Around The World in 80 Plates: A Cooking Show That's Not Really About Cooking
|Aounr The World in 80 Plates: Scavenger hunt with chefs.|
Top Chef continues to be a true contest and incubator for great chefs to get their name out into the world with as little staged drama as possible, so we had (sort of) high hopes for Around The World in 80 Plates. Hopes were dashed.
Here's the premise (tell us if you've heard it before):
Each week a team of chefs are flown to some random city in the world where they have to perform some type of scavenger hunt. The winning team gets a secret ingredient to be used the next day when the chefs have to take over a local restaurant and cook for the locals (who will judge them on how badly they screwed up their favorite tangine or tapas). The losing team has to vote one of their members off
So how is this a cooking show with chefs? Well, the scavenger hunt part seems to involve eating and drinking a lot. And then the teams have to
Last evening, we were introduced to the show's hosts -- Aussie heartthrob Curtis Stone and Iron Chef Cat Cora. Both are adorable and competent, but we know the hosts don't really do anything. We also met the contestants, most of them mindless or arrogant. Nookie, a chef with the Boston Red Sox, says he knows he's probably not the best chef, but he thinks he can win. Sai Pituk from Texas like to pose semi-nude in the tub, and Cheven (Chef Kevin)'s goal is to manipulate the other players so he can win.
The first challenge is a pub crawl, where we watch the chefs down yards of ale and pounds of black pudding hash. Most of them have never had black pudding before, which is semi-shocking to hear chefs admit that. As they run through the streets of London announcing themselves as "drunk Americans", we wonder what the casting directors were thinking. We're not sure what competitive eating has to do with a cooking show...until we're told that the chefs are to cook what they just consumed in mass quantities.
By the time the chefs actually make it to the kitchen, we've lost interest. Especially when they're clearly having issues. Sai, the naked chef, says that she only cooks Asian cuisine so she opts to work the front of the house (which is confusing since London restaurants are filled with Asian flavors and influences). Another chef, Chazz, is cracking everyone up by saying typical "British" phrases like "god save the Queen", "quiddich", and "crikey". It's a little painful.
When it's time to vote someone off the show, Nookie throws his teammate Clara under the bus, even though his steak and kidney pie was the least favorite dish by vote. But, as we heard many times during the course of the hour -- this is a cooking show that's not about cooking...at all.