Warrior Chef 2: Round 1

Talia: @Rose, Vin, and I all have immunity going into the first round of this competition and that feels awesome. @I know that I can stand up with the best of them and win that title now.

Lilian: @I’m feeling good about this competition because I did really well in the Eliminator Round, but I still need to work my butt off or else I’m gone for good next.

Victoria: Welcome to the main competition! So let’s get into the creativity challenge! Everyone, please draw knives!

Talia – 1

Duke – 1

Amanda – 1

Rose – 2

Vin – 2

Jo – 2

Enrique – 3

Betsy – 3

Marisa – 3

Lilian – 4

Trisha – 4

Nate – 4

Nate: @I’m with Trisha and Lilian and that’s a good team to have. @The three of us can easily bust this out.

Amanda: @I’m working with Talia and Duke, so I’m excited. @Duke did really well in our preliminary and Talia won the Eliminator Round, so both of them are talented cooks.

Victoria: So this challenge will have two parts. In the first part, it’s a mise en place race. Members of your team will need to filet and portion 10 pieces of salmon, juice and seed 10 lemons, brunoise 8 shallots, and then peel 20 pieces of asparagus. And each member must be solely responsible for one task. The fourth task, all three of you can work on at the same time.
Rose: @Mise en place shouldn’t be the worst. @I know that I can handle the shallots or salmon easily.

Victoria: The winning team is going to be the team that finishes first. They will not receive immunity, but they will be given $500!

Vin: @Immunity is off the table, and that’s fine, because Rose and I both have it anyways. @So I’m not too worried.

Victoria: The team that finishes last, they will have to cook head to head to head to remain in the competition, using the mise en place from the first leg.

Jo: Oh. @I’m on a team with two people who both have immunity. @If they screw up and we end up on the bottom, then I’m going home.

Marisa: @I am definitely not envious of Jo, Amanda, or Duke right now. @If either of their teams are on the bottom, then one of those three are going home.

Victoria: So four tasks to complete and your time starts now!

Amanda: @So Duke is going to filet the salmon, I’m going to juice the lemons, and Talia is going to peel the asparagus. @We decide to handle the shallots together because peeling and chopping will take a lot of time.

Rose: @So Jo is going to do the salmon, I’m going to do the lemons, and Vin is handling the shallots. @We know that we will all jump onto the asparagus together anyways, so it won’t be a huge challenge.

Betsy: @Marisa is handling the salmon, I’m going to do the shallots, and Enrique is on lemon duty. @Right now, I’m thinking about who the biggest competitor in this season is, and it probably has to be the four cooks who came out of the Eliminator Round. @They’re going to be the toughest to beat by far.

Nate: @I’m going to do the salmon filet, Trisha is on lemons, and Lilian is handling asparagus. @I think that nobody would be dumb enough to try to delegate the salmon to multiple people, because you really can’t filet with more than one person.

Jo: @I manage to get the salmon filleted and now I’m starting to portion it out. @Rose finished off her lemons and she’s already starting to peel asparagus, and Vin’s working hard on those shallots too. @I think our team is doing well and I hope that they won’t try to sabotage me with their immunity.

Marisa: @I see that Rose’s team is almost done, and I’m pretty surprised. @If I were Rose and Vin, I might use that immunity to my advantage.

Enrique: @I almost finish the lemons, and then I squirt some of the juice into my eye. CRAP! @It hurts. @A lot.

Trisha: @Enrique managed to screw up his lemons, and I just finish mine and move on to the shallots with Lilian. @I see that our team is neck and neck with Jo’s.

Vin: @At this point, Jo, Rose, and I are all on asparagus, and we are just cruising through it. Check!

Everyone stops and looks up at them.

Victoria examines the mise en place.

Victoria: Congratulations! Team 2! You are the first team done, and you’ll win $500 each! Well done!
Rose: @At this point, I have immunity and $500 to burn. @Life is great!

Victoria: Everyone else, keep cooking!
Nate: Are you kidding me?! @They managed to just edge us out. Check!

Victoria examines the mise en place.

Victoria: Team 4, you guys are safe!

Lilian: Awesome!

Amanda: @Two teams are safe, and now I’m really hustling. @If our team is on the bottom, then it’s either me or Duke going home. @Duke finished the salmon and now he’s joining Talia and I on the shallots.

Betsy: @At this point, Enrique getting lemon juice in his eyes is setting us back. @It’s up to me and Marisa to get things done.
Marisa: @Betsy and I are on the asparagus while Enrique is recovering, and then my heart just sinks when I hear…

Duke: Check!

Victoria examines their mise en place.

Victoria: Team 1, you guys are safe. Team 3, that means you guys will be up for elimination tonight.

Betsy: Oh no….

Victoria: So you guys have just 30 minutes to prepare a dish using salmon, lemon juice, diced shallots, and asparagus. And your time starts…. now!

Marisa: @30 minutes is a lot of time for just salmon, so I know I need to push myself. @I’m going to make a salmon with a caramelized shallot and asparagus pesto, and a grated potato cake.

Enrique: @I decide on an asparagus soup with smoked salmon. @I’m going to sweat out the shallots, deglaze with white wine and lemon juice, and then blitz that with olive oil. @I think it’ll be good enough to keep me in the competition, especially against someone as white bread as Betsy.

Betsy: @I’m making a seared filet of salmon with a lemon hollandaise sauce, blanched asparagus, and caramelized shallots. @I’m not too confident on the shallots, just caramelizing them, but I just hope it all works together really well here.

Nate: @Looking at the three dishes, I like the direction Marisa is going in. @The pesto is definitely a cool idea with the pesto and she’s got the balls to add a component that doesn’t even use the mise en place.

Vin: @I think Marisa is surprisingly strong competition judging from how composed she is. @Enrique’s got the coolest idea, making a soup, but I don’t know about Betsy. @I still think she’s playing it too safe.

Betsy: @I’m hoping that the flavors come through, because my hollandaise is good and the salmon is cooked nicely. @I see that Enrique isn’t even cooking his salmon and that makes me interested. @He’s blanching asparagus however.

Victoria: Time’s up! Step away from your dishes!

Marisa: @I see Enrique and Betsy’s dishes. @Betsy went a really obvious route in my eyes. @I’m not too impressed.

Victoria tastes the three dishes.

Betsy: @I’m really nervous at this point. @Victoria has hosted multiple Warrior Chef competitions in the past, so she definitely knows good food.

Victoria: Alright, so off the bat, one of you is definitely safe. Enrique, your soup was really clever and that just stood out to me. You are safe.
Enrique: Thank you. @It’s down to one of the girls, and I couldn’t care less. @One of them deserves to leave tonight.

Victoria: Marisa and Betsy, you guys just lacked the same creativity as Enrique. And that’s what it came down to. Both of you nailed your cook on the salmon and everything was well seasoned. But Marisa, your pesto is the one thing that set you apart. And that’s why, Betsy, you are going home tonight. Please leave the kitchen.

Betsy: Alright. @I’m leaving first in the main competition. @Yeah, I didn’t see that one coming. @It sucks so much, because I wanted to go all the way to that finale and be crowned the Warrior Chef.

Betsy leaves the kitchen.

Trisha: @I feel bad for her, but that’s the name of the competition. @Everyone here except for one will have to lose.

Victoria: Now for the elimination challenge! Tonight, we want you guys to prepare a dish inspired by your first food memory! You have 1 hour, starting now!

Vin: @I’m half Italian and half Singaporean. @Risotto is probably the first dish where I felt like my two cultures combined into one. @For the challenge, I’m going to prepare a miso risotto with basil poached shrimp. @I hope that I can continue nailing my dishes and staying on top of challenges. @It’s be nice to go three for three.

Amanda: @Right now, Vin and Rose have won every challenge they’ve attempted. @I really want to show both of them that I’m not somebody that’s just going to be eliminated just because I’m a freshman. @I learned this dish from my mom, so I decide on preparing grilled trout with poached escargot, tarragon butter sauce, and lemons. @She taught me everything I know about French food, so this will be a great homage to her and it’ll just be full circle.

Talia: @Being half Black, I do love my soul food. @I remember learning how to make chicken and waffles from my grandma Hilda, but I want to do something even more than that. @I’m preparing fried duck wings with waffles, orange syrup, and foie gras butter. @I think that it’ll show my willingness to take risks.

Enrique: @I love myself Latin or seafood. @I already proved in the last challenge that I can nail salmon, so tonight, I need to do something else with Latin flavors. @I’m going to make a ceviche with seabass, and then serve that with some roasted chilies and mango salsa. @I’m excited, because this is my chance to redeem myself from almost going home.

Marisa: @I need redemption. @At this point, everyone must be thinking that I am the weakest link in the competition, and I need to prove them wrong. @I’m making a mascarpone panna cotta with poached pears and cannoli crumble. @I love Italian food and it runs through my veins. @Cut my wrist and out spills tomato sauce. @Okay, I’m joking. @It’s obviously blood. @You get where I’m going with this.

Lilian: @Being a baker who loves using fruit, that’ll be my advantage. @I’m making schaumtorte, which is like a pavlova served with fresh fruit and berries. @I’m also going to prepare a champagne sorbet. @Right now, I think my biggest competition will be Rose and Vin, because they have won every challenge so far and have immunity.

Trisha: @Right now, Jo, Amanda, and I are the three youngest cooks here. @I want to make it to the end with them just for that reason. @I’m going to prepare Taiwanese soup dumplings with black vinegar and ginger sorbet. @I’m taking a risk using the liquid nitrogen to freeze the black vinegar and ginger, but that’s going to be what makes my dish unique to me.

Jo: @I love making stir fried noodles and I want to do exactly that. @I’m going to do stir fried noodles with grilled chicken thighs. @I’m using a wok to do the stir fry, and if I can nail the cook on the noodles with my wok, then I’m not going home. @I know that the competition is tough, but I’m more than ready to prove myself.

Rose: @Nobody can beat me. @My food speaks to who I am, and when I think about my first food memory, I just think about dim sum and offal. @I’m making steamed rice in a lotus leaf, so like a Chinese tamale, and then I’m going to serve that with crispy liver. @It’s two of my childhood favorites, coming together as one.

Duke: @Being raised in Arcadia, I was exposed to plenty of Asian food growing up. @I’m making a lamb hotpot, where I will slice the lamb tataki style, and then have the judges pour a savory Chinese broth using goji, wood ear, star anise, and kombu. @I’m hoping that my flavors come together and make something that’ll win me the first elimination challenge tonight.

Nate: @I know my biggest competition right now is Rose and Vin. @Both of them are strong. @I’m making glazed pork belly with rice and grilled bok choy. @It’s a relatively safe dish, but I know my pork belly will be killer and that will save me from being eliminated tonight. @It’s too early in the competition for me to feel comfortable taking risks. @I want to test the waters first and see how to approach the rest of my competition, using this dish first.

Victoria: Time’s up!

Rose: @I think that my dish, I’m feeling regret. @I could have done char su in a phyllo roll, and that would be a better merging of my two heritages.

Lilian: @I’m feeling bad. @All of the alcohol in the champagne kept the sorbet was freezing properly, so now it’s melting into the rest of the dessert.

Victoria: Your judges are:

Aster Walker

Miriam Adjanti

Erwin Ko

Victoria: Let’s start with the dishes by Trisha, Amanda, and Jo!

Trisha – soup dumplings with black vinegar-ginger sorbet

Amanda – grilled trout, poached escargot, tarragon butter, lemons

Jo – stir fried noodles with chicken thighs

Aster: I thought Trisha made a good dumpling, but the sorbet was just a complete miss. What she accomplished with her dumpling, she completely missed with that attempt at an ice cream that wound up more like vinegar-ice. It was just wrong.

Miriam: Amanda nailed her trout and the usage of escargot was daring. I loved her butter and the lemon highlighted those flavors. There was absolutely nothing I would change about her dish. Vive la France.

Erwin: Jo’s noodles were cooked nicely and I loved the grill on the chicken thighs. Mine were cooked through so I was happy about that. The biggest issue I’m having is that he played it safe. Nothing was wrong, but it was a really safe dish, even with the wok.

Victoria: Next are Vin, Talia, and Enrique!

Vin – miso risotto with basil poached shrimp

Talia – fried duck wings with waffles, orange syrup, and foie gras butter

Enrique – seabass ceviche, mango salsa, roasted chilies

Erwin: Wow. Vin’s risotto was delicious! The layers of umami in the rice was really addictive. I liked how he cooked the shrimp as well. This dish met the challenge brief perfectly. I loved it.
Aster: Talia just knocked it out of the park here. The innovative take on chicken and waffles was awesome and the foie gras butter and orange syrup were brilliant. I really loved her dish.

Miriam: The ceviche was just… disappointing for me. I enjoyed the flavors, but he had an hour and all he did was marinate fish? That’s playing it safe and in all of the wrong ways. I’m feeling frustrated right now.

Victoria: And finally, Duke, Nate, and Lilian!

Duke – lamb tataki hot pot
Nate – glazed pork belly with bok choy and rice

Lilian – schaumtorte with champagne sorbet

Erwin: Duke nailed his hot pot and I really enjoyed the flavors of it. The broth in particular, he developed so much flavor and that’s where you know his time went.

Aster: Nate played it safe. His rice was well cooked and I loved the pork belly, but really with the bok choy? It tasted like take out food. I’m feeling let down here.

Miriam: Lilian’s dessert, my biggest issue was that she tried to make a sorbet, and it just soaked everything. The meringue was soggy and it all tasted like cough syrup.

Victoria: So can we decide who won this challenge and who is going home?

Erwin: Yes.

In walks Vin, Talia, and Amanda.

Victoria: Tonight, the three of you prepared the judges’s favorite dishes, and one of you has won the elimination challenge!

Aster: Vin, that risotto was delicious and you were creative in melding your two heritages into a single dish. Talia, the play on chicken and waffles was nothing short of brilliant. And Amanda, You took the biggest risk tonight, cooking a dish with snails. That might be a first in this competition where somebody voluntarily chose to cook with them. But you nailed your dish and we loved the texture you achieved with them.

Talia: @Right now, I feel like it’s between me and Amanda for the challenge win. @Vin made a solid dish, but our dishes stood out against his.

Victoria: Miriam, please announce the winner tonight.

Miriam: It was tough, but the best cook was… Amanda.

Victoria: Congratulations, Amanda! You won the first elimination challenge!
Amanda: Oh wow! Definitely wasn’t expecting that! @I won! @Being the winner of the first elimination challenge feels wonderful. @I didn’t think I had it in me, but I’m proving to all of the older cooks that I am a strong contender in this competition.

The top three leave.
Vin: @Amanda’s strong, but I can’t let that stop me from putting up my best every single time. @This is just a wake-up call.

In walks Enrique, Lilian, and Trisha.

Victoria: The judges agreed that the three of you are on the bottom of tonight’s challenge and one of you is going home.

Aster: Enrique, we felt you were playing it too safe. Lilian and Trisha, you both felt the need to put a sorbet on your dish, and while we appreciate the risk taking there, it wasn’t a good choice in either of your dishes.

Trisha: @I’m scared. @I really hope that they value my creativity and just send Enrique home, but I think it might be my time.

Victoria: It was a tough call, because so many people played it safe. But Lilian, please return to the kitchen and leave.
Lilian: Thank you for giving me this opportunity to compete and I know it’s been a short ride, but I’ve honestly had a blast. @I’m leaving feeling grateful for the friends I’ve made and the dishes I’ve put up. @I’m proud of how far I’ve come along. @Warrior Chef, it’s an experience that I will appreciate for the rest of my life.

Enrique: @Seeing Lilian going home, it’s a wake-up call that I need to figure out the blend between staying in my comfort zone, but taking some risks, or else I’m gone.

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