Cast Blog: #80PLATES

Prawn Stars

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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!

Villa-ins

Down in Africa

Funky Cold Medina

Spice Girls

The Art of Culinary War

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

Prawn Stars

Bravotv.com's Senior Editor is surprised to see Keven go home so soon.

Hola! This week we're in Barcelona, Spain -- a place I've never gone, but have always wanted to. I'm actually writing this from our first host city, London, England right now, so if it's a bit shorter than usual, it's because I'm exhausted!

So, let's get into it. We start with the chefs in cars. Sharing. Keven explains some 'Crying Game' incident he had once that I'd rather forget ever hearing. Thankfully, there's a challenge at hand and the chefs face their first Course: to find the clock tower. This week the chefs are in two teams: the men vs. the women (and Nookie.) Nookie reveals that he used to live in Barelona, which seems like a pretty good advantage. "It's almost like i'm the exceptional ingredient, Nookie says. That may be true, but I worry it could turn out to be a detriment. (Spoiler alert: I'm wrong.) At the start, the men find themselves in the lead, John Vermiglio makes an interesting comment about wishing there were females on his team -- for their level heads. I just found this so refreshing. John is becoming one of my favorites to watch.When the teams arrive, they're greeted by Jordi Limon, Head Chef, Restaurante Somorrostro. The second course is to Fillet & Breakdown Fish. Each type of fish or seafood is worth a certain dollar value, just like it would be if the chefs were real fishermen trying to sell their goods. While Nookie is able to cut the shiz out of the monkfish, they are of lesser value than squid ink, which the men's team just destroys. I actually dissected a squid in fourth grade, so I might have actually been helpful in this challenge!

By winning the Course, the men win the Exceptioal Ingredient -- the guma roja or red prawns. The men will be able to cook with it, while the women will not. Both teams head to La Boqueria, and we then see a little more of the reason behind John's comment from earlier. Nookie and his "Angels" are cooperating, while the men are sort of at each other's throats. Keven and Chaz have different methods of going about things, and they both set each other off.

Time to get cooking! First course goes to Nookie's team for their trio of croquettes. Even with the red prawn advantage, the men's team couldn't pull out a winning starter. Chaz tenderized the paired fish a tad too much, and the diners, including the exceptionally sweet Jose Andres, didn't care for it. Next course seemingly goes to the men's team for their treatment of the monkfish. Nookie led his team astray by suggesting a cooked Iberico ham dish that just didn't work. And finally for dessert, although Liz's custard didn't quite set and she's nervous it will send her home, the diners seem to like it. And so, Nookie's team won, and Nookie won MVP.Now, who to send home. Well, it seems that it would likely be Chaz or Keven. Chaz for being responsible for seemingly the night's worst dish, or Keven for not having any front-of-house presence whatsoever. Say what you will about Jenna (and her fellow chefs certainly say a lot!), diners love her. Ultimtely, Keven went home. I'm honestly a little shocked he went home so early, but it was inevitable. He was just too difficult to work with. Adios, Keven!

Next week, we're in Morocco! Cheers for now!

Final Destination

Curtis Stone explains the importance of traveling for a chef.

 

We’ve reached the finale! What an amazing journey we’ve had. 10 countries in 44 days, and at last we have our final two. Congratulations to Avery and Liz! This wasn’t an easy competition and getting to the finish line is quite an accomplishment. 

But first, we had Uruguay. I’ve said it often in this blog: Nookie played this game like a pro. But while there were similarities to Survivor, this competition was at its heart about great food. I was so glad to see Avery choose Liz for her Los Angeles opponent. As she said, when it came to the final showdown, she wanted to go up against someone who would bring everything she had to the table and treat the food with integrity. That sure describes Liz. 

I think the final challenge to make three dishes, inspired by their travels was perfect. I believe every chef should travel as much and as often as possible. It’s a beautiful way to learn and be inspired and expand your palate and sensibilities. Back in their own kitchens, chefs then can creatively integrate the foreign flavors into dishes that speak to all corners of the globe while also catering to the palate of their own culture. It’s how food evolves with respect and reverence.Of course, Avery and Liz had to cater to the palates of some seriously extraordinary chefs. Melisse’s two-star Michelin chef Josiah Citrin, James Beard winners Brendan Collins and Carolos Tomazos from Waterloo & City, and of course the legendary Wolfgang Puck, who has both designations under his belt. 

Both Avery and Liz did an outstanding job. In the end, just four votes made the difference. Avery has been such a superstar throughout this competition and Liz has shown an incredible passion for food. A huge round of applause to Avery and all of our chefs. Your culinary journey around the world is only beginning.