Around the World in 80 Plates: Thailand

Did you ever think Around the World in 80 Plates would leave Europe? After one stop in Morocco, the bulk of the season has taken place in Europe. Kind of disappointing but hopefully they’re done with it for good now that the cheftestants have arrived in Thailand!

Everyone is excited to see the Buddhist temples, experience the culture, taste the cuisine…but most importantly they are all excited that the dreaded Jenna doesn’t speak Thai! Finally! It’s an even playing ground for all.

The chefs break up into teams of two of their choice. The only two guys left, John and Nookie take off together, Liz and Nicole become a team and leave Jenna and Avery as the final team, much to Avery’s dismay. No one wanna work with Jenna, but I don’t get why. She’s been pretty successful and even though she’s annoying, I’d much rather team up with her than John, who keeps losing!

So “the course” begins and they have to go to a market (of course) and find 2 buckets of coconuts. All in a day’s work.

John and Nookie find the coconuts first and try hard to not let any of the other teams see them. This doesn’t work because it’s not so easy for Nookie to blend in with the Thai people. Everyone else catches up to them as they move along to the next part of the challenge which involves grating 5 pounds of coconut. So crazy stuff happens here, Jenna loses her other team member, Avery, John is hacking away at a coconut with a wooden board and a nail, Avery and Jenna finally reunite and they both seem pissed.

Next, the teams have to go plant rice paddies when shit gets even crazier. Despite Nookie being slooooooower than anything, he and John make it there along with Avery and Jenna but Liz and Nicole are lagging behind. They’re kind of like the engine that could, if that engine was cute and girly and knew it was probably never going to win this challenge.

After completing this challenge, the teams must race to the Ban Dient Temple and John and Nookie win (obviously) and get the exceptional ingredient. I really don’t know how Nookie stays afloat in these challenges and even wins but he must be working with some kind of magical inhaler or something.

So the Takeover challenge is to serve their food in a food stall in the market. As a food truck lover, I think this is such a fun idea! This is how really people eat. How long can we watch all these fancy schmancy Europeans critiquing food with their pinkies in the air sipping tea!? Now, the chefs are cooking for the masses!

For winning the exceptional ingredient, Nookie and John get lots of money to cook up two dishes and Jenna and Avery aren’t allowed to use heat for their food because they came in dead last. Womp womp.

When it comes time to serve their food, the diners hate Liz and Nicole’s dishes. The hate one of Nookie and John’s but they made a drink that all the Thai people wanted to drink. Jenna and Avery did OK to with their papaya salad.

But it didn’t matter what the food tasted like. It was about the dollar bill…or whatever the Thai equivalent is. For a cooking/food show…this show is really barely about food at all. When does Top Chef return again!?

John and Nookie made the most money thanks to their drink so they win 10Gs. When it comes time to vote someone off, they choose Jenna, of course. While I would have done the same thing, as a viewer, I’m kind of bummed. Is there any personality left on this show? Nookie–that’s all we got. Liz and Nicole are cute, but dull. John, who won the MVC for the second time in a row following his losing streak, is nice enough…but dull. Avery, a little fiery annnnd a little boring. That’s all we got. Who’s bringing the entertainment next week? Someone better step it up.

PS- I really wanted to get a joke in here from Meet the Parents where Ben Stiller says, “Oh no, Dina, Jack can talk Thai. Jack talked Thai real well,” but it really didn’t fit anywhere…

Around the World in 80 Plates: Tortellini Torture

80 Plates is still in Italy! How? I feel like they’ve been there their entire adults lives at this point! This week they are conquering Bologna.

They are keeping the same teams as last week (Jenna, Liz and John on the Red Team and Nookie, Avery, Nick and Nicole on the Black team) and have to carry a GIANT hunk of cheese all around the city all day. They look nuts. Then as the next part of “The Course” they have to get 12 ingredients at a few stores around the town and then bring them to a delightful Italian man to check off.

This seems simple in theory, but unfortunately for the black team, Nicole has immunity and therefore doesn’t want to use her brain. This will be a recurring theme throughout the show. She has a checklist of the items that they got but SOMEHOW she misses the Parmesan cheese. “Oops,” Nicole says as everyone stares at her scornfully. Since they now have to run back and get the cheese, the red team squeaks by them and moves onto the final stop of the course at the Piazza Maggiore where they find Cat and Curtis and win the exceptional ingredient! They are pumped. They needed the moral. Jenna needed to prove that all of the Italian she knows is not for naught! Sweet victory!

The exceptional “not-so” ingredient this week? 60 extra minutes for the Red Team to cook. Which means 60 extra minutes of listening to Jenna barking at her slaves in the kitchen. Good fun. They also get to dine with  Chef Riccardo Facchini, who will explain all about Bolognese cuisine. They have the option of inviting the other team join them and they decide to do it–they don’t want Nookie rolling around Bologna learning things that they don’t know!

Smart. And what’s even smarter? Jenna talks to Chef Riccardo in Italian the ENTIRE time so know one except for her can understand what he’s saying! Brilliant.

During service it’s quite evident that Jenna’s team has the advantage here. They basically cruise through their time in the kitchen and I’m sure the extra 60 minutes didn’t hurt. Even though Jenna is uber-annoying, she runs a tight ship and it’s clear they get shit done.

The black team is struggling to keep their heads above water. Avery, who teaches a pasta-making class seemingly forgets how to make pasta dough and then is running super short on time when she goes to back the tortellini. Oh, the dreaded tortellini. She and Nookie are so frantic with their eye balls popping out of their heads and sweat dripping down their faces that they decide they need to enlist help from the dishwasher, and then the waiters and soon it seems as though every Italian in the country is helping them make tortellini.

In the end, no one should have even bothered helping them because the pasta was awful. So awful that one diner compared it to Chinese take-out. Ouchhhh. John’s tortellini on the red team was a lot better and people actually wanted to eat it. Shocking.

The diners liked Nick’s mushrooms but that seemed to be about it. Nick would have been the MCP if his team won, but that’s of course not how this story goes.

The final course was the meat course: Liz on the red team vs. Nicole on the black team. A battle of the meat broads. Jenna fully expected cute lil’ Liz to fail. But no, she rocked her meat course out and everyone lovedddd ittttt.

Nicole on the other hand, screwed up her meat in every way possible. I mean, everything was wrong with it and had she not had immunity she would have been sent home.

But in the end, it’s sad Nick that gets voted off. Avery and Nookie have an alliance happening so neither one of them wanted to vote for each other. Knowing this, Nick took his frustrations out on Nicole because she was clearly the weak–super weak link here. She begins the voting and names Nick and then everyone else follows.

Nookie is pissed that Nick has to pack his bags. He tells the camera, that he won’t forget this…watch your back, Nicole in a very Godfather-esque way. He won’t forget this.

Next week the cheftestants are finallyyyyy leaving Europe for good this time. They’re moving on to Thailand!

Around the World in 80 Plates: Nonna Don’t Play That

When we last left 80 Plates, they were in Morocco and I thought the next logical stop on the tour around the world would be India, maybe South Africa, maybe I don’t know…anywhere but going BACK to Europe to stop by Italy!? Very weird. But anyway, to Florence..er Tuscany…I’m not really sure, but there they went.

The team picking was fun this week. Chaz was sent home last week so the rest of his team: Gary  freakin’ Walker and Nick (I finally learned this guy’s name) became the two team captains. They had to pick the team for other guy. So whoever’s picked first is really being picked last. So if you’re picked last you should be happy but red-headed Avery, who was picked last, pouted and folded her arms and might have stomped her feet like a little kid as she walked over to Nick and teammates Nookie and Nicole. I’d be bummed too to be the only non ‘N’ name on the team, I guess.

Everyone else: Liz, John (another new named I finally learned) and superrrr Italian speaking Jenna make up team Walker. Jenna is a blessing and a curse. She speaks like every language under the sun but she doesn’t shut up. And she talks with the accent, tries to hard, the whole bit. But as G.F. Walker reminds us, she speaks Italian which is a huuuuuge asset in Italy. In case we forgot. WE DIDN’T, GARY!

They arrive it Italia and receive a note that they have to go to a bocce ball court. I was personally disappointed they didn’t actually play the game, but oh well. They next learn they have to go find Il Cernachino Cafe and order the re-boiled seasonal dish, or Ribollita. Team Walker is rocking it out because they have Jenna who knows Italy like the back of her hand, as she reminds us every 5.3 seconds.

The other team falls behind, but at the next stop on “The Course” they have to go to Carapina and order the treat that is often mistaken for cheese. The answer: Ricotta. The winning team: Nookie, etc. Why: Because Team Walker sucks and blew it! They blew it so bad and they hated themselves the rest of the day for it. Jenna’s Italian couldn’t make up for their lack of food knowledge. (In their defense: who KNEW ricotta wasn’t even a cheese!?)

So now Team Walker is behind when they get to the next challenge, olive picking and they lose to the Nookie team. So Nookie and crew get the exceptional ingredient–a lesson from an Italian grandma about how to make Ribollita and stuff like that.

The exceptional ingredient really doesn’t help the team that much. They don’t really utilize the Nonna as they should and Nookie’s attempt at Ribollita falls flat. He really screwed this one up–he didn’t even pay enough attention to understand the soup is vege-freaking-terian! He put meat in it and Nonna and her son, the Italian food critic, were horrified. Nonna’s not just horrified, she’s got major attitude that the chefs didn’t value her Ribollita expertise. I love a grandma with some ‘tude!

The Ribollita didn’t fare well for team Walker, either. Gary had cooked it the following day only to have it totally destroyed by John. The soup seemingly flew into the air and crashed on every surface in the kitchen. Good job, John. So the whole point of this soup is that it needs to be cooked twice and even though the new soup would only be cooked once, the Italian diners didn’t notice and they loved it.

Other food notes:

  • Each team made gnocchi–neither one seemed to blow anyone away.
  • Over on team Gary Walker, Liz made pasta but she murdered the dough and it turned out to be a horrible, sad mush. She didn’t seem too enthused to try rectify the problem because she has immunity. Jenna was especially pissed about her attitude.
  • On team Nookie, Nicole makes some spicy meatballs and sausage and everyone’s worried about the dish. They are all conspiring to vote her off if they lose but it turns out, the meatballs were the best dish the team served.
  • The desserts didn’t look at all appetizing. Real let down!

So in the end, much to my surprise, Nookie’s team wins and Nicole gets Most Valuable Chef.

Team Walker must vote someone off and it seemed it was swinging towards Jenna, for being annoying or John, for the Titanic size spillage of soup.

But it’s neither of them. It’s my beloved Garyfreakinggggwalker. Gary, I really disliked you the first few episodes. And now, I’m still not sure I like you very much but you seemed nice enough and you were extremely entertaining and fun to watch. Bum-mer. Bye, Gary!

Around the World in 80 Plates: Where’s the Beets!?

Somehow, I did it. I watched 80 plates even though it was Chevenless. I didn’t think it would be as entertaining following Chef “Cheven” Keven’s departure last week, but I have rallied on and continued to watch despite his absence.

This week the gaggle of cheftestants head to Morocco and we learn that Marrakesh is such a clusterfuck that Nookie vowed never to return to after traveling there in a previous life. He tell us there are babies driving mopeds next to camels and donkeys and he’s right–it’s bananas.

Once they make it to Morocco, they are greeted by Curtis and Cat who reveal the twist this week: they will be split into 3 teams of their choosing and must leave on a horse and carriage right away to start “THE COURSE.” This week’s course has them running around like idiots trying to find a spice shop in the giant marketplace, the Medina.

Chaz wisely pairs up with French-speaking Gary freakin’ Walker and the other dude whose name I can’t remember, but he’s not important. Red headed Avery teams with Nookie and another guy whose name I can’t remember either. He’s borderline important but his name eludes me. And then the rest of the girls: Jenna, Liz and Nicole team up together. It all seems good at first because Jenna speaks French BUT then they realize they are all WOMEN and they are in MOROCCO. Shit. They might be screwed.

So they all scramble for the spice shop and Chaz’s team is last to arrive but first to leave because they solved the first challenge and can move on. Then they all run to the top of a building where they have to pour tea and Nookie’s team wins the challenge and the exceptional ingredient: a tour guide. They really shouldn’t be calling the prize an “ingredient” anymore. I get it–it’s cute, but he’s a man, not an ingredient.

The tour guide helps translate the process of how to make a Tagine while the other teams are left to their own devices and have to figure it out the old-fashioned way–by eating everything in sight and asking the Moroccan people stupid questions.

It really doesn’t even begin to get interesting until they are all cooking and Avery’s beloved beets go missing. Her eyes explode into giant fireballs and lightning and thunder surround her and she probes her opponents about the beets’ whereabouts. Then she reverts back into her human life form when a staff person returns the M.I.A. beets that were mistakenly moved.

That’s it. Team Chaz wants her gone because she is cray cray!

They all serve their food to the diners and the “other guy” on the team with Nookie and crazy Avery serves some really crappy beans and ruins their perfect service. After they realize they might be in the bottom so they devise a strategy to send Chaz home because he makes tons of mistakes and is annoying.

The rest of service doesn’t matter. Everyone loves Liz’s saffron cous cous and she wins MVP so her team doesn’t have to vote anyone off the island. But everyone else has to vote and it’s battle of Chaz vs Avery.

It’s a 3-3 tie and Liz has to make the tie breaker. She weeps and sniffles and rolls her eyes in disbelief but ultimately votes of Chaz. Which is STUPID because he was actually entertaining to watch! I mean, I still don’t know other people’s names on this show and you send CHAZ home? I’m all for fairness but Bravo should have intervened here.

Next week, we learn they are not done in Europe yet and head to Italy–Chazless, and Chevenless. Insert sad face here.

Around the World in 80 Plates: Barcelona

80 plates relocates to Barcelona, Spain this week and all I could think is that it’s a good thing Sai is gone. She would have been so disappointed that they were not yet en route to Asia and she would have had a serious meltdown–like every other week. I think she got confused and thought she signed up for “Around the continent of Asia in 80 plates.” But Sai is gone and we are left with plenty of other cheftestants Cheven for our entertainment.

I am still quite confused as to what role Cat Cora and Curtis Stone have in the context of this show. Like, they’re supposed to be our world traveling Padma and Tom but they don’t judge the food themselves and don’t have any power to send anyone home. Bravo could have used Mary Kate Olsen and Kobe Bryant and nothing would be different. The format would be the same but an Olsen twin and Kobe Bryant would be wayyyyy more fun to watch.

ANYWAY. The chefs, Curtis and Cat are now in Spain and the teams are again changed which is becoming really confusing. It’s all of the girls and Nookie versus the boys: Cheven, Chaz, Gary freakin’ Walker (I love this guy’s name and I like to say it with added gusto) and everyone else whose names I can’t remember.

The Nookie team is stronger by far even though they lose this challenge to the red team. Nookie once lived in Barcelona and can cut up a fish like no one’s business and he could have single handily won “The Course” challenge for his team…if the rest of his team did better, that is. The course wasn’t that entertaining to watch. They cut up some fish, they all got inked from the ink squid, Nookie got pissed and the black team won the exceptional ingredient: gama roja. Oooooooh, red prawns. Why doesn’t this same that exceptional to me?

Jenna is crazy fluent in Spanish and able to ask for samples of every ingredient at the market with no problem. Oh, and she got some the items the team needed to build the menu. (It’s OK, Jenna. I like samples, too.)

The black team really has their shit together unlike the red team which is just an epic disaster. Cheven is trying to visualize the menu at the market which apparently he shouldn’t be doing yet according to his other teammates. Chaz is wearing the lowest V-neck shirt I have EVER seen on a man and standing around with his hands on his hips pissed off at dear old Cheven. We will call it the “Chaz stance” moving forward.

This week for “The Takeover,” both teams are cooking out of the same restaurant which also happens to have an open kitchen to the dining room so the Spanish diners can enjoy some entertainment in watching the chefs all fight and cry and ruin flan while they eat. That’s the kind of dinner service I would like to have.

The black team is insane. Cheven is supposed to be front of the house but he apparently has some phobia of leaving the kitchen. Everyone hates him for it and everyone tells the camera that they are plotting to send him home.

The red team is cooking away while Jenna runs around with a notebook and pen trying to write the menu. Everyone hates Jenna. But they should LOVE her. Say what you want about her but she is a front-of-the-house queen and her team should be bowing down before her for schmoozing the Spaniards. You know, the people who ultimately hold the team’s fate in their hands. C’mon guys!

Then everyone hates Liz because she starts crying over her flan that she can’t brûlée. They instead brûlée figs to serve with the flan but it doesn’t match what’s on Jenna’s beloved menu she created. Cue Jenna blowing a fuse in her brain. She’s pisssseddddd.

Chef extraordinaire José Andrés joins Cat, Curtis and the restaurant owners to discuss the food, which of course has no bearings on who will actually win or lose. They are smitten with the black team’s tapas but hate Chaz’s fish. They also are liking Liz’s flan, so she can stop crying now.

The black team wins and Nookie is the MVP. Duh.

The red team makes the BIGGEST MISTAKE OF THEIR LIVES and sends home the best thing about this show, Cheven! Ok, that’s slightly dramatic but I will miss his sideburns, his anger, and his comments like “It’s like a fish holocaust over there. I take that very personally considering I’m Jewish.”

I will try to recap again next week. Hopefully someone else will step up to the plate and show at least an eighth of the personality Keven “Cheven” Lee had. We’ll miss you Chevs!

Around the World in 80 Plates: French Gefilte Fish

Another week, another country, another hour of Cheven’s proclamations that he is the best in every area of the culinary arts. Following last week’s premiere episode (recapped here), the cheftestants take the train to Lyon, France. The black team is riding in style in first class while the red team is standing in crowded, sad coach.

Last week’s MVP Chaz got to pick his teammates this week as a part of his prize, so the black team has been reassembled to include an all-star cast of personalities. He chose the great Cheven, the devious Nookie, red-headed Avery, and for good measure, Gary freakin’ Walker (because he can speak French and because he can speak French, only).

This left the red team with Sai, who still can’t read a map, the self-appointed leader/annoying chihuahua, Jenna and everyone else. Obviously the black team is the stronger team because they have more personality in Gary Walker’s little pinky then the whole red team put together.

So the story begins with the teams arriving in Lyon and driving off to the first location of “The Course.” I guess it would have been too easy for Bravo to put the entire team in one vehicle…and more environmentally friendly. So for our entertainment, each team splits into two cars. On the black team, Cheven leads the way. Then he misses the exit. Chaz is about to lose is F’in mind, a reoccurring theme of this episode and I assume the whole season.

Meanwhile, the red team, who was lagging behind arrives at the destination first where they are met by Jean-Marc, a humble Lyonesse cheesemonger who is smiling and animated and wearing a red bandanna tied around his neck. The challenge: identify which six of the plethora of cheeses that sit in before them are sheep cheese. This takes for-ev-er and the although the black team swoops in and looks like they might beat Jenna and her minions out, the red team gets the most enthusiastic “OK” from Jean-Marc and move onto the second challenge.

The challenge: herd sheep. Because this is a cooking show, after all. The red team is struggglingggg. I mean, it was painful to watch. Jenna’s power has clearly gotten to her head as she continues to bark orders at the herding chefs. But she keeps saying “please” after each demand, which I love. Because she is a true sweetheart. A barking, extremely irritating sweetheart.

The black team links hands and like THAT the sheep are practically all herded. That is, until guard dog Cheven gets lax and the sheep all escape. So the chefs do it again and then beat the red team and move onto the wine pairing challenge.

This goes without saying, but Cheven regales us with his sommelier skills so he takes the lead on this one, ahhhh-gain. Nookie doesn’t even have to taste the wine because he declares that it’s just about math (WTF?) but somehow it works and they win the whole thing.

The exceptional ingredient isn’t really an ingredient but it does turn out to exceptional because for the “takeover challenge” they have to make a traditional Lyonesse menu and on that menu must be the dreaded quenelle. No one has much experience with it but not to worry, the winning team gets a personal lesson from the M.O.F. chef Joseph Viola! He’s very important apparently because he is a M.O.F. which Gary Walker kindly translates for the viewers: the best worker in all of France.

So they learn all about quenelle and Chef Viola flirts with Avery which just pisses Chaz off because he wishes chef Viola would rub his leg under the table, too  they need focus, for crying out loud! Cheven tells us that quenelle is just like oh-so appetizing gefitle fish, pike or carp fish that sits in a jar of fish jelly and is a staple at every Jew’s Passover sedar table (mine included).

The red team’s punishment for losing is that they must roam the streets of Lyon and figure out how to make quenelle the scrappy way. They decide to eat it at a restaurant so they can decipher the ingredients. Personally, I would have just ASKED someone because someone somewhere has to speak a little English and have a notion on how to make it. But their way works too.

But actually, no, it really doesn’t. They end up creating a dumpling instead of a traditional quenelle and the French diners are horrified.  They like the salad, however. And they like the brownie for dessert that Jenna made. Very French.

But the red team has major kitchen drama. Sai is taking 10 years to plate a  4-ingredient salad, the other chick loses count of her fish, Jenna is annoying everyone and ughhh, it’s a hot mess.

The black team is equally as crazy. Chaz is plating ENORMOUS portions of chicken, Gary Walker is giving the diners all of the courses at once, but Avery saves the day. She cuts Chaz’s portions down, cooks up a perfect quenelle that impresses Chef Viola and wins MVP! The black team won this challenge without a fight.

The elimination isn’t as fun this week though. They all collectively decide that Sai sucked it up and give her the boot. She’s sad. No one else is. The End. Fin.

Around the World in 80 Plates

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.