Warrior Chef 1: Finale Part 1

The final four arrive in San Francisco, where the entire finale will take place.

Tadashi: @I’m here. @This is it. @The finale has begun, and I’m one of the competitors. @My chances at that title, it’s getting more and more realistic.

Karen: @I’m one of the final four, and I’m feeling really excited but nervous. @Tadashi, Fanny, and Lucas, they’re all a lot older than me, and it’s pretty intimidating. @But I need to believe in myself.

The four arrive in the kitchen at the resort they are staying at

Carrie: Welcome to the Warrior Chef finale!

Lucas: @Right now, I’m thinking that the final three will be me, Tadashi, and Fanny. @Karen’s been pretty inconsistent recently, so I doubt she can stay in the competition for much longer.

Carrie: So for the creativity challenge, you’ll have to prepare a dish using…. kale!
A cart is wheeled in, carrying kale, ranging from flower to curly to lacinato to purple.

Carrie: But to make things interesting, it’ll be done in head to head cook-offs! Please draw knives!

Karen – 1

Lucas – 2

Fanny – 2

Tadashi – 1

Karen: @I’m cooking kale against Tadashi, who is from SoCal. @I’m feeling really screwed. @This terrifies me.

Lucas: @I’m up against Fanny. @I’m comfortable with this match up. @I think her experience with kale, versus an Italian cook? @Not even a question.

Carrie: You have just 20 minutes to prepare an innovative kale dish. And your time starts now!

Tadashi: @I’m thinking about what I can do, and I’m going to deep fry the kale and prepare a crispy kale and shisso tempura basket with a kale stem infused dashi. @I’m keeping the flavors simple, because that’ll help me stay focused on what I have to get done during my 20 minutes.

Karen: @I’m going to prepare a dinosaur kale infused pasta with some crispy fried purple kale, pancettta, and chicken liver mousse. @I think that the combination of flavors will really help the kale stand up. @Tadashi is going almost entirely vegetarian, but that might honestly be the smart thing to do.

Fanny: @The kale looks great, and I’m feeling like this is an opportunity to really make this dish memorable. @I’m making a kale napoleon, using layers of fried kale, and then pickled kale stems, homemade mascarpone, and apples. @If I can get the mascarpone made in 20 minutes, then I’ll be good to go.

Lucas: @The kale, I’m going to prepare a pork stuffed kale sausage with crispy kale, kale stem gremolata, and shaved apples. @I’m trying my best to keep the flavors straightforward and beautiful. @I’m trying to make sure that the taste of the kale runs throughout the dish.

Karen: @I decide for the mousse, to make a kale butter, and fold that into the pate, just to really get the kale flavor throughout the dish. @I see what Tadashi is doing, and he’s moving surprisingly slowly, but he’s tasting very intensely. @I’m feeling really hopeful that the basic level of his dish will give me the edge.

Fanny: @I check the mascarpone, and it’s completely loose. @I can’t use it. @So I grab the ricotta, and it’ll be my substitute. @I start quenelling it, and the ricotta soaks into the kale, and it’s just a mess. @This is really bad.

Tadashi: @I taste the tempura, and I’m just realizing how few components are on my dish, but I hope that the flavors really do speak for themselves. @If I can accomplish that, then I’ll be good.

Lucas: @The kale sausage is cooked properly, and that’s already a huge advantage. @The flavors of my dish, it’s good. @I’m feeling confident that I can take down Fanny, and I’m sure that Tadashi is going to beat Karen. @The girls who are left, I’m not threatened by any of them.

Carrie: Time’s up!

Karen: @We are this far down the line with the competition, and I’m feeling nervous. @I really want to prove that even though I’m just a freshman, I can still beat these older cooks and win Warrior Chef.

Carrie: Your judge is Warrior Chef house critic, Chloe Lula!

Chloe: Hi, guys! Kale is such a beautiful ingredient, so I cannot wait to see what you have made with it!

Chloe and Carrie taste the dishes.

Carrie: So Chloe, let’s go down the line with each match-up, starting with Karen and Tadashi’s dishes!

Chloe: So Tadashi, the tempura dish was simple, elegant, and light. I liked the flavors and the balance there. Karen, the dish was ambitious, making pate and pasta from scratch, and you delivered on texture and presentation. Overall, the better dish was made by… Karen.

Karen: Oh my God! @I won? @Against Tadashi?! @I’m feeling elated right now! @I can’t believe it!

Chloe: Lucas, the sausage was delicious and the combination of kale textures was really well done. Fanny, the napoleon was an interesting take, but the kale itself was a bit soggy. Lucas, you won this match-up.

Carrie: Congratulations, Karen, Lucas! The two of you won the creativity challenge and will receive an advantage going into the elimination challenge!

Lucas: @This final four are strong, but we all know Tadashi is one of the biggest threats. @Any advantage that will let us edge him out of the competition is greatly appreciated.

Carrie: So now for the elimination challenge! San Francisco is known for having several Michelin starred restaurants, and we want you guys to take inspiration from one of four restaurants and prepare a dish! Please draw knives!

Karen – Atelier Crenn

Lucas – The French Laundry

Tadashi – Saison

Fanny – Campton Place

Carrie: Lucas, Karen, you both have an advantage. If you do not like the restaurants you’ve drawn, you can swap with either each other or one of your competitors.

Lucas: @I’m happy with The French Laundry, so I’m going to keep it.

Karen: I actually would like to swap with Saison from Tadashi. @Atelier Crenn is a really difficult concept to replicate because of all of these ridiculous chemicals and modern molecular ingredients I’ve never heard of. @It’s high-end artistic French food. @With Saison, it is refined, but the flavors speak more than the presentation.

Tadashi: @I got Atelier Crenn, but my experience with Melisse should help me overcome that gap. @I hope that this challenge, I can win.

Carrie: So just 1 hour to prepare your dishes. Time starts now!

Fanny: @I got Campton Place. @It’s modern Indian and Californian cooking. @I’m feeling okay because I can prepare a garam malasa rubbed lamb with a pea-yogurt flan and cilantro-coconut-lime foam. @I’m hoping that using the usage of a homemade garam masala will show enough technique. @Everyone thinks that Tadashi is the strongest cook, but I think of myself as more of a dark horse. @I made it this far, I have proven myself, and I’m ready to take the title.

Karen: @I have Saison, and I know that I can nail this concept. @I’m preparing a butter poached langoustine and chanterelles roasted in garlic-brown butter and a leek-poached lemon peel puree. @I’m literally layering butter into the dish, because that’ll be key to making sure that it really hits home that French feel, but balancing it with the right acidity, just so that it won’t be heavy.

Lucas: @Having to prepare a dish for The French Laundry is awesome. @I’m making a pear-caramel tart, with a pear sorbet, caramel tuile cone, and a pear puree infused toffee with brown butter financier as the base. @I thin that it’s really ballsy, but if I can pull it off, then it’ll be French Laundry-worthy.

Tadashi: @The reason why Lucas might be in trouble tonight is because The French Laundry is 3 Michelin stars and the expectation is that much higher. @He might be sent home because he didn’t deliver to those expectations. @I have Atelier Crenn, and right away, I decide to take a risk. @I’m making an earl gray whipped goat cheese with carrot spheres, fried chervil, brown butter soil, and carrot juice cider. @I’m going to take a risk because that’ll just set me apart, and I’m hoping that my dish will resemble pulling a carrot out of the ground.

Fanny: @I test out my foam, and it’s getting stuck in the canister. @My cilantro, I should have steeped it into the coconut milk rather than blended it in. @I’m wasting time trying to pour out the liquid through a strainer and cleaning out the canister. @I’m so annoyed.

Lucas: @I get the financier out and it looks nice. @The dessert can be a huge success, but it’s just a manner of whether or not it’ll stack up against the other dishes. @I can see myself and Tadashi in the final two. @Karen and Fanny are strong, but they haven’t delivered dishes on the same level as the two of us.

Karen: @I taste the puree, and it’s got a lot of layers of flavor. @The smoky sweetness of the leeks, the sourness and bitterness of the citrus, and I already know that this will make my langoustine taste delicious. @I might actually make it to the final three!

Tadashi: @I’m feeling good about the dish and where it’s going. @In terms of my competition, I’m just not going to pay attention to them. @The moment I get caught up in what they’re doing, I won’t be able to focus on my dishes or my food.

Carrie: Time’s up!

Lucas: @I step back, and my dessert looks like a bit of a mess. @But then when I see the other dishes, I might still be in with a shot here.

Carrie: Your judges are:

Erwin Ko

Aster Walker

Miriam Adjanti

Carrie: Let’s start with Karen’s dish!

Karen – buttered langoustine, roasted chanterelles, leek-poached lemon peel puree

Miriam: The langoustine was cooked beautifully. I’m surprised that Karen knew how to cook it so well, but the flavors were elegant and straightforward.

Aster: The puree was such a nice touch and it contrasted the richness of the rest of the dish nicely. I’m happy with the chanterelles and the caramelization she got on those.

Erwin: The dish was simple, elegant, classy. It really did embrace Saison’s French-Californian style well, and she nailed the challenge criteria really well.

Carrie: Next up is Lucas’s dish!

Lucas – pear caramel tart with financier and sorbet

Miriam: The financier was cooked beautifully but there was just too much going on. I get he was trying to capture the whimsy of Thomas Keller, but I was left confused.

Erwin: He had way too many things on a plate that just did not bring anything new to the dish. I felt like it was running a marathon just to get through eating every component.

Aster: I appreciate the ambition, and nothing was cooked poorly. I just wanted him to zero in on making the portion more elegant, and less of a buffet plate. He lacked any real restraint when it came to plating it.

Carrie: And next is Fanny’s dish!

Fanny – garam malasa lamb with pea-yogurt flan and cilantro-coconut-lime foam

Miriam: The lamb was cooked beautifully. I really thought Fanny’s presentation was there as well. But the thing I’m disappointed about is how underseasoned her flan was.

Erwin: The texture of the flan was beautiful. I liked the texture of her foam a lot too. But the flavors of the foam and flan were too subtle, so the garam masala overpowered it.

Aster: The dish basically tasted like lamb with creamy textures. There was not much contrast. But the thing I appreciated was the presentation and concept.

Carrie: Finally, the dish by Tadashi!
Tadashi – earl gray goat cheese, carrot spheres, chervil, brown butter soil, carrot cider

Miriam: The usage of the carrot, and deconstructing carrot cake into this elegant plated dessert, I really loved it. The cider, I was apprehensive, but it acted as a cool palate cleanser. This was a really incredible dish.

Erwin: The fact he made his own cider out of the carrot juice was already enough for me to shower him with praises. The one thing I’m disappointed about is that Atelier Crenn features this carrot jerky, and each contestant saw the cookbooks for the restaurants they had to base their dishes on. He missed that opportunity.

Aster: The dish itself was artfully plated and the concept was really clever. I’m blown away that he was able to accomplish this in just 1 hour, but the flavors were there. I’m impressed by his abilities.

Carrie: So can we decide on who is going to win this challenge, and which contestant is going home tonight?

Miriam: We can.

In walks the final four.

Carrie: So tonight, we agreed two dishes really stood out. Karen, Tadashi, both of you impressed us tonight!

Aster: Karen, the dish was simple but the flavors were delicate and beautiful.

Miriam: Tadashi, that carrot dessert was brilliantly done. We really just couldn’t stop raving about it.

Karen: @I beat Tadashi in the creativity challenge, and I really want to beat him tonight for a second time. @If I can do that, then I really do have a shot at Warrior Chef.

Carrie: Tonight, the best dish belonged to… Tadashi.

Tadashi: Thank you.

Carrie: Congratulations, Tadashi! You won the elimination challenge! Karen, you are also safe. The two of you can leave.

Karen: @I didn’t win, but it feels good to know that I made it to the final three!

Tadashi: @Right now, I have seven wins, and it feels great. @I need to keep producing strong dishes, and win the entire competition.

Karen and Tadashi leave.

Fanny: @It’s between me and Lucas now. @Only one of us can make it through.

Erwin: Fanny, our issue with your dish was that your garnishes were bland, so it made eating the entire dish really uninteresting.

Miriam: Lucas, you just had way too much going on. We appreciate the ambition, but the dish was hard to eat.

Carrie: Tonight, one of you is going home.

Lucas: @Fanny went simple and mis-executed. @I went complex, and went overboard. @I’m feeling that it’s going to be a nail-biting decision.

Carrie: Whoever is going home does have a second chance. We have the Redemption Rounds finale coming up next, so you will have an opportunity to beat the reigning champion and return to the finale. That being said, Fanny, please return to the kitchen and leave.

Fanny: Thank you for the opportunity to compete. @I’m not leaving sad. @I’m leaving determined. @I still have another shot at the title, and I’m ready to take my second chance and really fly with it.

Lucas: @I barely dodged a bullet. @That safety net of the Redemption Rounds, it won’t be here in the next round, so I need to be careful from now on.

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