Warrior Chef 1: Round 4

Lucas: @After winning the last challenge, I’m feeling really awesome. @We’re down to eight, and I want to just keep winning everything!

Karen: @I got immunity in the last round, and I feel like it really helped. @Tonight, I need to keep trying my best with these creativity challenges and seizing whatever immunity or advantages I can get!

Carrie: Welcome back! I’m sure you’re all thirsty for another win, so here are some beverages to cool you off. Please just grab whatever beverage suits your fancy!

On the station are glasses filled with coca-cola, orange juice, root beer, hot cocoa, lemonade, iced tea, ginger ale, and a vanilla milkshake.

Fanny: @I know that we’re going to make something using a beverage in it, so I immediately grab the orange juice. @It’ll be the easiest thing to work with.

Lucas: @Fanny grabs the orange juice, and I make a run for the ginger ale. @Ginger ale won’t be a hard ingredient to use in any dish, sweet or savory.

Jackson: @I take the iced tea. @Man, I am parched. @This hit the spot!

Zack: @I take coca-cola and I’m happy with it. @I’ve got a couple cola ideas up my sleeve that I can pull off tonight.

Tadashi: @I’m not sure if we’re pairing the dish with the beverage or using it, but I think about using the lemonade, because it’ll offset fish really well.

Leona: @I managed to snag the root beer, and I’m so relieved. @Hot cocoa and vanilla milkshake are just laden with sugar, so they would both be bad choices. @Root beer, you can use that to make the bases of a lot of sauces and glazes.

Vanilla: @I wound up with the vanilla milkshake, and I’m so excited, haha!~ @I’ve got so many ideas on what I can make with it already!~

Karen: @I have the hot cocoa. @Immediately, mole comes into my mind. @But I don’t cook Mexican, so I’m just trying to figure out what the heck am I going to do with it.

Carrie: So you have just 30 minutes to prepare your dishes, using the beverage you selected. Time starts now!

Karen: @So I decide to marinate a lamb rack in a mixture of chilies, garlic, and the hot cocoa. @I’m pairing the sauteed lamb loin with a carrot-ginger puree and a red wine reduction. @I’m just hoping that the carrot, ginger, and red wine will balance out the chocolate flavors, and that I can get everything cooked properly in just 30 minutes. @I get the red wine on first, and the sous-vied the lamb to get everything marinated.

Leona: @With the root beer, I’m going to make a root beer glazed cornish game hen with hen-of-the-woods mushrooms, a sage salsa verde using the root beer in there, and root beer brown butter sauce. @I’m using root beer in three of my four components today, in hopes that it’ll translate across in a successful manner.

Tadashi: @I have the lemonade, and I decide to make a ginger-yuzu-lemonade curd, and then I’ll pair that with some sesame-garlic compressed watermelon, which I’ll shave to resemble tuna. @And then I’m using avocado mash and edamame to add more textures to the dish. @I want to go a vegetarian way tonight, because it’ll show a lot more creativity. @I need to show everyone here that I’m not going home early.

Zack: @So with the coca-cola, I decide on making a glazed duck with chestnut puree and cranberry reduction. @I’m using the cola to glaze the duck, in the boiling liquid for my chestnuts, and as the base for my reduction.

Vanilla: @I got the vanilla milkshake, and I’m making a vanilla souffle, vanilla macaron, and vanilla ice cream. @I’m using the milkshake to make the souffle and the ice cream, while the macaron, I’m deciding on doing a coconut macaron instead of the almond, because it’ll just crack from being under-rested. @I think it’ll work!~ @Haha!~

Fanny: @Grabbing the orange juice, I decide to make a molasses and orange glazed duck breast with a parsnip puree and arugula salad with orange juice vinaigrette. @I taste the juice, and it’s concentrate, not the fresh stuff. @I’m feeling a bit screwed, because it’s got a huge citric acid kick to it, and it tastes so artificial, so I’m hoping that I can mask that with brown butter, dried orange peel, and spices.

Lucas: @Getting ginger ale rocks! @I’m making a ginger ale caramel and glazing some pork and squid in that. @It’s going to be a ginger glazed pork loin with a ginger ale battered calamari, apple slaw, and grapefruit segments in honey. @I’m thinking that the freshness of the flavor will be fantastic.

Carrie: Time’s up!

Fanny: @I see Vanilla’s dessert. @She’s such a sweetheart, and she keeps killing it with her desserts. @I want to see her actually excel with savory food, but I don’t think she can.

Carrie: So your judge is Warrior Chef judge, Thyme De Lys!

Thyme: Hi, everyone! There’s always a beverage for every season, and I can’t wait to see what ingredients you guys paired with the drinks!

Thyme and Carrie taste the dishes.
Carrie: So Thyme, who disappointed you?

Thyme: Tadashi, the lemonade was way too sweet and that translated poorly into your dish. I couldn’t tell if it was a dessert or a savory dish. Leona, the hen was undercooked, but I did like the glaze. Karen, the dish was way too rich and you didn’t balance that.

Lucas: @Hearing the critiques, Thyme is harsh! @Those three have been on the winning half of a lot of challenges so far.

Thyme: So my favorites. Fanny, the dish was gorgeous and the orange juice worked so well with the duck and arugula. Lucas, the glazed pork and fried squid combination was unexpected, but it was really tasty. Vanilla, your dessert was ambitious and you transformed your beverage the most in this challenge. Tonight, it came down to who used the drink the best and how cohesive the dish was. That’s why, Lucas, you made the best dish!

Carrie: Congratulations, Lucas! You won immunity!

Lucas: Thanks! @Not being able to go home again rocks! @We’re getting close to the halfway point, and the last thing I’d want is to go home early.

Carrie: Now for the elimination challenge. We want you guys to work in two teams of four to prepare a memorable four course meal. Lucas, for winning the challenge, you can select one of your teammates first, as well as the captain of the opposing team.

Lucas: @I look around, and I know I need strong cooks. I’m going to choose Tadashi to be on my team. For the other team, I’d like the captain to be…. Leona. @She’s strong, but very extreme. @I don’t think she’s going to captain well.

Leona: Very well. I’m going to choose Vanilla to be on my team. @Vanilla’s strong. @There’s no way that we’re going home.

Lucas: Karen, get on over.

Leona: Zack, you’re on my roster.

Lucas: @It’s now between Fanny and Jackson. I’m going with Fanny.

Leona: @I have Zack, Vanilla, and Jackson. @I don’t think my team is the weaker one. @I’m confident that I can beat the other team tonight.

Carrie: So you’ll have an hour to prepare a memorable four course meal. The team that cooks the better meal will win this challenge while the losing team, one member will be sent home.

Karen: @Already, I want our team to do well, because Lucas has immunity, and if we’re on the chopping block, it’s between me, Fanny, and Tadashi, and those two are older and much more experienced than I am.

Carrie: 1 hour, four courses, one coherent meal. Time starts now!

Lucas: *to Karen, Tadashi, and Fanny* So let’s come up with a theme. @Our meal needs to be coherent or else we’re not really going to show that a lot of thought went into our dishes. @Our theme is going to be date night. @I think it’ll be a smart way to show off some really cool concepts. @So Karen’s going to be in charge of the entree, Tadashi is on the cold appetizer, I’m doing the warm appetizer, and Fanny is doing the dessert. @For my appetizer, I’m making goat cheese and pickled apricot tortellini with brown butter and candied thyme. @I think it’ll be a really appealing dish, visually, taste-wise, and texturally.

Tadashi: @For my cold appetizer, I’m making oysters with basil vinaigrette, pickled strawberries, and avocado mousse. @In this competition, everyone knows that I am one of the best seafood cooks, so I’m hopeful that I can deliver on that and continue bringing in good dishes to the competition.

Karen: @I’m cooking the entree, and it’s exciting, because most of my dishes are entrees, and they’ve been pretty well-perceived. @Since it’s date night, I need to incorporate some sort of romantic theme to it. @I grab the pinot noir, and I have a great idea. @I’m making a seared ribeye with pinot noir-shallot jus, celeriac puree, and shallot and celeriac fritto misto. @I’m adding plenty of butter into that puree because I want it to be buttery, smooth, creamy, and just entice whoever is eating it.

Fanny: @Karen’s making a really simple dish, so I need to make sure that I can nail a complex dessert so that we can guarantee ourselves a winning menu. @I’m making a chocolate mousse cylinder with raspberry liquid gel center, caramel seesaw on top balancing a raspberry bonbon and chocolate-dulce de leche truffle, salted caramel ice cream, chocolate soil, and raspberry coulis. @It’s going to be an amazing dessert, assuming I can pull off every component.

Leona: *to Zack* I want you on hot appetizer. *to Jackson* You do cold appetizer. *to Vanilla* Can you make the entree? I have a dessert I want to make.

Zack: *to Leona* Are you sure you want Vanilla on entree? Her desserts have been the best in the competition.

Leona: *to Zack* I’m confident that the dessert I have up my sleeve will blow the other team’s dessert out of the water.

Vanilla: Alright then. I’ll do the main.

Leona: @So for the menu, we’re going with a spice trail. @For the first course, it’ll be a horseradish marinaded beef carpaccio, shaved apples, pickled blackberries, and pecorino romano by Jackson. @The hot appetizer is going to be Zack’s curried mussels with homemade na’an bread. @For Vanilla’s entree, we’re making spice roasted venison with chanterelle mushrooms, turmeric-butternut squash puree, and sticky fig-date-ginger reduction. @For my dessert, it’s chili marinated cherry tartlet with lime-buttermilk sorbet. @I see the other team, and they’re going with a date night theme. @I know our spices will be bold and they’ll be memorable.

Zack: @I’m making the mussel dish, so I start by getting the bread dough made because it’ll need a lot of time to proof. @For the mussels themselves, I need to start bearding them, because the beards are inedible, and that’ll just be gross to the judges if they get a single beard. @For my spices, I get the turmeric, ginger, cumin, garlic, onion, curry leaf, paprika, black pepper, cinnamon, saffron, and cardamom together into a pan, and add in coconut milk to make a delicious broth to cook the mussels in.

Jackson: @I’m doing a beef carpaccio, but I need to guarantee that my beef is sliced perfectly. @So I sous-vied the beef loin with mustard and horseradish to get it really spicy. @And then I drop the entire loin into liquid nitrogen, and then take that through a deli slicer to get the slices thin and even. @The rest of my dish is pretty simple to make, so I’m going to be helping Vanilla with her entree.

Vanilla: @I’m cooking venison, haha!~ @I get the meat seasoned in cayenne, black pepper, paprika, nutmeg, and oregano, and then I chuck it into the oven so that it can get roasting. @I heard that venison works well with spices, and that’s why I’m cooking with it. @I get the squash peeled and into water, and then I get started on my reduction, using port, dried figs and dates, and knobs of ginger, and then reduce them together. @For my mushrooms, I chuck those into the oven as well so that I can reduce the liquid and then I can caramelize them in brown butter.

Leona: @I get the tart shells into the oven and then I making the sorbet, which is equal parts lime juice, buttermilk, and simple syrup. @I get that churning and then start the poblano syrup that I can stew the cherries in. @Pitting the cherries is going to be a bitch, but once I get that done, my dessert will be almost perfect. @I think our menu is perfection. @The other team should be scared.

Lucas: @I see that Leona’s making Vanilla prepare a savory course and I just laugh to myself. @She’s so dumb. @Vanilla is one of the best pastry cooks here and you make her cook venison? @That’s not going to end well for the other team.

Vanilla: @I get the venison out of the oven and I start resting it. @I start passing the squash through the sieve and then start pureeing it with plenty of my turmeric compound butter. @And then I start to slice the meat, and it’s…. completely gray.

Zack: @The venison is overcooked and I just feel my heart sink. @Vanilla was our shining hope, and now we’re screwed.

Carrie: Time’s up!

Tadashi: @Vanilla overcooked her venison. @I look at our team, and Karen cooked her steak perfectly. @Already, we’ve won the entree.

Carrie: Your judges are:
Miriam Adjanti

Aster Walker

Erwin Ko

Carrie: Let’s start with the dishes by Team 1 led by Lucas!

-oysters with basil vinaigrette, pickled strawberries, and avocado mousse

-goat cheese and pickled apricot tortellini with brown butter and candied thyme

-seared ribeye, pinot noir-shallot jus, celeriac puree, shallot and celeriac fritto misto

-chocolate mousse cylinder with raspberry liquid gel, caramel

Miriam: I loved the appetizers right off the bat. The oysters were cleaned properly, so that was already a good start. The mousse, pickled berries, it all worked so well together. I loved the tortellini as well. They cooked that pasta beautifully.

Aster: The ribeye was such a simple dish, but the fritto misto on top was a clever touch and it really made this dish inventive and interactive, something you need in a romantic dish. I loved how they tied in the theme of this being a date into every dish.

Erwin: That dessert was possibly one of the best desserts I’ve ever tasted. If Fanny can make something this amazing, then she could potentially win the entire competition. This was impressive. The raspberry, caramel, and chocolate notes were fantastic.

Carrie: And now we’ve got the dishes by Team 2, lead by Leona!

-horseradish beef carpaccio, shaved apples, pickled blackberries, pecorino romano

-curried mussels with homemade na’an bread

-spiced venison, chanterelles, turmeric-butternut puree, sticky fig-date-ginger reduction

-chili marinated cherry tartlet with lime-buttermilk sorbet

Aster: The carpaccio was delicious and I thought that the pickled blackberries were an interesting touch. Funny how both teams did raw proteins with pickled fruit to start. The curried mussels, I loved the flavor of them and the na’an bread was divine.

Erwin: The venison was so overcooked that it was basically like venison jerky. I couldn’t chew it. The other components were done beautifully, but the flavors didn’t work well together. I’m disappointed.

Miriam: I’m shocked by Leona’s method of marinating the tart. You’d think that the description referred to just the cherries being marinated but Leona marinated the entire pastry in the chili syrup and that just felt wonky. I don’t really think this team ended as strongly as the other team did.

Carrie: So do we have a winning team?

Erwin: We in.

In walks Karen, Tadashi, Lucas, and Fanny.

Carrie: Tonight, the four of you… were the winning team! Congratulations!

Erwin: Karen, your steak dish was one of our genuine favorites. You cooked the beef consistently across all of our plates and the fritto misto was a clever touch that we all appreciated greatly.

Karen: Glad you liked it. @I’m feeling good about my contribution to the team. @It was a team effort and we definitely worked well together.

Aster: Fanny, that dessert showed a ton of effort and we noticed it. That was easily the dish that won the challenge for your team.

Fanny: Thank you. @Hearing that from Aster solidifies my confidence as a cook. @I knew I had what it took to win a challenge!

Miriam: Tadashi and Lucas, you both started the meal on a high. I couldn’t fault your dishes and you both delivered on all counts.

Tadashi: @Hearing that is awesome because I knew we were a strong team. @Lucas chose the right people.

Lucas: @I’m proud of us. @I’d happily work with any of these guys again.

Carrie: You all won this challenge and are safe from elimination. Please bring in the other team.

The winning team leaves.

In walks Zack, Leona, Vanilla, and Jackson.

Carrie: Unfortunately, the four of you lose the challenge and one of you will be going home tonight.

Erwin: Zack, you actually made a great dish. You’re definitely safe tonight.

Zack: Thank you.

Miriam: Jackson, we all agreed your carpaccio was a solid dish. You’re safe as well.

Jackson: @I dodged a huge bullet. @But it’s between Leona and Vanilla for who’s going home. @I think Leona’s toast.

Vanilla: @I’m shaking. @Leona and I are the bottom two.

Aster: Vanilla, the venison was overcooked and it bordered on being inedible. Leona, you marinated your entire tartlet, so the pastry was sticky and soggy. It was a mess.

Leona: @I think Vanilla’s a goner. @My soggy pastry was messy, but it wasn’t inedible.

Carrie: Vanilla, please return to the kitchen and leave.

Vanilla: Thank you. @I’m feeling terrible right now. @It’s just reminding me of how people use to tell me how “unworthy” I am. @Going home this early breaks my heart. @I wanted to take out the competition and I’m being sent home in 8th place. @I’m really disappointed in myself.

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