Fenway Park executive chef Steve "Nookie" Postal stars/competes in the premiere of Bravo's new show Around the World in 80 Plates, at 10pm tonight. The show is hosted by Curtis Stone and Cat Cora and features 12 chefs running around 10 different countries for 40 days, stepping up to a host of challenges while taking over local restaurants and trying to beat the resident chefs at their own game.
From the trailer, it appears that there will be lots of drama, plus some cobras. Giants of the food world like Wolfgang Puck, José Andrés and Nigella Lawson will be popping up along the way. Nookie, who is an alum of Oleana, Icarus, Chez Henri and Casablanca, spoke with Eater about the first episode, which takes place in London.
Had you ever been to London before? I had been to London twice before. Once Ana [Sortun] took me when I was sous chef at Oleana and once to do a stagiairie at Petrus.
How was this trip different? How was it different!? How was it the same, is a better question. No comparisons between the two trips except that Big Ben and Parliament are still in the same place.
Did British food live up to its stereotypes? Not really. I found the food to be really good, and not this drab cuisine that you hear about all the time. London is a great food city.
How does Boston compare to London as a food city? Boston is a lot smaller than London, more close knit. But while we may be smaller, we have a great thriving food scene. Lots of great restaurants in Boston and Cambridge. Gotta give a shout out to Cambridge.
What was one of the best things you ate during the filming? We had a really great noodle experience, oddly enough, and the black pudding we ate with the fried egg on it was especially delish.
What was one of the worst things you ate? I think during the beginning days I had some ostrich or something like that. No, it was kangaroo - it was pretty terrible, but overall the food was great.
How did you get along with the other contestants? That one you are going to have to wait for the show on. I mean, it's Bravo, so you know there is going to be some drama and lots of tears.
Has that trip influenced your cooking? I'm not sure if it really had any influence, but it really reminded me how much I love traveling. Since the two kids have come along, my wife and I haven't traveled nearly as much as we used to. That's life when you have two kids under five and another on the way, but I wouldn't trade it for anything.
What was one of the hardest parts of the London trip? That you will also have to tune into the show for. It will become abundantly clear what I'm not good at, and what was clearly the hardest part.
If you could do London over again, what's one thing you would change? Well I'd certainly like to go back in a little more of a relaxed atmosphere. You can only see so much when you're racing around the city trying to beat another team.
What's something you want people to keep in mind when they tune in to the premiere? Maybe I'm not really that fat, that the camera adds like 50 pounds? I don't know, hopefully people like the show and like me. I feel I was truly myself so we will see how it plays out. It will be interesting, that I promise.
Nookie says to follow him on Twitter for updates (@chefnookie); starting tonight, the show airs on Bravo at 10pm on Wednesdays.