I don’t get too many chances to play the stern headmaster, but this week’s episode gave me more than enough opportunity. I was absolutely gobsmacked that the Black Team would waste the chance to cook Tuscan food with a woman who has been making these dishes for decades.
First and foremost, the Black Team just didn’t act like experienced chefs. Cooking is something we do with all five of our senses. While the language barrier with Nonna Nara made it more difficult to learn the recipes, it was by no means impossible. Watch her cook, take notes on the ingredients and techniques, and use that as the guide for your meal. Ask any linguist -- the majority of communication is nonverbal. So make hand gestures, hold up ingredients, do whatever it takes to learn a thing or two. As crafty as Nookie has shown himself to be in this competition, he was surprisingly uncreative with Nonna Nara.
To make matters worse, the Black Team also wasted the chance to truly understand the beauty of Tuscan food. Simple, local and seasonal, Tuscan cuisine relies on the quality of ingredients and time-honored preparations. There are a number of places in the world where locals will appreciate innovation with their cuisine. Tuscany isn’t one of them. To learn a recipe from a grandma is to learn from a true master.