective. Kevin was chosen by the RED team to be FOH and he spent less time on the floor of the restaurant and was not able to communicate as much because he lacked Spanish language skills.

The first course was a combination of the camarones and a second component for the RED team. The BLACK team had a trio of tapas. The judges rated the first course as a win for BLACK. The second BLACK course was based on the monkfish. For BLACK it was a merluza totally destroyed by Chaz with their gamba roja wasted by being paired with it. The judges preferred RED.  The final course was dessert.  RED had a cava sabayon with fresh fruit. BLACK had a brulee custard with macerated fruit. That custard had not set enough to give a good brulee, but the judges found the BLACK dessert better.
 
The decisions on which team won is solely made by the diners. It was a close call, with only 2 votes separating the teams. BLACK won and Nookie was given the MVP by the judges.  RED had to decide who to jettison. Chaz has made himself unpopular (with his teammates and with the TV audience) and he was responsible for the problems on the first course. However, Kevin’s limited Front-of-House skills were judged by his teammates as a worse performance. He was sent home to his fiancée, who he said would be happy to see him sooner rather than later.   
« Last Edit: May 25, 2012, 04:10:52 PM by apskip »

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Re: Around the World in 80 Plates
« Reply #4 on: June 07, 2012, 03:51:23 PM »
ATWI80P ep. 4   

This episode takes the remaining 9 chefs to Marrakesh, Morocco. Its 3 teams of 3:
Black- Nookie, Avery, John
White – Gary, Chaz, Nick
Red – Liz, Jenna, Nicole

Their course is to locate Ben Boubker spice shop in the vast array of shops throughout the Medina. One person on each of two teams (Gary and Avery) speaks French, which is the main language used in Marrakech. All teams find that shop, where the task is to assemble the 9 ingredients of the ras al hanout spice blend. After that they have to race on foot to find a specific restaurant where Curtis and Cat wait for them. The Black team overcame a significant lead of the White team in reaching the shop and later on to El Waha Restaurant to win the Exceptional Ingredient plus $15,000. The final part of the course was to pour mint tea into a huge array of tea glasses on a table. The Special Ingredient was a local guide (Ahmed) to lead them to where they could get recipe advice and find specific ingredients.

Teams were given 5500 dimhars ($625) and 3 hours to buy their ingredients. The White team stood out with their choice of live chickens. The related task was to cook a meal in the Palais Soleimon rooftop restaurant with a tagine and 2 other dishes. A tagine is slow braise cooking in a special vessel that has a shallow bottom with about two-inch high sides and a conical top which allows the moisture from the cooking ingredients to circulate and steam back into the food. It’s less brothy than a stew and usually has lamb or chicken and vegetables in it with a full complement of spices usually the freshest of spices. The other 2 teams were allowed to roam Marrakesh on their own to discover whatever they needed to learn about tagines and Moroccan cooking.

The chefs cooked initially for a group of elders in traditional fez, then some other tables in the huge restaurant were filled with locals (with at least one in each group who could speak English). Curtis and Cat dined with the restaurant chef Moha and his wife. Here are the actual dishes:

White Team
Chaz Brown - Couscous with Roasted Vegetables
Gary Walker - Chickpea, Carrot and Tomato Salad
Nick Lacasse - Chicken Tagine with Green Olives and Preserved Lemons

Black Team
Avery Pursell and John Vermiglio - Trio of Moroccan Salads
Steve "Nookie" Postal - Beef and Vegetable Tagine
John Vermiglio - Saffron Stewed White Beans

Red Team
Liz Garrett - Saffron Couscous with Onions, Vegetables and Harissa
Jenna Johansen - Lamb Tagine with Garden Vegetables
Nicole Lou - Rice Pudding with Orange-Flower-Water


Black elected to bring all of their food out at once, which I think may have been unwise. We’ll see. White had couscous separate from their tagine. Some of the diners thought it should have been part of the tagine. John undercooked their beans. The fresh chicken in their tagine was appreciated.  Black had a difficult time with their courses. Avery was sabotaged by somebody (it turned out to be the wait staff who had taken her roasted beets by mistake) and made accusations to the other teams on trying to ruin her salad, who did not appreciate that. Nookie’s tagine was more like a stew, but it was also too spicy. Liz made a dessert of sweet rice with orange flower water that won many diners to Red.

It finally was feedback time. The Special Ingredient was wasted on Black as they only achieved average results. White’s couscous by Chaz were rated poor; he also received negative comments for failing to have them cooked into the tagine. Red got superior ratings for all of their dishes, particularly the dessert by Liz. The diners chose the Red team as the winner. Liz received the MVP award both for her Front of House work and for the dessert, which was the favorite dish of many diners.

 That left the 6 members of the Black and White teams to eliminate someone. This was totally a political battle, as it was obvious (and has been throughout the competition so far) that Chaz is all bombast and no performance. There was no question that he should have been selected, but his team was solid in voting for Avery. Her team was solid in voting for Chaz. I expect this kind of Mexican standoff will happen often in the rest of this competition. The judges had to choose Liz to break the 3-3 tie in the vote. She cited difficulty in getting along (certainly true, but a side-step of Chaz’s performance issues) to select Chaz for elimination.
 
The final commentary at the end of the episode had Avery stating that Nookie is playing chess while all other chefs are only playing the game of checkers. Avery’s main fault is that she is a superior chef and that makes her vulnerable to jealousy from her peers.


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Re: Around the World in 80 Plates
« Reply #5 on: June 09, 2012, 03:57:36 PM »
ATWI80P Ep. 5

Team are chosen before leaving for Florence. John and Gary get to pick for their opponent and this is how it came out:
Gary's Red Team - Liz, John, Jenna
Nick's Black Team - Nicole, Nookie, Avery
Liz has immunity for this episode.

After flying teams receive a placard in English with the first part of the course: Go to the bocce players at Piazza Il Belvidere. The clue they receive there sends them to restaurant Carnachio Cafe to order "reboiled seasonal dish," which they find is ribollita, a twice-cooked soup of vegetables with bread soaked in left to gain flavor overnight. After that they had to find a Carangelo gelato store and correctly identify a flavor that is not cheese. It is ricotta, which is made from whey. The Red team was hung up on this while the Black team solved it quickly. That gave them directions to a map vendor Filippo Mannino at the square. His instructions were to drive into the Tuscan countryside in an Infiniti. Next was a tip to harvest olives with the "provided tools," a rake a bucket and a tarp. It took the Black team a while to discover what the tarp could be used for (shaking olives out of the trees)
Red gained ground on black during the drive, but Black pulled in ahead. They won $10,000 and the exceptional ingredient, which was Nara "Nonna" Romanelli who is a tiny Italian grandmother who is a Tuscan cuisine expert. The Black team attempted to communicate with her but they were quickly frustrated with her rapid-fire Italian which they could neither understand nor follow, so they basically stopped using her. Later, Curtis and Cat were aghast at this and pointed out that the Black team could have had her demonstrate her cooking and write down the ingredients so they had recipes.     

The ribollitas were made by Gary and Nookie, who put prosciutto into this should-be-vegetarian-to-be-genuine dish. Gary's ribolitta was inadvertently sabotaged when John was poking around the kitchen at 6am and inadvertently knocked over the shelf where it was resting, spilling the contents of the pot. Gary had to start all over again with help from his teammates, but he felt that he was screwed.

The presentation of dishes by the Red team to local diners plus Nonna Romanelli and her son food critic Leonard:
John - Bruschetta Trio
Gary - Ribollita
Jenna - gnocchi with wild boar (after Liz had produced tasteless pasta)
Liz - grape granita

The corresponding presentation of dishes by the Black team was:
Nookie - ribollita
Avery and Nick - gnocchi with squash flowers, porcini and Zucchini
Nicole - Pork Sausage and Wild Boar Meatballs
Avery - pear cake with mascarpone and syrup

The diners voted in favor of Black. Nicole's sausage was the most popular dish by far, so she was named MVP. The Red team had erred by essentially using a menu of non-Tuscan cuisine and even though the Black team's ribollito was guilty of the same the rest of their dishes except for the meatballs were not. Red was sent off to decide who would go home. The votes were split 1 each for John, Jenna and Gary when Jenna cast her vote to send Gary home.

One thing I had not understood before is that the winner of this competition gets $150,000 plus an Infiniti luxury sedan. It looks like they are earning it.
« Last Edit: June 09, 2012, 04:34:23 PM by apskip »

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Re: Around the World in 80 Plates
« Reply #6 on: June 14, 2012, 03:14:07 PM »
ATWI80P, ep. 6

The 5th episode starts with a car trip from Florence to Modena, a suburb of Bologna. Teams are the same as for the Florence leg. They were given their first task, to drive to a cheese aging facility, locate three 80 pound wheels of parmigiano-reggiano marked with a small green triangle, and bring those out to get their next clue. That clue was to bring one of those wheels to Salumeria Tamburini in downtown Bologna. There they got a list of 12 items which needed to be purchased from a local shop after parking. The Black team was ahead and marked the items off their list, but they assumed that they already had the parmigiano-reggiano cheese on it. They didn’t and so delivery of the 12 items to the Pappagallo Restaurant was not complete by that one item. The Red team got ahead and reached the finish at Piazza Maggiore first.
The final task was to cook a 3 course traditional Bolognese meal. The Red team received as its Exceptional Ingredient time, specifically one extra hour of cooking time. The Black team had only 2 hours while Red got 3 hours to cook. The Red team was cooking at Restaurant Pappagallo and the Black team at Al Cambio. The restaurant chefs Roberto Franchitti and Massimo Poggi ate at the judges table. So did U.S. restauranteur Paul Bartolotta, who is the most distinguished Italian master owner/chef in Las Vegas. He had a further recommendation, that no water or oil be used for pasta dough preparation. Flour and egg are all that is required besides great skill.

The Black team’s Nicole was immune so she could not be sent home. That always puts major pressure on the rest of her team, as the immune chef has frequently done poorly and brought done their team. The Red team also received the option to invite them to a special dinner at Pappagallo or let them be on their own. They decided to have Black with them at that dinner. Jenna was the only one who spoke Italian, so she used that advantage to ask Franchitti a secret about the meal. He stated that Bolognese sauce contains only pork meat (which I don’t think Jenna was able to use because their was no Bolognese sauce in the meal for either team). The task is one antipasti course a primi course of tortellini and a secondi course
 
The 2 hours for Black starts at the same time as 3 hours for Red. Avery had to make 300 squash and prosciutto tortellini and was falling far behind. The team asked their wait staff to come and help. The broth for the tortellini was prepared by Nookie. A piece of beef was butchered in the worst sense of that word by Nicole for Ribeye Medallions with Brussels Sprouts and Cauliflower Puree. Nick did Warm Mushroom Salad, Arugula Puree and Parmesan Cheese.

Red had only 3 chefs so it could not double up on any dishes. Liz did Pork Loin with Romagnolo Sauce and Eggplant. Jenna did Four Cheese Plate with Mushrooms and Sweet and Sour Sauce. John did Tortellini in Capon and Parmesan Broth.

The sampling by the judges table revealed that the Red team was likely to win. The actual feedback from the local diners confirmed just that. They particularly liked Liz’s dish. The Red team did win and John was named MVP. I guess that Cat and Curtis wanted to spread it around, as I expected that Liz was going to get it again.

The Black team had to vote somebody out and the worst performer Nicole could not be sent home. That made it a game of extreme strategy where the worst dish could not be sent home and the next worst was shared by 2 individuals. So all three ganged up to vote Nick out even though his performance clearly did not deserve it.  Nick was sent home despite having a better dish than the comparable antipasti course by Jenna and also the other 2 dishes by his own teammates. Why is peer judging allowed when there are highly competent judges who can make those decisions?

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Re: Around the World in 80 Plates
« Reply #7 on: June 21, 2012, 08:59:58 AM »
ATWI80P, Ep. 6

The teams flew to Chiang Mai, Thailand. The Black team was Nookie and John. The Red team was Nicole and Liz. The White team was Jenna and Avery. The course involves finding coconuts at a specific market. On arrival they found a task to shred 5 pounds coconuts at another location nearby. Teams carried the coconuts there in nylon mesh bags slung over a shoulder pole or by just holding the bags. The next task was to walk or run to the rice paddy and plant 20 rows of rice plants, one row at a time. Finally they could walk or run to the Doi Kam Temple. Nookie and John arrived first to win $10,000 and the Exceptional Ingredient, which was to get twice the money to shop for ingredients and two dishes rather than one. For being last, the White could not use any form of heat to cook with.

The final task was to sell one dish (Red team or White team) or two dishes (Black team) for the most total money. Teams were sent to wander around Chiang Mai and figure out what they wanted to make and sell in a “hawker” stand. The Red team chose a spicy Chinese style crispy pork belly with fresh chilies and kanah dish. The White team chose a green papaya salad. The Black team had coconut, watermelon, pineapple and watermelon juice blend for their first one. Their second one was Larb Moo with chilies, peanuts and cilantro.

The quantity of raw materials purchased imposed a limit on how many servings were possible and the portion size did too. The red team ran out of its pork because Nicole’s portion size was too large. As their dishes were more or less popular, teams were smart enough to change pricing to stimulate or retard demand. Local Chef McDang was asked by Curtis and Cora to judge the authenticity of the cuisine. The most authentic and tasty dish got a total of 150 baht (about $6) added to that team’s total.

Those total sales were:
White 2450 + 150 = 2600
Red    2150
Black 4120

So black with twice as many dishes sold almost twice as much. What a surprise! Nookie and John won this challenge. John was named Most Valuable Chef (previously Most Valuable Player), with $5,000 immediately but no immunity. They stepped aside and let the Red and White teams settle the elimination decision. The Red team was united that it should not come from, but Jenna and Nicole voted Against Liz while Liz and Avery voted for Avery. John got the power to break the tie and he sent Jenna packing in a strategic move designed to get rid of a strong competitor.

There were 2 interesting incidents of bending the rules of the competition in this episode. Jenna watched as Avery added coconut water to the shredded coconut when they were way behind on the course. Nookie elected to water down his juice mix to make more money. He sold more, but there were some negative comments from people who bought that drink.

In the context of this type of challenge giving one team double the dishes to sell seems an unfair advantage. How could either the Red team or the White team hope to really compete unless Black really had some poor dishes to sell (which wasn't going to happen with chefs at this level).

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Re: Around the World in 80 Plates
« Reply #8 on: June 21, 2012, 01:01:06 PM »
I really hope Liz wins this!

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Re: Around the World in 80 Plates
« Reply #9 on: June 21, 2012, 05:31:52 PM »
Coolio,

My guess is that Liz has the lowest probability of winning. I think John and Avery have the best chance and Nicole and Nookie are in the middle.


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Re: Around the World in 80 Plates
« Reply #10 on: June 22, 2012, 12:28:49 AM »
I don't think Liz will win, but I hope she beats the odds. I love a good underdog.

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Re: Around the World in 80 Plates
« Reply #11 on: June 28, 2012, 02:58:30 PM »
The first part of the course is by taxi to a glass-bottomed gondola to Tian Tin Buddha.  There they must climb many stairs but first Avery chose the girls (Red team) to join and their opponents were the male Black team. Nookie was slow up the steps but he got rolling with the next clue. All had to find the wet market and a specific tiny shop (Wah Hing Hong Shop) there. The guys were faster at finding an English speaking person who volunteered her friend as guide. That helps immensely until they ran into the Red team and the black team’s lead vanished as the Nicole, Avery and Liz followed them to the shop. One from each team (Nicole vs. Nookie) had to tie up 10 hairy crabs. The next leg of the course was to find the Peking Garden restaurant and make 7 circular steam trays of about 12 dumplings each. Nicole insists she is superior at this, so Avery had to sit out. The Black team won by finishing 7 trays versus 6 at that time for Red. Black ran the short distance to where Cat and Curtis waited. Black won the exceptional ingredient but I did not hear about money. The exceptional ingredient was one hour with a chef at the restaurant where the challenge would be. The challenge was for each chef to do one course of a 5 course menu as individuals and one to double as Front of the House. The best dish would win its owner MVC.
Next all 5 were invited to sit down with the “X-Treme Chinese” cuisine self-nominated Demon Chef (although his negative behavior toward his staff should not be on television) Alvin Leung for examples of his molecular gastronomy skills. A Bo Innovation sous chef David Yu then provided a one hour private class to Nookie, which he gladly accepted when John wanted to just use the time on his own without any assistance and was done by the time the women arrived. Curtis later provided examples of what John could have used the time for but did not think of.

The dishes planned by each chef were:
Nookie – oyster with a spherification of vinegar
Liz bet that Asians would love pork pot pie; they didn’t
John’s overcooked scallops wonton with melted edible lime snow
Nicole did a smoked duck breast with squid noodles and green tea; viewed by Cat as “totally safe, no risk”
Avery did Mango Coulis, Ginger Cookie with Lemongrass-Coconut Sphere.

So the train wrecks were from Liz and John, although that did not mean they would be going home. Avery was named Most Valuable Chef by Curtis and Cat. The other 4 had to decide the person leaving. John nominated Nicole. Nicole nominated John, so that left it in the hands of Nookie and Liz.  Nookie stated that he was voting for Nicole’s elimination as payback for what happened to a more worthy chef (I think this was Nick) earlier in the competition. Liz also voted for Nicole and Nicole was out of the competition.


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Re: Around the World in 80 Plates
« Reply #12 on: July 12, 2012, 03:11:02 AM »
Teams had to be reconfigured as the initial order of business. Avery selected Nookie as her partner. Teams flew to Buenos Aires.

The chefs have to take a taxi to the Rincon Norteno Empanada Shop. There, they have to make and sell 80 empanadas to the locals. This was done in batches of 16 each, except that Liz screwed up and botched a batch. Nookie and Avery had the lead in selling empanadas in Parque Rivadavia and sell 150 pesos worth of empanadas. Nookie and Avery got off to a slow start, selling each empanada for $5. This is mostly due to the fact that Avery is poor at arithmetic. Liz very astutely says that her team could sell two for $5 and still have enough. Although this might have paid off for them, it didn't. Nookie and Avery still won. After selling their empanadas, the chefs had to find Cat and Curtis at Puerto Madero. Although John and Liz are the more athletic pair, Nookie and Avery still win despite their tedious subway ride.

The main challenge had the chefs serving a family-style Argentinian meal at La Tranquera. Nookie and Avery won the Exceptional Ingredient and got time to see how to properly grill meat Argentinian-style. This included goat, which Avery then takes on as her dish. Nookie went with a skirt steak with chimichurri sauce, which sounds like Argentinian food for dummies to me. Liz tried to redeem herself from earlier by making chorizo and corn empanadas. John made a vegetable dish. The actual menus were:

Avery - Roasted Goat with Chimichurri and Roasted Red Pepper Salsa
John - Roasted Vegetables with Provolone Cheese and Eggplant Puree
Liz - Corn and Chorizo Empanadas with Watercress Salad
Nookie - Skirt Steak with Grilled Onions and Chimichurri

Liz She won Most Valuable Chef.
« Last Edit: July 12, 2012, 03:34:32 AM by apskip »

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Re: Around the World in 80 Plates
« Reply #13 on: July 19, 2012, 10:58:52 AM »
This episode was the finale for this show. Nookie, Liz and Avery boarded a ferry from Buenos Aires, Argentina to Colonia del Sacramento, Uruguay, probably the most popular ferry crossing between and Uruguay. On arrival they received their course, to find ingredients for and cook a traditional Uruquayan meal in 2 hours. Their shopping led to selection of these ingredients:

Nookie – onion marmalade, chorizo, arugula
Liz – grilled steak with sausage, caramelized onions, and arugula.
Avery – chicken (she wanted seafood but could not find it), white wine, arugula

The finalists finished the course at a restaurant on Paseo de los Angelos. There they found Cat and Curtis, who were the judges of this meal. During the cooking, Liz asked Nookie for salt. Nookie had ample excess salt, but he refused her request. The meals simply matched the ingredients. What can you do in 2 hours total?

Avery was selected as the winner and given the right to choose her final opponent for the final cookoff back in Los Angeles at Wolfgang Puck’s RED 7 restaurant. She chose Liz, primarily due to Nookie’s lack of integrity over the salt issue. Liz and Avery had to go to specific stores. Waiting were some of the earlier eliminated chefs who she could select to help. Avery took Nick. Liz took John. Then there was a second round. Avery picked Jenna.  Liz picked Chaz.

There was 3 hours to cook 3 courses that reflected the cuisines of 3 countries visited.
Avery started her meal with the papaya salad with coconut and shrimp from Thailand, then moved on to an apparently perfectly-cooked beef dish with chimichurri and finished with Moroccan mint tea and sliced pears. Liz’s  Thai beef salad on crispy rice was voted best overall dish. Next were Italian mushroom-braised chicken with kale and Argentina’s vanilla custard and orange empanada, but that custard did not set up. 

Then some of the most renowned chefs in the Los Angeles area began showing up to be judges, including:
Wolfgang Puck
Josiah Citrin
Brendan Collins and Carolos Tomazos from Waterloo & City

All the votes were tallied and Curtis announced that 4 votes had separated the two chefs. The winner of $150,000 and a new car was Avery.

This turned out to be a travelogue with a high level (above Top Chef and below Top Chef Masters) of cooking skill. I did not like the “game of strategy” part of competitors voting out other competitors. I wanted to see Curtis and Cat working harder as judges.


 

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