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This week’s episode takes place in one of my favorite cities: Barcelona. The architecture is beautiful, the people are friendly, and the food is outstanding. Where else do people stop what they’re doing at noon on Sundays, form a circle and dance the Sardana, a traditional Catalan dance, with total strangers? For me, Barcelona is definitely one of those places that could finish the sentence, “When I retire, I’m moving to…”
Like other famous Mediterranean cities, much of Barcelona’s cuisine is based on fresh fish. And, of course, you can’t call yourself a chef unless you know what you’re doing with fresh seafood. That gave Nookie, a born and bred Bostonian, an unfair advantage. It looked like his skills at butchering monkfish would lead the Black Team to victory in the Course but the Red Team won by collecting more squid ink. That gave them the right to the Exceptional Ingredient: gamba roja. Both teams were going to need all the ingenuity they could muster to impress one of Spain’s most famous chefs: José Andrès. José’s restaurants in the U.S. are a big reason tapas have become so popular on this side of the Atlantic. As the teams prepared their meals, we saw, once again, how critical teamwork is in a kitchen. One weak link can kill the whole operation. It looked like that was going to be Liz this week when her Crema Catalana didn’t have time to gel. But there’s also no room for egos on a good team and that led to Keven’s downfall this week. It’s great to be a leader, but you’ve got to back it up by being a top contributor. Kevin wanted to manage the kitchen but neglected his role running the front of the house.
If France and Spain took our contestants out of their comfort zones, wait till you see them next week in Marrakesh!