|Cat and Curtis at 80 Plates Party in NY|
Around the World takes 12 chefs from varying backgrounds and experiences and week to week drops them in exotic locations and presents them with a food challenge that will lead to elimination for one of them each week until a winner is crowned. While the hosts are culinary luminaries, and the contestants bring talent and personality to the show, the real star is the exotic international locations from Morocco to London.
|Here are the contestants with Cat and Curtis- Having fun already!|
A big focus of questions was concerning the challenges of working in so many varied cultures. Cat talked about how some of the more "street-smart" chefs used that experience to their advantage,
Other discussion about contestants and the competition centered around the Chicago-based contestants John and Gary, and how they dealt with the challenges based on their very different backgrounds and skill sets.Curtis gave his take,
Another popular topic for questions was favorites- favorite locations, favorite dishes. Cat and Curtis went back and forth a lot, and clearly there were reasons other than food for their perspectives."A great example of the diversity of talent that we have on the show because Gary, you know, his last job I think was working at a sorority house. And, you know, he’s the first to say that he doesn’t have the chops of some of the other chefs in terms of their culinary expertise.But as Cat mentioned, he speaks four or five languages and he’s traveled the world and extremely street smart. And, you know, he can get by on his smile."
One topic they definitely agreed on was a bit surprising. When asked what locale presented the greatest challenge, They both answered that London was very challenging.
"It’s really hard to stack another show up next to it. You know, when I was very young I got my first opportunity in television with a show called Surfing the Menu and it was myself and another buddy who - we traveled around Australia and we surfed and cooked and drank too much wine.And we had a lot of fun. And I’d always dreamt about getting another show that was a little bit similar to that. And, you know, when this show sort of raised its head I was of course super excited about it because it was travel and the incredible experiences that you get to see and face.
A young(er) Curtis in Surfing the Menu!And then when they announced Cat as the co-host of it I was just, you know, blown away because she’s just like me, an absolute foody and, you know, we share a lot of common interests. And it was just the dream job. I can’t explain it in any other way.
You know, we literally went to ten different countries and ate some unbelievable food. And I wasn’t joking when I said Cat and I were riding elephants in Thailand.You know, we’d get a little bit of time off here and there and we’d run around in adventure like two little kids. It was so much fun."
Of course, I had to take a risk and ask a very serious question- Who did Cat have more fun working with- Curtis or Kermit."Well I mean it’s amazing because, you know, if you go back in time I mean a lot of, you know, the three star Michelin chefs that, you know, are in France, you know, that I’ve, you know, I’ve cooked with a couple when I was younger and did an apprenticeship.They were all taught by their mothers. I mean they were running the restaurants. And then they all got handed over to their, you know, sons and the sons turned them into, you know, more of a bigger business and a brand and the whole thing.And I think that’s really when men, you know, men really in that second - that next generation really took over restaurants and really began to make them a business, a true business, you know, with Michelin stars the, you know, came along and, you know, really began to, you know, monetize it and really make it into something.I think that is, you know, really where that started and I think it just continued. And that’s in a lot of businesses if you look around. I mean that’s what happens. And I think what’s happening now is that - and so of course there were fewer women because it was such a male dominated industry...I mean I came on a cusp of really where I was just on the cusp of where women were a little bit allowed and - to come and do apprenticeships. I mean I had eight rejection letters from eight three star Michelin chefs before I got two from George Blanc and (Roger Roget).So I mean I almost didn’t, you know, so I got eight, you know, rejected eight times before I got two acceptance letters to do apprenticeships. So that just shows you - and that was, you know, 15, 16 years ago or a little bit longer maybe....
I mean I think, you know, reality television and these competitions are helping a tremendous amount to get women inspired to, you know, take that leap and get into the kitchens. And yes, you can get into the kitchen and be an executive chef.You don’t have to be a pastry chef although that’s a great profession as well. But there are other options. And...I think women are starting to find their power and to do that."