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Cheating In Chiang Mai

Curtis Stone questions Nookie and Johns' methods.

By Curtis Stone

It’s an age-old question: Do cheaters really prosper? If tonight’s episode is any judge, sometimes they do. 

For the record, I think what Nookie did was pretty revolting. As a chef and businessman, I can’t see how you’d justify undermining your integrity just to make a buck (or win a challenge). Is he right that the challenge was to make the most money? Yes. Was it to make the most money at any cost? I suppose that’s a personal choice, but I don’t think so. 

With two dishes up for sale and double the seed money, John and Nookie had a significant advantage. It’s unlikely they had to water down the juice to win. In the end, they were 1,520 baht ahead of the white team, even with the 150 baht bonus from Chef McDang. At 30 baht a pop, the extra juice they sold wasn’t solely responsible for that win.So I understand why Jenna was upset. What was interesting, though, was that she didn’t seem to have the same qualms when Avery was adding a little coconut water to their shavings in order to bump up the weight. Is it cheating? Sure. Was it about money? There was $10,000 on the line. Maybe her conscience would have kicked in if the White Team had ended up winning the Exceptional Ingredient.

On the positive side, Nookie did learn one of the most important lessons of this competition during the rice-planting challenge: respect for where your food comes from. Planting and harvesting rice is truly excruciating work. Putting in just 20 rows was enough for him to realize what a shame it is to waste it. 

Congratulations to Avery and Jenna for their green papaya salad. Chef McDang, a truly extraordinary chef, was so impressed that you mastered the intricate flavor profile of Thai food. But even that dish couldn’t save Jenna. Like Keven, Jenna’s personality ultimately did her in. 

On to Hong Kong!

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