Cast Blog: #80PLATES

The Third Opium War

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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

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!

Villa-ins

Down in Africa

Funky Cold Medina

Spice Girls

The Art of Culinary War

Prawn Stars

Barcelona or Bust

It's in His Lisp

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

The Third Opium War

Hugh has some choice words for the "Demon Chef."

We are off to Hong Kong, the bustling cosmopolitan port which has been under Chinese control since 1997 and under the ‘One Country, Two Systems' the city goes under the control of Nookie in late 2012. He will instigate the Third Opium War. If none of my mutterings make sense so far you should read up on the history of Hong Kong because it is very interesting. 

Left standing in this world wide rat race is Avery, Nookie, John, Liz, and Nicole. They don’t really dress up nice when traveling, do they? Nookie is continuing his weasel ways and on arrival in Hong Kong he is plying his trade on John. John hasn’t had a BFF like this since grade school and is willing to trade Matchbox cars and homework for the chance to have a real friend. They collude to try and get Nicole on their team so they can vote her off if things go South. Being from the South I resent that saying. 

Onto the gondola, and while Nookie may talk a big game, the man in the bedroom shorts and flip-flops is a withering weenie when it comes to heights. Glass bottomed gondolas make him wince. Avery has the best line here: “Nookie is big in size, he’s not big in balls.” Balls are talked about a lot on this show. At the Tian Tin Buddha they must climb many stairs but before this Avery chooses the girls to hang with. The girls are a lot faster than the Nookie, and this is making John a little resentful of his new best friend forever. To the wet market. The guys are faster at finding tour guides and that helps immensely until they run into the fairer sex and the woman chefs follow them to the shop. Time to tie up some crabs in tin figure four leg locks. Nookie wins this but the reality is his dexterity has been honed from years of intricately folding baseball cards into throwing stars. Nicole has jumped into this challenge but is all thumbs when it comes to crab wrestling. The crabs untie her failed knots and laugh at her Americanized ways. The sound of a crab laughing at you is humiliating.

To the Peking Garden. Not the peeking garden, as John had hoped. It’s dumpling time and Nookie is a mess at this. There will be no dumpling diet in David Ortiz’s future, you can be sure of that. Nicole, not placated by her failure in crab tie, is stepping right up again. They finish second but it’s a close one and remember, Nookie is no Usain Bolt. The guys win but its only due to off-camera repartee of John and Nookie reenacting Full Metal Jacket with John playing Gunnery Sargeant Hartman and Nookie playing Private Gomer Pyle. Lovely positivity. 

To the harbor. The challenge is set with a progressive menu and teams of one. The exceptional ingredient is an extra hour in the kitchen with a sous chef from Bo Innovation. First they get to experience the cooking of the biggest dickwad ever to wear a cut-off black t-shirt and Ric Ocasek’s glasses in a kitchen. I am sure he’s a great cook and innovator, but this guy is compensating for a lot of other shortcomings by screaming at his staff and trying to get into Avery’s cutoffs by the third course. I will admit to finding the dog food intriguing though, but not enough to get me to spend a dime in his restaurant. Stay classy, Alvin.  Nookie and John’s advantage has been somewhat helpful but John takes the role of maître d’ and also the maker of edible snow. Growing up in Canada you learn young that the snow melts to reveal fall’s dog poop. Watch out for melting snow. 

Liz travels the world to impress people with food and feels that the POT PIE is her route to salvation? Houston, we have a problem. Nookie is taking hours to do a spherification of vinegar. Avery is doing some dessert with mango, and Nicole is doing a duck breast with squid noodles. 

Avery’s life was saved by molecular gastronomy. Enough with the sad state of Avery’s past. We get it. I still think she’s badass and am tired of tearing up every time the show goes to a sad aside about her past. I have trouble enough with my emotions when I watch Nookie run.

John plays maître d’, but really looks like a lost wedding guest in Manhattan. Alvin goes home and puts on a slightly dirty t-shirt with sleeves. Hey, good lookin’. He quickly schools John about service. 

Nookie’s oyster was so stupidly simple, but is well-loved. Too basic for me, though. Cat thought her ball was small. Talk amongst yourselves. 

John’s scallop with melted snow is craptastic. He looks good in the suit if that’s any consolation. 

Pot pie is deemed pretty dismal. Alvin says the most broad comment ever: “Asians do not like this.” Okie dokie.Duck was safe but good. Nicole is happy, but she has a big target on her back. 

Dessert killed it. And was not a pebble-sized flavor sphere on an oyster.  

Avery wins with her dessert.  She wants that money and she wants that car. Nookie is a sore loser. They all are pretty crass at this point. 

In meet-up, John decides to go crazy on Nicole about passion. Nookie has put him up to this and John looks kind of crazed as the bad cop. Nookie is commenting that John’s tirade is off-track and not strategic… Nookie has created a monster. Is John drunk? Melted snow is revealing a torrent of emotions from the Midwestern boy.  

Nicole bats .250 cause she voted for John. Nicole goes home.

On to Buenos Aires. We have four chefs left.  

 

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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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