When I flip through the TV channels, I’m often torn between watching chefs whip up masterful dishes from obscure mystery box ingredients on Chopped or watching people select a beach house in Bali on House Hunters International. Clearly I’m obsessed with both food and travel. Thanks to Bravo’s new globe-trotting and culinary competition Around the World in 80 Plates, I no longer have to choose!
Hosted by the fabulous Iron Chef Cat Cora and Curtis Stone, the cooking competition features chefs traveling to a different city in each episode.
In 44 days, the 12 chef-testants will visit Argentina, China, England, France Italy, Morocco, Spain, Thailand, Uruguay and the U.S. They will compete “in a gauntlet of culinary challenges” where they’ll learn local customs and cuisines. Then they will takeover a local restaurant kitchen. Through “recreating and reinventing menus,” they must impress the “toughest critics” — the restaurant’s local regular customers. Reminiscent of Survivor, the chefs will vote off one other chef each week.
Sidebar, I can NOT tell you how much I love Cat Cora!! Her Greek restaurant Kouzzina is superb (well at least the vegan cuisine is!), she’s an out lesbian (now if only she were single…), the first and so far only female Iron Chef, and she’s the founder and president of “Chefs for Humanity,” a non-profit that provides “nutrition education, hunger relief and emergency and humanitarian aid to reduce hunger worldwide.” In short, she’s fabulous.
Beyond the show’s elements of food, strategy and travel, I love that we the audience will be introduced to new cuisines each week. Tasting local ingredients and dishes yields so much information about people and their culture. Through cooking, people put their passion on a plate. We connect, celebrate our heritage, and share stories through food.
As someone who loves to travel (and eat!) but doesn’t have the funds to support a jet-setting lifestyle, I’m delighted I’ll have an armchair passport to global cuisines.
Around the World in 80 Plates premieres tonight (5/9) at 10pm ET on Bravo.