Cast Blog: #80PLATES

It's in His Lisp

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Avery Pursell: "I Felt That I Did Not Perform Well"

Final Destination

The Suspense is Killing Me

Homeward Bound

Food Reigns

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Meat Sweats

Atta Girl!

The Final Four

Axis of Evil

Big Trouble in Little China

The Future is Hong Kong

Rocket Science

The Third Opium War

Cheating In Chiang Mai

Under the Radar

The Thai That Binds

Okie Dokie

Full of Bologna

Troop Bologna?

Pick Up Your Game!

My Baloney has a First Name it’s J-E-N-N-A

When in Rome...

Super Tuscan

That's a Spicy Meatball!


Down in Africa

Funky Cold Medina

Spice Girls

The Art of Culinary War

Prawn Stars

Barcelona or Bust

My Retirement Plan

Allons-y a Lyon!

Truly Exceptional

Lyon for Lambs

Truck Nutz

Playing the Game

The Dog's Bollocks

London on a Plate

Piss and Vinegar

It's in His Lisp

Hugh attempts to pronounce Barcelona and recap the rest of this episode.

It's all in the lisp. Bar-sthhhhh-ce-lona. Say it loud and say it proud. Whenever I say it, I sound like a lisping lush.

We find ourselves on the bus to Barcelona. Nookie was a professional poker player. Nicole was getting married, but not in North Carolina. Keven is into hermaphrodites. I pause the show for 10 minutes to drink some bourbon. I am in no shape to face this sober.

They have to find the Telefreeka. I don't know what that is either. I am too lazy to Google. My Spain time was spent in Madrid and San Sebastien, where I joined a Basque cell to separate from my eyebrow. You can barely understand our language, but we mean business.

Nookie and his Angels are the Black team: Nookie, Nicole, Jenna, Avery, Liz. This team is entirely based on slow runners, which surprised me because Nookie looks svelte. Nookie also doesn't like heights, unless it's the Big Green Wall at Fenway.Bowl of Sausages is the Red Team: John, Keven, Chaz, and Nick. Chaz and Keven are both the alpha dogs in this team dynamic. I can’t quite pick out who says the immortal second grade line, "Boys rule, girls drool" but this makes me fear for cooties, yearn for recess, and long for the days when our biggest concern was what happened on The A-Team.

They must cut, ink out, and clean a bunch of seafood. Chaz has no experience at cleaning fish. How do you get through working in a kitchen without that experience? Keven mentions that he "is going to take the 'Exceptional Ingredient' to bed tonight." His words. I picture him with a hermaphrodite monkfish. Even Keven would need beer goggles to sleep with a monkfish -- it's the ugliest fish in the sea.

Red Team is way ahead of Nookie's Angels but Nookie shows up and he's a speed freak with the monkfish, like a meth head taking down a case of Mountain Dew. Chaz is literally trying to pull the flesh off the merluza -- butcher. The inking of the sepia is the hardest (but best paying) job on this fish dock.

Nookie is pretty skilled at s--t-talking. Chaz is not. You have to be a confident person to s--t talk like Reggie Miller, but his chatter is not enough and the Black Team wins the EI, the wonderfully large red shrimp. Gambas Rojas will be cooked.Off to the market! Strategy is key, and both teams seem to be pretty messed up but these boys are having a pissing contest within their own team, and their team meeting is a catty experience. If I was on that team I would be rolling my eyes until I got dizzy and passed out in the periwinkle department of the market.

“Look at these peppers right here…” Shut up Keven. Shut up Keven. I am not even there and this guy is driving me up a wall. Chaz is so fed up with Keven’s quest to find “Don” Pedro Jimenez Sherry. How can you not find PX sherry in Spain? PX sherry is made from the Pedro Jimenez white grape and the sherry is a dark, very sweet syrupy thing. Wonderful on ice cream or flans. Chaz is like Honey Badger and just doesn’t give a s--t ,and wants Keven to grab some cava. Oh Chaz, lighten up! Keven is still sore from sleeping with that monkfish.

Chaz is concerned that they are going to be serving a pot luck dinner to Jose Andres. I had one of the most memorable dinners in the last five years at Jose’s hidden restaurant in Jaleo at the Cosmopolitan Hotel in Vegas. The eight seat gem of a resto is called e. You should go. It rocks. I would be nervous to feed him too.Drinky time and we learn that Avery has two daughters who she misses immensely. Me too. This industry is hard on family and even worse when we travel a lot.

Jenna is trying to form an alliance with Nicole and Nicole is having none of it. Lone wolf is Nicole. Keven is cheesing around trying to find friends too but not getting very far.

Nicole is crying over spilt milk, or less-than-setup custard.

Keven is front of the house for the Black Team. Keven is probably not the greatest choice because he’s crazy. Jenna has a degree from the internets on Hotel–spitality Supremacy. She likes taking notes and when people don’t understand why she’s writing a culinary sequel to War & Peace.

Keven is the most reticent Maitre D' in history. He really just does not want to be out there. AWOL is very descriptive.

Sergio, Javier, Jose, Cat ,and the Aussie Blond Bombshell. Jose explains the reverence for the Gamba Roja!Here’s the menu with comments:

Red Team:
Merluza Crudo with Gambas Rojas, Lemon Aioli, Squid Ink
Evidently you don’t serve the Merluza raw, but if you do, DO NOT cut it up with a dull axe.

Monkfish with White Beans, Monkfish Liver Mousse, Chorizo
They love it. Looks messy but their monkfish is really cooked well. Monkfish likes to be cooked medium and then rested before serving. It relaxes it. No joke. For once I am being serious. This fish is “yousy,” Catalan for juicy.

Cava Sabayon, Cake Crumbs, Marconas and Fresh Fruit

Black Team:
Tapas Trio- Chorizo Croquettes, Merluza Crudo, Date Wrapped with Serrano Ham
They love it. Looks pretty. Looks good.

Serrano Wrapped Monkfish with Liver, Sauteed Greens, Pan Con Tomate
Love the idea, but the fish is overcooked and the it’s kind of like swearing on the tabernacle to cook Iberico ham.

Bruleed Custard with Macerated Fruit
The custard is soft. Jenna feels kicked in the nuts. This is telling. Liz is crying about failing.

Judging falls and the Black Team wins. Sausages are done. Keven loses and this makes me sad because who will America make light of?

Onwards to Morocco.

The Suspense is Killing Me

Cat Cora summarizes the finale.

I don't know about you, but I found the finale to be super-suspenseful. After 60,000 miles and nine countries, it came down to two great (female!) chefs. 

Obviously this was the toughest challenge of all. Preparing a three-course meal for some of the top chefs in L.A. is an intimidating assignment for any chef. Both Avery and Liz did a great job and it was tough for all of us to have to make a choice. In the end, to paraphrase Wolfgang Puck, experience won over talent, even if it was by a narrow margin.

Congrats to Avery for winning the contest. And kudos to Liz and the other contestants for giving it their all and doing some great cooking along the way.

I had a fabulous time doing this show with my great friend Curtis Stone and a great production team. Thanks to all of you for watching! Send me your comments on Facebook and Twitter. See y'all soon!


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