Warrior Chef 1: Round 7

Fanny: @I’m in the final five, and it feels great! @Out of the five of us, I think that Leona is the weak link. @She’s never really impressed anyone with any of her dishes so far.

Karen: @Being the youngest doesn’t seem the matter at this point. @I’m stronger than most other cooks here because I’m cooking from the heart, and that’s how I plan to win Warrior Chef.

Carrie: After today’s round, four of you will be progressing to the finale in San Francisco, California. And one of you, will be cut just short of that opportunity.

Lucas: @I’m feeling good about my odds for getting to the end. @Fanny, Karen, Tadashi, and Leona are my competition, but I know that I can take down Fanny and Leona without any trouble.

Carrie: So for the creativity challenge, you’ll have to prepare a dish using a delicious piece of seafood.

A cart is wheeled in, carrying skate, razor clams, octopus, squid, and arctic char.

Fanny: @I see all of the seafood and it’s inspiring. @I’m feeling good about the options.

Carrie: You have just 30 minutes to prepare a dish, using one of these proteins, and it’s first come, first serve! Your time starts now!

Tadashi: @I manage to run to the table first, and I grab the razor clams. @I love the flavor of them, and I think the best way to prepare it is raw. @I’m preparing a razor clam crudo with cucumber, Korean pear, and spicy ponzu sauce. @The components will be simple, but I want the flavors to really stand out.

Karen: @I manage to get to the table right after Tadashi, and I snag the squid. @I’m making lamb stuffed squid with homemade pasta and a mint-lemon butter sauce. @I’m hoping that all of the components I prepare will make my dish stand out. @Making pasta, cooking two proteins, I think it’ll be good!

Lucas: @I manage to take the arctic char, and I’m surprised nobody wanted to go for the fish. @I’m preparing a seared char filet with charred radicchio, agro dulce strawberries, and purple potato chips.

Leona: @I’m going to make a seared skate wing with almond Waldorf salad. @It was between the skate and the octopus, and I do not want that octopus. @It’ll take too long to cook, and I don’t have that time to waste.

Fanny: @I’m stuck with octopus, and I’m going to sous-vide it with a wine cork, yogurt, and buttermilk to tenderize it immediately. @I’m making crispy octopus tentacles with fried chickpeas, and buttermilk beurre blanc. @I see the other dishes, and I don’t think that Karen or Leona are really embracing their proteins as much as they can be.

Carrie: Time’s up!

Lucas: @I’m feeling good about my dish, and then I turn to see the others. @Tadashi made a sashimi dish, per usual. @Karen did some stuffed squid, and that just doesn’t really highlight the squid, but sort of overpowers it. @I think I might win this one.

Carrie: Your judge is Warrior Chef seafood critic, Max Hudson!

Max: Hi, everyone! Good quality fish is hard to come by, so I’m excited to see what you guys are going to put up.

Max and Carrie taste the dishes.

Carrie: So Max, who wowed you tonight?

Max: The first dish that really impressed me belonged to Tadashi. I’ve never had a raw razor clam before, and the combination with the pear, cucumber, and spicy ponzu, it was refreshing and beautiful. The second dish was Lucas’s. The filet was cooked perfectly and you paired it with some really great ingredients. It was inventive to use the strawberries. Finally, Fanny. You tenderized that octopus beautifully and I loved the combination of the buttermilk with the chickpeas. It wasn’t something I’d expect to see, and it was executed very well.

Fanny: @Being on top is great, especially since Max is such a sweetheart. @I’m thinking that this might be my chance to win the creativity challenge.

Tadashi: @I really hope that I win the challenge tonight. @I want that validation that my seafood reigns supreme.

Carrie: Who won tonight?

Max: The three of you prepared some really good dishes. But in the end, the best dish belonged to…. Fanny.

Carrie: Congratulations, Fanny! You’ll win a huge advantage going into the elimination challenge! Well done!

Fanny: Thank you. @I won the creativity challenge and just getting that advantage will put me one step closer to the end. @I’m ready to be in that finale.

Carrie: So now it’s time for your elimination challenge! For this challenge, you’ll have to prepare a dish worthy of the finale. However, you’ll need to make the dish inspired by one of these five dishes!

-ginger dusted rock cod, confit morels, spaetzle, citrus-pepper butter sauce

-beet-pomegranate sorbet, cacao soil, lamb loin, balsamic-black garlic puree

-green curry lobster, basil gnocchi, lime buttered scallops, puffed rice

-grilled shrimp, prickly pear salsa, corn milk

-bone-in ribeye, pomme puree, rosettes, potato-leek torte, jus

Carrie: Fanny, you have the honor of assigning each person which dish they’ll have to base their own off of!

Fanny: @Right away, I recognize the second and third dishes as mine and Lucas’s, so I know that these are everyone’s signature dishes. @The first and last dishes sound like it could be Karen or Tadashi’s, because they both have such heavy European influences. The grilled shrimp sounds like it’s Leona’s, mostly by default.

Karen: @I know how to prepare the first dish, obviously because it’s mine. @But looking down the list, I really hope Fanny assigns me the last one.

Fanny: So for the rock cod, I’ll give that dish over to…. Leona. @I’m hoping that the cod will trip her up, because there’s a lot of different components that need go into it. @Leona might trip herself up and that’s what I’m aiming for.

Leona: Thanks. @I can handle Karen’s signature dish. @It’s not hard. @Karen is a baby and I can easily make anything she can cook.

Fanny: For the second dish, my course with the lamb, I’m going to have Lucas re-invent that. @It’s a very tricky dish, and even though Lucas has seen me prepare it, I don’t know how comfortable he’ll be with my techniques.

Lucas: @I don’t feel intimidated by her dish. @I just need to translate her ingredients into something I can do. @That’s how I can win the challenge.

Fanny: The curry lobster, I’ll have Karen handle it. @It’s not an easy dish, with balancing those herbs, and I’m hoping Karen will be stumped.

Karen: Thank you. @I love lobster, and the fact that gnocchi was involved and I killed it with the gnocchi in the last elimination, I might be able to pull this one off.

Fanny: For the grilled shrimp, I’m going to give that one to Tadashi. @It’s the simplest dish, and I’m hoping that Tadashi won’t know how to interpret it, because the components are a bit out-there.

Tadashi: Alright. @Shrimp and corn milk sounds interesting, but I need to take that dish and do my best with it. @That’s what makes a Warrior Chef.

Fanny: And I’ll assign myself the bone-in ribeye dish. @I’m feeling great. @That dish sounds incredible, and I’m familiar with all of the techniques involved.

Carrie: So just 45 minutes to recreate those dishes in your own cooking styles, and your time starts now!

Karen: @The dish I need to recreate was a curried lobster with gnocchi, scallops, and puffed rice. @I’m going to remove the curry entirely, and prepare a lobster butter sauce with gnocchi, poached lobster knuckle, and seared scallops. @I’m going to be true to myself, and not use the Thai curry, because it’s not something I’m entirely familiar with.

Fanny: @With the rib-eye, I’m going to prepare a seared tomahawk steak with thrice cooked chips, and a leek barbecue sauce. @I’m going to completely strip down the dish and prepare it in the most honest and rustic way possible. @It’s not necessarily my style, but I know that it’s the best way to present a nice bone-in steak!

Lucas: @I have the lamb dish with the beets and pomegranates and cocoa. @I’m making cocoa dusted lamb loin with beet puree and pomegranate relish. @I’m going to use the ras el-hanout to season my dish, because it’ll tie together all of the flavors. @I think it’ll be great.

Leona: @I have the rock cod dish with morels and spaetzle. @I’m going to make tempura fried rock cod with pickled morels, and instead of spaetzle, I’m going to make homemade noodles. @I think it’ll be a great way to show off some really good flavors and techniques.

Tadashi: @I want to take a huge risk tonight with the dish I’m going to prepare. @It’s going to be a spicy shrimp and corn cake with a poached egg in the center, and then I’m going to make a prickly pear-peanut dipping sauce. @I’m going down a really rustic Asian path, but the shrimp cake will be like a blend with a scotch egg, and hopefully the innovation will be there for me.

Leona: @Tadashi is my biggest competition. @He’s been strong from the get-go. @I want to see Tadashi get sent home tonight.

Lucas: @I taste the puree and it’s looking good. @The relish needs more vinegar, so I’m just trying to make sure that’s balanced.

Fanny: @I’m starting to wonder if this is the right dish for the challenge. @My steak is cooked perfectly and the chips are delicious, but is this really true to me?

Carrie: Time’s up!

Karen: @The finale is just around the corner, and nobody is guaranteed safety, so this is going to be a huge toss-up on who will be going forward.

Carrie: Your judges are:

Erwin Ko

Miriam Adjanti

Chelia Van Buren

Carrie: So let’s start with the dish by Fanny!

-tomahawk steak, thrice cooked chips, leek barbecue sauce

Chelia: The dish was certainly…. rustic. Okay, it wasn’t an elegant dish. It’s something I’d expect in a pub. Fanny’s style, this doesn’t really scream that.

Miriam: It’s a side to Fanny we haven’t seen before, and I can appreciate that. The steak was cooked nicely, as were the chips. I liked the sauce a lot too.

Erwin: I guess for me, the biggest thing I can’t get over is how the dish went from being this elegant, Michelin rated course to something from a pub. She didn’t really elevate the dish.

Carrie: Now we have Lucas’s dish!

-cocoa seared lamb loin, ras el hanout-beet puree, pomegranate relish

Erwin: The relish has a great balance of flavor and the loin was nicely cooked. Lucas’s puree, it was smooth and creamy.

Miriam: I’m surprised by how much I genuinely like that puree. It was delicious! The texture was smooth, which is unusual for a beet puree, and the ras el hanout just perked that up right away.

Chelia: The pomegranate relish was a great idea and the flavors worked. The addition of the ras el hanout really elevated the dish and made it beautiful.

Carrie: Next, we have Karen’s dish!

-lobster butter gnocchi, scallops, lobster knuckles

Miriam: The lobster was cooked beautifully, the gnocchi were pillowy and light, and the scallops were seared perfectly. She made an impeccable dish.

Chelia: Karen omitted the curry from the dish, and it made it that much different. I’m surprised by that, but the actual flavors were beautifully developed.

Erwin: Karen’s techniques were there, and I’m genuinely impressed by how much she managed to do in just 45 minutes. Omitting the curry felt like a copout.

Carrie: And here is Tadashi’s dish!

-shrimp-corn wrapped scotch egg, prickly pear peanut sauce

Erwin: Wow. The scotch egg was oozing and the shrimp around it was cooked perfectly. The sauce was delightful.

Chelia: He managed to make a delicious dish overall, and it’s got just surprising how he managed to come up with this dish.

Miriam: Tadashi has continued to deliver great food in this competition. The creativity and technique he showed here, taking Leona’s dish and doing that to it, I’m wowed.

Carrie: And finally, Leona’s dish!

-tempura fried rock cod, pickled morels, homemade noodles

Chelia: The rock cod was cooked beautifully. I liked the battering around it. The pickled morels were a nice touch as well. Her noodles were nicely crafted.

Erwin: I think that the biggest issue with this dish is that it ate really greasy and dry. There was no sauce on the noodles.

Miriam: I’m genuinely confused about what to do with her dish. It was clunky, hard to eat, and while the components were individually well done, it didn’t eat together well.

Carrie: So can we decide on who is going to San Francisco for the finale?

Chelia: We can.

In walks Lucas, Tadashi, and Karen.

Carrie: Tonight… the three of you prepared the best dishes, and you’ll all be joining us for the finale!

Lucas: Awesome! @I’m stoked that I’m on top, because now there’s only a few challenges left, and I’m ready to take all of them.

Miriam: All three of you really impressed us for different reasons. Lucas, the usage of ras el hanout changed the dish drastically, but for the better. Karen, you did the opposite, by omitting the green curry, but the flavors were beautiful. Tadashi, the innovation to use the shrimp meat to coat an egg, and the sauce, we cannot stress enough how brilliant that was.

Carrie: And who won?

Miriam: Three incredible dishes, all strong for their own reasons. But the winner was… Tadashi. Again, you really can take this entire competition if you keep cooking like how you are right now.

Tadashi: Thank you! @Winning this challenge, and knowing that I can come back home to California, it means a lot for me. @I really need to win this season, just because it’ll validate all of those hours of driving to Beverly Hills and Santa Monica and staging.

The top three leave.

In walks Fanny and Leona.

Carrie: Unfortunately, one of you will not be joining us in the finale.

Erwin: This challenge, it was hard to really judge. Fanny, you made a fine-dining dish into something from a pub. Tadashi may have done the same, but he elevated the dish with technique and unique flavor profiles. Your dish, it was too plain. The technical skills were dumbed down on it.

Chelia: Leona, you prepared three fantastic components, but the dish ate dry. You didn’t have a sauce, and it really hindered how your dish ate.

Carrie: So one of you is going home tonight.

Fanny: @I’m a bit nervous, because my dish came off as really plain. @But we have Leona, who had no cohesion, so I might be able to squeak by here.

Leona: @Fanny’s dish was boring and she didn’t take any risks. @I tried to do something innovative. @Have you ever had tempura fried rock cod? @I don’t think so.

Carrie: Leona, I’m sorry. Please return to the kitchen and leave.
Leona: Alright. Okay, I see how it is. @I’m leaving, feeling pretty pissed. @I deserved to be in that finale. @Fanny, she’s going forward, just skating by.

Carrie: Fanny, you’ve made it into the final four. Congratulations, you’ll be joining Tadashi, Lucas, and Karen in the finale in San Francisco!

Fanny: Thank you, hun. @I’m feeling good about making it into the finale, but I know I need to step it up, or else I’m going home next. @Either way, I’m in the final four! @I’m ready to take that title.

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