I have to admit that I am just as much of a Bravo junkie as I am a food lover. And I LOVE anything cooking competition related, especially when it’s on my beloved Bravo. The only reason I chose to blog about food and not the likes of Andy Cohen and the housewives is that I am trying not to encourage such bad habits (i.e. watching too much reality tv).
However, the new show Around the World in 80 Plates premiered last night and I feel it is my duty to recap the first episode since the show is about food and so is this blog.
First of all–why does Curtis Stone have to host every other cooking show on Bravo besides Top Chef? Do viewers really like him that much? I remember watching him on Take Home Chef on TLC a few years ago and mostly being annoyed. I suppose when paired with Cat Cora, who I love, I can deal with him.
I would love to be a fly on the wall while they were casting this show. Where do they find these people? There’s a pseudo porn star, an exec chef for the Boston Red Sox and the dude who was on Top Chef Texas for a hot second. OH, and during their opening
bragging sessions mini-biographies, we learn that they’ve all cooked for presidents, celebrities and the freaking Queen of England. Shut. Up.
And then there’s the star of the show, at least in my eyes, Cheven. He’s named Keven, but he’s a chef so obviously he needs to be called Cheven. WHAT THE F? We learn through the course of the episode that Cheven is an interesting character who may or may not need psychological counseling.
It all begins in London town where we meet the cheftestants and they learn the first challenge dubbed “The Course.” They break off into teams, red and black and then have to go on a pub crawl through the city. I for one love the challenge. Who doesn’t want to watch a bunch of chefs attempt to read a map, stuff their face with fish and chips, chug yards of ale and then RUN from place to place!? The big Boston guy, Nookie is drenched in sweat and still somehow alive and running. The chick from the army, Sai can’t read a map. Those Mickey Mouse buns on her head are cutting off circulation to her brain.
The red team wins! They have Nookie, who could easily out-eat anyone on the show, so they win.
Then Curtis and Cat explain the elimination challenge: serve a menu of British favorites. The rub is that the losers can’t use potatoes which means they have to make chips with something else. Chaz, the guy who tried and failed to make it onto Top Chef Texas, looks like he is about to puke out the pudding hash he threw down his throat earlier.
Each team pow-wows to plan out their menu. On the black team, Cheven tell us he can make a bangin dessert and although his idea isn’t all that well received, his team gives him the green light to cook up some bread pudding. Chef Jenna all but gets down on her knees and begs the red team to let her make dessert but it’s to no avail. Some crazy person on her team says that no one wants to eat sweet food at a gastropub–they only want salty. Well I have NO idea who would ever think that. I want sweet food almost always immediately following a savory dish. He should have been sent home for being a dumbass.
The next day the black team cooks at one pub they visited the day before, and the red team at another during the challenged called “The Takeover.” Chaz emerges as the leader of the black team, much to the disdain of good ol’ Cheven. Chaz is the expediter and he is kicking ass and taking names in his conquest to be number one so he can see the world! Cheven is making bread pudding and sulking because his fellow chefs aren’t recognizing him as the food god that he is.
Over at the Draper’s Arms, er I mean British Love, American Pride, the red team prepares their menu. Yes, the team changed the name of the restaurant they were at! If they were going to change it, they could have at least chosen a GOOD name. And the best part is the guy (I think it was Gary Walker) who announces it to freakin NIGELLA LAWSON is all proud of it but she and the other judges/hosts look absolutely horrified. The owner of the restaurant wants to know if what he did is even legal!
Sidenote: Gary owns his own company which is aptly named Cheflove. I wonder who on the red team decided to commandeer a recognized British pub and embarrass it by re-naming it British Love, American Pride. I wish Gary was going home tonight, but he’s here to stay and will continue to make me want to throw things at the TV whenever he comes on.
So the teams serve their menus. Sai is the front of the house for the black team and she is like a tween with braces and a training bra meeting Justin Bieber for the first time when she greets Nigella Lawson during service. It was a little endearing, but mostly creepy. The diners like the dishes for the most part but aren’t particularly fond of Cheven’s bread pudding that he insisted would knock everyone’s socks off because he is Cheven and the best chef/pastry chef in America and now in the UK.
Next up is the red team. Nookie, who has also assured us he is better than everyone else, makes the worst dish of the night: a bad, bad-looking kidney pie. Nigella is horrified once again and insulted because the kind of food he served is what gives British cuisine a bad reputation. No one really liked Nicole’s dish either. But then we learn Nookie is scheming and strategizing to ensure his victory which doesn’t have to be earned by cooking.
So the diners vote on the winner and choose the black team as the victor. Apparently the “judges” are just there for decoration and Nigella was just hanging out with Cat and Curtis for fun because they have no say in anything.
Then the best thing EVER happens as the judges are praising the black team for serving dessert. The viewers know the dessert idea was all Cheven but then like a beam of light coming down from heaven, Chaz takes all the credit! If I had a DVR, I would have watched Cheven’s reaction to this over and over again. It was amazing. And THEN Cat tells Chaz that he won MVP and has immunity. Now Cheven is really about to lose it. OMG, this is good television.
The losing team now has to vote off one of its own member which happens in a very Survivor-esque way, minus the tiki torches and pukka shells. Nookie knows his kidney pie sucked worse than anything but he is determined to send home a chef named Clara anyway. I don’t even understand how he did it but he somehow convinces enough people that she should be sent home. C-ya, Clara!
This is no Top Chef but I’m intrigued. I’ll at least watch until Cheven is sent home, unless some other cheftestants step up and act as ridiculous and entertaining as he does.