Cast Blog: #80PLATES

The Dog's Bollocks

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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

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

London on a Plate

Piss and Vinegar

The Dog's Bollocks

12 chefs arrive in London to start their international culinary competition.

(Editor's Note: This recap's title is appropos of nothing, but it's just one of my favorite British expressions, so thank you for humoring me.)

It's finally here! I know many of you have been in culinary competition withdrawal, and so I'm happy to say that 80 Plates is finally here! I'm Monica Reyhani -- I'm Senior Editor here at Bravotv.com and I'll be recapping the season for you. I have to say i was especially excited for the first episode to be in London because I'll be going there first the first time at the end of May, so I can't wait for all the places i saw in the episode to become familiar to me.

Let's get right into it then, shall we? First, we get a little taste of some of the cast in their elements -- their kitchens, their homes -- before they head to the airport and land in our first destination. They all meet at Borough Market, a place near and dear to Curtis' heart. From all accounts, this is a must-stop designation for any foodie traveler. 

The chefs get to meet the glorious Curtis Stone and Cat Cora. Seriously, if you're obsessed with either one, don't be ashamed. They're as nice as they are good-looking. And, they're kinda bawdy, which is always the way to my heart. Cat and Curtis greet the chefs and then have them split up into two teams -- Red and Black. Since they don't really know each other, this is kind of asking a lot, but they figure it out or sort it out as one might say in England, and then Cat and Curtis explain the way the challenges will work. The chefs will first tackle "The Course." Whichever team wins get to use an "Exceptional Ingredient" in "The Takeover," where they will take over a kitchen in their host city and cook for the locals. Get it?!In this first Course, the chefs had to first head to a pub -- in doing so, one chef already falls on her arse. Whoops! The Red Team decides to take a cab and the Black Team decides to run -- what would you have done? I would've taken a cab -- I hate running. Another benefit of taking a cab is that you're traveling with someone who knows where they're going, which wasted a lot of time for the Red Team.

The Red Team arrives at the Draper's Arms, their first destination. And I just get so excited! The Course challenge is to "finish 3 plates of black pudding hash and drink 1 Pimm's cocktail." G-d where's the adorable Adam Richman when you need him?! I love a Pimm's Cup, and it's something you can pretty easily order at a real cocktail place or British-style gastropub here in America. I don't know how thrilled I'd be about the black pudding, but we'll see if that ends up on a plate of mine when I go to London. Jenna asks the server what's in the Pimm's cup. Smart -- you never know when that knowledge will come in handy.

The Red Team goes to town on the food. When they're almost done, the Black Team finally arrives to complete their Course. 

The Black Team heads to the next pub. There they have to eat 3 steak and kidney pies or drink 3 yards of ale. They opt to drink. The chunks are already rising in my throat. Is it better to maybe throw up from too much food or be drunk for later challenges? At this point, Nookie is shvitzing, and the Red Team opts for the alcohol too. Oh, chefs. Eventually, the two teams are neck and neck. Off to the third pub they go. The teams end up at the Camden Head where Curtis and Cat are waiting for them to reveal their third challenge. Their final course is to finish 6 plates of fish and chips and 1 pint of scrumpy, which is hard cider. I might pass out.I'm nauseated but still can't wait to get the fish and chips at the Harrod's food halls, which my sources claim are the best, so hopefully I'll get over watching the chefs eat so many before then! At this point the Black Team is only three minutes behind the Red Team. and if you wonder, my favorite chips in the city are at The Breslin. They accompany the lamb burger which is my favorite. Ms. April Bloomfield knows how to make a proper chip. The ones at Resto are also awesome and come with various dipping sauce options.

So, the Red Team finishes the Courses first, which means they'll get to use the Exceptional Ingredient in the Gastropub Takeover. which is... The Potato! So, the Red Team can use potatoes and the Black Team can't. Both teams have to take over pubs and cook menus featuring three of the dishes in the Courses -- steak and kidney pie, fish and chips, and black pudding hash and two other dishes of their choosing. Both teams are at a disadvantage in that neither tasted steak and kidney pie so they have no point of reference for that. Curtis also explains that the winning team will be safe and the losing team will have to vote a chef off.

The Black Team has to figure out what to replace potatoes with -- they go with polenta. Eh. I love a polenta fry (I had them yesterday), but that didn't seem very creative to me. 

On the Black Team, Keven pushes for a dessert and his team thinks they should stick to savory. Mmm you don't mess with someone named Cheven. That's like a fake name a blogger would give a contestant, and Kevin's taken all the fun out of doing it.

Over on the Red Team, Jenna is adamant about a dessert too and her team rejects that idea too. I love bread pudding. I love sticky toffee pudding. Not sure why so many of the chefs were so averse to the idea of doing a dessert.A few thoughts as I watched:

- Nookie is willing to make a bad dish to win. Argh. There's  stereotypical word for people from Massachusetts that aren't that nice, and I won't use it, but I hope Nookie isn't one of them.

- I'm worried about Liz -- the oven incident didn't make her look that strong.

- I only have one tip for Sai: let's not call our patrons fat from the get-go. Mmmk?

- Nick thinks Chaz is bossy. Maybe Chaz talks too much, but someone needed to take charge. he expedited well and someone needed to do that. I have a feeling it's a combo of Chaz talking a tad too much but nick taking it all a little too seriously. Did he really think Chaz was serious about Harry Potter being real? Keep calm, Nick, and carry on.

- I iked that the fish and chips we saw were finger-sized. I hate when it's a huge filet because that means there going to be one to four sides without breading. Mmm.

- I got a little giddy hearing one of the locals complain about there being a lack of custard. It's something I've heard before from an English friend at one of Manhattan's ever-increasing number of English restaurants.

- Why did the Red Team change their pub's name to British Love, American Pride? Eek! You don't change the name of a pub. And, I mean, if you're going to inadvertently place a curse on an establishment at least make it a better name.Ultimately, the local diners -- including the fabulous Ms. Nigella Lawson -- preferred the Black Team's food, even without potatoes. And Chaz won MVP because Keven didn't take credit for his dessert idea. While Chaz did say he wanted to the menu to be balanced, Keven did really push for the dessert. And as Nigella said in my favorite quote of the whole episode: "Even when people were critical of British cooking, no one was ever critical of british pudding." I mean, it was brilliant and almost rhymed! She's the best.

Now, if Keven had spoken up for himself, would he have won? Who knows. in addition to the dessert, Chaz was really responsible for for the execution of the service, sooo I kinda think Chaz deserved it anyway. He stepped up as a leader, rather than just talking about stepping up. Totem pole or not.

Now, to the Red Team. Nookie somehow effectively convinced his team that Clara should go home and she did. Man, tough break, Clara. The whole thing was sort of confusing. Nookie didn't cook to his ability because he didn't want to be seen as a threat, but then he convinced the others to vote of Clara for being the worst. Those two strategies almost contradict each other in that they're assuming his fellow teammates are being swayed by two different thoughts. I just think Nookie and Cheven are so transparent with their "manipulation," I just don't get it.

I guess we'll see if it works as well next week when the chefs head to...  Lyon, France! Mon die!

Sooo who do you think is going to win it all? And who are you already exited to see pack their bags? Taking predictions and comments now! Until next week, Have a Nosh!