‘Around the World in 80 Plates’ review: Madness in Morocco

Now, off to Morocco.

With us currently in the middle of a transition between spring and summer TV, we’re happy that “Around the World in 80 Plates” is there. It’s a show that few people are talking about, but it’s also the best new reality competition of the year. Are there some problems? Sure — we’d love to see more creativity at times, and we also don’t know why we need two hosts. However, there is still so much working here that it is hard to not be addicted.

For one, Nookie may be one of the best reality contestants we’ve seen in some time. He’s a guy who acts goofy, but understands thsi game both from a cooking and a strategy standpoint. He puts himself on teams with people who are either weaker cooks than him or major threats, and he has enough travel experience to be an asset on any challenge. This week, the group was in Morocco — and he was lucky enough to have been there in the past. Did it really help him here? Not really, especially compared to how useful his knowledge of Barcelona was last week.

Ultimately, the race portion of the task was perfectly suited for the country this week, as much of it was tied directly to Moroccan cuisine and tradition. To make matters even better, the winner of the challenge (which was Nookie’s team with Avery and John) got to spend some time with a guide and understand the cooking better. However, what makes these “exceptional ingredients” interesting from a TV perspective is that while they are an asset, they do not guarantee victory — and we end up seeing people get complacent as a result. John overcooked his beans for one of the side dishes, and more than anything else that was the real reason for the team failing. Meanwhile, the team that won this task (the Red Team of Liza, Nicole, and Jenna) did so by working well together despite them being intimidated by being in a country where women are not often treated equally.

Nooki’s Black Team ultimately had to square off against the White Team for elimination, which was a battle mostly thanks to Chaz — the man who talks an enormous game but also has an enormous problem with rage — wanting Avery out of the competition with every fabric of his being (even though she is a far better chef). Thanks to the chefs being divided up in groups of three for the first time ever, we saw something new this week — what happens in an event of a tie. Nookie’s team votes for Chaz, and Chaz’s team voted for Avery. Ultimately, the Most Valuable Chef from the week made the decision, and Liz made the move to get rid of Chaz.

Was this the right move for Liz to make? For the sake of fairness sure, but some of these contestants have yet to grasp that it is more important to get yourself in a position where you can win. Avery is a strong player, and she has a far better shot at the grand prize than Cha and his cooking technique of being constantly surrounded by chaos.

Did you enjoy this week’s challenge in Morocco, and who are you rooting for at this point?

Photo: Bravo

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