Hello my little tanginess! This week we headed to Marrackech, Morocco, and would you believe it? Cat and Curtis are there! Hey, guys! I'm still jet-lagged from my trip to London, where I too, made a point to visit Borough Market. There, I had a memorable bacon butty (one of my goals for the trip), and a tender salted beef sandwich. But, we're here to talk about Marakech, aren't we?
Cat and Curtis issue the group's Courses. First, they determine their teams by hopping into pedi-cab-like carriages. The chefs throw out a lot of criticisms of each other. Chaz says Avery takes credit for other people's work. Pot, meet kettle. Nookie and Avery work well together, so they team up. Nookie has also been to Marrakech. Gary speaks French, so he'll once again be an asset in Morocco. I hate saying this because I like Gary and I know it's irrational, but his grandiose French drives me nuts, much like I guess Jenna's Italian will bother John's next week as we see in the "next on" portion of the show. He and Jenna yelling, "Vite! Vite!" to their drivers almost drove me to the edge. Like I said, irrational.The first course is to head to Ben Boubker Spice Shop within the Medina. I've seen Sex and the City 2, so this all looked very familiar (she says with complete and utter sarcasm.) The teams have varying success finding this one vendor among all the vendors. Nookie's team gets there first. Too bad they don't know their spices very well. In fact, i almost died when they had trouble with cinnamon and coriander, seemingly two of the more common spices used. Although the last to get to Ben Boubker, Chaz, Nick, and Gary won that Course. Chaz was actualy really helpful in this part of the challenge, claming his West INdian roots make him very familiar with spices.
Next Course? Find the El Waha Restaurant. Once there, the chefs have to fill all the mint tea cups presented to them using the proper technique, which is apparently making a giant mess. I kid, I kid. Gary reveals that he plays a game with his friends where they do the exact same thing with alcohol and see how high they can go. A high-pouring game of pouring alcohol. Anyone missing Cheven at this point? No? Just me? Anyway, Nookie has an idea to start from the back of the rows of glasses so that the leaking liquid falls into other cups, cutting time. Not sure if it was the method or not, but it works, and the Black Team wins. On to the Takeover, which is to take over the Palais Soleiman restaurant, create one of Morocco's signature dishes, a tagine, and two side dishes. The Black Team has the benefit of the Exceptional Ingredient, which this time around is in the form of local guide, Ahmed. The key to winning this challenge? Good spices. So true. Let's all take a moment to head to our cupboards and throw out our old spices, shall we? Just cause they're dried, doesn't mean they don't go bad. Gail Simmons actually has a really appropriate passage in her book, Talking with My Mouth Full about wanting to throw out the old spices in her mom's cupboard in Canada. I know that was a shameless plug, but I love Gail, and her book is very entertaining, so get it, will ya?
Before the cooking begins, the chefs head to their accommodations, which are the Four Seasons Marrakech. Just beautiful. Only thing that would make this better were if they had a butler. And he was Raza Jaffrey. (Another SATC2 reference for those playing at home. Sorry, guys.) Jenna gets encouragement from her fiance, a fellow chef via a Skype conversation. Avery reveals that she wears her father's ashes around her neck, and that she's doing this for him -- they had planned a trip around the world together. OK, back to the cooking. The chefs are cooking at Palais Soleiman, and things seem to be moving along fairly swimmingly until Avery's beets for her salad side dish go missing. And the shiz hits the fan. She obviously assumes the worst -- that one of her competitors has stolen the beets. Gary rightly assumes that one of the servers took them because they were sitting in the plating area. Sure enough, the servers return the beets. Chaz obviously gets angry because time was taken from his team's prep to find the beets and then Gary continued to talk about it after they were found, so he and Avery get into it a little bit. While I agree with Chaz that an apology from Avery was deserved for assuming the worst, Chaz's reaction was completely out of proportion, and frankly just plain odd. It seems that he finds these little vendettas and sticks with them. First Cheven, now Avery.