Vanilla: @Haha!~ @Walking into the kitchen today, I’m hoping really badly that we have another creativity challenge! @We’re down to nine cooks, and I don’t want to think about what’s going to be around the corner.
Lucas: @I got on top of the past two challenges, but I want to prove that I’m a real contender to win the whole competition. @Bring it! @I’m ready to cook!
Carrie: So for today’s creativity challenge, let’s play a game with colors!
A cart is wheeled in, carrying green, red, and yellow bandanas.
Karen: @I see the variety of colors, and I think it’s going to be a team challenge.
Carrie: Everyone, please pick a bandana.
Tadashi: @I run there, and I grab a yellow bandana. @I see that Vanilla and Lucas grab them too, so that’s a good sign.
Jackson: @I get the red bandana, and I see that Karen and Leona have the same color. @I think we’ll be a strong team!
Jimmy: @So I’m with Zack and Fanny, and we all have green. @They’re both two of the strongest cooks here, so I feel good about being on a team with them.
Carrie: So your color does not represent a team or group assignment. Instead, that color represents the ingredient you’ll have to incorporate into a dish. So those with red, you need to prepare a dish using ketchup.
Karen: @I hear ketchup, and I almost want to gag. @It’s so sickly sweet, I don’t like ketchup. @Just gross.
Carrie: Those with yellow, you need to use mustard.
Tadashi: @I’m relieved with mustard, because you have dijon and whole grain. @You don’t even need to touch that gross yellow bottled stuff.
Carrie: And for green, you need to use green relish.
Fanny: @I’m excited about the relish, because you can really do a lot with that. @Obviously not anything sweet, but I have ideas already.
Carrie: So you have just 1 hour to prepare your dishes. Time starts now!
Leona: @So ketchup. @It’s bright red, and sweet. @I know right away where I want to go with it. @Red velvet cake. @I’m making a beet and ketchup red velvet financier with dutch cocoa and almond meal, a cream cheese ice cream, and raspberries. @I’m garnishing with the red vein sorrel, just to really bring a level of refinement to the dish.
Karen: @It’s so gross. @I almost don’t want to cook with the ketchup. @I decide, it’s sweet, let’s pair it with tea. @I’m making a black tea smoked quail with horseradish-corn puree, a homemade rhubarb ketchup, and ketchup-quail jus. @I’m using the horseradish and the black tea to done down the sweetness.
Jackson: @Ketchup is a huge challenge. @I decide to blend it with garlic and aleppo pepper, and I know that’ll be a delicious marinade for basically anything. @I’m making a marinated skirt steak with buttermilk-yam puree and a delicious bearnaise.
Fanny: @I wanted to use skirt steak, but Jackson’s using it, and I need to set myself apart. @I’m going to make a seared pork loin with a pickle relish infused chimichurri and yucca chips. @I’m going with a Latin flavor profile, because that’ll work a lot with the beautiful chimichurri. @Right now, I keep coming in second, if I’m on top at all. @I need to beat these guys and show that I’m a stronger cook.
Zack: @The green relish, tasting it, it’s not good. @I decide to pair it with eggplant, and make a relish marinated smoked eggplant dish with goat cheese and some fried shallots. @I’m hoping that the flavors do balance out and work in harmony, which might be a tall order, given it’s a vegetarian dish. @But I’m here to take a risk, and that’s what I’m going to stand behind.
Jimmy: @With the relish, I’m making a relish aioli to go with littleneck clams and some crispy pancetta. @I’m hoping that the combination will be like a surf n’ turf in your mouth. @I’ve been all over the map in this competition, and I just want to show that I can make good food and that the 56 in the preliminaries was no real joke.
Tadashi: @Mustard gets me thinking what I can do. @I think about the heat, and I decide to cut it with wasabi, almost to give it a fragrant flavor. @I’m making a seared ahi tuna crudo with pickled ginger, raw Asian pear, and a wasabi-mustard puree. @It’s a simple dish, but simplicity might just be what the doctor ordered today.
Vanilla: @Haha!~ @The mustard is so exciting! @I remember something about mustard fruits, so I grab the pears, tangerines, and berries, and I’m going to combine them with simple syrup and mustard seeds. @I’m making a goat cheese mousse with fruit mostarda, fried basil, and almond-mustard seed-honey praline. @I’m ready to serve up some beautiful desserts, and hopefully win immunity again!~
Lucas: @Vanilla’s won immunity three times. @She’s definitely a threat. @With the mustard, I decide to mix it with yogurt. @I’m going to marinate a chicken thigh with that and sear it. @I’m also serving a caramelized onion jam and parmesan-thyme polenta. @I think that the yogurt and mustard will work beautifully with the chicken thighs.
Carrie: Time’s up!
Lucas: @Shoot. @My chicken, I didn’t realize that it had the bones still in it. @It’s definitely going to be undercooked.
Jackson: @I think this is my big break. @I love the presentation with the skirt steak and the puree and sauce will work together nicely.
Carrie: Your judge is Lotte Amazo!
Lotte: I hate relish and ketchup, so thank you guys to subjecting me to this! Please, convert me. Make me NOT hate those.
Tadashi: @Already, I can tell that the people with mustard have an advantage. @That’s pretty awesome. @I’d like immunity again!
Carrie: So who made you cringe even more, Lotte?
Lotte: So Tadashi, your dish, I didn’t taste any mustard. At all. The wasabi just overwhelmed it. Lucas, your chicken was medium rare. That’s just not acceptable. It’s poisonous. People can get sick tonight.
Fanny: @Tadashi and Lucas on the bottom? @What’s next? @Dogs and cats will be friends? @I don’t know what’s happening, and I don’t like it.
Lotte: And Jimmy. The raw clam with the cooked pancetta, it just didn’t eat right.
Jackson: @Two of the mustard people are on the bottom. @That sucks for them!
Lotte: For my favorites, Vanilla. The dessert, you nailed mustard in a way I haven’t seen before. The balance of flavors was gorgeous. Karen, the ketchup jus was fantastic, your smoked quail was beautiful, and the rhubarb ketchup was clever. And Leona. You took ketchup and highlighted it in red velvet. That was really smart, because it worked. I was amazed by that.
Carrie: And the winner?
Lotte: Three incredible dishes. But it came down to one key thing. The execution. While both desserts were beautiful, they weren’t 100% perfect. Karen, your dish was phenomenally conceived and executed. And you made the best dish!
Carrie: Congratulations, Karen! You won immunity!
Karen: Thank you! @Being immune feels awesome! @I can’t believe I won immunity!
Vanilla: @Good for her, but I really wanted that. @There ends my streak, I guess.
Carrie: Now it’s time for the elimination challenge!
Another cart is wheeled in, this time carrying flour, celery, and rice.
Tadashi: @I see the ingredients, and it’s just baffling. @I don’t know what to expect.
Carrie: Karen, for winning the challenge, please stand by one of the three ingredients listed on the table.
Karen: Alright. @I see the flour, celery, and rice, and I decide on going with the flour. @I think that’ll be the easiest one to work with.
Vanilla: I’ll choose the flour as well! Haha!~
Leona: Let’s go with the celery.
Jackson: I’m going to choose the rice.
Zack: I’m going to choose the rice as well.
Fanny: I’ll pick celery. @I don’t know the challenge, but I’m assuming we have to cook with this ingredient, and I know how to use celery.
Tadashi: Let’s go with rice.
Jimmy: I’ll choose the flour.
Lucas: And I’m left with the celery.
Carrie: So each ingredient, as you might have guessed, is something you’ll need to incorporate into your dishes. But in addition to that, each ingredient represents a different theme. Rice means your dish must be gluten-free. Flour means your dish has to be vegan. And the celery means that your dish must be raw. You’ll have an hour to cook your dishes, time starts now!
Karen: @So I’ve got flour, and my dish must be vegan. @Well this changes everything. @I decide to prepare battered mushrooms with a beet-chili-orange reduction. @I want it to be crispy, crunchy, meaty, and smoky. @It’ll be the best way to really cut through the flavors of the mushrooms.
Vanilla: @I know desserts are what make me a star, so let’s keep going with that. @I need to use the flour in something too, and that’s just screaming “bake with me!” @Haha!~ @I’m making a vegan tofu-blood orange custard, a black sesame fortune cookie, coconut crumble, and a ginger-orange kanten gelee. @I know how to bake with Asian flavors, and that’s my cue to do well tonight!~
Leona: @I have to cook a raw dish with celery. @I don’t want to use the celery stalks. @That’s too obvious. @I’m making a snapper ceviche seasoned with parsley, celery leaves, celery seed ponzu, and green apple. @I don’t want to use the celery stalks, because they’re really overpowering and I want there to be a light balance of flavors.
Jimmy: @I’m not too excited to be cooking vegan. @I think about what kinds of dishes I can make, and I decide to try a vegan dessert. @I’m making a pineapple upside down cake with coconut ice cream. @I’m hoping that using the flour in the cake and as a thickener for the ice cream, it’ll work. @I don’t want to go home without that title. @That’s all that’s running through my mind right now.
Tadashi: @I’ve got rice, and all I have to do is cook gluten-free. @That’s honestly the easiest criteria of the three, but the issue is that we have to use rice, which takes a long time to cook. @I decide to make a miso-corn milk infused rice croquette, poached langoustine and crab salad, and a ponzu-Sriracha aioli. @The flavors are there, and that’s going to be key for me to really take a win tonight.
Lucas: @I need to cook a raw dish, and that’s a bit terrifying. @That means I’m not allowed to use any heat in any component. @And to top it off, I need to use celery. @I decide to prepare a scallop and geoduck sashimi with shaved celery, marinated cucumber, celery leaves, and a yuzu-wasabi ponzu sauce. @You are forced to go with like a crudo or sashimi with this, because it’s the first raw thing you really think of.
Zack: @I need to use rice to prepare something gluten free. @I think about how I can use rice creatively, and I decide to make a puffed black rice to garnish my corn tostada, with black beans, carnitas, and a pico de gallo. @I’m going full throttle with these Latin flavors, and it’ll pay off. @I’m ready to win a challenge for once!
Jackson: @I’m cooking with rice, and I just think about making a delicious risotto. @It’s going to be a pea and mushroom risotto with herb roasted lamb chops and a red wine-shallot confiture. @Looking at the other rice dishes, I’m feeling confident that I can beat them all. @Tadashi’s pairing rice and seafood, which he’s always done, and Zack’s hardly utilizing it. @I think my rice will come out on top.
Fanny: @I know where I’m going with the celery. @I’m preparing a celery salsa verde with crab and clam ceviche and citrus-chili infused creme fraiche. @I’m being extremely careful with the chili, because I don’t want to blow out the judges’ palates with spice, but I’m confident that I can nail that balance without any real struggle. @The person who’s going down tonight, probably one of the boys. @The remaining girls are just too strong in this competition. @No doubts about that.
Carrie: Time’s up!
Karen: @Jimmy and Vanilla both baked. @I went savory. @I’m hoping that I can sweep this round and keep that momentum going!
Zack: @I see two big rice dishes, and my dish, I hardly used any of it. @That might have just screwed me.
Carrie: Your judges are:
Chelia Van Buren
Carrie: The first dishes are the vegan-flour ones by Karen, Vanilla, and Jimmy!
Karen – battered mushrooms with beet-chili-orange reduction
Vanilla – black sesame fortune cookie, coconut crumble, ginger-orange kanten gelee
Jimmy – pineapple upside down cake with coconut ice cream
Kierra: The mushrooms Karen prepared, just wow. They were crunchy, juicy, fresh, and that sauce was vibrant. I just really loved every bite of it. It was a great first dish for this challenge. She embraced the vegan concept well.
Chloe: Vanilla’s dessert, it just blew me away. I almost forgot it was vegan. The crumble, the gelee, that fortune cookie, and her custard, it was all delicious. I had a minor complaint, that you could taste a bit of the tofu, but other than that, good work.
Chelia: Jimmy’s cake was presented nicely, but I was disappointed. The cake itself was dense and dry. The ice cream had good flavor to it, however, and a wonderful consistency. Overall, halfway there.
Carrie: Next are the gluten-free rice dishes!
Zack – corn tostada, puffed rice, pico de gallo, carnitas
Tadashi – miso-corn milk rice croquette, langoustine-crab salad, ponzu-Sriracha aioli
Jackson – lamb chops, shallot confiture, pea risotto
Chelia: Zack’s dish was delicious! But I had one major complaint. Where was the rice? The tortilla, while gluten-free, was made from corn flour, not rice flour. The dish was so delicious, but he didn’t really embrace the challenge much to at all.
Chloe: Tadashi’s croquettes were delicious and the salad was a nice accompaniment. He almost transformed the rice into a dough, and the salad with aioli made it seem like a very fancy lobster roll. I liked it.
Kierra: Jackson’s lamb was delicious and I loved the combination of that with the red wine infused shallots. But that risotto. It was undercooked, and the rice got stuck in my teeth. That’s a huge no-no.
Carrie: Finally, the dishes by Lucas, Fanny, and Leona!
Lucas – scallop-geoduck sashimi, celery, cucumber, celery leaves, yuzu-wasabi ponzu
Fanny – crab-clam ceviche, citrus-chili creme fraiche, celery salsa verde
Leona – snapper ceviche, parsley, celery leaves, celery seed ponzu, green apple
Chloe: The sashimi Lucas prepared, it was light, delicate, but the flavors in that ponzu, it was deep and rich. I was impressed he was able to achieve that with just raw ingredients and no actual cooking.
Kierra: Fanny’s ceviche and salsa verde were the most creative usages of the celery and raw theme. I really liked the taste of the smoked creme fraiche and overall, it was a solid dish. That chili in there, it was really delicious!
Chelia: Leona’s ceviche was delicious with the parsley and the celery while infusing the ponzu with celery seed was nice. The crunch of the apple was nice and her balance of flavors was on-point.
Carrie: So can we decide on a winner and who’s going home?
Chloe: For winners, we’ve got six incredible dishes. So narrowing it down to three, let alone one, will be hard, but I think we can do it.
In walks Tadashi, Lucas, and Vanilla.
Carrie: Tonight, the three of you prepared the best dishes of the night.
Vanilla: Haha!~ Yay!
Lucas: @Vanilla, Tadashi, and myself. @The three of us won the preliminaries, and now one of us is going to win this challenge. @Pretty exciting!
Tadashi: @I want to beat Lucas and Vanilla so badly. @I already scored higher than them in the preliminaries, and winning this will just show that I’m already better than the best of the best.
Carrie: Kierra, please announce the winner!
Kierra: It was tough, because there were so many really good dishes tonight. But the best dish was prepared by… Lucas. Your preparation of seafood, it was gorgeous, and you managed to make a raw dish really complex and developed.
Carrie: Congratulations, Lucas! You won the elimination challenge!
Lucas: Thanks! @I won an elimination challenge and it feels awesome! @Especially hearing that I made the best of six incredible dishes.
The top three leave.
In walks Jimmy, Jackson, and Zack.
Carrie: Unfortunately, the three of you are the bottom and one of you is going home.
Jackson: @Being on the bottom sucks. @I really don’t want to go home tonight over undercooked risotto.
Jimmy: @The cake was dry, but Jackson undercooked his rice. @I think it’s between the two of us.
Zack: @They liked my dish, just not my usage of the rice. @Regardless, it was gluten-free, so I think I’m the most safe.
Carrie: Jimmy, the cake was undercooked. Please return to the kitchen and leave.
Jimmy: Thanks for the opportunity to cook. It was nice when it lasted. @I didn’t get nearly as far or do nearly as well as I wanted to do. @I wanted to represent Hawaii better, and unfortunately, I couldn’t. @Maybe next year. @Who knows?