We all have egos. But chefs have big egos. So it’s not surprising that our chefs are grating on each other a bit. But in this industry, we have to put personalities aside to get the job done. It was good to see Liz and Jenna put their differences on the back burner. Bologna definitely required teamwork.
I was so glad we were spending two weeks in Italy, because the chefs really got to see how two different regions can interpret their country’s food so differently. Where Tuscany represents farm-to-table, simple, rustic cooking, Bologna is—as Lyon is in France—the culinary center. Bologna is an eclectic city that treasures its history while simultaneously welcoming innovation and refinement.
It’s not an easy balance to master, and our chefs clearly struggled to achieve the subtlety and craft of an entire Bolognese dish. Take the tortellini dishes served by both teams. John’s tortellini was perfectly sized and light, but unfortunately it was served with Jenna's broth, which was way too heavy-handed with the Parmigiano-Reggiano. The Black Team was exactly opposite. Avery has put some beautiful food on our table, but this week completely face-planted with tortellini that was too thick and gummy. Thankfully for her, Nookie’s broth was so flavorful.
Nicole dodged a very big bullet by having immunity. Her rib-eye medallions were so tough they were virtually inedible. It’s a shame to see Nick go; I was looking forward to tasting more of his creations. It’s no small praise when a fabulous chef like Paul Bartolotta says that the seasoning on Nick’s warm mushroom salad with arugula puree was spot-on. I had a meal at Bartolotta Ristorante di Mare in Las Vegas that was one of the best I’ve ever eaten. Bartolotta’s food effortlessly shows you just how extraordinary Bolognese cuisine can be.
Best of luck, Nick. See the rest of you in Thailand!