What do you get when you combine the sumptuousness of tasty travel shows with the excitement of cooking competitions — and throw in celebrity super chefs Cat Cora and Curtis Stone to curate the action? Bravo’s most ambitious series yet.
Around the World in 80 Plates launches 12 adventurous chefs on a culinary quest for supremacy that spans five continents and 10 countries in a mere 40 days. In the first half of each episode, two teams of contestants must successfully navigate the city, completing challenges to win a locally prized “exceptional ingredient.” Then the crews take over a popular eatery and attempt to impress its owners, fiercely loyal diners and special guest judges, including Nigella Lawson, Wolfgang Puck and “Demon Chef” Alvin Leung, with authentic cuisine and excellent service. The losing team determines its weakest link and sends him or her packing.
“Throughout the culinary race, which we call ‘The Course,’ you see beautiful places and beautiful ingredients,” Stone explains. “But during ‘The Takeover,’ you get a real flavor — pun intended! — for the places that we go.”
Still, Cora and Stone agree, it’s the show’s colorful contestants — who represent all levels of professional cooking experience — that really give 80 Plates its zing.
“To be able to find chefs that could handle all of those things — being able to cook and travel together; being able to be dropped into a country and acclimate so quickly to a culture and a brand-new cuisine; to be able to learn the ingredients and find their way around — all of those things make up the excitement and thrill of the show,” says Cora. “It was just so fascinating to sit back and watch!”
“If you can experience what the locals experience, that’s when you really know you are a traveler,” Stone adds. “To have a cooking competition show where the chefs discover their own little part of Bologna or Buenos Aires or wherever we were at the time — that is just so special.”
Around the World in 80 Plates airs Wednesdays on Bravo beginning May 9