Warrior Chef 2: Round 7

Rose: @I can’t believe I almost got eliminated in the last round. @Talia getting sent home was a bit surprising, but we’re in the final five now and I refuse to go home.

Amanda: @Talia was one of my closest friends, so seeing her get sent home was really hard for me. @I need to win it for her and Marisa.

Victoria: So for this creativity challenge, you’ll be working with a very challenging ingredient! I hope you’re prepared for it!

A cart is wheeled in, carrying eels.

Nate: @I see the eels, and they are terrifying.

Victoria: Eels, the skin is inedible and the blood is poisonous, so you guys have your work cut out for you. You have 1 hour to prepare an eel dish. This challenge, you want to win it. The winner automatically gains immunity and will earn a spot in the finale in Japan! Your time starts now!

Amanda: @Somehow, I know what to make with the eel. @I’m going to deep fry it. @I’m making capitone fritto, which is floured and fried eels, with a lemon-pepper reduction and arugula. @I’ve eaten that before when I went to Italy with my mother, and it was the first time I had ever even tried eel.

Nate: @For my eel dish, I’m going to prepare a grilled eel with a shortrib sauce. @I’m taking the bones out of the shortribs and the eel and frying those, then pressure cooking them with plum wine to finish. @I’m going to also make some crispy shallots to top the eel with. @I think this is a clever dish, because I’m making a really flavorful sauce. @I think it’ll be great!

Jo: @When it comes to Creativity Challenges, Nate, Rose, and Amanda have been really strong. @But this is eel, and I know eel. @I’m going to prepare an eel bento box. @It’s something I’d like to eat, and I know it’ll be delicious. @If I can execute the eel, and the rice and the pickled vegetables and sauce, then I know it’ll be a real winner.

Vin: @I’m going to make curried eel with eel balls and a lemon-caper rice. @I’ve never really worked with the eel before, and it’s definitely weird. @I have to hammer a nail through the head onto a cutting board, and then peel off the skin, which is like a wet piece of rubber. @It’s just uncomfortable and gross, but you go to do what you got to do to win that spot in the finale. @I want to be in the finale. @I’ve made it this far, and I’m only going to keep going further and further until I win the whole competition.

Rose: @I’m making eel roulade with fennel and coriander gremolata. @I’m going to marinate the eels in milk, roll them up, and deep fry them. @I’ve been a really strong competitor this entire season, so I’m not going to let being on the bottom of the last challenge shake me. @I’m going to win this and prove that my Montenegrin and Chinese dishes will reign supreme.

Victoria: Time’s up!
Amanda: @I step back, and I like my dish. @I notice that everyone else went with some Asian influences, and that might work in my favor.

Nate: @I tasted my sauce and it was delicious. @I think just for that sauce alone, I’m going to win immunity.

Victoria: Your guest judge is house critic and seafood king, Max Hudson!

Jo: @The last time Max was a judge, I won the challenge with my soft shell crab. @I think that I might be in luck today, since I know he likes my food.

Victoria and Max taste the dishes.

Victoria: So Max, how did they do?

Max: I can say that this is the strongest final five I’ve had to taste for. Eel is a tough ingredient, and everyone cooked it well and made strong dishes.

Rose: @That makes me very nervous, because I wanted an easy win.

Max: For my top three, let’s start with Jo. You prepared a beautiful bento in just 30 minutes. That needs to be commended because everything was delicious. Nate, your sauce was complex and elegant and I might pair all of my short ribs with eel from now on. Amanda, I just fell in love with your capitone fritto and like Nate, you showed me something I had never had before. Overall, the best dish was made by… Amanda.

Victoria: Congratulations, Amanda! You won the creativity challenge and you’re guaranteed a spot in the finale!

Amanda: @I can’t believe I won the eel challenge. @This is ridiculous! Thank you! @I’m so excited to win the challenge. @It’s just sinking in that I’m going to Japan and that I’m going to be in the final four!
Rose: @Amanda has been my biggest threat after Vin, and I expect us to be the final three. @There’s no way that we won’t be.

Victoria: And now for the elimination challenge! We want to see humility. So for your elimination challenge, you must prepare a dish inspired by your most embarrassing food-related moment in life. You have an hour, time starts now!

Nate: @When I was younger, I was a chubby kid. @I loved eating french fries, so I decide to go with that. @I’m making thrice cooked chips with stuffed pork chops. @I’m stuffing the pork chop with a bacon-mushroom bread pudding, and I’m making an apple ketchup to go with the fries and tie it all together. @I’ve done really well so far, and I really want to make it to the final four.

Amanda: @Most embarrassing food-related memory? @That’s a really specific requirement for this challenge. @For mine, I’m thinking about how when I had to get pied for a fundraiser, and that was definitely a “humble pie” moment. @I’m preparing a stewed rhubarb tart with blood orange meringue, and an elderflower-strawberry gelato. @I’m still determined to win this challenge, even though I have immunity, because I don’t want to lose steam. @The title is just a few challenges away, and I want to know that I can give my A-game at any given moment.

Jo: @Tomatoes are definitely something that stir up bad memories. @I have a really bad gag reflex to cherry tomatoes, and I decide that I’ll go with that. @I’m preparing a roasted tomato and shrimp pasta dish. @I’m making the noodles from scratch, the tomato sauce from scratch, and I’m going to grill up the shrimp as well. @I’m feeling great about the dish conceptually, but I’m slightly nervous, because I can’t taste the sauce without it triggering bad memories.

Vin: @Jo can’t even cook tomatoes. @How does he expect to be a Warrior Chef? @My most embarrassing food memory would be when I was on the beach and a coconut fell on my head. @I’m going to make a curry coconut and fish broth with fried mackerel heads to represent this moment. @I’m feeling great about the dish, and I think it’ll be my chance to shine and win this challenge.

Rose: @When I found out that I was lactose intolerant, that was a fun day. @I grab mozzarella cheese, and I’m going to inflate it into a balloon to represent… that. @I’m going to stuff the cheese balloon with a mushroom duxelle foam, and then I’m going to make a beef carpaccio to go underneath that, because I need to figure out how I can make all of these components go together. @I see what Jo is going, and I’m not too impressed. @At this stage in the competition, shrimp and pasta is boring.

Vin: @At this point, I think Jo might be the one going home. @His dish, Rose and I were talking about it, and neither of us are terribly impressed. @He’s definitely not going with us to Japan.

Nate: @I check on my pork chops, and they’re dry. Crap. @Stuffing them like that was a mistake. @I look at the time, and there’s only five minutes left. @I can’t re-do them. @I just have to roll with it, and hope somebody else made a bigger mistake.

Victoria: Time’s up!
Amanda: @I’m surprised I made the only dessert here. @I see that Vin made another curry, but he always manages to make each one with different things. @I honestly think that Vin might be the strongest cook here.

Rose: @I think my balloon is epic. @I’m confident that I’ll be going to Japan.

Victoria: Your judges are:

Erwin Ko

Aster Walker

Miriam Adjanti

Victoria: Let’s start with Rose’s dish!

-mozzarella balloon, mushroom duxelle, beef carpaccio

Miriam: I loved her carpaccio. The flavors she packed onto the beef was great and the exploding balloon was a clever touch.

Erwin: I get her inspiration and it was a bit.. unsettling, but she met the brief and delivered us a great dish.

Victoria: Next we have Jo’s dish!

-tomato and shrimp tagliatelle

Erwin: Jo’s always cooking comforting dishes, and this one was no different. The sauce was good and I liked the shrimp. But in terms of technical execution, he had an hour, and that’s all he produced.

Aster: The sauce was good, but it was not complex and he had a lot of time to develop his flavors. I’m feeling a bit underwhelmed. It wasn’t bad, but it’s forgettable.

Victoria: And next is Vin’s dish!

-curry coconut broth with fried mackerel head

Erwin: Wow. Just wow. The flavor in that broth was phenomenal. I just love how the heat builds up but just slowly fades. The crunchy mackerel head was delicious.

Miriam: I really loved the mackerel head. It was an unexpected surprise and I enjoyed biting into it. The curry was phenomenal, and I just wish that he had a grain to soak up the delicious broth he prepared.

Victoria: This dish was made by Nate!

-thrice cooked chips, stuffed pork chop, apple ketchup

Aster: The chips were cooked brilliantly, and I loved the ketchup. The pork chop, it was dry. I loved his take on pork and apples, and the deep fried and stuffed references, but I just had a hard time chewing on the chop.
Miriam: It was leathery and dry. I just did not like the texture of the pork whatsoever. He had the potential to make a wonderful dish, but the pork definitely let him down, and it was the focus on his plate.

Victoria: And finally, Amanda’s dessert.

-rhubarb tart, blood orange meringue, elderflower-strawberry gelato

Miriam: Amanda’s tart, the pastry was textbook and the rhubarb, stewed like that, it was phenomenal. I loved that. The blood orange meringue was fluffy and creamy, and the gelato had a wonderful flavor running through it.

Erwin: Out of everything I’ve tasted from Amanda, this was by far my favorite. She nailed every component of the tart and it was beautiful to look at. Her story was a clever choice, because it worked so well with her dish.

Victoria: So can we decide on our final four?

Aster: We can.

In walks Rose, Vin, and Amanda.
Victoria: The three of you…. are going to the finale, if that was not already made obvious by Amanda being here! Congratulations!

Rose: I knew it.

Vin: So did I.

Everyone laughs.

Erwin: Rose, your lactose intolerance story was hilarious and while it was a bit off-putting to hear that before eating, it tied into your dish really well. A bit too much, given the visual of a meat flower and brown stuff, but I loved it.

Rose: Well, as long as you guys liked it. That’s what matters to me.

Miriam: Vin, your curry had such deep, deep flavors, and I just really loved the texture of the fried mackerel head. I just loved your dish and your story about getting hit on the head with a coconut, you tied it into this really well.

Vin: Thank you for enjoying me getting hurt.

Aster: Amanda, your story was about being pied and having to eat humble pie. Your humble pie was delicious and it certainly was not just a simple pie. You nailed the textures and the flavors. It was gorgeous.

Amanda: Yay! @Being on top even though I had immunity means a lot. @I hope that I can win this challenge and seal back to back wins.

Victoria: Miriam, please announce the winner tonight.

Miriam: We had a hard time agreeing to a winner, but the best dish by a hair belonged to…. Amanda.

Victoria: Congratulations, Amanda! You swept the final round going into the finale! Well done, Vin, Rose, and Amanda. The three of you are safe and can stay to the side.

Amanda: @Winning back to back challenges is a great feeling. @I knew that I had what it took to get this far, and I made the finale!

Vin: @Amanda, Rose, and I are the top three. @One of us is going to be Warrior Chef. @It’s just a manner of who.

The top three stand off to the side as Nate and Jo walk in.

Victoria: Unfortunately, the two of you are on the bottom, and only one of you can join Rose, Vin, and Amanda in the finale in Japan.

Rose: Personally, I want Nate to join us. He’s cute, and I really like looking at him.

Everyone looks at Rose as she shrugs.
Rose: Just stating facts.

Vin: Honestly, I agree with Rose. I’d rather have Nate in the finale. Just because he’s been pretty consistent.

Nate: @Hearing them say that, it’s reassuring. @But it’s up the judges at this point.

Erwin: Nate, you had a great concept, but the pork was really dry. We loved your story and your other components, but the protein was not cooked well.

Miriam: Jo, you made a decent dish, but we did not like the story and your concept was not terribly inspired. You definitely played it safe.

Jo: I’d beg to differ. Shrimp and tomatoes, I don’t really eat either of them, and I think that it shows how much of a risk I’m willing to take, cooking things I can’t taste.

Amanda: @It seems like Jo is going to stay, because he did not make any real errors. @But it can really go either way.

Victoria: The person going through to the finale is…. Jo. Nate, I’m so sorry, but please return to the kitchen and leave.

Rose: F*ck. F*ck me in a bag. @Really? @Really. @Just no.

Erwin: There were just too many errors on that plate.

Jo: @I’m shocked. @I genuinely thought that I was going home. @This is tough. @I almost feel like I don’t belong in the finale at this point.

Nate: *to Vin, Rose, Amanda, and Jo* Good luck, you guys. @I’m feeling gutted. @I don’t think I deserve to be going home. @I’ve been super consistent and strong throughout the season, and instead I’m going home. @It sucks. @I knew that if I made it to Japan, I had a real shot at the title. @I think that Vin or Amanda will win this. @Both of them are really phenomenal cooks.

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