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Around the World in 80 Plates [Split from Top Chef thread] [spoilers]

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Interesting! http://www.bravotv.com/around-the-wor...

"Around the World in 80 Plates takes culinary competition to the next level as 12 chefs travel across the globe testing their skills and determination. In each episode, the contestants will travel to a different international city where they will learn the local customs, cultures, and cuisines as they participate in a gauntlet of culinary challenges. Ultimately, they will face-off in a kitchen takeover where they will not only recreate, but reinvent the menus for world-renowned restaurants and their demanding owners. "

And the first contestant in the bios is the EC at Fenway Park in Boston! OK, looks like I'll be watching this one. :-D

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  1. I really hope Jose Andres sticks to judging Western European food.

    1. Wow, if they stick to that format and don't go overboard with inane challenges and trumped up drama, this may be much more satisfying than what we've gotten from TC.

      Really looking forward to this!

      1. Wow, sounds great to me.

        2 Replies
        1. re: Phaedrus

          Agreed.....EXCEPT, it has elements of disaster written all over it.

          Having viewed the video below, it's a combination of Top Chef, Amazing Race, and Biggest Loser. They will work in teams to recreate the various national dishes, and be judged by the regular diners in the restaurants they "take over." Curtis and Cat will tell them what the diners thought, and the losing team will then vote on who goes home. Ahh, there's the rub. They're judging themselves.

          http://www.bravotv.com/around-the-wor...

          1. re: Phaedrus

            BTW - I'm going to recommend to the Mods that they pull this part of the TC Reunion thread into it's own thread called "New Bravo Show: Around the World in 80 Plates" and let us talk about it there.

          2. one of Gordon Ramsay's better programs was based on him spending a week in a country whose food he admired but had little knowledge of. he visited various chefs and markets, got tutorials, and after a week cooked a multi course dinner for his top chef hosts and local food critics.

            7 Replies
            1. re: moto

              Was this a British show, moto?

              1. re: LindaWhit

                Gordon Ramsey's Great Escapes...British yes, playing repeats on BBC America now.

                1. re: sibeats

                  And for whatever earthly stupid reason, Verizon FiOS doesn't offer BBC America in their initial level cable package. Damn.

                  1. re: LindaWhit

                    my t.v. service provider also charges more for the level that includes BBC-A. getting the Smithsonian channel from them costs even more. we can only expect them to behave like drug lords controlling a powerful addictive. the Ramsey show revealed a very interesting side of him -- physically quite engaged with things and understanding how to approach something unfamiliar with complete humility and an open mind.

                    1. re: LindaWhit

                      I have basic level Fios and while I don't have that channel either, I do get BBC America on Fios On Demand. Not all shows, but some, and they are often updated.

                      1. re: Kat

                        Good to know, thanks Kat!

                2. re: moto

                  I saw that a few times and really liked it. GR comes off so much better when he isn't doing HK or KN.

                3. Will you please, please, pretty please with sugar on top do the recaps for this one, too?

                  1. Bumping this thread to remind anyone who's interested that the premiere is tonight - 10PM on Bravo. I guess they're London-bound tonight and doing a pub crawl.

                    4 Replies
                    1. re: LindaWhit

                      I'm definitely watching it... It looks like it has potential! Hope they don't let me down. I watched the Top Chef Masters marathon today and was barraged by ads!

                      1. re: LindaWhit

                        Watched it a short while ago. Looks like "Survivor" complete with scheming and games and 'voting off the island (team)'. Oh, I think there was some cooking going on at times. :-(

                        1. re: LindaWhit

                          Possiby vaguely spoiler-ish for those who wish to know nothing about the show – a Preview-Review that talks about how the show is structured andthe author's views/impressions about the show, although it does not tell us who won or who lost (in the 1st episode just shown):
                          http://www.nypost.com/p/entertainment...

                          1. re: huiray

                            Our local paper gave the show a terrible review as well. They titled it "What NOT to watch". So it will be interesting to see opinions. I didn't watch it so I can't comment yet. But I'm sure it will play again and we'll see.

                        2. I saw the first half, and thought it was a shockingly bad show. I'd been looking forward to seeing them experience the food of different countries and try to recreate the dishes, instead they had to eat so fast they didn't have time to enjoy it or even use utensils. When instead of trying the steak & kidney pie they opted for that ridiculous beer so they could consume it more quickly, I knew I was done with this one. Too bad; I love [what I thought was] the concept.

                          6 Replies
                          1. re: Niblet

                            Pretty much what you said, Niblet. I had *very* high hopes for this show, to be able to showcase local food. The first episode was *not* a good one, and if this is what it's going to be, it won't hold interest. Exactly as huiray said - a culinary Survivor. BAD MOVE.

                            That said - will I watch a few more episodes? Yes, because I want to see if it improves.

                            1. re: LindaWhit

                              DONE AND DONE. i'm not getting sucked into this one - i don't know if i'll even watch the next episode. very disappointing. it's like they took all the elements we hate about Top Chef - little cooking, stunts, playing up drama - and put them into this show.

                              1. re: mariacarmen

                                Me too. Can't do 'er. Too many elements of too many shows; too much emphasis on "roadblocks" and dummmm intrigue; not enough cooking. Next will be a cooking "auction" show where the chefs have to bid on storage units that may or may not contain foods and cooking impements and equipment, and the trucks they bring to drive their loot away will actually be "bait cars," and they'll go straight to the hoosegow, where the actual challenge will be revealed to be making jail food palatable. :) Oh, and they'll be blindfolded and have one hand tied behind their back. Par-tay.

                                1. re: mamachef

                                  Funny! I know you are joking but I would bet if you pitched that idea to networks you would probably see some interest. That is how ridiculous reality shows have gotten these days.

                              2. re: LindaWhit

                                I'm with you on this. It's not about enjoying or even learning about food. Personally, I felt ill watching them inhale huge portions and chug beer - it takes all the pleasure out of food and reminds me too much of competitive eating, which I loathe. Oh well.

                              3. re: Niblet

                                Yeah....what a bummer....

                              4. Didn't know if this is going to be broken up into its own thread but here are my impressions.

                                The whole Survivor vibe was kind of exciting but also pretty bad for actually learning about the country and its foods. I think Nigella Lawson said something along the lines of the steak and kidney pie that one of the teams made reinforces the bad stereotype of English cooking. BTW, Nigella, totally hot. Even one of the gay chefs was lusting after her.

                                I thought it was a huge mistake for the teams to go for the 3 yards challenge and ignore tasting the steak and kidney pie.

                                I rather liked that they had to cook in the restaurants that they did their tasting. Gives them a feel for cooking in the country.

                                The pacing of the show really brings out the ugly American behavior. When they had food, they just wolfed it down in hopes of beating the other team, same with the beverage. When the Red team decided to change the name of the pub that they were serving in just for the day, the owners of the two pubs that were good enough to participate stared daggers at the Red team front of the house and told him that it was bad luck to change the name of the pub. The guy nonchalantly said: Oh, it will only be a short time, instead of apologizing and changing on the fly. You are in their country, show some respect.

                                20 Replies
                                1. re: Phaedrus

                                  When ALL of the chefs knew what the competition was about - visiting countries and trying their local food - and ALL of them (except for a couple of non-vocal chefs) chose to down the three yards of beer instead of eating the steak and kidney pies, I thought "umm, you DO realize you're going to have to cook this food later for the locals, right?"

                                  And the Fenway Park chef not what I had hoped. And I was rooting for him, being a local boy. Yeah, maybe he cooks for John Henry and Larry Lucchino and celebrities they bring to the owners' box, but he's unfortunately still showing off the worst of Boston in how he played the game so far.

                                  ETA: As I don't think the show will gain as much traction as Top Chef, and this thread is only 22 comments long (so far), maybe it makes sense to keep everything here for now?

                                  1. re: LindaWhit

                                    ...and he (Fenway Guy) struck me, in fact, as the player who crystallized for me the "Survivor" spin-off nature of the show. Note I said "player", not "chef".

                                  2. re: Phaedrus

                                    Agree entirely. Disappointing.

                                    However, I read on the Bravo Message Board for this show that a very few posters liked the episode and were looking forward to the next. :-) I suppose if one looks at it as a purely Survivor Draaahmaah** with a full panoply of evil/naive/douchy/egomaniacal/machiavellian/can't-stop-talking/obnoxious/shrinkingviolets CAST MEMBERS (not chefs, fuhgeddaboudit) [to start with, anyway] then it becomes so bad a show it becomes a campy hit. What Top Chef was heading for last season, come to its logical flowering. :-D

                                    Not really my cup of tea, though, as I had hopes it would be a cooking show drama, like LindaWhit expressed. But then, we _are_ talking about Bravo and what it has become nowadays.

                                    **Similar to what some folks were recommending TC be viewed as last season too.

                                    1. re: huiray

                                      ::::::LIKE BUTTON CLICKED::::::

                                      Especially about "full panoply of evil/naive/douchy/egomaniacal/machiavellian/can't-stop-talking/obnoxious/shrinkingviolets CAST MEMBERS"

                                      :-)

                                      1. re: LindaWhit

                                        Heh. :-D

                                        1. re: LindaWhit

                                          Really glad you decided not to do the play by play on this one. Wouldn't want to waste your time and talents on this dog.

                                          1. re: Phaedrus

                                            Yeah, hadn't planned on doing so with the first couple of eps, or first season. Wanted to see if it was worth it.

                                            It's not. At least not yet.

                                            1. re: Phaedrus

                                              So what else is out there... :-) Here's two:
                                              http://www.mercurynews.com/food-wine/...
                                              http://www.medialifemagazine.com/artm...

                                              Alas, so far there is nothing in this first episode to justify Curtis Stone's and Cat Cora's high-flying words...
                                              http://www.mnn.com/lifestyle/arts-cul...

                                              1. re: huiray

                                                I like the medialifemagazine.com's review - true - it's a combo of Amazing Race, Top Chef, and Survivor (with a little Lord of the Flies thrown in). And it's a half-assed version of all three of them.

                                                1. re: LindaWhit

                                                  LW, maybe *this* might be entertaining? (NOTE the title, heee!!)
                                                  http://www.ifc.com/portlandia/videos/...

                                                2. re: huiray

                                                  I enjoyed first show but did not appreciate the contestants having to gobble down/drink.

                                                  1. re: jpr54_1

                                                    @ jpr54_1:
                                                    Aha. I'm genuinely curious, not being snarky - what was it that made you like it?

                                                    1. re: huiray

                                                      I sort of liked it -- not the Survivor type challenges -- but the cooking and the "group elimination dynamics".

                                                      It's fun rubbernecking and watching the evil, conniving side of people -- esp. when they are great chefs.

                                                      1. re: ipsedixit

                                                        Heh. At this point after just one episode that may be the way for me to "appreciate" the show - apropos to what I mentioned further up the thread. :-)

                                          2. re: Phaedrus

                                            I fell asleep and missed it. Sounds like I didn't miss much. Too bad. I was looking forward to the travel aspects of the show...

                                            Ummmmm... when does Top Chef air next?

                                            1. re: ChefJune

                                              The last one was filmed during the summer, so I suspect the same will happen with this season. I know they didn't pick Boston - last word was that it's between Seattle and Portland. Ummm...they just did THREE cities in Texas - why not do both Seattle and Portland? Practically the same distance between Seattle/Portland as it is between Austin/Dallas.

                                              http://seattle.eater.com/archives/201...

                                              1. re: LindaWhit

                                                But they'll have to negotiate with TWO states for money...and their demands might be very different. Ditto between the two cities? (http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/8435... :-P )

                                                1. re: huiray

                                                  Point taken.

                                            2. re: Phaedrus

                                              At least the one guy (who the gals liked and the guys didn't) said he was paying attention knowing he'd probably have to cook some stuff. The guy with the big nostrils was annoying as all get out as was the Boston dude. I'm so glad I don't have to add another show to the rotation. If it's convenient, I might turn it on but probably will just see what you guys have to say.

                                              1. re: Joanie

                                                " The guy with the big nostrils was annoying as all get out as was the Boston dude."

                                                LOL!

                                            3. Annoying but not recognizable contestants. Silly food stuffing challenges. Nothing really on the actual cooking process. Other than an accent, what does Curtis bring to the table? Loads of guest judges that don't actually judge...

                                              5 Replies
                                              1. re: Worldwide Diner

                                                BTW, does anyone know if this Chevin guy is actually famous or does he just tell people he is famous?

                                                1. re: Phaedrus

                                                  What? Why, he's an internationally recognized culinary mastermind, Phaedrus! Didn't you know that?

                                                  http://www.myworldonaplate.com/index2...

                                                  1. re: LindaWhit

                                                    I must lead a sheltered life. Thank goodness.

                                                  2. re: Phaedrus

                                                    He's an ugly clown...that's all I know.

                                                    1. re: Worldwide Diner

                                                      Definitely a clown. I didn't like him in the show and now that I have read his "bio" I like him even less. What drivel.

                                                2. I will pull the rug from out from under you !

                                                  1. Absolutely disgusting! All that kept coming to mind was the one and only Amazing Race I watched where they had to eat some spicy soup and the guy threw up in the bowl....and then had to eat that. Making chefs eat to the point of nausea/drunkenness and then saying they will now show their "appreciation" of the country's dishes is revolting. I may just watch the second half of the shows and then turn it off when they choose who to send home--another creepy part of the show. It could have been a fun, interesting show but they had to go for the nasty side.

                                                    2 Replies
                                                    1. re: escondido123

                                                      I agree; it showcases the worst aspects of "eating" not "dining". I watch all the cooking reality shows but have *never* watched Survivor-type reality shows. Now I know why. I will probably watch the next one or two, but if they are like this one, that will be it.

                                                      1. re: DGresh

                                                        If I was to be sarcastic, this show offers a refreshing change from ones with chefs that respect their food and strive for "local, seasonable and sustainable". The format of this Man vs Food International show, if you will, veers towards the "local, swallowable, and...oh what the hell - just get it down as quickly as possible." What a terrible premise.

                                                    2. the program has been clearly designed to bring out the worst in people and bad behaviour justified by the huge cash payoff. Bravo appears to have intentionally brought in young, clueless aspirants who'd have a minimum of cross-cultural experiences ; it was made pretty clear to them that they'd have to re-create 'native foods', but none insisted on tasting and analyzing the steak and kidney pie. Changing the name of the pub was of course the biggest clueless blunder; the chefs involved with that are apparently so unread or provincial that they were oblivious to the long history of many public houses in London. The judging/evaluation they chose to air was cursory to an extreme -- there were too few detailed critiques of the dishes to explicate the differences between the contestants' attempts and a well-executed version.(they'd only need to show more feedback from the pub proprietors and N.Lawson).

                                                      1. I guess my post last night comparing this show to Chefs vs City meets Top Chef meets Survivor didn't make it through.

                                                        1. Just found a reason to watch it, barely.

                                                          Hugh Acheson is kibbitzing on his blog.

                                                          http://www.bravotv.com/around-the-wor...

                                                          "The actual contestants are an interesting and diverse group, who quickly become a whiny, bitchy lot, full of piss and vinegar. This is going to be fun. "

                                                          "The chefs have some issues. Their knowledge of Brit food is minimal and this becomes the sticking point very quickly. I won’t run an account of all the action (watch the show!) but let this one point be very clear: they need to pay attention to what they’re eating in “The Course” part of the show. If they don’t analyze and figure out the dishes then and there, without their beer goggles on, it’s going to be a short season for them.

                                                          Brief rundown though:

                                                          •Cheven is a going to be a magnet of controversy and reviled by most everyone in all countries.

                                                          •Cheven is also "up there on the culinary totem pole.” Self promotion not-withstanding this is just too open-ended to make fun of. "

                                                          5 Replies
                                                          1. re: Phaedrus

                                                            I think Chef Tai might end up being the most controversial competitor. On Watch What Happens Live, they did a poll of who would you rather and it ended up 46% Rachael Ray 45% Paula Deen 9% Tai whatever her full name is. Is there any sympathy here for someone who is looking to become a brand?

                                                            1. re: FoodPopulist

                                                              "On Watch What Happens Live, they did a poll of who would you rather and it ended up 46% Rachael Ray 45% Paula Deen 9% Tai whatever her full name is. Is there any sympathy here for someone who is looking to become a brand?"

                                                              Hi,

                                                              May I ask what your point is in this conversation? Thanks.

                                                              1. re: Fowler

                                                                I think Tai is being set up to be a bigger magnet of controversy than Cheven. From that promo to highlighting her map-reading skills, it feels like she's going to give them a lot of ammo for the editing to paint her as a villainous figure necessary to maximize conflict and drama for the audience. I give the poll as evidence that if they are editing towards that representation, then it is working.

                                                            2. re: Phaedrus

                                                              I agree with Cheven being a magnet of controversy. He's definitely been video'd as the irritating one.

                                                              1. re: Phaedrus

                                                                Hugh Acheson's blog is entertaining - as he was before, yes, and relevant to the show being blogged about.

                                                                While Curtis Stone's was just...navel gazing...and admiring his reflection in the mirror. He said nothing of any significance about the show itself. Cat Cora's blog read like the press release of the Bravo PR Dept.

                                                              2. The premier was dreadful. It was as though they took all of the WORST suggestions out of the food reality TV suggestion box and created a show incorporating all of those terrible ideas.

                                                                1. I watched it over two days. Not liking it at all. When they talked about the "most exceptional ingredient", I guessed it would be something the winning team could use and the losing team could not....but WTF on making the "most exceptional ingredient" be a MAIN ingredient; especially potato, which is so critical to pub food.

                                                                  Yeah, I'm with everyone else here....not impressed. I might watch again to see if it gets better but I don't have my hopes up.

                                                                  1 Reply
                                                                  1. re: Dee S

                                                                    I liked that exceptional ingredient. Forcing contestants to be creative is usually a good thing.

                                                                  2. So, new thread for each episode or one long thread full of complaining?

                                                                    2 Replies
                                                                    1. re: FoodPopulist

                                                                      As I suggested a few days ago above ( http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/8387... ) I'm not sure there's going to be enough posts to be worthy of new threads. Maybe just let's see how it flies for the next few episodes?

                                                                      1. re: FoodPopulist

                                                                        To be fair, this is the first episode. Hopefully they will get their sea legs, so to speak. But given what they promised in their advertisement and what they'd delivered in the first show, htere has got to be more 'splaining to do.

                                                                      2. Just watched it last night. As everyone else here has said, meh. Too much drama, not enough cooking. And judges who don't judge? But I do think there is a lot of talent on the show. I hope that the future challenges are more interesting, and they pay less attention to the conniving people. Unlikely.

                                                                        1 Reply
                                                                        1. re: LurkerDan

                                                                          yeah, we're a week behind and just finished the first episode. so disappointing. will not be wasting my time with this one...

                                                                        2. OK, the 2nd episode didn't have them wolfing down locals foods in restaurants. They did have to rush to try the cheeses in the initial run, but it wasn't food that was inhaled. The team that won the Exceptional Ingredient definitely had a HUGE advantage.

                                                                          Still dislike Cheven, and he continues to irritate with the knowledge that he thinks he has, and yet he can't pull the rabbit out of his hat to prove that he *has* that knowledge. In other words - he talks a bigger game than he has. Boston Nookie pulled it out against Cheven in one of the earlier challenges, tonight - good for him! And Chazz, who had immunity this go-round, is beginning to be an irritant. What he says at the end of the challenge about the person who gets the Top Chef for the Lyon round is kind of like "What? Did you really just say that when YOU won last week for something you didn't even create?"

                                                                          So I'll stick around for another week - especially since next week is going to be Barcelona. Yes, it continues to be a bit more of the drama vs. food, but they did showcase some really nice-looking Lyonnaise dishes in tonight's episode. Hopefully the pendulum swings towards food and less of the drama as the irritants are dropped from the various teams, as happened tonight.

                                                                          26 Replies
                                                                          1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                            Thanks for the heads up! Didn't realize it was tonight Starts in about 50 minutes here in California. I only saw the very end of episode one. Will it be unfair to the show to start with episode two? Is there a synopsis linked on this thread somewhere?

                                                                            Found it.

                                                                            1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                              Thanks, Linda! You're the best.

                                                                              Chevin Kevin is really a pain! He's a cheese specialist, a sommelier, what isn't he?! It didn't seem that his "knowledge" added much to their challenges. I was pleased with the woman who won tonight. She made the food, it was the favorite of all the diners, she deserved the win. Good for her. I thought Chaz was being a petulant baby about the win, and the way she stood up for herself when talking about the decision to reduce the portion size in his dish. I was sorry to see the loser, though, since she probably has a lot to add when they start hitting Asia.

                                                                              If the pendulum keeps going in the way it has from last week to this it might end up being a good show. Herding sheep was just plain silly, but identifying cheeses and wines were definitely food stuff. I would have liked to hear more about those cheeses and wines, though. Maybe pairing the wines with cheeses as opposed to, or in addition to, matching them with their sources. I'll keep watching for now...

                                                                              1. re: KailuaGirl

                                                                                Are they going to go through all the European cities first and give an advantage to chefs who are more comfortable with non-Western food? (Which, I think is totally fair.)

                                                                                The food identification stuff is fun. I always liked when they tested culinary knowledge in Top Chef Quickfires. Definitely the sort of stuff that they did a lot of on Chefs vs City.

                                                                                1. re: KailuaGirl

                                                                                  it appears that the show recruited a group of chefs with limited educations, if only 1.5 of the entire group could speak French. [.5 might be generous for the leather-lunged woman's fluency].
                                                                                  A general fish-cooking question :
                                                                                  the pike that they were using for the quenelles looked like handsome specimens. are they so lacking in character eating-wise that they need to be fluffed and fussed over like that, or is there something special about that style of prep that makes them into something extraordinary ?

                                                                                  1. re: moto

                                                                                    According to Wikipedia, it seems that they like to debone pike by passing the fish through a type of sieve. I guess the French are too dainty to pick small bones out of their fish.

                                                                                    1. re: FoodPopulist

                                                                                      thanks, that was my impression as well after reading more about the preparation. there are quite a few variations of fishcakes or dumplings in different cuisines, but eating fresh pike is outside my experience. if it has a mild flavour like other white-fleshed fresh water fish, all the other ingredients in the quenelles and sauce could easily dominate the dish, making it a showpiece for technique and sauce making.

                                                                                2. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                  I liked week 1 more. Maybe that's because that week had food I would be more likely to eat than this week's.

                                                                                  I think show's like this are more fun if you have an irritating villain...so long as you feel confident that person will self-destruct or have weaknesses revealed. It's less fun if you think that person will win instead of getting his or her comeuppance.

                                                                                  1. re: FoodPopulist

                                                                                    Oh, Chevin will DEFINITELY get his comeuppance. I can't see how he wouldn't. He's been all gorilla-chest-beating "I know everything" when he hasn't really proven that so far.

                                                                                    Avery, as KailuaGirl noted, definitely nailed the dish she made, AND I was glad to see her step up to confront Chazz when he tried to take credit for dish size reduction. Which just made Chazz's comment that it was a 'group win" (based on how *he* won the previous week) even MORE stupid.

                                                                                    1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                      I saw that and was very happy Avery stepped up to the plate to make herself heard --nobody else would have defended her except herself. To tell you the truth, the Paris episode was the only one I've watched...and I wondered..."hmmmm...if these "chefs" are really professional, then why don't they know how to make a quenelle? I'm a friggin' home cook and I know how to make them for cryin' out loud. Also, these people seem to be lacking in some basic education...like timing of serving...portion control...making sure you have enough fish...There is something "fishy" about these contestants. The show has great possibilities and thankfully isn't as sh*tty as the garbage on The Food Network. 'Cuse me while I go make a salad Lyonaisse style!

                                                                                      1. re: jarona

                                                                                        I don't think it's a big deal if someone is unfamiliar with quenelles. I have really only seen them in cooking competition TV shows. I would think more poorly of a chef who is unfamiliar with how to use beef tendon than one who doesn't know how to make a quenelle, but I don't have a Euro-centric food bias.

                                                                                        1. re: FoodPopulist

                                                                                          What about not being able to break down a monkfish? How does one work at fatty crab and not know how to break down a fish?

                                                                                        2. re: jarona

                                                                                          Well, I can't speak about most of the chefs, but Jenna is a "real" chef for sure. Never eaten her food but she is well-respected here in Colorado.

                                                                                    2. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                      Definitely better in this episode. But what I loved the most is the preview of the next episode - something about slapping someone who started crying in the kitchen. I love kitchen tough guys.

                                                                                      1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                        Well, I watched last night. I loved all the shots of Lyon, Jacotte Brazier (whom I met in 1992) and my "French brother," Jean-Paul Lacombe. Got a HUGE kick out of chefs who didn't know what a quenelle was before they got there. Pulllease! But I intensely disliked the format of the show, and all the racing around. If I wanted to watch "The Amazing Race" all these years, I would have.

                                                                                        Whatever happened to Top Chef Masters? Didn't it used to air at this time of year? This is not a worthy replacement, imho.

                                                                                        I would have sent Jenna home if I'd been on that losing team. What did she cook, anyway?

                                                                                        Doesn't mean I wouldn't watch again, but I have no intention of planning my Wednesday evening around it the way I do when Top Chef is running.

                                                                                        1. re: ChefJune

                                                                                          June, TCM didn't get very good reviews this past round - I don't even recall watching it. Not sure if they're planning on bringing it back.

                                                                                          1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                            ...and wasn't that (IMO) in large part because they made it into a Top Chef clone, discarding the far more measured tone and food creditworthiness of the original?

                                                                                            1. re: huiray

                                                                                              Don't know, as I didn't watch it. :-)

                                                                                              1. re: huiray

                                                                                                <...and wasn't that (IMO) in large part because they made it into a Top Chef clone>

                                                                                                sure, you're right. But in any form it backs this current debacle off the map (imho).

                                                                                              2. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                According to an article huiray linked to further down in this thread, Curtis Stone is set to host another edition of TCM later this year.

                                                                                            2. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                              OK, I watched my dvr recording of it a short while ago. Better than the 1st episode, yes. The cheese and wine matchings were interesting, yet I got no idea nor sense of WHAT it was they were actually tasting, as the focus was so heavy on the CONTEST. Nothing much about *how* they tasted, *what* they were actually looking for in the tastes of each, etc etc. In fact, I rather got a sense that after the initial "pairings" or "choices" were made - and which were largely wrong - the tasters were swapping choices almost willy-nilly with only the barest sense being conveyed that there was a method behind their choices. It reminded me of throwing darts at a dartboard with one eye closed. The "herding sheep" actually was interesting because it showed how they could work together and think about what they were doing.

                                                                                              The food challenge was more interesting than in the 1st episode too. it *was* quite an advantage the Black Team got, eating at that restaurant, especially with regards to that much-anticipated quenelle... Yet the Red team, by being forced to go out and scour the local places, presumably got a broader sense of what the locals ate - and which seemed to be reflected in some of the comments from diners the next day, "as edited" for our viewing pleasure, of course. Like the Salad Lyonnaise which Sai Pituk put out - although she ended up being the one thrown off the island by her fellow players...

                                                                                              Avery Purcell did well and deserved the win. Props to her too for chopping down in size Chaz Brown's monstrously huge initial plates of chicken - the initial plates looked supersized even by USAmerican standards! It was also true what one of the diners said - strange that he would serve that chicken alone, without any kind of side dish or accompaniment... (note to Chaz B. - you're not cooking for takeout diners at KFC who just want a tub of chicken.)

                                                                                              I agree with others that Chaz Brown continues to be annoying, Keven Lee continues to be the SwollenHead, Jenna Johansen just can't shut up; but this time I found John Vermiglio to be increasingly distasteful and offensive - perhaps the most distasteful person there as portrayed this time.

                                                                                              BTW, did anyone note the viewer poll results shown on-screen about what was thought was most important for winning the show? :-)
                                                                                              I wrote it down:
                                                                                              • Cooking skills 22%
                                                                                              • Cultural knowledge 34%
                                                                                              • Sharp Strategy 44%
                                                                                              Heh. HEH.

                                                                                              1. re: huiray

                                                                                                How sad that cooking skills was rated the lowest. But I guess we can expect that with this type of a show, huh?

                                                                                                And I had to go look at his bio to see who John Vermiglio was. Why did you find him so distasteful? And yes, Jenna was a bit of a chatterbox. Also wasn't that pleased to see her sitting crosslegged with feet on the prep area when she was addressing each of her teammates after their service was done. Reminded me of Bobby Flay jumping up on his cutting board in his match against Iron Chef Morimoto.

                                                                                                1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                  ATW80 is not a cooking competition show. At least not in the purest sense of the genre.

                                                                                                  We have plenty of those -- from Chopped to Top Chef to No Kitchen Required to Iron Chef America.

                                                                                                  As someone said upthread, ATW80 is an amalgam of Survivor and Chefs v. City.

                                                                                                  To critique ATW80 with Top Chef as a backdrop is simply unfair, and inapt.

                                                                                                  It would be like complaining your vanilla ice cream isn't very good because it doesn't have enough chocolate.

                                                                                                  1. re: ipsedixit

                                                                                                    Yet we also have the two hosts going on and on about "local sourcing" of food, showcasing it, showing off local cuisine and local food, blah blah blah ...
                                                                                                    http://www.mnn.com/lifestyle/arts-cul...
                                                                                                    I can't say they have been really successful at that so far, as the draahmaah and Survivor-esque shenanigans have pretty much dominated the first two episodes and in particular the 1st one.

                                                                                                    1. re: ipsedixit

                                                                                                      And I think others have said it's Survivor and Amazing Race, with a little of Top Chef thrown in from the cooking standpoint.

                                                                                                      As for "purest sense of the genre" - I don't think that actually exists. Other than perhaps Iron Chef - a timed competition with a single ingredient featured. Not even Top Chef fits into a "cooking competition" phraseology now.

                                                                                                      1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                        Symon and Samuelsson both enjoyed the cooking challenges of Chopped, and summoned their abilities as intensely or more so with the time constriction as their efforts on Iron Chef or Top Chef masters.

                                                                                                2. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                  I find it annoying that the winners are supposed to receive an ingredient, not a cooking lesson.

                                                                                                3. It's a waste of couch potato time and certainly an opportunity for a great TV show. The contestants travel to these wonderful cities and sample exquisite food, upon which they have to recreate, and instead of mixing in any type of cultural (especially recipe & execution) info & trivia along with the drama, it winds up being 90% trash talk, 8% scheming and 2% on the food. And let's not forget my overuse of commas. I much prefer No Kitchen Needed. While their formula isn't anything really new, at least you get to know about history and tradition concerning the subjects being catered to. And besides, any show with Madison will always be interesting.

                                                                                                  1. Well, they're in Barcelona tonight. I SERIOUSLY want to spend a day at Barcelona's Boqueria Market! My head would probably explode. But boy, I'd be happy. :-)

                                                                                                    Cheven is irritating, as usual. Like MAJORLY irritating. Enough so previews halfway through the show are showing other chefs saying they *don't* want to work with him again.

                                                                                                    Nookie is on a team of women - "Nookie and his Angels". The rest of the guys are together, and right off the bat, they're sick of Cheven constantly talking. This guy does Not. Shut. Up. Even after shopping at the Boqueria Market, when someone's giving constructive criticism to him (which he professes to want), he interrupts him to give his opinion about what the other guy is telling him. Someone needs to just tape his mouth shut.

                                                                                                    Nookie kills it in the first challenge, but his team doesn't win the challenge. But he's lived and worked in Barcelona, so his knowledge was VERY helpful when both teams cooked in the same restaurant kitchen. Cheven continues to be an irritant - trying to claim a leadership role in the kitchen when he was *supposed* to be FOH. Jenna, on the other hand, was doing virtually NO cooking but was writing down the menu and then being very attentive as FOH.

                                                                                                    Jose Andrés is a guest judge at dinner, along with the twin owners of the restaurant in which they are cooking. They serve up some pretty nice-looking food in a 3-course tasting menu against each other.

                                                                                                    And the team that loses? Should have, the little I saw. And the person who goes home? THANK goodness! The Nookster is just killing it in the challenges.

                                                                                                    Next week, they head off to Marrakesh, Morocco...yet another amazing marketplace to shop in, it seems. Yes, I'll continue watching for now. It's not as bad as I thought it was going to be (i.e., the horrible first episode). It's not award-type of television, but it doesn't make me hurl either. And it fills a Wednesday evening.

                                                                                                    23 Replies
                                                                                                    1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                      Hi Linda,

                                                                                                      This is your thread and you are in charge of it, but would you consider a suggestion that maybe you may wish to advise our fellow posters to include something like *spoilers included* or *spoilers alert* at the beginning of their reply if they chose to divulge who won or lost on a current episode? Your call of course, but I think some may record the episodes and do not watch them before the details of the winners/losers are announced in this thread.

                                                                                                      1. re: Fowler

                                                                                                        Not "my" thread, Fowler - just an offshoot of an earlier TC thread. :-)

                                                                                                        Since this is a "running thread" of all of the episodes, it would be a good idea to ask posters to post "spoiler" at the beginning of their post - at least those posts that happen on Episode Night. *BUT* (you knew there would be a "but", right?), it can sometimes be hard to get everyone to follow suit. I deliberately don't post who won in my mini-recaps, because I know as an Eastie, I've got 3 hours on the Westies.

                                                                                                        But perhaps those who are reading and posting to this thread could try and remember not to post results immediately. After that, however, I think it's fair game that if folks haven't yet seen the episode, they shouldn't open this thread. That's usually how we try and manage it on the Top Chef threads. Those who are diehard watchers of TC but can't watch it when it airs wait to open the recap until they've had a chance to view it. Although there are those that read the recap before they view it. :-) Their choice, however.

                                                                                                        1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                          Hi Linda,

                                                                                                          Thanks for the thoughtful and kind reply. I do not mind if people post results immediately. What I think might be considerate though (for those who cannot watch each episode as it is broadcast live or even during the same week) is if posters would simply type something like "spoilers - episode xyz" before the body of their post. It seems to work on other boards and has been appreciated. Of course there are some that refuse to comply. Usually those are the types that when they were children relished in telling the other children that were believers that there really was no Santa Claus. They simply like to spoil it for others. :-)

                                                                                                          1. re: Fowler

                                                                                                            Noooooooooooooooooo!!!!! There's no Santy Claws?

                                                                                                            Why didn't you write SPOILER at the top of your post, Fowler? Sheesh.

                                                                                                            1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                              That is literally laugh out loud funny, Linda. You have got me there. I like your sense of humor! :-)

                                                                                                            2. re: Fowler

                                                                                                              I would point out that the Bravo website would list all the results, with videos, interviews, blogs, pictures of the plates, etc etc - often immediately after the episode airs, certainly by the next morning. I imagine you know that - yet I also imagine you refrain from going to the website and clicking on the link that opens up all these "spoilers" for you (because you have not seen the episode yet).

                                                                                                              May I suggest that it would be just as easy for you and similarly situated folks to simply not click on the link that opens up this thread, until the episode has been viewed? That might be a more practical way to avoid learning of what had transpired. I suspect that even if posters acquiesce to your requests it may still be difficult for some to avoid letting their eyes pick up some revealing words or phrases from those posts when trying to avoid reading them - how much white space would one need to put in between the "Spoilers" alert at the top of a post and the body of the post?

                                                                                                              The episode has already aired by the time most posters come here to talk about it. After all, they would have nothing to say or not be in a position to discuss it meaningfully if they had not already seen it. So cruisers-by who have NOT seen it but still wish to cruise the thread yet expect not to read about the episode put themselves in a difficult position, not the other way around. The situation is different from posters revealing things about an episode that had not even aired yet - now *that* would be a true definition of "spoilers".

                                                                                                              :-)

                                                                                                            3. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                              my preference would be to use a new thread for each episode/location, and to placate those who don't want to see the results, it's simple to put 'spoiler' in the header. it's much easier for elderly, sight-challenged folk like me to review comments in smaller bunches.

                                                                                                              what draws me to the show is the different food cultures [Morocco will be the first non-euro city, so we'll see how much they address other cultural issues] and how the cooks attempt to meet the expectations of the locals. the kitchens of our restaurants are of course filled with immigrants striving to meet our expectations, usually under far tougher conditions that what these cook/entertainers face.

                                                                                                              1. re: moto

                                                                                                                I'm really hoping we get to see these cooks tested by having to work in some kitchens that are not so Western in terms of layout and equipment.

                                                                                                                1. re: FoodPopulist

                                                                                                                  I think that will be happening as they move further east. This article notes about a tie-in website ( www.gilt.com/atw80plates ) where you can buy various ingredients and products "inspired" by the countries and foods used along the way:

                                                                                                                  http://www.thefutoncritic.com/news/20...

                                                                                                                  And it says they will visit a total of 10 countries: Argentina, China, England, France, Italy, Morocco, Spain, Thailand, the U.S., and Uruguay.

                                                                                                                  1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                    I am hoping to see baked camels a la No Reservations as a challenge.

                                                                                                                    Or having them all prepare fugu for each other in Japan.

                                                                                                                    1. re: Phaedrus

                                                                                                                      It would be quicker if they just have a knife fight.

                                                                                                                      1. re: Worldwide Diner

                                                                                                                        True, but not as much fun to watch.

                                                                                                          2. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                            Yay! recaps!

                                                                                                            1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                              Yes, the right person went home. Not the one whom the person-who-went-home thought should go home even though the person who didn't go home didn't execute properly but with extenuating circumstances IMO due to being forced to do something he disagreed with as forced upon the group by the one who went home. (Do we have to write like this to appease the folks who cry foul! at "spoilers"?)

                                                                                                              I thought the black team was the winner of the 1st challenge on merit, really, as they were (unfairly, in my view) disadvantaged by 10 minutes. Yet Nookie demonstrated his prowess at dressing monkfish, the rest of the team worked efficiently and well, and it was only that 2.82 oz extra of sepia that the red team got out that did them in.

                                                                                                              Couple of interesting comments:
                                                                                                              From Steve "Nookie" Postal: that the guys (red team) were actually the ones who were more catty;
                                                                                                              From Gary Walker: that the guys would have a hard time working together (testosterone overload);
                                                                                                              From Liz Garrett: "It's a game". (HEH!!)

                                                                                                              I liked the meal as shown from the winning team, even if it was said to be very close. (two vote difference).

                                                                                                              Yes, it's a game show. Still, it is beginning to look better. That previous 1st episode was truly a dog, and should never have left the editing room in the state it was released in.

                                                                                                              p.s. In fact, in at least some of the videos and/or introductory footage of the episodes there is a brief frame and voice-over which calls this series "A Game of Skill and Strategy". Heh. Whether "Skill" here is Cooking or something else remains to be explicated. Certainly so far IMO the cooking part could be better shown. (Ditto more about the local features, cuisine, character, etc could be shown - as has already been bemoaned earlier in this thread)

                                                                                                              p.p.s. Since we're having this one omnibus thread for this series (so far) - It might be an idea to propose that those who have not seen the latest episode yet consider not opening up this thread or reading it until they have seen the episode?

                                                                                                              1. re: huiray

                                                                                                                Here is High Acheson's take.

                                                                                                                http://www.bravotv.com/around-the-wor...

                                                                                                                1. re: Phaedrus

                                                                                                                  Heh.

                                                                                                                  "Aussie Blond Bombshell". HEH.

                                                                                                                  He made an error: It was Liz who was crying over "less-than-setup custard", not Nicole. It was Nicole (primarily) who was comforting the crying Liz in the kitchen, IIRC. In a 'Talking Head' Steve "Nookie" Postal lambasted Liz for crying and cast aspersions upon her maturity.

                                                                                                                  1. re: Phaedrus

                                                                                                                    I also read Cat Cora's and Aussie Blond Bombshell's blogs. ABB's blog was OK - at least he said something concrete about the episode. CC's blog was empty and nothing but fluff again.

                                                                                                                  2. re: huiray

                                                                                                                    I agree - the winning team's meal looked good - although the serrano-wrapped monkfish was a bit dry - it still *looked* good.

                                                                                                                    Found it interesting that Gary *knew* the guys wouldn't work well together. I think Chazz and Cheven being on one team was playing with fire. Actually, I think either one of them being on a team is playing with fire.

                                                                                                                    As to your last paragraph - noted above to Fowler. (Dammit - I keep typing Flower for that name! Sorry Fowler! LOL)

                                                                                                                    1. re: huiray

                                                                                                                      Love the fact that Cheven got sent home. The next most annoying person is Chaz. He's pretty full of himself, quick to take credit and quick to deflect blame. He does not appear to be a nice guy.

                                                                                                                      Hugh's blog has this line - Cheven "is into hermaphrodites." LOL

                                                                                                                      1. re: Worldwide Diner

                                                                                                                        The Barcelona episode was better (IMO) than the previous ones. At least the challenges are a little less "silly" to get the important ingredient. And Nookie is definitely growing on me; he seems knowledgeable and sensible.

                                                                                                                        1. re: DGresh

                                                                                                                          "And Nookie is definitely growing on me; he seems knowledgeable and sensible."

                                                                                                                          Except he was the one that wrapped the fish in serrano ham after having live and ate in Barcelona for a year?

                                                                                                                        2. re: Worldwide Diner

                                                                                                                          I had to drop ATWI80P from my dvr auto-record list. Without Chevin it's just no fun. I have a perverse love of watching people boldly lie when there's no reason for it. He was this show's guilty pleasure.

                                                                                                                          It's basically Lord of the Flies with food references. Not that there's anything wrong with that - I just don't have the time to watch something I don't find truly compelling.

                                                                                                                          1. re: MplsM ary

                                                                                                                            I had to watch this episode when I saw they'd be in Barcelona since I was just there 3 weeks ago. And I agree, Chevin is the reason to watch cuz he's such a douche. I think Chaz and his temper will be the main focus next but who knows. I do have to watch one more time after being in Marrakech 2 years ago, hopefully they stay out of any other cities I care about (not that they show *that* much related to the city).

                                                                                                                    2. Marrakech looks beautiful - that marketplace looked so amazing. But I'll be honest - haven't been paying a lot of attention - so someone else will have to do some filling in. Three teams are formed; lots of running to find a spice shop, then they have to buy the 8 spices that goes in a ras al hanout spice mix. Lots more running to find Cat and Curtis, then some traditional pouring of tea. One of the teams wins and gets the "exceptional ingredient" - which ends up being a guide to help them with the dishes local to Marrakech.

                                                                                                                      The teams each had to make 3 dishes - and one of them had to be a tagine. Some of them looked good, some looked great, and some, according to the diners, just didn't cut it.

                                                                                                                      What a surprise - Chazz is irritating people. He gets all up in Avery's face when her beets go missing. Gary, since he speaks French, asks one of the restaurant staff to help find whoever moved them. They are found, but Chazz is pissed at Gary for helping them out.

                                                                                                                      The right team won; and when they're discussing who is going to be voted out, Nookie has a reasonable comment about one of the chefs - who has no real defense against what he said. One of that chef's teammates ends up agreeing in the camera-aside as to who Nookie is referring to, but later didn't vote that way. It's a tie, and the winning chef has to make the decision. I think that winning chef chose correctly - thank you!

                                                                                                                      And they're heading to Florence, Italy for their next country. And the previews looks like it's going to be a complete debacle in the kitchen. Ack.

                                                                                                                      20 Replies
                                                                                                                      1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                        One of the things that raised my eyebrows a bit was that challenge regarding assembling the spices in a (basic?) ras el hanout. Yes, the ingredients vary and the mixture can be very complex depending on who is making it, but the *basic* common spice mix according to, e.g., Wikipedia is: "Typically they would include cardamom, clove, cinnamon, ground chili peppers, coriander, cumin, nutmeg, peppercorn, and turmeric."
                                                                                                                        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ras_el_h...
                                                                                                                        I think they all got a list of the requisite spices when they got to the shop (although the images of that card they got is not conducive to seeing what exactly was on it)?

                                                                                                                        I found it head-shaking that many of these "players" could not identify these "common" (or maybe not? What say you?) spices from the sacks around them, and I seem to remember that at least a few of them said something to the effect that they had no idea what some of those spices looked or smelled like. WOW.

                                                                                                                        1. re: huiray

                                                                                                                          My understanding was yes, they got a list of what went into the ras al hanout spice blend. There were no pictures on the barrels of spices, so they had to identify by sight/smell the 8 spices listed. But yes, the young kid, John, who seemed to be most at a loss as to identifying spices. And yet, he's a sous chef at Graham Elliot Bistro.

                                                                                                                          1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                            I was surprised he didn't know that cooking dried beans with tomatoes would prevent them from softening. It's pretty basic knowledge that you don't cook beans with acidic ingredients. He seemed so stunned that they were still rock hard.

                                                                                                                            1. re: piccola

                                                                                                                              I didn't know that. :shrug:

                                                                                                                              1. re: LurkerDan

                                                                                                                                But I'm guessing you're not a professional chef.

                                                                                                                                1. re: piccola

                                                                                                                                  No, I'm not, but you said it was "basic knowledge". And FWIW, not every professional chef went to culinary school or cooks with dried beans.

                                                                                                                                  All I know is that there seems to be people on here who want to discredit them as chefs, as if they recruited fry cooks for this. I know Jenna is a well-respected and competent chef, and she sure doesn't seem head and shoulders above everyone else, so I prefer to assume they are all legitimate chefs put in a difficult position that some handle better than others.

                                                                                                                                  1. re: LurkerDan

                                                                                                                                    >>>All I know is that there seems to be people on here who want to discredit them as chefs<<<

                                                                                                                                    Just another venue for armchair quarterbacks.

                                                                                                                                    1. re: LurkerDan

                                                                                                                                      It is basic knowledge, or I guess it was back when everyone cooked from scratch. I'm not trying to discredit them - I'm sure they're all much better than I am, which is why I was surprised by this. Especially because they've pulled off much more complicated dishes, it seems odd to get tripped up by a pot of beans.

                                                                                                                                2. re: piccola

                                                                                                                                  What I find a little interesting is that I knew that about acidic ingredients and dried beans from an episode of America's Test Kitchen (which seems to get bashed on this board quite a bit).

                                                                                                                              2. re: huiray

                                                                                                                                That doesn't surprise me at all. If in fact they were previously familiar with Ras el Hanout, they have purchased an already mixed spice blend. As well, those spices in their whole form (as they were in the market) look (and even smell) different than when they are in their ground form. so some of them would probably have been less familiar than others. Cardamom, coriander seed and turmeric are not spices common to western cuisines, so it would have depended upon how familiar the chefs were with the cuisines in which they are generally used.

                                                                                                                                1. re: huiray

                                                                                                                                  In defense of the players, I live in Jerusalem - and when first moving here and not having a good grasp of the language - open market spice shops can be very intimidating. Often the aroma of the whole area can make identifying a specific spice challenging - especially if you have no ability to distinguish with language.

                                                                                                                                  Also, I can say this about Jerusalem spices specifically - but just reading "ground chili pepper" - even having the ability now to talk to a vendor, I have no clue how I would communicate that concept. Here, if you ask for cayenne or chili pepper you will be offered "sweet or spicy" - and it wasn't until much later that I learned that I was always either getting sweet or spicy "paprika" as named by Jerusalem spice vendors.

                                                                                                                                  Anyways - I'm just offering a little sympathy to being in that kind of a spice market for the first time.

                                                                                                                                2. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                  Hugh Acheson's blog:
                                                                                                                                  http://www.bravotv.com/around-the-wor...
                                                                                                                                  Entertaining as usual, but I suspect even he is running out of steam about this series.

                                                                                                                                  Cat Cora's blog:
                                                                                                                                  http://www.bravotv.com/around-the-wor...
                                                                                                                                  WOW, for the first time she actually said something concrete about the relevant episode! But just a single page. Shocker. (Not!) All her previous tries have been lame PR exercises.

                                                                                                                                  1. re: huiray

                                                                                                                                    ROTFLMAO! I'm thinking Hugh's blog may be the best thing about this show. Without his comments, which were hilarious this time, it's a real snorer.

                                                                                                                                  2. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                    That "pouring of the tea" was a mess. There sure didn't seem to be any penalties (or do-overs) for badly poured tea.

                                                                                                                                    1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                      did it appear to anyone else that the stews were cooked in a separate pot, and then served in the tagine?
                                                                                                                                      the camera was so fast in the tagine kitchen segments i couldn't really tell what was going on.

                                                                                                                                      1. re: ritabwh

                                                                                                                                        I had the same thought.

                                                                                                                                        1. re: DGresh

                                                                                                                                          I do have the recollection of seeing that indeed each of the three were cooked as a big batch in a separate pot then ladled into the tagine pots for serving.

                                                                                                                                          1. re: huiray

                                                                                                                                            thank you all. so that is, so, totally wrong how the tagine was cooked.
                                                                                                                                            i'm also a little skeptical about the couscous, as one of the chefs commented that couscous only takes 5 minutes to make. does this mean they used instant couscous at a "premiere" moroccan restaurant?
                                                                                                                                            i know i'm being a nit-picker, but this diminishes the technical aspects of the show for me. it is still very entertaining, but now i don't trust them as they continue their way around the world.

                                                                                                                                            1. re: ritabwh

                                                                                                                                              They're "Cast Members" or "Players", not chefs. Not on this show as shown, anyway. :-)
                                                                                                                                              http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/8387...
                                                                                                                                              http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/8387...
                                                                                                                                              http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/8387...
                                                                                                                                              http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/8387...

                                                                                                                                              1. re: huiray

                                                                                                                                                sure. ok.
                                                                                                                                                contestants, i guess.
                                                                                                                                                i stand corrected.
                                                                                                                                                :-))

                                                                                                                                    2. i think its time to cancel this series recording for me. people going home with the decision not really being based on how they cooked... if i wanted to see people in exotic places scheme on how to vote someone out of their tribe, id watch survivor season XVIXMC or whatever theyre at now

                                                                                                                                      20 Replies
                                                                                                                                      1. re: mattstolz

                                                                                                                                        See, I think the person who went home DID go home based on how they cooked. That chef's dish was claimed the worst by the diners - the tie was just based on scheming by another team to vote out a stronger chef.

                                                                                                                                        1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                          Yes and no - all of them were scheming like crazy, and Nookie *was* being manipulative in pointing fingers at that player. Even the other player who later didn't vote against that player being pointed at saw immediately what Nookie was doing, as was said in that player's talking head.

                                                                                                                                          I did think that Avery was a tad overly hostile in her missing-beets scenario and was ungracious when Gary helped by locating them for her. Quite a string of rapid-fire *bleeps* from her too in the confrontation aftermath. A quick "thank you" from her to Gary later at the end but the following exchange between Gary, Chaz and her did her no favors either.

                                                                                                                                          1. re: huiray

                                                                                                                                            I agree that Nookie was being manipulative in the statements he posed while they were trying to decide who should go home. We've seen him do that from the beginning. Unfortunately, that's a part of the game play. They all know they're playing a game. We might not like it as viewers, but it's part of the show, good or bad.

                                                                                                                                            As for that other player who didn't vote based on what Nookie said - yes, he *knew* what Nookie was doing, but he also said he agreed with what Nookie said. So he just chose to stick with trying to get rid of a stronger player vs. the person who didn't cook a good dish. So he schemed just as much as Nookie did.

                                                                                                                                            Chazz, however, was totally confrontational to Avery after the beets were found, and she's already said she's going to stand up for herself. So she did. I'm not saying it was the right thing to do, but to stand by meekly and accept the crap that Chazz was throwing out? Yeah, I'm not sure I'd do that. Walking away from the crap being thrown in the kitchen would be a good idea; but walk away from the crap being thrown by Chazz in the judges line-up? Nope. I agree with her there. I'm not saying it couldn't have been couched in better terms, but Avery's a strong woman, so why shouldn't she stand up for herself?

                                                                                                                                            And Chazz, quite frankly, talks out both sides of his mouth. He accused Avery of doing *exactly* what he was shown doing in previous episodes - laying claim to a dish when he had nothing ... *nothing* ... to do with it. The thing is? Avery DID make the quenelle in France. Chazz said Avery claimed the idea, IIRC. The thing is, the quenelle was a required dish - so it wasn't a matter of claiming the idea. The dish *had* to be made.

                                                                                                                                            1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                              Schemers all - yes. Nevertheless, I have the impression that the player who didn't vote based on what Nookie said is perhaps one who has more misgivings about the scheming than the others - but that is open to interpretation too, based on what one sees.

                                                                                                                                              I don't disagree with you about the Chaz & Avery Show, and Chaz was being a prick. Avery certainly ought to stand up for herself. Nevertheless, I thought she goaded Chaz on with her hostility and implied accusations of being sabotaged, and did strike me as being a bit ungracious when the beets were found through the good offices of Gary. :::Shrug::: Six of one, half a dozen of the other. A reviewing might be in order to see if my impressions were off. (Ick. Do I have to?)

                                                                                                                                              As for Avery doing good things in the previous episode that Chaz pooh-poohed, I think I posted that Avery deserved her previous win and thought she did very well then and agreed with the slams on Chaz.

                                                                                                                                              p.s. It's more than 11 hours now after the episode aired. Can we stop talking in roundabout and concealing ways here now?

                                                                                                                                              1. re: huiray

                                                                                                                                                A reviewing might be in order to see if my impressions were off. (Ick. Do I have to?)
                                                                                                                                                ~~~~~~~~

                                                                                                                                                LOL! Only if someone hogties you and toothpicks are used to pry open your eyelids.

                                                                                                                                                And yes - I think we can stop writing in circles. Besides, it might just be you and me watching the show at this point! ;-)

                                                                                                                                                1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                                  In that case, I was glad to see Chaz go home. He was my favorite in the first episode, became my least favorite when he begrudged Avery the win for most valuable chef. I was so glad Avery didn't go home. She seems like a good chef, even if she was a little bit bratty about the missing beets and really should have thanked Gary for getting her beets back. I just wish they showed more of the cooking and less of the scheming.

                                                                                                                                                  1. re: KailuaGirl

                                                                                                                                                    KailuaGirl, ditto what you wrote re: Chazz, Avery, AND showing more cooking and less scheming. But alas, Horatio - I fear that mindset is only shared by a few of us. And definitely NOT shared by the marketing wonks at Bravo.

                                                                                                                                                    1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                                      I'm (sort of) watching, too. I thought Chazz was so busy tooting his own horn he didn't have time to cook. He was so irritating. (I didn't see the first episode)

                                                                                                                                                      I'm not loving this. I'm about ready to just wait for Top Chef Masters....

                                                                                                                                                      1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                                        if the marketing droids at Bravo read the posts here on TC, they might get the impression, based on volume, that viewers were more emotionally attached to the melodrama/soap opera/personality aspects of the show and cooking was a fuel or instigator. for the cast recruited for 80 plates, culinary skill/accomplishment doesn't look like the most important criteria applied by the producers ; at least half seemed to have difficulty identifying unlabeled spices in the shop.

                                                                                                                                                        for me, at least a few minutes of each episode are worth watching, for the interesting cities and their inhabitants, and the cross cultural communication issues, verbal or non-verbal (food). can't say the same for roughly half the episodes of most seasons on TC. TC Masters is substantially and qualitatively apart.

                                                                                                                                                      2. re: KailuaGirl

                                                                                                                                                        Avery will be an interesting personality to watch in the coming episodes, Chaz was a pretty dull set piece. for those of us who want to learn a little about cooking, Chaz showed close to ø skill or knowledge.

                                                                                                                                                        1. re: KailuaGirl

                                                                                                                                                          Chaz was a tool but he was entertaining so I'm kind of sorry to see him go.

                                                                                                                                                          I don't know why the contestants just didn't hire a kid to take them to the spice shop, there's 20,000 people ready to offer their services in Marrakech, they could have followed someone there rather than yelling the name and running around like crazy people. I also thought it was amusing that they made this big deal about being covered up yet the women were dressed as if they were in an American city (and I never got the stinkeye for shorts and sleeveless tops). I keep getting suckered in when they visit cities I've gone to before, loved Florence and looking forward to the 3 sights they show. I'm probably in for the duration now.

                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Joanie

                                                                                                                                                            I keep getting suckered in when they visit cities I've gone to before, loved Florence and looking forward to the 3 sights they show. I'm probably in for the duration now.
                                                                                                                                                            ~~~~~~~~~

                                                                                                                                                            I hate when that happens. :-)

                                                                                                                                                            1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                                              Haha. At least there's not much else on right now so it's easy to make time for. Now if only they'd go to Krakow or Buenos Aires.
                                                                                                                                                              (Linda I have some fun trip reports that I'm not allowed to post if you're interested, joanie at wmbr dot org)

                                                                                                                                                        2. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                                          I'm still watching.....and I'm in Jamaica!

                                                                                                                                                          Irie!

                                                                                                                                                    2. re: huiray

                                                                                                                                                      Hey huiray - just listened to the farewell video @ Bravo - and Chaz contributed equally to those rapid-fire *bleeps* in his confrontation with Avery. So they can't *all* be pinned on her. :-)

                                                                                                                                                      http://www.bravotv.com/around-the-wor...

                                                                                                                                                      1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                                        I just watched that Chaz Farewell Video. Sorry, I still see Avery, not Chaz, as spewing out that stream of bleeps at the end of the confrontation as she grabbed her damn tray of beets and walked away in a huff. That was what I had in mind. Sure, both of them were cursing away during the main body of the confrontation, but it was that almost continuous bleep-bleep-bleep at the end that caught my ear/eye that first time. :-) Actually, watching that video made me think again how hostile she was and how ungracious she was when her beets were found and recovered for her by Gary. YMMV.

                                                                                                                                                        1. re: huiray

                                                                                                                                                          You didn't see Chaz getting beeped as much as Avery in their little set-to in the kitchen when she lifted up the tray of roasted beets? Yes, she should have thanked Gary, and she didn't. But Chaz was just as in her face as she was in his. IMO. :-)

                                                                                                                                                          1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                                            I'm really thinking of the string of bleeps (like with just 1 sec between each one) as Avery had turned around and was walking away towards the bottom left side of the screen...one can see her mouth moving continuously in tandem with the bleeps...
                                                                                                                                                            :-)

                                                                                                                                                            1. re: huiray

                                                                                                                                                              I'll have to watch it again. I thought about half of that was Chazz responding to her.

                                                                                                                                                              Or maybe not. I probably don't care enough to watch it again. :-)

                                                                                                                                                              1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                                                Let's not haggle over how many bleeps came out of these two mouths and when exactly they were uttered. It's not worth it. :-) :-D I'm content with a general description of an awesome number of bleeps during that few minutes from the two of them.

                                                                                                                                                2. After the Marrakech episode, I'm really beginning to enjoy this show. Alot.

                                                                                                                                                  4 Replies
                                                                                                                                                  1. re: ipsedixit

                                                                                                                                                    yeah the first show, with all that ridiculous beer-drinking and face-stuffing was awful, but now I am finding the show an entertaining use of an hour of my time!

                                                                                                                                                    1. re: DGresh

                                                                                                                                                      Same here!
                                                                                                                                                      Showing a bit of Marrakesh helped, the Medina and that huge market area are fascinating spots. The right person went home and Jenna toned it down a bit.

                                                                                                                                                      1. re: RUK

                                                                                                                                                        "...and Jenna toned it down a bit."
                                                                                                                                                        ~~~~~~~~~~~~

                                                                                                                                                        And previews show her gearing back up in Florence.

                                                                                                                                                        1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                                          With Chaz Brown *and* Keven Lee gone, however, the level of histrionics and arm-waving in future episodes might be quite a bit dampened, however - making for less-entertaining train wrecks? :-P

                                                                                                                                                          (Yes, I've basically decided to treat it as Survivor+Lord of the Flies with some food thrown in)

                                                                                                                                                  2. Someone needs to check on Hilary Clinton's itinerary during the time that they were taping these episodes. I am pretty sure she had to at least go to the UK to assuage the pissed of pub owners and placate the Moroccan waiters. Sheesh, let's give these morons some world culture and diplomacy lessons before they set them loose like bulls in a china shop, please.

                                                                                                                                                    2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Phaedrus

                                                                                                                                                      Heard of the phrase "Ugly American" ?

                                                                                                                                                      1. re: huiray

                                                                                                                                                        Not only heard of it, met way too many of them.

                                                                                                                                                    2. They're in Florence, Italy tonight. Teams were formed in Barcelona by the two team captains, Gary and Nick choosing team members for the OTHER team...so of course, they both try and give each other those chefs they wouldn't want to work with themselves. Jenna speaks Italian, so Gary is glad to get her. Except he wants a muzzle. "How do you say muzzle in Italian?" ;-)

                                                                                                                                                      Various racing around Florence to various shops to figure out the clues they get at each stop. You think that one team isn't going to do well, but surprise, surprise, surprise - they do! And they win the Exceptional Ingredient - which is to take over a villa with the villa's Nonna to help them figure out how to make various local dishes. Language barriers abound. The other team goes to another villa and are on their own.

                                                                                                                                                      Various mishaps occur in both kitchens - one of them losing an entire dish on the morning of service and having to start all over. Last week's MVC seems to be standing around doing nothing when mishaps happen. That doesn't make other team members very happy.

                                                                                                                                                      Both teams serve - one team definitely seems to do much better. But wow - I'm WAY off on who I thought was going to win! Will be interesting to see who they vote off...and it's a split vote. So the last person voting chooses who's going off, as that person cannot vote themself off. And WOW. I never expected who got voted off to be gone this soon.

                                                                                                                                                      Their next city is Bologna, Italy.

                                                                                                                                                      23 Replies
                                                                                                                                                      1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                                        I'm getting mind-block from trying to couch things in opaque, dense and roundabout ways tonight. How much time do we give the cruisers-by-who-don't-want-to-know-but-still-want-to-cruise-by before we blast away on all cylinders?

                                                                                                                                                        p.s. All four blogs and the exit interview & etc went up on bravotv.com some time ago. :-)

                                                                                                                                                        1. re: huiray

                                                                                                                                                          "...trying to couch things in opaque, dense and roundabout ways tonight."

                                                                                                                                                          Sounds like a culinary Dance of the Seven Veils. ;-)

                                                                                                                                                          And were the blogs and exit interview for Gary up *before* the show ended on the East Coast?

                                                                                                                                                          1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                                            Heh.

                                                                                                                                                            Dunno, I was watching (actually paused it to have dinner) then finished the show before looking on Bravo and they were up...

                                                                                                                                                          2. re: huiray

                                                                                                                                                            Thank you. I have no idea why you would read a blog thread about a show if you don't want to know what happens in said show.

                                                                                                                                                          3. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                                            Toscani can be proud of their contrariness [the principal city-states had very long and bloody rivalries which inspired Machiavelli of course], and it seemed they took greater exception to Jenna's cinghiale and maybe to the granita for dessert, than they did to the strange ribollita presented by their rivals. [can't recall seeing any meatballs served in the places we ate in Firenze, Siena, Lucca, Chianti, or Montalcino, either]. the irony of course was that Jenna got to cast the deciding vote, probably intentionally set up that way by Curtis. the big guy apparently retained almost no Italian from working in Umbria (now a distinct province from Tuscany but originally part of the Etruscan homeland).

                                                                                                                                                            1. re: moto

                                                                                                                                                              I was surprised that Nookie couldn't really remember anything - at least *something* to catch what was being said by Nonna. (huiray, since it doesn't say "Spoilers" in the thread's subject line, I'm still trying to be a bit fair to those who haven't seen it - but I agree - it's pretty damn hard to write even the brief synopsis without using names and winners/losers! LOL)

                                                                                                                                                              1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                                                :-)

                                                                                                                                                                1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                                                  I think neither Nookie nor any of the others on the team even tried to communicate (let alone "remember" anything) with Nonna. Nicole was too busy rolling her eyes anyway, while the other two had this glazed look on their faces. For the first time I agree with ABB's blog and on-show criticisms of them - *surely* they could have used "universal sign language" to get Nonna to cook something (try saying "Ribollita" and using suitable gestures to ask her to cook it, for crying out loud!!) then watch what she did and take notes, etc.

                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: huiray

                                                                                                                                                                    I'm not as critical of the Black team. It was mentioned in the show that Nonna spent about an hour with them. An hour of getting nowhere with cross-cultural charades and I wouldn't blame them for giving up.

                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: FoodPopulist

                                                                                                                                                                      Perhaps so, but what footage was shown did not show them even attempting to do those cross-cultural charades you talk about. They seemed to just stand there and watch her talking and gesticulating while rolling their eyes etc. I didn't see any attempt to stop her talking and try to get her to cook something. She mentioned at the dining table later that she was there to cook and the team didn't even ask her (however one may do so - those charades you speak of, for example) to do so.

                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: huiray

                                                                                                                                                                        Keep in mind that this is produced by those Magical Elves who also do Top Chef, so the editing may be misleading. She is shown with them in the kitchen for less than a minute.

                                                                                                                                                                        Nookie seemed to be the first to give up on her, which makes sense because he seemed to have already conceptualized what he wanted to cook. Nicole seemed to trying to communicate with Nonna when the other three had already given up, which makes sense because she seemed the least confident about what she was doing. Her back is to the camera, but you can see her making some gestures while the other three are coming to the decision that they are wasting time.

                                                                                                                                                                        It's edited to make it look like Nonna has no awareness that they don't understand what she is saying. I wouldn't be surprised if that was actually the case.

                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: FoodPopulist

                                                                                                                                                                          Yes, I think that we are ALL aware of the "editing" that goes on. Pages of posts on the TC threads have hashed over this aspect again and again. Yet again one can only go by what one sees presented on the show. If one disbelieves everything one sees because of the elves' editing, why even bother to see the show or comment on it? :-)

                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: FoodPopulist

                                                                                                                                                                            I was reminded from posts on another forum that Steve "Nookie" Postal had lived in Umbria for 6 months. Not a word of Italian was picked up, nor any ability to get info - visual or otherwise - from Italian-speaking folks?

                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: huiray

                                                                                                                                                                              I think I recall Nookie saying that Nonna was speaking so quickly in Italian he couldn't catch what she was saying. So that led me to believe he remembered *some* Italian.

                                                                                                                                                                              But *why* he couldn't say "piano, per favore" to Nonna to ask her to slow down, I don't know. I know squat about Italian, but I did pick up from what Nonna was saying about stirring the riboletta was to stir it SLOWLY...."piano, piano, piano!"

                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                                                                It wouldn't shock me if he did and she didn't slow down and they just ignored that part in the editing because it didn't fit with the narrative they were trying to craft.

                                                                                                                                                                                It's such an obvious thing to do and Nookie seems pretty aware, that I am at least suspicious that it could have been edited out. Which, honestly, if I were in charge of the show, I might do because who wants to make some sweet old lady look bad on TV?

                                                                                                                                                                  2. re: moto

                                                                                                                                                                    Yes, although the overall result was as you described the editing was definitely confusing – on purpose, of course. LW alluded to it upstream too. Neither the Black Team's ribollita nor the meatball+sausage dish were truly "Tuscan"; while the granita from the Red Team is more of a Sicilian dish, isn't it? The diners did indeed love the meatballs, though – so they had some flexibility in their viewpoints, even though one is told that Tuscans do not like their food to be altered or messed with.

                                                                                                                                                                    Edit: That one gentleman criticized the Red Team's gnocchi with wild boar dish in that the boar should have been ground more finely; while Nonna's son did also say that their granita was "from Sicily".

                                                                                                                                                                  3. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                                                    I don’t watch “Chef vs City” but it seemed to me that this episode would have been what that other show would have been – more so than with other episodes of ATWI80P, somehow. Not much actual cooking shown/explicated, as usual.

                                                                                                                                                                    A comment about the challenge in the gelato shop Carapina: on the board/menu in the shop is shown a choice labeled “stracciatella”. Doesn’t the term refer both to a type of gelato (as offered in that shop) as well as a type of cheese?** One could imagine that if you said you wanted “stracciatella” while walking down towards a gelato shop your walking companion might think you want the cheese, rather than the gelato you had in mind. Of course, the challenge was to identify the tasty treat whose major COMPONENT is often mistaken for cheese…yet one could also imagine that if the cheese was used to make the gelato treat called “stracciatella” there would be other components in it besides just the cheese… :-P

                                                                                                                                                                    That scene about John Vermiglio dumping the pot of Gary’s ribollita onto the ground was spectacular, of course – but I wonder why he thought the shelf was bolted to the wall or brackets. I would have thought their very appearance would have alerted him – they certainly looked like so many other shelves of the board+bracket type… Maybe in USAmerican professional kitchens there are no unbolted shelves? (Yes? No?) Why was the pot of ribollita placed right on the very end of the shelf anyway? It was also interesting, I thought, that he said later in his Talking Head after their service that they would win if the meal was in America (the US) and his bemoaning that they were not. Perhaps suggestive of his “mind set”?

                                                                                                                                                                    I, too, did not expect Gary Walker to be kicked off and was a little disappointed to see him go. He was gracious in his exit interview.

                                                                                                                                                                    Just some musings.

                                                                                                                                                                    **ETA: And also an egg-drop kind of soup.

                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: huiray

                                                                                                                                                                      with only three cooks up for elimination out of a team of four, the way they polled the votes is so flawed that Gary could have easily avoided elimination if he had an ounce of cleverness and considered strategy over his resentment against Vermiglio. all he needed to do is vote for Jenna when he knew the first vote from Liz went that way.

                                                                                                                                                                      how the votes are taken can clearly be used to the advantage of anyone voting after the first vote is cast, unless they take the next vote from the person who just received a rejection (she/he wouldn't vote for herself). if Jenna's vote were taken after Liz', instead of going last, would she still vote for Gary ?

                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: moto

                                                                                                                                                                        My impression is that even though Gary Walker has certainly schemed along with the others he seemed to be one of the most "decent" (haha, if that is possible) amongst them. He probably voted his conscience in this case, not according to strategic plotting. I suspect Steve "Nookie" Postal would have done what you suggested.

                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: moto

                                                                                                                                                                          Yeah, I thought that too. Did he not even think one step ahead?

                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: moto

                                                                                                                                                                            There must have been more to Gary's vote than we saw. That was too inexplicable. I can't understand for the life of me, why he would pick John.

                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Shrinkrap

                                                                                                                                                                              Firstly, remember that Liz Garrett had immunity so he could not vote for (i.e. against) her.

                                                                                                                                                                              Gary Walker explains in his exit video that he could have faulted Jenna Johansen for drawing up an insufficiently Tuscan menu or for inadequate execution but felt that he was complicit in all of that too. He said he couldn't vote for (i.e. against) himself - implying that he could not vote for (i.e. against) Jenna - whereas he could say that John Vermiglio did f**k up by dumping his soup; so, his vote against John Vermiglio. Whether or not that was said "for effect" and for the camera, he did add to the idea conveyed of him being probably the most decent person amongst the players on this game show. I mentioned this impression I have in my post above too.

                                                                                                                                                                              (John Vermiglio, OTOH, has been grating increasingly on me with succeeding episodes)

                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: huiray

                                                                                                                                                                                Yes, I saw the decency post, and I agree. I just didn't see how decency alone could point to John, but this added post helps.

                                                                                                                                                                      2. I have two thoughts.

                                                                                                                                                                        1) The finale should be two chefs presenting a set of five dishes (appetizer, soup, meat entree, fish or vegetarian entree, dessert), each representing a different country visited, to be blind-tasted by the other candidates. Each dish is a round. Whoever wins the most rounds wins the show.

                                                                                                                                                                        2) I'd like to see the format tweaked and used once (maybe not more than once) with chefs who yap about farm-to-table, traveling across the USA and made to do wacky farm chore competitions for an advantage in the cooking half of the show.

                                                                                                                                                                        2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: FoodPopulist

                                                                                                                                                                          There's a variation on that in Canada: http://www.foodnetwork.ca/ontv/shows/... Granted, it's not a competition, but you get the whole farm-to-table + challenge combo.

                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: piccola

                                                                                                                                                                            I don't think I would want to watch it in a non-competition context.

                                                                                                                                                                        2. I still don't know why this show needs two hosts - Curtis and Cat. The fact that they went to chew out the black team because they didn't take advantage of Nonna is annoying. They can do whatever they want with their exceptional "ingredient," including telling Nonna to take a hike if they choose. And the red team members are morons. How hard is it to guess "ricotta"? I think Liz sucks as a chef and the voting process should be hidden.

                                                                                                                                                                          7 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Worldwide Diner

                                                                                                                                                                            Yeah, the voting process *should* be hidden, but that's what leads to all the strategy, grudges, and "drama".

                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: DGresh

                                                                                                                                                                              The point of the show is the strategy, grudges, and drama. It'd be boring if the voting was hidden.

                                                                                                                                                                            2. re: Worldwide Diner

                                                                                                                                                                              The voting is what ruins the show, because it encourages them to get rid of all the best chefs to cut back on competition. At least when judges decide who goes, they're supposed to keep the top performers.

                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: piccola

                                                                                                                                                                                I would loath to see what they come up with for the final show. Velveeta on Wonder bread is not beyond the realm of possibilities.

                                                                                                                                                                                Kind of hoping they would go to Iceland and these knuckleheads deal with hakarl.

                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Phaedrus

                                                                                                                                                                                  "Kind of hoping they would go to Iceland and these knuckleheads deal with hakari"

                                                                                                                                                                                  Oh yes!! I can just picture that! ;^)

                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Phaedrus

                                                                                                                                                                                    heheheh. My vote would be for Sweden and Lutefisk.

                                                                                                                                                                                2. re: Worldwide Diner

                                                                                                                                                                                  Yeah I was thinking that Cat's been pretty much in the background, including the whole intro at the beginning of the show.

                                                                                                                                                                                  I was also surprised the black team won. Don't know what was up with Michelle's weird actions.

                                                                                                                                                                                  I think FoodPopulist's thought for a finale is a good one. Was sad to see Gary go, agree with his decency. Don't know who I'm rooting for if anyone. I agree that Jenna's annoying but damn, she's fluent in 3 other languages. I'd love to have that ability. I'm now thoroughly suckered into this dumb show so I'll watch even if I haven't been to the city. Will see what Bologna's like.

                                                                                                                                                                                3. Tonight we're in Bologna. There are cheese races - try and find 3 marked-as-still-not-properly-aged wheels of Parm-Reg. Racks and racks of gorgeous 80 lb. wheels of cheese....some of which we know were destroyed in the recent earthquake. They are to bring the 3 wheels of cheese to a salumeria, then shop at that (and other stores) to bring the given list of ingredients needed for a restaurant's meal. Once the restaurant's chef checks in their 12 purchased ingredients, they run to find Cat and Curtis.

                                                                                                                                                                                  The winning team gets an extra hour to cook as their Exceptional Ingredient. The winning team also has the option to invite the other team to to dine with them that night at the restaurant where they had to deliver ingredients. Surprisingly, the winning team does invite the other team to join them rather than have them run around the city to find the signature dishes of Bologna. Of course, a few language tricks are pulled out so as not to reveal ALL of the restaurant's secrets to the other team.

                                                                                                                                                                                  WHY is it that the person who has immunity from last week always seems to screw up the next week? They cannot be voted off - so do they actually consciously or subconsciously sabotage their team? Gah.

                                                                                                                                                                                  The judges (which include Paul Bartolotta) and diners eat at both restaurants - an antipasti, a primo (which was required to be the classic dish of Bologna, tortellini), and a secondo (meat dish). Some dishes were better from one team; other dishes were better at another.

                                                                                                                                                                                  Overall, Jenna remains bossy in the kitchen. Yet again. But I'm actually laughing at some of the things that are said about her team's dishes and whether or not she helped or hindered. Betcha can't guess which it was! :-)

                                                                                                                                                                                  The person who goes home is probably the right one, although it was a tough choice. There *is* definitely someone else I'd have picked on that team if that person could have been chosen. (Yeah, I know - kind of a BIG hint as to which team wins/doesn't win, but I'm tired of trying to pussyfoot around NOT giving away who won/lost! LOL)

                                                                                                                                                                                  Nexzt week, they are headed to Chiang Mai, Thailand.

                                                                                                                                                                                  32 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                                                                    The person who went home cooked the best dish of the night. The only reason that person got voted off is the voting system, which includes the person with immunity voting on a grudge. I Don't know why we're beating around the bush but Nick got voted off and Nicole voted for him because he told her her dish sucked. Nicole voted first and then Avery and Nookie piled on because they knew how Nicole voted. This is not strategy, just unaffair and stupid voting system.

                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Worldwide Diner

                                                                                                                                                                                      You must have forgotten about the objection to results being "revealed" on the thread even after the episode had aired because the poster had not seen it yet (although the poster obviously still wanted to read the thread before he had seen the episode)

                                                                                                                                                                                      Three of the four blogs went up on bravotv.com together with the results, photos of the dishes and the exit interview video of the person thrown off the island, immediately after the episode aired on the US East Coast. I checked.

                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: huiray

                                                                                                                                                                                        I haven't forgotten. I just chose to ignore it. By now they should know this thread discusses the show.

                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: huiray

                                                                                                                                                                                          >>>You must have forgotten about the objection to results being "revealed" on the thread even after the episode had aired because the poster had not seen it yet (although the poster obviously still wanted to read the thread before he had seen the episode)<<<

                                                                                                                                                                                          Which guy said that, huiray?

                                                                                                                                                                                        2. re: Worldwide Diner

                                                                                                                                                                                          And I thought Nick was an idiot for being overly critical. You can see the wheels turning in Nookie's head as he decides to be quiet and let Nick dig his own grave. What this show needs is for someone to play the game right then, upon being voted off, be a sore loser and let loose with an obscenity-laden tirade about how everyone else is an inferior cook, how someone else really deserved to lose, etc.

                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Worldwide Diner

                                                                                                                                                                                            now that guys were shown the door three out of four times, the dynamic is largely under the control of Jenna, Nicole, Avery. [of course, the way the game works, that can serve to make them the obvious targets for elimination]. the big guy is trying to stay safe, playing interlocutor/stage manager, John is hanging by the skin of his teeth, and Liz seems too passive and self deprecating. by choosing to critique Nicole so insistently because she had immunity, Nick only set himself up for the very reason of that immunity ; it's obviously poor tactics to antagonize someone who can vote against others with impunity herself.

                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: moto

                                                                                                                                                                                              @ both moto & FP:
                                                                                                                                                                                              No doubt Nick Lacasse did not play the game correctly, at least in this episode, but I give him credit for apparently not caring that much and calling a spade a spade in voicing his (wholly justifiable) displeasure at Nicole Lou and other things. Perhaps he simply had enough of the charade going on. Heh, a ranting and raving scene from him like what FP suggested would have been great to see. :-D

                                                                                                                                                                                            2. re: Worldwide Diner

                                                                                                                                                                                              I'm "beating around the bush" in my initial comments to actually be considerate to those who haven't seen the show yet on the West Coast. I figured I can wait 8 hours before revealing spoilers on a single thread about the show.

                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                                                                                Linda, the title says spoilers. If they don't wish to know anything they should not open the thread. Now that I'm caught up I won't come back after the next episode until after I've seen it.

                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: John E.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  I noticed that change to include "spoilers". Strange how some resist polite suggestions but the idea ends up being put into place.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Fowler

                                                                                                                                                                                                    As I just noted to John E., I did NOT make the request. In the past, everyone knew *not* to read the thread even without the word "spoilers" in the title. I may still choose to *NOT* reveal the specifics if I do a mini-write-up. If anyone else wants to spoil it for others, they can do so.

                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                                                                                      Not sure why you addressed that to me because I never said you made the request. Don't be so defensive!

                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Fowler

                                                                                                                                                                                                        I was reiterating and expanding on what I had said below - John responded to me, you responded to John, I responded to you. Simple.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  2. re: John E.

                                                                                                                                                                                                    That change was not requested by me. Obviously someone else did some time last week and the Mods made the change.

                                                                                                                                                                                                2. re: Worldwide Diner

                                                                                                                                                                                                  Nick's dish was praised by judges and diners alike. Watching Nicole tear apart that beautiful hunk of meat was maddening! No wonder it was tough as shoe leather once cooked. And like many others, I'm irritated something terrible by Jenna.
                                                                                                                                                                                                  It should be interesting next week when they get to Chiang Mai. Jenna's language skills won't do her a damn bit of good in Thailand.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: KailuaGirl

                                                                                                                                                                                                    Jenna's overall persona/approach, loud, blustery, ego-centric, oblivious to others' reactions, will probably not make her many friends in an asian society where at least superficial harmonious coexistence is valued. but winning is probably everything to some of these cooks.

                                                                                                                                                                                                3. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                                                                                  A comment about the show in general: http://forums.televisionwithoutpity.c...

                                                                                                                                                                                                  Heh.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: huiray

                                                                                                                                                                                                    Ugly Americans, indeed. Applies a lot of places.

                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                                                                                      The folks on TWoP really dislike the show too.

                                                                                                                                                                                                      A couple other posts with points which I totally agree with:
                                                                                                                                                                                                      http://forums.televisionwithoutpity.c...
                                                                                                                                                                                                      http://forums.televisionwithoutpity.c...

                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: huiray

                                                                                                                                                                                                        I noticed that continual condescension from Jenna to Liz about the way Jenna speaks to her as well. It was a typical put the blame on someone else.

                                                                                                                                                                                                        Very similar to those types of non-apologies that puts the blame on the other party: "I'm sorry you feel that way" - vs. "I'm sorry for what I did".

                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                                                                                          In the most recent episode Jenna reminded my of my daughter when she was a senior in HS, working on pushing all my buttons, by maintaining that "you're the one with the issues, I'm the adult in the room" attitude.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  2. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                                                                                    Side note: It really annoys me that Cat Cora, while hosting a show about international food, can't seem to grasp that "primi" and "antipasti" are plural forms of the words. Please don't ask the contestants to make "a primi." I know it's minor but it just erodes the credibility of the show when details like that are wrong. /end rant

                                                                                                                                                                                                    I really hate the voting system. And I hope Jenna goes home soon. Not because she's bossy -- contestants are criticized just as often for not taking charge -- but because she's often wrong and can't seem to see that. Don't tell people what to do if you don't know yourself.

                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: piccola

                                                                                                                                                                                                      Oops - sorry on my misspelling above. But I got 2 out of 3 correct. :-)

                                                                                                                                                                                                      I agree - dislike the voting system, and dislike Jenna. Last night was a prime example of practically everything she said being turned back on her (she thought the pork was too salty when she tasted it but the diners loved it; she thought the tortellini needed more cheese - the diners thought it was TOO cheesy).

                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                                                                                        ...and she runs around flinging her Italian (much too over-pronounced, so one reads) at unsuspecting strangers and fed-up team-mates alike. Her pointed cornering of the food-tips part of their meal that evening didn't do her (and therefore her team) any good either, in the vein of what you said about their food.

                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                                                                                          I think it was Jenna's complaining that prompted Liz to fix the pork dish, no? Jenna was just setting up who to blame if they lost, no? I'm no fan of Jenna but her team regularly overlooks the fact that she's the only person who speaks the local tongue and it was a clever strategy to invite the other team to dinner. She controlled the amount of information the other team can gather. And asking the question and receiving the reply in Italian is not a bad thing from a strategy perspective.

                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Worldwide Diner

                                                                                                                                                                                                            I thought Jenna was smart to have the other team stay at the one restaurant with them.

                                                                                                                                                                                                            But, her language skills were actually working against them while asking for directions. The locals seemed to be much more inclined to help the Black team members who started out asking them politely. Jenna was practically barking out questions while running along the street.

                                                                                                                                                                                                          2. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                                                                                            Oh, I didn't mean it that way! It's just annoying in food professionals, who should know better (and have a research team to correct them). And know-it-alls. Neither category applies to you. :)

                                                                                                                                                                                                          3. re: piccola

                                                                                                                                                                                                            <can't seem to grasp that "primi" and "antipasti" are plural forms of the words. Please don't ask the contestants to make "a primi." > not minor in this context. But I guess Cat's excuse is she speaks Greek, not Italian?

                                                                                                                                                                                                            mmm that's kind of like asking someone to make "a panini" -- also a plural word.

                                                                                                                                                                                                            Well, Nicole's dish was dreadful, but Avery's was pretty disgusting, too. However, even if Nookie had voted for Avery, it possibly wouldn't have saved Nick because Avery would still have voted for him. And in a tie, who would Liz (the winner last night) have chosen?

                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: ChefJune

                                                                                                                                                                                                              You're right about the tie but Liz won the week before, John won the nite in Bologna.

                                                                                                                                                                                                              Linda I'm surprised you said it was the right choice for Nick to go home. I kind of like Avery but it really should have been her that nite when Nick's dish was universally liked. I agree with Huiray that Nick didn't play the game right but maybe just didn't care (or was he just not thinking?). Thought Nookie was gonna end up voting for Avery, which I would have agreed with, alliance be damned. Nick was the best that nite.

                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: Joanie

                                                                                                                                                                                                                I actually thought Nookie would vote for Avery as well based on the pasta. And I guess I missed Nick's dish being universally liked. I just don't remember much at all about the dish. (I was abnormally sleepy Wednesday night and just wanted the show to end). Thinking back on it, for that team of 4, I guess Nick was the best. I still wish Nicole *could* have been voted off. That is the Survivor-like aspect I dislike the most about the show.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  With Nicole voting first and voting for Nick, the die was cast for his departure. Avery certainly wouldn't vote for herself and now there are two votes for Nick when it's Nookie's turn to vote. He could've forced a tie and still not be assured that Avery would be gone. Nookie wouldn't burn a bridge unless it was clearly advantageous for him to do so. Had the first person to vote being Nookie, the result might've been different. I hate the peer voting elimination system.

                                                                                                                                                                                                          4. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                                                                                            No links posted to the blogs so far?
                                                                                                                                                                                                            Here's the one for Hugh Acheson's blog: http://www.bravotv.com/around-the-wor...
                                                                                                                                                                                                            The others can, of course, be found on the general blog page: http://www.bravotv.com/around-the-wor...

                                                                                                                                                                                                          5. Somehow I missed this program and this thread until last night. I heard about the program sometime late winter or early spring but then forgot about it until I ran across it last night. Just in case it was something I would like to watch I watched the first episode on-demand. What I saw did not inspire me to watch more. Any food or cooking based program where fast eating is encouraged, or large amounts of food eaten fast is encouraged, is not something I enjoy. I cannot stand the CBS program Amazing Race and have only seen bits and pieces of it if NFL games delay the evening schedule and this program is too much like the Amazing Race or the FN show where they had to run around eating and cooking stuff and following clues. I might watch another episode to see if first impressions are correct, but maybe not.

                                                                                                                                                                                                            13 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: John E.

                                                                                                                                                                                                              John - read the thread - the first episode was the worst. At least so far.

                                                                                                                                                                                                              It's not a GREAT show. But it's also not a totally horrible show.

                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                                                                                                Linda, you were right. I watched the rest of the shows on demand and they did improve. I still don't like the Amazing Race aspect of the program but it did improve over the first episode. I guess I'm, competitive and opinionated enough so that I like some of the contestants and dislike some of them so just like an athletic competition, if a viewer is rooting for a team it makes it more fun to watch.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                So, having said a lot of nothing so far, the contestants that I kind of like are Nookie, Avery, and John. Chaz and Kevin annoyed me as does Jenna. Nicole screwed her team by not keeping track of the items and missing the parm. She screwed them out of $2,500 apiece.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: John E.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  You've pretty hit it spot on, John, in your second paragraph. That's it so far in a nutshell. While it's it's not a bang-whiz show, it's a damn sight better than Hell's Kitchen.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: John E.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Yes, the series after the 1st episode does indeed have some redeeming qualities - so long as one accepts that it is indeed a game show with some culinary tid-bits scattered here and there and takes it for what it is - i.e. NOT a cooking show per se.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    I was sorry to see Gary Walker go. I thought he was the most decent person amongst that cast of players. (Note I said "players", not "chefs")

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: huiray

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      I agree with you. The only reason I gave it a second chance after the first episode is because of LInda.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      I wonder how many viewers remember that Chaz was one of the contestants of TC9 that did not make the cut?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      An interesting note about the Florence episode. They called the ribollita soup a vegetarian dish. First, it has chicken broth in it, second, I looked up all kinds of recipes and they all called for prosciutto, including Giada's recipe. Of course those were American recipes but it is still a little curiious.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: John E.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        I didn't remember Chaz as part of the larger group who ended up being cut on TC9 - but he *did* look familiar. Thanks.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          http://www.bravotv.com/top-chef/seaso...
                                                                                                                                                                                                                          http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/8169... Paragraph 7 :-)
                                                                                                                                                                                                                          http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/8169...
                                                                                                                                                                                                                          http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/8169...
                                                                                                                                                                                                                          http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/8169...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: huiray

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Yes, that was written in Nov. 2011 as I was watching the show. I can't remember what I had for dinner a few days ago much less something I wrote 7 months ago.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            And please note that I didn't even use his name - he was "the guy who chose risotto rice"....that's how much of an impression he made on me back then. They were cutting from 29 to 16 or 18 cheftestants. A lot of people and not a lot of camera time for everyone. In watching him on ATWI80P, all I thought was that he was vaguely familiar.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              But of course. It was just that I remembered that something must have been said about him way back when, went looking, and posted the links to what turned up. I did remember the risotto fiasco, though, even without looking. :-)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Heh, I sometimes have trouble remembering what I had for dinner the next morning too, let alone what I did the week before.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          2. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            I didn't check out the links huiray provided but I do seem to recall how incredulous he was that his dish and thus himself was not chosen to be on the program.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: John E.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              It was risotto. He never even managed to plate it so it wasn't even judged.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              I also remember comments about how he made so much of it in such a large pot etc (besides the curious "pouring out on a sheet pan" he did at the end) when he only needed two small plates of it (the judges' plate and the beauty plate); plus stuff about his drooling over Padma Lakshmi so much that it was a wonder he managed to do some cooking.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: huiray

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Thanks for the reminder. Now I remember the enormous vat of risotto.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: John E.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I thought he made a huge deal out of it because his wife(?) or somebody close to him was Italian and that this was his sure fire dish. WRONG!!!!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                2. Even though he's a local-to-me boy, I'm disliking Nookie at this point. Don't like the games he's playing and watering down his drink served in the street market was baloney. Just cook the best food you can. The game-playing crap is what I'm disliking most about this show. As well as the "Amazing Race" type of early challenge to win the Exceptional Ingredient.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I'm tired tonight, so someone else will have to do any type of a write-up that they want. But I am glad for who left. I don't think it was the right choice overall, but I'm glad.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  And previews for Hong Kong next week show more DRAAAHHMMMAAAAAHHHH!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  32 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    I don't know why Avery voted for Jenna. Best guess is that Jenna is more of a threat. That's why John voted for Jenna. The elimination aspect of this show blows. And for the douche-Curtis to lecture people about not hustling to finish a challenge is bull. What's the point of busting your ass if you already lost?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Worldwide Diner

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Still, Jenna gone? Yay!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      I agree with LW that Steve "Nookie" Postal was simply playing the game tonight even more than usual. Watering down your drink just so you can get more money (i.e. more "drinks" sold) per the GAME parameters is despicable in terms of culinary integrity. In the real world, someone who did that might get a lot of sales the first time out, but few would return. I certainly would not.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Note that tonight's elimination follows the pattern of the one with the best food (Jenna & Avery, with their papaya salad) going home.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      As for next week - Hong Kong has some of the best Cantonese food in the world, and one of the most advanced/broad dining scenes around. Let's see how the game players mangle it up.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: huiray

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        I think at this point, the hosts/producers can not be surprised that the contestants are only "kind of" making this about the food. I mean on the first episode a challenge was to chug beer....

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        I think the Food Network food truck competition show is vaguely similar in that there's nothing to gain in regards to setting up a long-term customer base. So there's no reason not to set your prices a little high, focus on food you can start serving immediately, and who cares about how good the food is if all you need is to make the most money. Also because the teams change every time, there's no reason to have a more complex strategy other than "save myself".

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: cresyd

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Agreed.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: cresyd

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            I don't think it is fair to say that the first episode challenge was to chug beer. That seemed to be a fairly obvious trap, since common sense tells you they would need to replicate some of the dishes they skipped eating. In terms of this being a sort of game, I thought it was the sort of thing that I would do if designing a competition.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        2. re: Worldwide Diner

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          the sequence that Curtis chooses to take the votes usually has a significant impact on the results ; it probably fits a classic game theory model. by the time Avery was asked for her vote, Liz had two already, so if Avery didn't want Liz to go, her only effective choice was Jenna. Jenna actually set herself up to get voted off by determining her critical first ballot by her personal animus (she'd rationalize it as weak vs. strong chef skills) and not strictly by strategy. Nicole didn't get a single vote despite another weak performance (the diners saw right through her imitation Thai, and she limited her team's sales with her purchasing error). Suppose Jenna used her lead off ballot against Nicole -- would that have changed Avery's or Nicole's votes ?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          from the producer's p.o.v., the point of exerting in earnest despite a certainty of losing creates more competitive drama ; the losers at least force more effort from the competition.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: moto

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Good points about the sequence of the votes - maybe someone will ask Aussie Blond Bombshell about that at the reunion, if there is one.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Yes, Nicole escaped - yet again. The "purchasing error" seems to be becoming a pattern - she wasn't keeping accurate track of the team's shopping and crossed out the parmesan cheese on the list last week when they did NOT in fact have it in hand.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: moto

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              I was surprised at no votes for Nicole. However, even if she and Liz had bought more pork belly, I don't think they could have overcome the massive amount of money that John and Nookie earned.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              The votes should be secret - they all submit them on a card without knowing who others voted for. When it's announced that X voted for Y, X can then explain *why* their vote was that way. It might be more fair vs. the strategic maneuvering going on now.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Of course it would be more fair, but that would negate a big part of the evil scheming and melodrama that makes up a lot of the nefarious game-playing this series is. :-P

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: huiray

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I know. Silly Linda for even thinking that the votes should be secret to avoid game-play.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              2. re: moto

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                If Jenna voted for Nicole, then Nicole would've likely voted for Jenna in retaliation (and to save her own butt), especially since Liza already voted for Jenna. I was surprised that after their wonderful night of beer drinking, Avery would turn on Jenna, especially since they actually won the best dish of the night. This is definitely more Survivor than Top Chef.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: moto

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I don't think Curtis chooses. It sounded as if, from Avery's words, that the contestants write down their votes in advance and have to announce it. I would guess that the producers tell him what order to take the votes so that there is as much doubt as possible going into the final vote revealed.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: FoodPopulist

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    This has been my impression as well. Indeed, Curtis says 'reveal your votes' not 'vote'. (Or, has at least once).

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                2. re: Worldwide Diner

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  EXACTLY re: Avery and Jenna running if they're already aware they didn't win. Curtis was off-base on that one.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  As for Avery voting for Jenna - I think it was a combination of she doesn't much like her *and* Jenna not really helping out in the rice paddy. Avery did practically all of the planting.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                3. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  The blogs this week are all pretty scathing, even Cat Cora's (!). I get the feeling even the hosts are tiring of this game and having to defend it with nice words... :-)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  http://www.bravotv.com/around-the-wor...
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  http://www.bravotv.com/around-the-wor...
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  http://www.bravotv.com/around-the-wor...
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  http://www.bravotv.com/around-the-wor...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: huiray

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    I do thoroughly enjoy Hugh's blog - where it's pretty clear that he's decided that the show is a joke in regards to cooking. So he's treating his blog that way.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: huiray

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Interesting - just read Hugh's blog. I had forgotten about this:

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      "Avery and Jenna find out that cheating by adding the coconut water to the mass wil quickly catch them up. This cheat does not help though, and somehow Jenna turns into a puritan for the rest of the show, railing against any form of cheating or unethical behavior, all of which are wrapped up in a heavy Red Sox uniform with Postal on the back."
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      ~~~~~~~
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      So - it's OK for Jenna and Avery to cheat during this challenge, but not OK (per Jenna) for Nookie to cheat by watering down his passion fruit drink in the Elimination Challenge?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Double standard, Jenna.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        I think Nicole and Jenna cheated by adding coconut juice but I don't think Nookie and John cheated. The rule (afaik) doesn't say you can't serve shitty expensive food or serve watered down drinks. It just says the team with the most revenue wins. This episode is just like the Food Truck show in that the quality of the food is absolutely irrelevant. It's more about marketing.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Worldwide Diner

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          (You mean Avery and Jenna.)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          True...true...insofar as the rules of the game went. :-( Yet even Aussie Blond Bombshell (the senior host of this show) expressed his disgust at Nookie's "cheating" as inimical to "culinary integrity", whatever there is of it in this show, and even though he made no effort to deny them the win on the show.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: huiray

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            I think that Mr. Aussie Blond Bombshell should reflect on challenging other's "culinary integrity" when he's chosen the route of "food celebrity" and participating on this show for a paycheck.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            The contestants on this show knew that they were applying for a "traveling cooking competition" and had no inkling going in how the nature of the competition would be. If Curtis - presumably knowing more of the rules - knew that the contestants wouldn't be cooking for his culinary approval to remain in the competition. So such a result should be far less surprising to him than to anyone else.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: cresyd

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              I have a slightly different take on that. I way I viewed it was that *even* Mr. A.B.B., with all his paycheck and celebrity and product-touting issues, found Steve "Nookie" Postal's shenanigans to be too much to bear. Culinary purity does not require the practitioner to cook away on a mountaintop and survive only on the kindness of strangers. ;-)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      2. re: huiray

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        OK, I just choked on my water reading this on the 3rd page of Hugh's blog:

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        "John is spending all his money on she-male Thai prostitutes because this Midwestern boy is going to experience this trip to its full extent. "

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Oh, it would have been a blast if the elves had induced (setup) a scene with John V. being propositioned by said ladyboys and they filmed and showed whatever ensued... :::evilgrin:::

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: huiray

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            They did show John being propositioned/whistled at by transvestites.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            With twice the money for supplies and ability to sell two dishes, no other team had a chance at beating Nookie and John. It wasn't a challenge at all and they really had no need to water down their beverages.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: 512window

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Really? I'll have to watch it again. It seemed to me the first time around that they showed the ladyboys, yes, but I didn't remember any "dwelling" on propositions from them or anything along those lines. (Just standing there a.k.a. "modeling"with suggestive poses does not count as "propositioning")

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: huiray

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                From what I saw, it was John noticing them "modeling", and Nookie telling John that it wasn't women he was looking at.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Yep, and that was it. As I said, it would have been a hoot if the elves had induced a propositioning scenario. :-) But then again, I supposed they style themselves as a "family" channel.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              2. re: 512window

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                That's why I was surprised that Nookie was watering down the drinks, seemed like he could have just made enough with the money they had using fresh fruit. I actually was surprised they made so much $$, it was shot in such a way that their booth didn't seem as busy as the others at points.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                And as mentioned, surprised no one voted for Nicole.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                And what's up with Avery putting on makeup after leaving the rice paddy? Wish I'd actually seen that cuz she doesn't seem like a girly girl, altho you do see a good amount of makeup on her.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Joanie

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I thought that winning the approval of the guest judge should have gotten a whole lot more money; it had absolutely no impact on the final result. Also, does anyone recall the ratio of what they received to purchase food and the amount they earned? That is, if this was "real world" would they have made or lost money on this enterprise?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: DGresh

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Nookie and John got twice as much money, IIRC. 6,000 vs. 3,000 baht.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Worldwide Diner

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      So you're saying they had 6000 to spend, and they earned (if I recall) about 4000? And the second place team had 3000 to spend and earned somewhere around 2500? I realize that apparently none of the teams spent all their money.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: DGresh

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Apparently these contestants did what all restaurant owners do early on, they spend more money than they take in.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      3. I almost lost my lunch at the tie in to the Chase Gold Card or whatever it was (with TWICE the points). How did curtis do that with a straight face.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: DGresh

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          by focusing on the money in his pockets.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        2. So I'm guessing this show is dying a slow death amongst viewers with no comments. I watched last night. But I wasn't thrilled with the Amazing Race portion of the show. Nicole remains beyond irritating with her taking over tasks that she's incapable of completing.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Interesting restaurant owner in Hong Kong. Major flirting with Avery. Interesting dishes made the next day...some with molecular gastronomy-like aspects, others not. Liz's pot pie didn't look all that good. John's concept sounded good; didn't play out. Nicole admitted she chose *not* to go innovative. In a challenge about innovation. Yeah. Real smart move, that. And Avery's dessert? Home run. Knew she'd nail it. Nookie? Sore loser. I'm not liking him much anymore. But I do think that he and Avery are probably the best chefs left in the competition.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          14 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            I watched it last night live for the first time. I like the cooking part as it is somewhat similar to Top Chef. I do not like the clues and Amazing Race portion of the program. I will not become and avid viewer if they choose to do another 'season' of this show.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              I hope no one gets the idea that all chefs in Hong Kong, let alone "celebrity chefs", are like Alvin Leung. :-)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              The women were *very lucky* in the Wanchai Market part of the race when they happened to be there at the bottom of the stairs when the (seemingly more resourceful) guys and their guide came down it. They were just flailing around at that point and didn't seem to be able to make any headway in finding out where the crab place was. John V. was rightly pissed that the girls just "latched on" like leeches. I suppose they didn't see the women in time to stop their guide and quickly ask him to go via a different route. :-)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Bo Innovation stirs up different feelings and opinions from foodie-type people, and its Michelin star ranking provokes some heated commentary (disapproving) from some.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              John Vermiglio's food did seem to miss the mark, even though he professed to have competence with MG.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Steve Postal *did* make good use of his time with Bo's sous-chef - I don't think he had MG experience before, did he? I'm not sure I agreed with Cat Cora's subsequent comment about Steve P. having all that time to "perfect" his pearls - what, perfect the process of making pearls, which he seemed not to have made before (correct?) in that 1 hr plus whatever time they had for making their dishes, to render perfectly shaped, perfectly sized, etc etc pearls for every plate? Well, the diners certainly seemed to like his dish, notwithstanding his machinations and scheming and obstructionism which we the viewers are privy to.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Of course, Avery Pursell's mango dessert was very well received by diners and hosts as well, and apparently better than Steve Postal's dish in the aggregate. No objections from me there.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Liz Garrett did seem to be flailing around (not the first time) and her pork was a curious dish. Pot Pie? In Hong Kong, for an "Innovative Chinese" challenge for diners expecting a distinctly recognizable Chinese dish?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Nicole Lou - yes, what was she thinking? It's an "armchair view", but one still thinks that if she were a good chef she should have been able to NOT use MG techniques, which she said she did not know, yet still come up with something *both* clearly "Chinese" *and* innovative or with a fresh view. Think of Dale Talde's "egg ramen" dish in WD~50 in Season 8 of Top Chef...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              As for the "who goes home" part - John Vermiglio was really going on...and on...and on...((rolleyes)) He was pretty lucky he dodged the bullet. Largely because Nicole was the greater annoyance to the others.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              On to Buenos Aires. Hmm, John Vermiglio's "Now we're talking!!" comment and arm-pump fits the impression I've got of the disdain and/or discomfort he seems to have for non-Western/non-French cuisines.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: huiray

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Well written. All of it. And I like your last comment re: John V. being back in familiar territory with his glee of going to Argentina. He's a Midwest boy. Perhaps he's all about the MEAT.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  :-) Thanks, too kind.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Re: John V. and meat - yes, that is probably true.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Still, I do also remember his "Talking Head" disparaging Sai Pituk and her Thai cooking, on the way to Lyon, in which he pooh-pooh'ed her cuisine and extolled French cuisine as the pinnacle of all gastronomy and saying in effect that all others (like Thai) need not apply.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                2. re: huiray

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  why would anyone get the idea all hong kong chefs are like alvin leung any more than they would think all (insert city here) chefs are like (insert name of chef from said city here)?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: linus

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    I'm sure you don't. :-)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: huiray

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      oh no, i do.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                3. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Hugh Acheson's blog on this episode: http://www.bravotv.com/around-the-wor...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  It's pretty clear (as if it wasn't by last week) that he doesn't think much of this series and the players. He has some choice words about Alvin Leung. :-) Also Liz Garrett's pot pie. Also about the crabs laughing at Nicole Lou while picking apart her "knots". :-D

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: huiray

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    I can't stand Liz - because I think she's weak and she has been delusionabl about her own abilities. She's only still around because the strategy - not because she's talented.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Worldwide Diner

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Yeah Liz seems so fragile all the time, she's gotta be the next one cut but who knows. Nicole seemed to do things to increase her chance of getting booted.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      I feel bad for Nookie and all the running. I've discovered that even tho I walk all the time and faster than everyone else, I can't run to save my life and can imagine how he feels. As long as the "Amazing Race" aspect of the city isn't guzzling or stuffing tons of stuff into you, I don't mind it too much and it does show some of the city. I too am psyched for Buenos Aires.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    2. re: huiray

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      I thought this was pretty funny:
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      "First they get to experience the cooking of the biggest dickwad ever to wear a cut-off black t-shirt and Ric Ocasek’s glasses in a kitchen. I am sure he’s a great cook and innovator, but this guy is compensating for a lot of other shortcomings by screaming at his staff and trying to get into Avery’s cutoffs by the third course."

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      I wondered about that chef screaming at the staff and thought maybe I missed some explanation since I turned it back on when they were already seated. Was he really such a dick to the staff with no real reason? Seems odd to let yourself be portrayed like that.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Joanie

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        I think that's part of the "Demon Chef" act.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          BTW, if you go back and look again he has tattooed on his upper right arm the two Chinese characters " 廚魔 " (cheui4 mo1) one reading of which is "kitchen demon". :-)
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          [However, 廚魔 is also the Chinese name/"handle" of "Bo Innovation" and the phrase can also be read as "kitchen magic". ;-) ]

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    3. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      That "flirting" seemed more like sexual harassment to me. Just sayin'.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Avery's dessert looked amazing. Nookie, however, is getting on my nerves more and more because he seems determined to win through shenanigans rather than actual cooking. I mean, it's good he knows how to play the game -- and that he knew enough to make use of the exceptional ingredient -- but it would be shameful for someone who focuses on everything but cooking to win.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    4. Well, this episode had them in ... where were they again? Oh yeah. Argentina. Where it's ALL about the meat. And John makes vegetables for diners. How freakin' brilliant is THAT? Yeah. Not so much.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Teams in the beginning to find a restaurant and make empanadas to sell in a public park - Nookie and Avery against John and Liz. Liz burns the first pan of empanadas in the oven, setting them back. Nookie and Avery get out into the park first, but Avery miscalcs on the pricing, and the start off slow. Finally she re-jiggers what they're supposed to sell, and Nookie sells their remaining tray of empanadas to another vendor selling touristy stuff for whatever remaining money they need, and Nookie/Avery win the Exceptional Ingredient - time with the person who roasts the meat in the restaurant they'll take over, so whoever chooses to cook the meat will know what to do.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Liz makes more empanadas, because she wants to prove herself and "doesn't make the same mistake twice." John, as previously mentioned, get snookered by Nookie into making some eggplant/veggie dish. Avery takes on the roasting of the goat, and Nookie makes....what the hell *did* Nookie make? He was talking more than he was cooking, so I don't remember. Oh - Cat's blog reminded me - skirt steak with chimichurri sauce. He sliced the steak AND served the chimichurri sauce on the sizzling platter - which boiled the chimichurri sauce. Bad Nookie! Bad, bad Nookie!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Turns out that Liz's empanadas of chorizo served with corn were the favorite of the diners - so she wins. She's in the finale. It was close, per Cat, as Avery's roasted goat was a close second. So it's between Nookie and John. And John's veggies were just not what the Argentinian diners wanted. So he's a goner.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Never thought Liz would make it to the finale. And ultimately, I think Avery *should* win based on overall performance.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      9 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Liz Garrett was very lucky. Also, her "messing with the food" but with a food item suitable for *this* milieu turned out well (c.f. her messing with a pot pie in Hong Kong) and IMO also reflected the greater comfort [not surprisingly] she and the others, in general, have with Western cuisine rather than a non-Western cuisine.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        FWIW (editing and all that) Avery Pursell's voice-overs/talking heads about whether to cast Steve Postal off the island - as the greater threat to her - and her decision to cast John Vermiglio off instead, saying that she wanted to win "properly" by cooking against harder competition, was interesting and a (magic elves') nod to her.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          I just have to add that this episode was worth watching just for Nookie's "confessionals". Absolutely hilarious. The one where he describes the dream he had? Doing the robot dance? I'm glad he stayed just for the humor he provides.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Do we know yet how the winner is decided? Overall, it sure seems like Avery has been the best chef.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: LurkerDan

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            I think the voiceover for the preview for next week said the judges make the final decision. I *think* I heard that. However, in looking at overall progress? Liz and Avery are tied with 3 Wins and 2 MVCs (most valuable chef wins). Whereas Nookie only has 3 Wins, but no MVCs.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Around_t...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              At the end of the preview Curtis said it came down to a difference of four votes, so I don't think it's the judges who decide.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: donovt

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Ahh, thanks for that reminder. Had forgotten that. So it's a crapshoot.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              2. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Liz and Avery may be "tied" in that respect, but IMO Avery has clearly been the better chef.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: LurkerDan

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I agree. Her dishes have just seemed to make more sense.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            2. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              http://forums.televisionwithoutpity.c...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Wow, no one's watching this it seems huh? I just got to it last nite after being away and enjoyed it. Avery's comment about the 2 slow runners teamed up made me think John and Liz might get the special ingredient. Nookie didn't take such great advantage of that as it turns out. I didn't think John's idea of one freaking vegetable in a family style meal was *that* weird but it seemed like the Argentinians (Argentines?) lived up to the stereotype. He should have made a pizza, there's lots of that down there. I find it odd that they're just taking the short ferry ride to Uruguay (and that Nookie seemed so excited) to end the show, what's Uruguay known for? I did that ferry ride and it seems like more of the same to me but we'll see.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              2. I've watched a few episodes but it doesn't grab me. The travel isn't highlighted enough and the locations aren't exactly groundbreaking. It's not about cooking skills or recipes so much as trying to outmaneuver the next person. Some of the better cooks are already gone.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. Avery wins the "blind tasting" by Cat and Curtis after shopping at 3 specific stores. It was close though - she had planned on fish, but they only had a butcher to purchase from, so she went with chicken. (And *HOW* did Liz forget to buy salt? Nookie said "no" when Liz asked him if he would give her some salt. I think I would have, too!). Avery gets to pick who goes with her to the final...and she picks Liz.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Interesting plates from both Liz and Avery in the finale (with help from other chefs who had raced against them). I would have chosen Avery's plates all the way through - her steak main looked amazing, as did her dessert. The cilantro on Liz's initial dish would have turned me completely off, and her chicken *wasn't* braised. Liz's dessert wasn't what I thought it would be.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  And Curtis says it came down to only 4 votes separating them! And the winner is? It's Avery...good. I think she really was the best throughout.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  So....will I watch this show if they do it again? We'll see. :-)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  18 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Interesting concept but terrible rules. I'm not so sure that I'd watch another season if they don't change the focus of the show to food instead of survivor-esque tactics.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Worldwide Diner

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      I agree. I'm hoping this first season was a trial run and they'll fine-tune it with more cooking for the next round.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    2. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Glad Avery Pursell won it over Liz Garrett. I just do not see Liz as the superior chef/whatever. I just don't.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      I have misgivings about the granting of the ability to choose the other finalist to the winner of that "blind tasting". However, I'm glad that the final finale did concentrate on the food.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: huiray

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Yeah I thought the fact Avery got to choose her competitor was odd. I was pretty sure she'd choose Nookie and figured at that stage of the game, there were really no tricks Nookie could pull and it'd be straight cooking against him or Liz. So maybe Avery said one reason but really just picked the opponent she felt she'd do better against.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        I didn't understand the little in between segment where Nookie's talking to her kids and makes it sound like somehow he's still scheming as if he can win or achieve something by saying whatever he was saying. While his meal was too simple, I can understand his thinking that they'd be stuck doing dishes roadside or another place without a full kitchen.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        I didn't mind a little bit of survivor tactics but wish they'd shown more of the cities they were in.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Joanie

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          He was just having fun and joking around. Those mini-segments are typically light-hearted messing around that doesn't affect the competition.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: FoodPopulist

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            I realize that's the messing around segment but it seemed like he was working an angle by saying that random stuff. Whatever, it's done but now I have to deal with both the Masters starting right up next week and the return of Proj Runway tonite. I was enjoying just having a couple shows to pay attention to.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Joanie

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              He was just having a bit of fun with Avery's family.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Steve seemed like a decent guy that was trying to have some fun with the competition and playing the 'game' to stay in it. He apparently did not complain on camera about being turned on by Avery or they would have shown that video.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          2. re: Joanie

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            It was a weird and unexpected twist, but I actually think she did the right thing in choosing Liz, who I saw as the better chef out of the remaining two. Nookie's strength has always been more in the scheming, and Avery's always said she wanted to win against the best chef... At the same time, I'm sure part of it was that she didn't want to risk having Nookie pull off some kind of trick in the final challenge.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: piccola

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              What trick could he have pulled? It was the FINAL challenge, one on one, not a team challenge or running around on a scavenger hunt. Liz showed some good dishes but overall I think Steve is the better cook.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: John E.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                It's easy to say that there was no trick to be pulled now, but Avery didn't know what the final challenge would be at the time. She just wanted to make sure that she didn't get outsmarted by Nookie, like selling all the empanadas at once (something she benefited from). She wanted to make sure it was pure cooking. Heck, she said as much.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                As it happens, the final challenge was pure cooking no matter whether it was Liz or Nookie, but she didn't know that when she made her choice.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: John E.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I'm not saying he could have pulled something, just that she may not have wanted to take that risk at the time. And honestly, his dishes didn't really impress me overall, largely because he was always willing to sacrifice quality to "play the game."

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: piccola

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Yep, and in the finale there would be no need for any more game playing, just cooking.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            2. re: huiray

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              I didn't like Avery getting that last "Exceptional Ingredient" as well. There are certain factors in the show I dislike, but I doubt it's going to change up all that much.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                What I didn't like was kind of summed up by the finale: strong winners get to vote/kick out strong competitors over and over, until the winner is kind of the best of the worst. Then again in almost every eviction there was a fair-to-middling case brought against the chef voted out, but that's not to say things couldn't have gone another way just as well.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            3. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Ironically, everything might have changed -- in Nookie's favor-- had he given her the salt. Liz would have won the challenge, not Avery, and she would have picked Nookie, her weaker competitor, to whom she now would have felt grateful. Hard to say who would have won at the end between Nookie and Liz, but it would have been an entirely different game. Sometimes generosity is also the self-interested option. All speculation, of course, and water under the bridge.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: PSZaas

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                There are only two things wrong with your theory: that Liz would have won with salt, and that Liz would have chosen Steve as her final competitor.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: PSZaas

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I'm not sure that Liz would have picked Nookie because she was "grateful" for the salt. It's also conjecture that she would have won with salt. Neither Cat nor Curtis say in their blogs that Liz could have won had she purchased salt at the butcher shop and seasoned her dish properly.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    It's all conjecture, of course. But it's not hard to see the judges choosing a (properly seasoned) beef dish over a chicken one, nor hard to see her choosing Nookie as her competitor, thinking he might be easier to beat. The challenge was to make an Uruguayan dish, after all, and beef should probably have trumped chicken. Nookie couldn't have done worse than he did do, so giving Liz the salt could only have improved his chances, looking retrospectively.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              2. I have watched this show sporadically throughout its season, but most nights I don't make it through to the end. I had assumed all along that Avery would win because she seemed like the best chef of the bunch, so I was glad she did despite her horrid set of tats. I don't know how you are a fairly intelligent person and mother of two lovely young girls, and you deface your body like that. I know I'm in the minority here, but I find it revolting. There was one thing that struck me every single time I tuned in, and that was the dress that they had Cat Cora in for the show bumpers. To my eye, from a distance, it made her look hugely pregnant. Try as I might, every time I looked at that show, I tried to look at that dress in a way to make it seem attractive, and it never did...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                15 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: roxlet

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Avery is a beautiful woman and I loved her tattoos and piercing. To each their own. What intelligence has to do with it I can't even begin to guess and to call it revolting is quite harsh.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: donovt

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    But as you said, "to each their own". Some people like full sleeve tats (you); others don't (roxlet). It's just an opinion. We all gotz 'em. Otherwise, this entire site would be null and void.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    And just a note - every time I see your name, my brain pronounces it "donut". :-)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Whether you like them or not, the part about her being "fairly intelligent" sounds to me like generally only unintelligent people have tatoos. Maybe I'm reading more into it than was intended, but a simple "I'm not a fan of tatoos" would have came off much less judgemental.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Please continue to think of it as "donut". My user name is meaningless and I often see others and wish I had put more thought into mine. I would have been much happier with "donut".

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  2. re: roxlet

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Cora apparently bloomed into that full figure the honest way -- boozing. she was just busted for D.W.I., post motor vehicle collision, with a blood alcohol level more than 2x above legal. (@ six in the evening in S.Barbara, where she lives). her overall impact on this program was mildly negative. maybe they can use her for 'real housewives of Santa Barbara'. if this network was supposed to be a greener pasture for her than the one she departed, maybe she can help bravo's revenue in a different venue.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: moto

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      "...her overall impact on this program was mildly negative..."

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      How did you arrive at this conclusion?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: John E.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        by looking at her. but thats just my opinion.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: John E.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          I feel like her impact was non existent, not negative.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Joanie

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Kind of what I thought. She was an add-on that probably wasn't necessary for the entire show. She was just "there".

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              She wasn't doing much more than simply tagging along and did not seem to do anything or say anything that couldn't have been completely left out without anyone noticing in the least.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              In contrast, this little 6-year old described in this article did more than just tag along...
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              http://www.newyorker.com/arts/critics...
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              :-)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: huiray

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                LOVE THIS ARTICLE!!!!!!!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: huiray

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Wonderful article!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              2. re: Joanie

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                to my taste, a non existent contribution is mildly negative, because it's a diversion of time, focus, resources that could be applied elsewhere for positive or negative effect, which would be entertainment instead of a bland void.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: moto

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  To my mind she did just as much as Stone did. Stone got to take the lead on most segments likely because he's had wider celebrity exposure than Cora has so far (certainly not because he's a dude or anything) but I never saw her in a secondary role on the show.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: ennuisans

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    You really think they did equal things as host? You saw a different show than I did then.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            2. re: moto

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Has Bravo had a lesbian regular on Real Housewives?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          2. Was Clara, the first chef voted out, made available as a soux chef? I never saw her, and come to think of it there 1) were only two chefs standing out front when Avery arrived at the first stop, compared to three elsewhere and 2) I don't remember seeing Liz pick anyone from the first stop.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Clara's from St Louis so of course I'm curious about my former homie. It was kind of surprising how much camera time she got at the dinner table for being the first one out.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: ennuisans

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Did not see her available as a sous chef last night. I think they had choices from maybe the Top 8? But it did look as if they were *all* in Los Angeles at the finale for the meal and the reveal. (Although I don't know what Clara looks like.)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Top 8 might be right: 2 then 3 then 3. Clara had blond and red hair and glasses. Nookie's first victim.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: ennuisans

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Just went and looked at the bios - she was there in L.A. for the final meal and reveal.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  http://www.bravotv.com/around-the-wor...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    All ten of the eliminated players were there at the final meal and reveal.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: huiray

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Yup, that's what I said 5 posts up. ^ :-)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Oops, yes, that's right.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Keven Lee (3rd off) and Clara Moore (1st off) were not shown as "available" to be sous chefs. Sai Pituk (2nd off) was "available".

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: huiray

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Oh that's right! I forgot that Liz or Avery noted Sai being available to choose from.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            2. BTW, forgot to note on this thread that the the Boston Herald's "Inside Track" had an article on Nookie last Friday about Nookie almost dying from a massive pulmonary embolism soon after he got home from taping the show. Seems he wasn't feeling well during the last few stops, and the long flight from Hong Kong to Argentina might have triggered the clot.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              http://www.bostonherald.com/track/ins...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              3 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Are they doing a wrap up episode? Not sure if they do whether it'd be filmed before his embolism or after but that's pretty major.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Joanie

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Don't seem to be doing so. Top Chef Masters starts this Wednesday @ 10pm.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    I wonder when they filmed the finale. Did it overlap with the reports and reviews and hoots of derision for the show? In which case maybe they decided to just forget about doing a wrap-up? :-D