Around the World in 80 Plates makes its series debut on Bravo on May 9 with celebrity chef hosts Curtis Stone and Cat Cora overseeing the culinary action.
In Around the World in 80 Plates, 12 chefs begin a unique reality adventure in London, England for a global race that will see each contestant immersed in local food cultures as they compete for ingredients in a spectacular race over 40 days across 10 countries.
Hosted by food experts Curtis Stone and Cat Cora, Around the World in 80 Plates jets the chefs to a different international city each week to learn the local customs, cultures and cuisines as they battle it out in two different cooking challenges testing their skills and determination. Navigating “The Course,” each chef will compete to win an “Exceptional Ingredient” before they takeover local restaurants to redo the menus and try to win over the locals with their culinary skills.
So, with Around the World in 80 Plates about to make its series premiere on Bravo, what surprised Curtis Stone the most about the chefs and how they adapt to cooking without certain ingredients? As Stone told The Deadbolt, ingredients are key when getting various cultures right.
“I actually found it really interesting watching the contestants be told sometimes they got this exceptional ingredient which made it much more obvious for them in terms of their thinking. And other times they were told they couldn’t use an ingredient.
Like in London, the contestant that didn’t win the exceptional ingredient couldn’t use potatoes in their recipe. So then of course that makes cooking fish and chips, and steak and kidney pie with mash, pretty difficult. But we were surprised quite often.”
Interestingly, Around the World in 80 Plates features a variety of top notch chefs. From the Executive Chef of Boston’s Fenway Park and the Chef de Cuisine at the Hotel Wilshire in Los Angeles to the Sous Chef at Graham Elliot Bistro and the Chef at Bushi-Tei in San Francisco, the new Bravo series isn’t short on culinary talent.
At the same time, however, Around the World in 80 Plates also features a diverse field of competitors with a cooking class instructor and blogger along with a cafe manager and caterer.
Since all of the chefs come with different degrees of experience, how does co-host, Cat Cora, a former winner of Iron Chef and owner of several restaurants, feel about the competitors and how they adapt to various cultures?
“Because they did come with so many varied ranges of skill, I think it was really just trying to figure out who was going to lead, what the strategy was going to be, and multitasking. But also, there were language barriers in a lot of countries. There were a few that could speak multiple languages and there were many that couldn’t. So those were definitely some of the roadblocks that they ran into.”
Although Curtis Stone knows the challenges of cooking under high stakes after working at such renowned restaurants as Mirabelle and Quo Vadis, Stone is used to having the right ingredients at his fingertips.
In fact, according to Curtis Stone, exceptional ingredients make all the difference in the world.
However, as Stone told The Deadbolt, in Around the World in 80 Plates, the competing chefs need to be creative.
“When I’m asked to develop recipes, which we do on a daily basis, it’s almost so much easier for us when someone says we want you to do a recipe with sea bass. And straight away your mind goes to sea bass and you start playing. But then we put some other parameters around that, whether it’s springtime [or other factors]. So there are the other ingredients you can use.”
Around the World in 80 Plates debuts Wednesday, May 9 on Bravo at 10/9c.