‘Around the World in 80 Plates’ review: Under the Tuscan sun

We are now down to 7.

The last time we saw Tuscany featured on a reality TV show, it was when Snooki and JWoww got into a shouting match during a wine tour on season 4 of “Jersey Shore.” With that in mind, it’s safe to say that “Around the World in 80 Plates” ended up doing the region far more in the way of favors.

As enjoyable as this series is, what this episode also showed us is that sometimes decisions on this show don’t always have to make a whole lot of sense. Despite the team lead by Nookie, Nicole, Avery, and a guy who has somehow remained invisible for most of the season winning the Exceptional Ingredient, they really didn’t use it. Why? She was a local grandmother who didn’t speak English, and they decided to just send her off rather than have her demonstrate making a ribollita — a local vegetable stew. Why not take advantage of the things that you have at your disposal?

The only thing that was even more surprising than this decision was the fact that the aforementioned Black Team still ended up winning despite Nookie throwing meat into a vegetable dish and the overall menu not feeling particularly Tuscan. Nicole — who was the target of great concern when it came to her sausage duo — also balked at the expected in winning Most Valuable Chef after her dish was well-received.

It was already weird enough to see the red team (Jenna, Gary, John, and an immune Liz) in danger despite cooking something that felt more traditional, but what happened next showed what may be one of the quirks (or flaws) in the voting system. Rather than getting rid of the most obnoxious team member (Jenna) or the one who has lost every challenge he has been a part of (John), two out of the four team members inexplicably votes for Gary despite the fact that his ribollita was actually pretty well-received. John’s explanation was that he had worked front of the house too much in the past … but he really needed to on one occasion since he spoke better French in Leon than anyone else.

We ultimately wish that Jenna and John would have just admitted that there was some strategy in getting rid of a guy whose cooking has been met with praise pretty much throughout the season, but at the same time they’re clearly playing to win. This elimination does mean, though, that Avery on the Black Team could be in trouble moving forward. As for Nookie, he’s still in a perfect position to make the finale — he’s making enough mistakes to not be taken as too big of a threat, and he seems to be constantly working a strategy to ensure his safety on a weekly basis.

Who are you rooting for to win the whole competition?

Photo: Bravo

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