Multidimensionalism: realization

Something that got me thinking was when I saw one of my classmates making a separate “food” Instagram account, and then telling everyone on FaceBook to follow her on it. It was a lot of an eye-roller, I will admit, but that is not the point of this post. I just want to understand why so many people, especially young people, find the need to create an entirely new Instagram, typically titled (Insert your name here)eats, or something to that effect. It’s honestly so unnecessary. Why can’t you just upload food pictures to your current Instagram? What is so difficult about doing that?

But the answer I am likely to hear is not a pretty one. It is almost always that these people want to be “discovered” as food authorities. They want the likes, the attention, the fame. They want an entirely different account for their food-related lives, in addition to their personal accounts, just to double the chances of them gaining likes and followers, which in turns, is supposed to help with their self-esteem and just making them feel better about themselves. And some people might make the argument that “oh, they don’t post the same photos in their Foodstagrams as they do their normal accounts!” But trust me, they do. Half the time, I get the same photos circulating my feed because they double-dip photos between both accounts. That’s why I came around to this conclusion.

Now, I just don’t understand why we can’t consolidate our photos and interests to one account. Yes, half of the this post is to call out people who are obnoxious enough to do that, but the rest of this post is to question the necessity of it. Are people, we are allowed to have more than one interest. We can express ourselves through these different topics and interests. Compartmentalizing ourselves to just one thing, or separating that one aspect from the rest of our lives, is it really worth compromising the multidimensionality of our personalities? And for those who double-dip their food photos between their two accounts, just why? Does it make you feel better to know that there are more likes on at least one of the same two food posts? And if you want a separate Instagram just to sort through your food posts, why make it public or go out of your way to advertise it to get a following? Those sorts of things, make them private, since you’re probably just using them to reference certain things you’ve eaten or made in the past. Or just be a less obnoxious human being a make a folder on your computer. Being able to see the different occurrences of your life, through your photos, whether it be a selfie, a photo of a sunset, or a picture of a dish you ate, that sort of variety is a lot more worthwhile if it is true to who you are as a person.

For me, I used to struggle with having that sort of variety at all. I came from the opposite issue, where I was obsessed with food and had literally no other interests. That is why I prefer and cherish that variety. Seeing others revert into something that I personally had to overcome, it’s unsettling to say the least. And for them to expect to be rewarded for that kind of behavior, again, it makes me uneasy knowing how vain or shallow certain people are. Now this blog is dedicated to good vibes, so I want to end this post on a positive note. embrace the different sides of your personality and admire them as a whole. Life is too short to be lived in pieces or compartments. Being able to showcase your interests in a great big mosaic, as opposed to smaller, separate ones, is a lot more impressive and makes you a much more beautiful human being. Don’t let stupid things like followers or likes define who you are as a person or what you are worth to the world.

 

romanced: dream

A majority of us are raised in a society where we go to school, get a job, get married, have a family, and then our children continue that cycle. Where I am at currently in my life is post-going to school, but pre-getting a job or I am even further away from getting married; I have very little experience with relationships and romance in general. I only recently had my first relationship, and we agreed that the title was too… intense, and that we would prefer to stay as friends who date exclusively first, as we get to know each other better.

I am embarrassed to admit that I would actually want to be in a relationship. Not for the sake of being in one so that I am not single or to check part of another box off the unspoken to-do list of life, but more for the life experience that comes from it. Even if this relationship does not lead to marriage but rather ends sourly in a break-up, I don’t mind so long as I can learn something more about myself from the experience. Just being a part of the ride is enough to make me happy. To understand what it means to be somebody else’s significant other, while at the same time, being able to see a person as my own, it is important for me. I want to know that somebody out there who can make me feel and act that way exists.

The concept of love and relationships, it’s not something that can be approached logically. Maybe that’s one of the reasons why we as humans are always so fascinated by the idea. No matter what we try to find in somebody else as a mate, sometimes, our hearts may not always agree. Let’s say we want somebody who is tall, Caucasian, and muscular, but we end up in a relationship with somebody who is medium-height, African American, and scrawny. Yet, we are not un-attracted to the African American, despite them being not what we would prefer. And that is because of what they have to offer beneath the surface. While they do not physically resemble what we would want in an ideal mate, the personality and ethics of this African American appeals to us.

The concept of love has a lot of gray areas. For example, one might view a woman getting hit by her husband as domestic violence without any context. But what if the woman wanted her husband to hit her, because that was her kink? I’m not going to explore that idea more, because it is a very…awkward topic, but you get the idea. There are other emotions, primal, hormonal, and hard to understand in general, that cloud our judgement and make us act beyond reason and logic. Yet, that’s what makes being romanced such an exciting and terrifying journey. The unknown does not necessarily settle well with me, but being able to single out that special somebody out of the several millions of people in the world, it’s a wonderful feeling. And it’s a feeling that every human being deserves to have, or at least in the world of my featherlight dreams.

Healing: dream

Being able to recover from something and move on, it’s a wonderful feeling. The healing process is a vital part in us maturing as human beings. A lot of it starts with forgetting about what it is that hurt us to begin with, specifically that pain. Yet, you still need to keep the lesson learned from whatever hurt you in mind. It could be that certain people are not good people, or be less naive, but whatever the lesson is, know what needs to be learned. Secondly, while keeping that newly learned moral in the back of your head, move on with your life. It might mean cutting off old parts of your life, but you need to do it, or else you could very easily revert to old, harmful habits that could cause you a lot of pain and possibly, cause you to revert to self-inflicting tendencies. That is the biggest emotional hurdle in the healing process is cutting off the past and forgetting about it.

The next part of the healing process is filling your life with new things to replace the old. They don’t have to be similar things. Preferably, they shouldn’t be similar things. Anything that reminds you of your past pain, that’s just asking to be triggered. Being able to do that, it also helps you forget the past a lot easier. You’re able to let go and not think about whatever horrible influences have hurt you. And while cutting off is the biggest challenge emotionally, this part is the most difficult part mentally is putting the past behind you. You are probably used to a certain routine, and you want to revert to it. You probably wouldn’t want to include new things into your life and you yearn for the past. Very few people are naturally good at adapting to and accepting change. And that’s to be expected. We can’t all just be okay to uprooting our daily routines. But being able to accept the change, even in small steps, it helps.

By allowing these new influences into your life, you can expel a lot of the negative emotions that have been burdening you earlier. You stop thinking about those dark thoughts, or about the causes of them. Instead, every day becomes a new opportunity for you to discovery something new about yourself or the world around you. You start to find yourself smiling a lot more, and while you know that this world is a little less wonderful than you remember it being, the parts that are genuinely wonderful that you discover makes that journey worthwhile. Being able to see the good in the world, it’s refreshing. Whether it’s new people, new hobbies, new places, you’ll surprise yourself with how much this world has to offer, despite whatever it was that hurt you in the first place. You stop thinking about the guilt, the pain, the trauma, and it helps you focus on future and what you can do as an individual to make the most of yours.

Being able to completely cast your past behind, it’s not easy. Those wounds from your trauma, they do become scars, but with time, you will forget what exactly gave you those scars exactly, but you will still vaguely remember how you got them, and what you can do to prevent yourself from falling into the same mistake again. The world will no longer feel like a cage or trap confining you, and it will open itself up to you. You are no longer being held down or back by those negative influences and burdens. Instead, you can focus on making the person you see in the mirror somebody you can love more and more. And once you reach that point of loving yourself, don’t stop there. Find new things about the world, and figure out what new things you love as well, and how you can work towards incorporating that newfound passion or interest into your life. With healing, you gain depth and character and that’s a life worth living in this featherlight world.

under the cherry blossoms: dream

It might just be because I have watched too many Japanese dramas, but I want to watch cherry blossoms bloom in Japan. Seeing the skies flood with these beautiful pink flowers is a sight to behold and it symbolizes so many different things: new life, a new year, and new opportunities.

When I started Featherlight, it was meant for me to better understand myself post suicide attempt. I used writing to help me cope with so many different kinds of pains and losses inflicted upon me by people who quite frankly were a waste of my time. But this post is not going to focus on that sort of negativity. I made my one jab and I’m moving on from that. I’m here to talk about cherry blossoms and new dreams.

In an ideal world, we can wake up every morning with a big, bright smile on our faces. There would be no need for negativity or bringing others down. When problems arise, we would simply face them and not make bigger deals out of them: situations would never escalate. Life would be simple but pleasant. With the bloom of this year’s cherry blossoms, I can finally say that I see the ugly side to ambition. The stress of taking on too much, it drives us mad with insecurity, exhaustion, and stress. We rub it in to others that we are doing more, as a facade masking how pained or shaken we really are. We are human beings, not robots. Trying to do so much may look good on paper, but it drives away a good portion of our humanity. It wears on our stamina and it makes us unpleasant to be around for a plethora of reasons, namely that we create insecurity and uneasiness with such reckless or bashful behavior.

I don’t want anyone to ever feel like they are not good enough. We all have the privilege of living life, and nobody should ever tell you that you are not good enough or make you feel insignificant in this world. You have been given an inherent purpose by being born a living, sentient being. Use that sentience and allow it to guide you to where you want to go. Don’t be worried if you’re not getting there as quickly as the person next to you. With enough dedication at a pace that befits you, you will arrive at your destination. For me, that is in Japan, owning a bakery, and being able to watch the cherry blossoms every spring. Even if it takes me until the age of 100, so long as I can get there before death, that is all I ask.

Warrior Chef 3: Finale Part 2

Michele: This is it! After nine grueling eliminations, we are down to the top three best cooks in the competition! Phung Pham! The sassy Vietnamese from Cambridge, Massachusetts. Phung has managed to win a whopping seven challenges and continuously impress the judges in both her attitude and ability to cook incredible dishes. Lauren Wilson! The girl from Hawaii who has managed to wow everyone with her skills in both Hawaiian cooking and desserts. And Kira Taso! A prodigy working in Michelin starred restaurants, Kira’s techniques and finesse has put her on top of several challenges. Tonight, one of these three wonderful young women will win the title of Warrior Chef! Who will it be?

Kira: @I’m feeling like a bit of the underdog tonight, because I scrapped my way into the final challenge. @But I’m here, I’m ready to win the title, and I have a kick-ass menu.

Phung: @I know that I’ve got this one. @That title is so mine. @The Phung Dynasty shall never end.

Michele: Welcome to the last round! To start this round off, your final creativity challenge! You guys have just 30 minutes to prepare an amuse bouche! The winner of this challenge will be allowed to choose their sous-chefs first.

Lauren: @Michele didn’t say that the losing cook is going home, which is something that normally happens. @I’m slightly shocked to hear that, but I’m not complaining, because I’m only cooking to win, and not to survive for this challenge.

Michele: So 30 minutes, one amuse, time starts now!

Phung: @I decide for my amuse bouche, I’m making banh xeo spring rolls. @It’s the Vietnamese pancake, lettuce, spring roll wrapper, shrimp, and pork. @For the vinaigrette, I’m going to use molecular gastronomy to make it into caviar to top my dish. @That will set me over the edge. @I know molecular shit, so bite me.

Kira: @For my amuse bouche, I’m going to make whipped foie gras with plantain chips and curry salt. @I want to do something with the plantains because they are a really delicious ingredient. @Three Asian girls in the finale of Warrior Chef. @It’s pretty awesome to know that one of us is going to be the winner tonight.

Lauren: @I’m making a grilled chicken heart with lemon ponzu. @I’m keeping the components limited to two. @The heart needs to be cooked nicely and the ponzu, I’m making my won to show some technique. @And I’m garnishing with the chicken skin for a good texture on top.

Michele: Time’s up!

Kira: @I’m feeling good but then I see that Phung used molecular gastronomy to make spheres and that’s awesome. @She might have just stolen the advantage.

Michele: Your judge for this challenge is Warrior Chef runner up, Rose Fu!

Rose: Hi, everyone! I’m excited to taste your food!

Lauren: @Rose is Montenegrin, and she loves organs, so this might be an easy win for me. @I’m keeping my fingers crossed.

Rose tastes the amuse bouches.

Michele: So Rose, which were your favorites?

Rose: Kira, the foie gras butter was awesome. I loved that one with the curry salt. And then the roll by Phung. Inspirational. Brilliant. I really loved it. And Phung, you made the best amuse bouche.

Michele: Congratulations, Phung! You won the last creativity challenge and a huge advantage going into the elimination challenge!

Kira: Drat. @I wanted to pick my sous-chefs first, but oh well. @Phung got the advantage instead.

Lauren: @At this point, I’m just shocked that they didn’t eliminate me for coming in last in that challenge. @In the past two seasons, Amanda and Karen were, so I was expecting that to happen to me.

Phung: @I think this is dumb that Lauren gets to stay, but whatever. @She has to work with the people Kira and I don’t really want, so she’ll sink herself by working with them.

Michele: For the elimination challenge, you need to prepare the best three courses of your life. And you’ll need some help to do it.

In walks Teddy, Elizabeth, Taylor, Jaenice, James, Cherry, Gabe, Henry, and Justin.

Michele: Phung, you get first pick.

Phung: Justin. @Obvious reasons why I’m choosing Justin: he doesn’t suck and he works hard. @No brainer.

Justin: @I’m nervous working with Phung because she’s got a volcanic personality. @I just need to bear with it. @It’s no longer my ass on the line anyways.

Michele: Kira, for having the next best amuse, you choose second.

Kira: Henry. @I think Henry will be a supportive sous-chef, so I’m glad choosing him.

Henry: @Kira is probably the most level-headed of the three, so I’m good with that.

Lauren: Cherry. @I’m surprised nobody picked her, but I’m not complaining. @Cherry and I won a challenge together, so we will win this one together too.

Cherry: @Lauren and I are going to kick Phung’s ass. @For sure.

Phung: Jaenice. @She did really well in the beginning of the competition and I know we will crush this.

Jaenice: Oh, hell, yeah! @I want to nail this for Phung. @We are going to curbstomp these bitches and break their teeth.

Kira: Gabe. @He likes to bake, I have a dessert on my menu, so I’ll give him my dessert so that I can focus on the savory dishes.

Lauren: Taylor. @He’s honestly the only semi-competent one left. @Definitely beats James, Teddy, or Elizabeth.

James, Teddy, and Elizabeth leave the room.

Teddy: @I’m not feeling butthurt about not being picked. @I was eliminated first, so I definitely expected it.

Michele: So you have just 1 hour to prepare your best three dishes and your time starts right now!

Lauren: @I’m working with Cherry and Taylor, and I’m feeling good about this, even though I had to pick my sous-chefs last. @For my first course, Taylor is going to be preparing the spam fried rice cakes with crab salad and avocado crema. @I’m working on the main course, which is braised oxtail with homemade noodles and black garlic broth. @And for the dessert, Cherry is preparing chicory coffee panna cotta with caramel chocolate ganache and mini malasadas. @I’m going to help her on the dessert because my main course is basically all the pressure cooker.

Phung: @For my first course, I’m making “Shaking Beef” tartare, which is the raw beef with “Shaking Beef” seasonings, a homemade baguette, and minted tomatoes. @For the second course is oil poached snapper with lemongrass butter sauce, grilled squid, and pickled vegetables. @My dessert is misugaru doughnuts with red bean filling and a miso-coconut creme brulee. @I’m having Justin handle the tomatoes and the creme brulee, I’m going to do the baguette and most of the proteins, and Jaenice and on the doughnuts, sauce, squid, and the pickled vegetables.

Kira: @For my menu, I’m starting with shave fennel, seared scallops, and pepper-lemon reduction. @The second course is brown butter basted halibut with blueberry gastrique, artichokes, and basil foam. @For my dessert, vanilla cake with cider-apple spheres, salted caramel, and goat cheese ice cream. @Gabe is doing the entire dessert on his own. @Henry is on the first course, while I’m on the second, with Henry helping Gabe once he finishes his own course.

Jaenice: *to Phung* How do I make the sauce for the main course? And how long does squid take to cook? And should I do the sauce first or the pickled vegetables? I’m really lost here. How do you want me to cut the squid? Or not cut it? Grill it whole?

Phung: @Jaenice is a complete fucking moron. @I love her to death normally, but she doesn’t know how to make the sauce or the grilled squid, so I need to help her and then focus on getting that baguette made too. *to Jaenice* FUCKING GET THE FUCKING PICKLES GOING! FUCK!

Jaeince: @Phung is unleashing World War Phung on Justin and I right now and it’s really bad. @I’m just trying to make her happy at this point.

Justin: @I’m just trying to focus on my creme brulee because it takes the longest to prepare. @The biggest challenge about working with Phung is that she’s a dictator.

Kira: @I hear Phung screaming her head off and I am so glad that Henry and Gabe aren’t doing that or making me act that way. @The cake is looking good from Gabe’s station and Henry’s sauces are coming up correctly. @We are one cohesive unit!

Lauren: @I taste the broth for the oxtail dish and it is great. @The panna cotta is in the fridge setting up, and the crab salad prep is ready for it to just get tossed. @I’m glad that my team isn’t butting heads with each other, unlike Phung’s team.

Taylor: *to Cherry* I’m so happy we’re not on Phung’s team right now.

Henry: @She scares me. @I’m going to have nightmares about her face from now until the end of time.

Phung: I SWEAR TO FUCKING GOD! I’M GOING TO SHOVE YOUR HEAD INTO A DEEP FRIER!

Jaenice: @Uh, I want to not make the doughnuts now. @I fear for the safety of my head. @That’s reasonable, right?

In the judges’ room:

Michele is sitting with Warrior Chef winners Vanilla and Vin, alongside finalists Karen, Tadashi, Amanda, and Rose.
Vin: It feels great to be on this side of the table, judging them.

Karen: I still remember getting to the final three, and not being allowed to cook. It was heartbreaking because I was that close!
Amanda: *to Karen* I feel the same. We both were cut in the same kind of challenge!

Vanilla: I loved the experience and I hope that they all bring their best. I’m excited to see what these finalists have to bring.

Michele: Ooh, looks like the first courses are up! Here they are!

Phung – “Shaking Beef” tartare with homemade baguette and minted tomatoes

Kira – shaved fennel, buttered scallops, pepper-lemon reduction

Lauren – spam fried rice cakes with crab salad and avocado crema

Karen: For the tartare, it was bland. I was impressed by making a baguette in less than an hour, and the tomatoes were tasty, but the tartare needed more flavor.

Vanilla: The scallop dish was way too simple. They had an hour, and that’s what they brought up? It was very underwhelming.

Vin: I felt like the crab dish showed the most technique out of the three. I liked the crispy rice, the crab salad was refreshing and the avocado was a nice contrast.
Michele: Who won this round for you guys?

Vanilla: Definitely Lauren.

Vin: Lauren.

Tadashi: Lauren.

Rose: Lauren.

Karen: Lauren.

Amanda: Lauren.

Michele: Wow! A clean sweep!

Karen: Kira’s was too simple and Phung’s was bland.

Michele: And we have the entrees!

Lauren – braised oxtail with homemade noodles and black garlic broth

Phung – oil poached snapper, lemongrass butter sauce, grilled squid, pickled vegetables

Kira – brown butter basted halibut, blueberry gastrique, artichokes, basil foam

Amanda: The oxtail was unctuous and fell off the bone. The noodles had a nice bite to them and I loved the black garlic broth a lot.

Vin: The poached snapper was undercooked and like sashimi in the center. And the squid was rubbery and overcooked. It was all inedible.

Tadashi: The halibut was cooked perfectly and I loved that sauce and the artichokes. Out of the three dishes, this one pushed the envelope the most.

Michele: And who made the best entree?

Vanilla: Kira.

Vin: Lauren.

Tadashi: Kira.

Rose: Kira.

Karen: Kira.

Amanda: Lauren.

Michele: So Kira took the second course!

Karen: I was split between her and Lauren’s dishes, but Kira did take more risks and they paid off more.

Michele: And now, the desserts!

Kira – vanilla cake, cider-apple spheres, salted caramel, goat cheese ice cream

Lauren – chicory coffee panna cotta, caramel chocolate ganache, mini malasadas

Phung – misugaru-red bean doughnuts with miso-coconut creme brulee

Vanilla: Wow. Just wow. Kira’s dessert, the cake was light and airy and I loved the cider spheres and how they exploded in your mouth. The ice cream gave the dessert a nice tang of goat cheese. It was great!

Rose: Lauren’s panna cotta was tasty and I liked the mini malasadas that she garnished it with for texture. That was very inventive.

Amanda: Phung’s doughnuts… they were phenomenal. She messed up in her first two courses, but her dessert was stellar.
Michele: And can we make a vote on the desserts?

Vanilla: Honestly, if I had Lauren’s app, Kira’s entree, and Phung’s dessert, I would be so happy right now.

Vin: It’s unanimous that Phung took the third course, and that’s where the problem is. Lauren took the first, Kira took the second, and Phung took the third.

Rose: But look at it as a progression. I’d eat Kira’s meal again over Phung or Lauren’s because it was very elegant and smartly done.

Karen: But when you go individually, Lauren’s three dishes were either the first or second strongest in each meal.

Amanda: I just think that no matter what, we can agree that Phung is out of the running. Her meal was the weakest of the three. Agreed?

Vin: Yeah, I think that’s reasonable. But it’s between Lauren and Kira, and that’s where it gets dicey.

Rose: I still stand behind my vote for Kira. She did an phenomenal job.

Michele: So can we finally agree on a winner?

Amanda: Yes, we can.

In walks Phung, Kira, and Lauren.

Michele: Tonight, the three of you prepared really phenomenal meals. But only one of you can be crowned the winner. The judges have voted, and one of you is already out of the running.

Phung: @I think it’s Kira. @Her first course was an epic fail.

Michele: Unfortunately, Phung, you are not Warrior Chef.

Phung: FUCK! ARE YOU KIDDING ME?! @I WON 8 CHALLENGES AND I STILL COULDN’T WIN?! @WHAT THE ACTUAL HELL?!

Lauren: @That’s actually a huge shock going into this round, but seeing how she treated her teammates, it makes sense.

Kira: @It’s down to me and Lauren now. @I’m feeling nervous. @I want this so badly.

Michele: Kira, you had a really strong entree and dessert. Lauren, the judges felt like your meal as a whole, there was a lack of progression. But each dish individually was very strong.

Lauren: @Should the meal be considered as a whole? @I don’t know if it should, but I know if it didn’t count, then I won this.

Kira: @I’m nervous because they made it sound like my first course was a disaster.

Michele: Lauren…. you are Warrior Chef! Congratulations!

Lauren: Wait, what?!
Confetti rains down as everyone congratulates her.

Lauren: I won?! @I can’t believe it! @I’m Warrior Chef!

Michele: You won the title and the cash prize of $50,000!

Lauren: Thank you. @I’m in disbelief that I won the prize. @I knew I had strong dishes and that my passion was there, but it just feels surreal right now. @All of that hard work, and this incredible journey, it’s paying off right now!

Kira: @Being so close is probably what hurts the most about losing. @I hope I get a chance to redeem myself, because I know I can take that scallop dish and make it a winning dish. @But kudos to Lauren to winning the title. @She’s talented, strong, determined, and she deserved it a lot.

Lauren: @This competition was easily the hardest thing I have ever done in my life. @But being crowned the winner of Warrior Chef, it feels unreal. @It was a long journey, starting from peeling those russet potatoes, but now I’m here and I’m the champion! @I’m Warrior Chef!

Warrior Chef 3: Finale Part 1

The final four arrive in New Orleans, where the competition will conclude.

Justin: @I’m the last man standing and against three of the strongest cooks in this competition’s history. @Phung is definitely my biggest competition and I want her to go home next.

Michele: Welcome to the finale! Let’s get into your creativity challenge! Since we are in New Orleans, we want to see you guys make a delicious… beignet. You have just 30 minutes, and your time starts now!

Kira: @A beignet is a doughnut. @Lauren won the last elimination challenge with her doughnuts, so this will be tough. @I’m making a lemon-coconut beignet with lemon curd glaze and toasted coconut sprinkled on top.

Lauren: @I won the last challenge with my doughnuts so I’m going to do it again. @I’m making a matcha cake beignets with white chocolate ganache glaze. @The biggest competition for me in this challenge, probably Justin? @I don’t really think anyone here has as much pastry experience as me.

Phung: @I’m making mochi and red bean doughnuts. @These doughnuts are going to win Warrior Chef for me. @I swear upon it. @I’m excited to be competing in the finale, but I need to get another win in or else everyone will think I peaked.

Justin: @I’m going to nail this challenge. @I’m making almond, chocolate, and orange beignets. @I think that the flavor combination of these ingredients will deliver. @Lauren is the one to beat for this challenge, but I’m not too worried about the creativity challenge. @I’m thinking about the elimination challenge.

Michele: Time’s up!

Phung: @I’m feeling great. @This dough is a winner.

Michele: Your judge for this challenge is New Orleans native and Warrior Chef finalist, Tina Wang!

Tina: Hi, everyone! I’ve made it to the final three before, so I understand how it feels to be so close to the end. I can’t wait to try your beignets!

Tina and Michele taste the dishes.

Michele: So Tina, who prepared your favorite beignets?

Tina: Lauren, the matcha was creative and I liked the texture of your beignet. Kira, you produced the lightest beignets and the coconut and lemon was really good. Tonight, Kira, you won it for me.

Michele: Congratulations, Kira! You won the creativity challenge and a huge advantage going into the elimination challenge!

Kira: Thank you! @I’m stoked that I get a huge advantage. @If I play it right, then I’m guaranteed a spot in the next round. @After almost being eliminated in the last round, I really want to finalize my place in this competition.

A cart is wheeled in, carrying crawfish and shrimp.

Michele: For the elimination challenge, we want you guys to use either crawfish or shrimp in your dishes. Kira, you get to assign who cooks with what.

Kira: Phung’s getting the crawfish, and everyone else gets shrimp. @I want her out. @Crawfish, never cooked with it before. @She probably hasn’t either, so she’s probably screwed tonight.

Phung: @I’m so happy she gave me the crawfish. @I know how to cook it. @It’s delicious. @I’m going to win this challenge and send Kira home. @Bye, bye, girl.

Michele: 45 minutes to prepare your dishes, time starts now!

Phung: @I’m making a drunken crawfish broth, using plenty of lager to get that crawfish as wasted as possible. @I’m confident that I can demolish the competition tonight because of my skills. @Lauren’s my biggest competition right now, but she’s not somebody who can even hold a candle to me in the kitchen. @I’m going to knock her over in the name of the Phung Dynasty.

Kira: @I’m preparing butter poached shrimp with a shrimp butter and couscous to soak up the butter, and deep fried couscous for texture on top. @Phung is a tough, tough competitor. @She’s got skills, and I’m still amazed how hard of a time she gives me in this competition, given that she’s just a home cook.

Lauren: @For my dish tonight, I’m making grilled shrimp with a shrimp-pineapple stock and some ham wrapped shrimp tempura. @I want to make the shrimp be the star tonight, and I’m going to showcase them in three ways to show my mastery over this ingredient. @Kira and Justin have got a lot of techniques, and Phung is a monster. @This final four, it’s really competitive.

Justin: @I’m going to make shrimp scampi with a shrimp butter. @I’m making the pasta from scratch, and then I’m going to load plenty of lemon, garlic, and chervil onto the dish. @Phung, Kira, Lauren, they’re all strong cooks. @I have mad respect for Lauren and Kira, and I want the three of us to make it to the final challenge together. @Phung getting the crawfish, I think it’ll be good for the odds of that happening.

Michele: Time’s up!

Kira: @I see Phung’s final dish and I’m shocked. @She’s got a crawfish broth with some raw vegetables and crawfish in a bowl. @It’s a beautiful dish, and I think that if it works the way she’s intending for it to, then she might have just won this challenge.

Phung: @This dish won me the elimination challenge. @It’s everything I could ever ask for, and more. @I see the other dishes, and I’m not impressed. @Justin should just go home, because he’s made pasta in every challenge and that gets old really fast.

Michele: Your judges for this elimination challenge are:

Terrell Ayes – Warrior Chef two time finalist

Tina Wang – Warrior Chef finalist

Guy Flannigan

Michele: Let’s start with Kira’s dish!

-butter poached shrimp with shrimp butter, couscous in two textures

Tina: The shrimp were cooked beautifully and I liked that she incorporated two kinds of couscous into her dish. The butter for me, it lacked shrimp flavor.

Guy: I agree on her shrimp butter being on the bland side. The flavor of the shrimp themselves, nicely done. I liked her couscous too.

Terrell: The dish was close to perfection. The shrimp butter needed more flavor of any kind. It tasted like unsalted butter, just melted down.

Michele: And now we have Lauren’s dish!

-grilled shrimp with shrimp-pineapple stock and some ham wrapped shrimp tempura

Terrell: I was really impressed by the flavor of the stock. The pineapple and the ham actually worked together nicely.

Tina: I hate Hawaiian pizza, but I loved her dish. The flavors complimented the shrimp and I’m just really impressed.

Guy: The flavor of the stock was very deep. The shrimp was cooked nicely, both the grilled and the tempura. I was impressed.

Michele: And now we have Justin’s dish!

-shrimp scampi with shrimp butter

Guy: The dish itself was just boring. Had he not made his own pasta, then it would have honestly been forgettable. The shrimp butter was a good idea, but it just was bland.

Tina: I thought that the pasta was cooked nicely but I agree that he hardly pushed the originality of the dish.

Terrell: I wanted spices and flavors, but instead, I got bland shrimp sauce. I just didn’t want to finish it.

Michele: And finally, Phung’s dish!

-drunken crawfish shabu shabu

Tina: Wow. Just wow. The flavors in her broth were incredible. Lauren’s broth was delicious, but Phung’s was deep.

Terrell: The spices she coaxed into that liquid, it was addictive. I could have finished an entire vat of that broth alone.

Guy: She managed to make an inventive dish with an ingredient that is really challenging. She nailed it on all counts.

Michele: So can we agree on who will make our final three?

Tina: Yes.

In walks the finalists.

Michele: Two of you impressed the judges tonight, and one of you is going home. Phung, Lauren, you made the judges’ favorite dishes tonight! Congratulations!

Lauren: @The last time this happened, I beat Phung. @Let’s hope for a repeat.

Phung: @I want to beat Lauren. @I want to prove that I’m better than second place.

Michele: Terrell, please announce the winner!

Terrell: It was a close decision. But in the end, the best dish was made by…. Phung!

Phung: BOOM! @I won. @I knew I was going to win though. @If I did not win this challenge, then I would be so embarrassed.

Michele: Congratulations, Phung! You and Lauren can leave the room.

Lauren: @I didn’t beat Phung, but I’m in the top three now. @It’s going to be a tough, tough battle ahead.

Phung and Lauren leave.

Kira: @I’m shocked. @I had the advantage, and I lost it. @Phung took my sabotage and won the challenge with it. @It really sucks.

Michele: Kira, Justin, one of you is going home tonight.

Tina: Kira, we liked the dish up until your shrimp butter. The fried couscous was original. But you didn’t make your own couscous.

Guy: Justin, the dish was just unmemorable. Had you not made your own pasta, this decision would be a very easy one to make.

Michele: The person leaving tonight is…. Justin. Please return to the kitchen and leave.

Justin: Thank you for this opportunity to compete. @I got sent home. @I can’t believe it. @I thought I was going to be Warrior Chef. @And I’m going home fourth.

Kira: @This needs to stop. @I’ve been on the bottom of the last few challenges and I’m getting sick of it. @I need to step up my game or else I’m going home next.

Justin: @Warrior Chef has been a wonderful experience overall. @I made a lot of good friends and I put myself out there. @I just wished that I had the chance to make it to the end and show that my food is worth the $30,000 prize.