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.

Meat Sweats

Again: why won't anyone vote Nookie off?!

Welome back, my little empanadas! I hope you all had a restful and delicious July 4th. We're almost at the end -- this week in Buenos Aires represents the penultimate episode. We're down to four.

Avery had to pick her partner for this episode and obviously selects Nookie, leaving John with LIz to team up. Let's get right on Course. First, 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. While none of the chefs claim to have any empanada experience, John makes a comment that he used to make calzones at a pizza shop, and they're the same thing. Honestly, he's not too far off. Avery says that since she and Nookie are used to cooking for the masses, they have an advantage. And apparently she was right. They plow through their empanadas much faster than John and Liz, partially due to the fact that Liz burned an entire batch. Has anyone else noticed that Liz has a sense of urgency in her interviews, but she doesn't seem to have it in the kitchen? She knows what she should be doing, but just doesn't do it! Poor, John. 

The next goal for both teams is to find Parque Rivadavia and sell 150 pesos worth of empanadas. Nookie and Avery actualy get off to a slow start, selling each empanada for $5. This is mostly due to the fact that Avery does her math wrong. Liz actually very astutely says that her team could sell two for $5 and still have enough. Althoguh I thought this actually might pay off for them, it doesn't. Nookie and Avery still win. Avery is thankful to have Nookie on her team and she should be. I think it woud have been a very different scenario had Liz made that mathematical error on Nookie's team -- he wouldn't have been as forgiving. Also, on a total sidenote, how awesome were the locals? When Nookie offered one gentleman kisses from Avery he replies, "My woman is enormous," implying she could fight Avery. I lost it over this. After selling their empanadas, the chefs have to find Cat and Curtis at Puerto Madero. Although John and Liz are the more athletic pair, Nookie and Avery still win -- rickety subway and all. Next time I complain about the NYC subway (I'm a bus girl), i will remember that thing they rode on. Yikes. 

For the Takeover, the chefs will be serving a family-style Argentinian meal at La Tranquera. I have actually never been to an authentic Argentinian restaurant, but I love meat, so I don't know what I'm waiting for. Since Nookie and Avery won the Exceptional Ingredient, they get time to see how to properly grill meat Argentinian-style. This includes goat, which Avery then takes on as her dish. Nooie goes with a skirt steak with chimichurri sauce, which sounds like Argentinian food for dummies to me. Liz tries to redeem herself from earlier by making empanadas, which is either really smart, or really, um, not smart. John makes a vegetable dish. 

Let's start with Liz, who makes chorizo and corn empanadas, which are literally two of my favorite things on earth, so I would've loved to try these. Everyone enjoys them. In fact, one of the locals asks for a recipe. And in case anyone was wondering, you eat empanada with your hands. She wins Most Valuable Chef, which we'll get back to in a moment.

The diners also love Avery's goat, probably the most traditional of all the dishes. Avery reveals her favorite part of cooking is butchery and filleting. I think this says something about her but i'm not quite sure what that is.

John's vegetarian dish shockingly did not go over well with the Argentinians. I actually think he would've been cut some slack by Curtis, etc. had it actually tasted good, but the execution was still a little off. I'll never fault someone for trying to balance a meal by including a vegetable, though.

And Nookie cut his meat, which is a huge no-no. And it was overcooked. Since the meat continues to cook at the table, it just went way over. And he knew that but obviously said to Cat and Curtis that he didn't take it into account. His chimichurri was also sizzling.

So the vote was down to John, Avery, and Nookie. Although I thought John was slightly delusional in thinking he was part of the real alliance, Avery did say "I have an alliance with Nookie and John." Yet, John got voted off. I have to say I'm continually confounded by people not voting for Nookie. I really think if Avery had voted for him, she could've focused on beating John and LIz in the final -- two people who remain their own worst enemies. But now she has to worry about one of the best competitors in the competition. I just don't get it. Although Cat praises Avery for wanting to win against the best in the finale, which I can appreciate, at this point in the game, I don't believe Nookie would have done the same. Also, I don't know that Nookie has proven that he's the best chef, so Avery could've felt OK about voting him off. But, anyway...

Next week we'll find the chefs in Uruguay! Until then, Have a Nosh!



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