Last night local hero Steve "Nookie" Postal emerged as the favorite contestant on episode three of Bravo's new show Around the World in 80 Plates. Nookie, who is the executive chef at Fenway Park, couldn't have come off looking any better as his team cavorted around Barcelona fulfilling a series of bizarre and stressful food challenges. As the rest of the contestants whined, bickered, plotted, schemed and freaked out, Nookie made all the right moves. When fellow team member Liz Garret started bawling because her custard wasn't what chef José Andrés was expecting, there was Nookie, putting an avuncular hand on her shoulder to ask what was wrong. But monkfish beware: the same hand can eff you up faster than any other chef on the show, as Nookie proved down on the docks.
Nookie also had the brilliant idea to wrap that monkfish in Jamón Serrano, a decision which partly won his team - aka the Black Team, aka Nookie and all the ladies, aka "Charlie and his Angels" - their "takeover" at the restaurant Dos Cielos. Was Nookie's success due to his familiarity with the city of Barcelona and Spanish cuisine, or was it because he appears to be the only contestant who travels with a neck pillow? Or was fate just on Boston's side? After all, the bus that brought the team in was called "Esteve."
At the end of the episode, contestant Keven Lee, who Nookie calls "the rabbi" and who describes Chaz Brown's massacred ceviche as a "fish holocaust," is sent packing. Though the fish dish is clearly this episode's biggest disaster - Andres calls it "almost like baby food in the mouth" - Chaz lives to see another episode. It's Keven who cries now, but this time Nookie's not there to make it all better. He's off somewhere celebrating the Black Team's victory and his winning Most Valuable Chef. "Good job, Angels" he says. Next stop: Marrakech. Will Nookie maintain his favored status, or are the manipulative editors at Bravo just fattening him up before the slaughter? Hopefully the former. Good luck, Nookie.
· All coverage of Nookie on Eater [~EBOS~]