Cast Blog: #80PLATES

That's a Spicy Meatball!

Default image

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

Final Destination

The Suspense is Killing Me

Homeward Bound

Food Reigns

Default image

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

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

That's a Spicy Meatball!

Bravotv.com's Senior Editor wonders whether not utilizing Nonna was smart or fatal.

Welcome back, my little McRibollitas! This week, the chefs (and, of course, we) travel to Florence, Italy -- another destination to which I've never been. For some reason I've never felt an overwhelming urge to visit Italy, not like I know many of my friends have expressed to me, but I will say this episode made me hungry. And angry. Hangry, if you will. First, Cat and Curtis tell Nick and Gary that they will be split up since they're the remaining members of their defunct team. They will select their opponent's team. In the end, Nicole, Nookie, and Avery end up with Nick. And Jenna, John, and LIz end up on Gary's team. After they're split up, their Course begins.

First, "Find the Men playing Bocce Ball at Terrazza Il Belvedere." I could just go to Wiiliamsburg to find people playing bocce ball, but the two teams find the men with a  fair amount of ease. In the car on the way to the court, Jenna starts her Italian language domination. She knows the language and is not afraid to use it. Much like she did with Spanish, and Gary with French, they're both all too willing to speak their second languages, and as Hugh points out in his blog this week, overpronounce it. You may wonder why I always reference Hugh's blog, and it's because it's hilarious and getting it in my Inbox every Wedneday is a highlight of my week. OK, enough of that -- don't want him to get a bigger head than he already has! Back to Jenna. Even thought Gary thinks Jenna will be nothing but an asset, even he's ready to find her a muzzle. I have to say I've travelled with know-it-alls before, and it's insanely annoying.

Course 2: Find Il Cernachino Cafe and Order the 'Reboiled Seasonal Dish.' Ribollita! one of the buzzwords for this episode. Both teams eventually find it and taste it. Next, the teams have to find Carapina and order the "tasty treat mistaken for cheese." Although Gary's team gets to Carapina first, this clue has them completely thrown. Luckily for Nick's team, they come across an English speaker on the street who knows the answer. And it is... ricotta. Well, my mind was blown. Maybe I should have known this, but i had no idea ricotta isn't really a cheese. You learn something new every day! I actually dislike ricotta cheese, so somehow this new knowledge comforted me.The next task is to find Filippo Mannoni at El Duomo. There, they'll find out they have to drive to Villa del Cialinano and go olive picking! More specifically, they have to fill four crates using the provided tools. It isn't until the Black Tam is a couple of crates in before they realize the correct method with the tarp provided. The Red Team realizes it too, but not in time. And the Black Team wins. They'll get the Exceptional Ingredient in the Takeover which is to cook traditional Tuscan cuisine.

In the meantime, we learn a couple of tidbits about our chefs -- Jenna feels guilty being in Italy wihtout her fiance, who proposed with a salami ring! Aw. NIcole Lou bases everything she knows on the film Under the Tuscan Sun, of which I've watched th beginning about 100 times, but have never seen the whole thing. It's just one of those movies I don't care enough about, but maybe i will now. l'll keep you posted on that important development. The Exceptional Ingredient is Nonna Romanelli, an Italian-only speaking grandma, ready to share her wisdom. After a few minutes with Nonna, Nookie and his team decide they're wasting time because they don't undertand what she's saying. I cant' decide if this is a smart use of time or the biggest blunder of the season. It turns out it's the latter because, as Curtis criticizes them later, they could've had her demonstrate how to do something without understanding what she was saying. Food is a universal language. Or is it music? Who knows. The Red Team has their own challenges in that their Ribbolita, made my Gary, gets accidentally tossed on the floor by John. The way that whole scene was shot with John, an unidentified figure with a hood, not having his identity discovered till he turns to the camera, was eerie. But it was an accident, and so the whole team helps Gary to create a new Ribollita. Oh, and Liz, who has immunity, effed up the pasta for the gnocchi. She's on Jenna's last nerve. Yikes! The two teams serve their meals. While the Red Team's Ribbolita did seem to be better received (Nookie took a misstep by putting priscuitto in his), the Black Team won. Ultimately, the Red Team's menu just wasn't Tuscan, but wait Jenna knows eveything about Itally! Mm-hmm. Nicole won MVP for her spicy meatball, and the Red Team has to decide who to send home. Since Liz has immunity, that leaves Jenna, Gary, and John. Sure, John accidentally knocked over Gary's Ribollita. Sure Jenna selected a non-Tusan menu, but no one spoke up, did they? Ultimately, it was Gary's time to go. And so I'll say, "Au revoir, mon ami!"

Next week, we're in Bologna! Hold on to your tortellini. Until then, Have a Nosh!

 

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.