Warrior Chef 5: Afterword

This season actually marked the first time where the number of female contestants vastly outnumbered the male contestants. And that was mostly attributed to the fact that in all three preliminary rounds, men were sent home. I don’t think I have ever had a 2:1 female to male ratio in a cast for Warrior Chef before; most of the times, I try to keep it even, or I follow the format of Top Chef Masters and have it be 7 male to 5 female, since I tend to focus more on the female characters anyways, being raised a feminist who is always rooting for the girls to win.

Of these twelve contestants, all of them were actually based on people I knew in real life, with the exceptions of Colt and Kenny, ironically, who were based on celebrities or television characters. Tiffany in particular, she was inspired by a dear friend of mine as well as Top Chef contestant, Tiffany Derry, who I am a huge fan of. I wanted Tiffany to go far, if not win, the moment I wrote her character because an African American winner was long since overdue, and her cooking style of taking extremely simple food and blowing away the judges with bold flavors, it was an amusing write for me.

Hopefully you enjoyed reading this season of Warrior Chef, because I really do love to write them. Warrior Chef 6 has already been wrapped up by the time this post will be up, and I hope you all look forward to it as much as I look forward to continuing this series!

Warrior Chef 5 results


Warrior Chef Redemption: Afterword

Since we have concluded yet another season of the Warrior Chef series, I wanted to include another afterword to commemorate the ending of our very first redemption series! I’m sure that there would be mixed emotions on how to feel, especially since all of the contestants going into the season were seen in a more favorable light, given their previous runs.

It was not an easy decision, choosing who to eliminate. Characters like Rose, Karen, Fanny, and Lucas, I really did like writing about them, so having to send them home as early as I did was tough. Characters like Amanda Bolen, who I wrote to be this cool and collected badass, I wish I could have made her progress farther in the competition, but compared to contestants like Phung and Tadashi, who were outright monsters in the competition, I knew other contestants were going to struggle a lot to even compete on their level. Phung in particular, was actually written based on a previous culinary student of mine, who despite having no professional kitchen experience, was always perfect when it came to her execution. She was as much an enraged psycho-bitch in real life as her portrayal here, and her real life counterpart would probably be the first to let you know that.

When I originally wrote this season, I actually intended for Jo to be in the final three, and for Kira to be eliminated in the first round of the finals. However, I decided to create a little more drama, I would take Jo’s character and make him much more…insufferable. He actually had almost as many wins as Phung did, but I rewrote the script a bit once I had finished my original rundown of the season so that all of Jo’s challenge wins would actually be distributed between Kira and Phung, just to make Kira a much more worthy finalist as well. I chose to do this mostly because of Kira’s experience; her character was a 3-star Michelin cook. She could not lose to somebody as generic as Jo, no matter how hard of an underdog angle I tried to envision it.

Either way, when it came down to Phung and Tadashi as the finale two, I had to make a decision on who, in my eyes, deserved to be a winner more. Tadashi ultimately gained Redemption because he was a harder working cook. That coupled with the fact that if the Redemption Rounds did not exist in his season (which was actually the case in Phung and Kira’s season), he would have won, made me feel guilty of not giving him the crown this time around. He was just more consistent, which I hope you all would agree with.

Below, I attached a chart including the wins, losses, highs, and lows of each contestant, as well as their placement for this season. I hope you all enjoyed reading Warrior Chef Redemption, because I can’t wait to introduce you all to Warrior Chef 5!

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Warrior Chef Redemption: Finale Part 2

Jessica: This is it! The Warrior Chef Redemption Finale! Tonight, three returning runner-ups are back to compete for the title! The runner-up of season 1, Tadashi Hamilton! Trained under Californian legends such as Wolfgang Puck and Josiah Citrin, Tadashi just narrowly lost in his original season, only to come back with a vengeance! Being a consistently strong competitor, Tadashi has amazed time and time again with his modern Japanese cuisine! Next, Kira Taso! One of the two runner-ups from season 3, Kira has managed to dazzle the competition with techniques taken from her Michelin starred experiences! Finally coming back to her native San Francisco, Kira is here to claim the title that eluded her last time! And lastly, Phung Pham! The sassy Vietnamese juggernaut, and the other runner-up from Warrior Chef 3! While her competitors in this final round are professionally trained chefs, Phung has no professional cooking experience, and despite this, has won the most challenges, with a whopping nine! One of the strongest competitors ever in Warrior Chef history, Phung is a force to be reckoned with! Tonight, one of these three cooks will claim the title! Who will it be?

Phung: @I’m back in the final three and it feels great. @Kira and Tadashi are both alright, but let’s be real here, this is my time to claim the title. @They are NOT going to stop me. @I’m ready to unleash World War Phung, this time, not on my teammates, but on the other two teams here. @They are so going down.

Kira: @I barely made it into the final round but it’s down to the three strongest people, and I still have a shot here to win the entire competition. @Phung, I beat her last season, and it came down to the fact that this girl can’t lead to save her life. @Tadashi is my real competition here. @I have to watch out for whatever it is that he makes.

Tadashi: @I’m the last man standing, and I’m against Kira and Phung, who are easily the two best competitors here. @This is definitely going to be a blood bath tonight. @I know that the first challenge is the amuse bouche, so I’m already thinking about what kind of amuse bouche I want to make.

Jessica: So for tonight, we have two final challenges to determine who will be crowned Warrior Chef. For the first challenge, we want you guys to put up your best amuse bouche in 30 minutes. There are two twists to this challenge. The first one is that the weakest performing cook in this challenge will be eliminated.

Tadashi: @In my season, that’s how Karen got sent home and I barely scraped by to the final challenge against Vanilla. @I’m determined to put up a better dish this time.

Jessica: The second twist will be revealed later on. So 30 minutes, one bite, and your time starts now!

Tadashi: @I run into the pantry and I see the spot prawns. @I grab those, because I know that I can extract a lot of flavor out of them. @I’m making spot prawn broth with butter poached prawn and an edamame and endive microsalad to garnish it with some crunch. @I don’t have time to think about what Phung or Kira are making. @I’m trying my best to develop my flavors.

Kira: @I grab oysters because I know I can make a great dish with those. @I’m making crispy-fried oysters with nuoc cham shooter. @Phung won the challenge last time, and I came in second. @Had the elimination rule still been in place, one of us would not be in this redemption competition right now. @One of us would have actually won. @Thinking about it does frustrate me a little, but at the same time, those were the rules, and Lauren earned the title by out-cooking both of us, even when the odds were stacked against her in the last challenge.

Phung: @I won this challenge before so I know I can win it again. @But Kira grabbed all of the oysters and Tadashi took the prawns. @And Kira took all of the ingredients to make nuoc cham, something I was going to make. @That little bitch. @She knows how to fuck me over. @I grab eggs, and I’m going to make a poached egg with some fish sauce-fried artichoke shavings. @I have no fucking clue what I’m making here, but that’s not going to deter me. @I’m here to be redeemed, and redeemed I shall be!

Jessica: I hope you’re all not too attached to your ingredients, because this is the twist! You guys are switching ingredients! Everyone, step over one station to your left.

Tadashi: @I’m stuck with Phung’s ingredients, which include fish sauce, artichokes, eggs, panko, and it’s looking really sparse.

Phung: Yay! @I get Kira’s nuoc cham and oysters. @I’m pretty confident that I can win this challenge now.

Kira: @I’m gifted Tadashi’s station, and he has spot prawns. @I’m feeling great about this, because I’m not stuck with Phung’s nightmare station.

Jessica: 10 minutes have passed, but you guys still have 20 more minutes, and access to a limited pantry of staple ingredients. You must use every ingredient on your station in some way, and your time starts now!

Phung: @I’m making nuoc cham and oyster shooters. @But then I see that Kira has ingredients to make a breading, and I decide to make an oyster pancake with spicy nuoc cham dipping sauce. @I’m feeling great about that, because an oyster pancake is not something people expect me to pull, but I know I can do it and do it well.

Kira: @I’m going to make a spot prawn ceviche with prawn shell crackers. @I’m frying the shells until they are super crunchy and then making my tuiles, crushing the shells onto that and baking them off together. @I think it’ll taste great and I can stand apart from the rest of the competition.

Tadashi: @I’m making fried artichokes with a fish sauce aioli. @I have no choice but to keep it really simple here, but I want to make the artichokes different, so I’m going to toss them with salt, basil, mint, and cilantro, just to really give them a different flavor profile than what people would expect in a dish like this. @Phung’s station was a mess, but I think I sorted it out.

Phung: @Tadashi’s going home tonight. @There is no way that he knows how to handle my station. @I don’t even know how to handle my station, and I’ve won 17 challenges across two seasons, bitches.

Kira: @I’m not even thinking about what Phung or Tadashi are making. @I can hear Phung laughing a lot, and I know she’s not focusing on her food. @She’s honestly a strong competitor, but I hope she trips up and gets sent home first. @I just need to make sure that my dish is delicious, and that will keep me safe.

Jessica: Time’s up!

Kira: @I think that the dish looks good. @The prawn shell cracker is definitely an innovation that could either make or break me here.

Tadashi: @I think that I made something unique out of a very ordinary concept. @Hopefully minty artichokes put me in the lead.

Jessica: Your judge for this challenge is Warrior Chef winner, Sally Cho!
Sally: Hi, guys! I still remember when I competed and made it this far, and it was tough! I was up against Wolfgang Puck’s prodigy and somebody who had been winning all the challenges at that point, and even against all odds, I managed to pull out the victory! I can’t wait to see what amuse bouches you have made.

Sally and Jessica taste the amuse bouches.

Jessica: So Sally, how did they all do?

Sally: There were some really great flavors across the board. One of you made a solid offering, and that person was… Phung. You did not win this challenge, but you definitely put up a close second to the actual winner with your nuoc cham, which resonated with me personally. I used nuoc cham in my signature dish and it scored me a perfect score.

Phung: @Thank you, Kira, for trying to go Vietnamese against me. @I’m going to be on top, bitches.

Sally: Kira, the flavors of the ceviche were really good. Tadashi, your concept was seemingly simple, but the herbs transformed that dish. Both of you took risks here. Tadashi… you won the challenge for me! Your thought process, you are already thinking like how a Warrior Chef should be!

Jessica: Congratulations, Tadashi! You won the last creativity challenge of the season!

Tadashi: @It feels great to get my eighth win under my belt. @I redeemed myself by getting this far against some incredibly strong competitors, but now I have a chance to take the title. @It’s surreal.

Sally: Kira, unfortunately, the prawn shells were not cooked down enough, and they were inedible. You made the weakest dish tonight.

Jessica: Kira, I’m so sorry. Please return to the kitchen and leave.

Kira: Thank you. @Being sent home in the final round again, it really sucks. @It doesn’t get much easier the second time around, but at least I did really well this season. @I’m proud of myself regardless. @I took a risk with the prawn shells, and it just backfired.

Phung: @Seeing Kira get eliminated feels somber. @She was easily my strongest competition, and now she’s out. @Tadashi shall face my wrath. @I will go crae-crae on him and he will hate living afterwards.

Tadashi: @Seeing Kira go is hard. @I respect her so much and I wanted to go head to head with her in the finale. @It’s rough.

Jessica: Now it’s time for the elimination challenge! But first, let’s welcome back in some familiar faces!

In walks Rose, Karen, Fanny, Lucas, Justin, Henry, Amanda, Nate, and Jo.

Phung: @I see these guys and I know that these are our potential sous-chefs. @I need to make sure that I assemble a better team than last time.

Jessica: Tadashi, you get to choose your sous-chefs first!
Tadashi: @I see their faces, and I know right away I do not want Jo. @Rose, I think she’s good, but can I really trust her when I have no experience cooking with her? @Not at all. I’m picking Fanny and Karen. @I’ve competed with them and we are close. @I know that these two girls have got my back.

Fanny: @Tadashi is such a sweetheart and I’m going to give it my all for him. @I deserved to make it further in this season and this is my chance to win the challenge for Tadashi and prove everyone wrong.

Karen: @He’s like an older brother figure to me and I really look up to him. @I’m just honored that he would put so much faith in me.

Phung: @I’m pissed that Kira’s not an option, so I take a look around. @Justin sucked this season, and Henry was alright. @But I know Henry hates me. I’m going to choose… Amanda… and Nate. @Nate, I’m iffy on, but he is a talented cook, so I’m hoping that it works in my favor.

Nate: @I hate Phung, but does anyone really love her anyways? @She’s just a big, dead-set joke and I want to see her go home.

Amanda: @Phung terrifies me. @I’m nervous working with her, but at the same time, I just have to let myself focus on the food and executing that well.

Jessica: Everyone else, you are free to go.

Rose: @I’m the only runner-up who did not make it to the finale this season and it sucks. @I’m just glad I’m not cooking tonight, because it sounds like it will be a major shitshow, and I’m not into that.

Jessica: You have just 1 hour to make the best three courses, and your time starts now!

Tadashi: @I’m having Fanny handle the dessert while Karen and I work together on the two savory dishes. @I’m going to break down the scallops and oysters for the first course and the beef for the second course and get those all going. @For my first course, it’s scallop and oyster crudo with chili, orange, and mint. @The second course is confit beef belly with purple cauliflower puree, roasted beef loin, and cauliflower salad. @For my dessert, it’s passionfruit gelato with coconut tuile, and rum-pineapple savarin. @I’m trying to really showcase Californian cooking to the best of my ability.

Fanny: @I’m in charge of the entire dessert and I’m looking forward to this. @Tadashi’s got a lot of well-placed confidence in me and I’m going to try my best to deliver. @

Karen: @I’m going to be handling the cauliflower and the actual cooking of the beef in terms of getting it pressure cooked for the confit. @I’m strong with French techniques and that’s going to be how I plan to help Tadashi win this tonight.

Phung: @Amanda is going to do the first course, which is scallion banh xeo with octopus and mussel stew, because I know she can do that one to the best of her ability, with her heavy French background. @For the second dish, it’s homemade lobster banh mi with lotus root chips. @I’m going to do that because I know how to nail it. @I’m making Nate handle the dessert, which is papaya milk sorbet with lime compressed dragonfruit, lime snow, and rice foam.

Amanda: @I know how to stew mussels and octopus, but the banh xeo is what I’m not as familiar with. @It’s apparently a cross between a crepe and an omelet which are both French, so I should be fine, so long as I follow Phung’s recipe. @I’m just going to put the food before my nerves here.

Nate: @Phung freaks me out, but I don’t want to screw her over here. @I’m not the type of person who would sabotage somebody like that because it’s horrible. @I get the sorbet in first, then I focus on making the dragonfruit next. @The foam, I’m making rice pudding, blending it with a rice milk simple syrup, straining it, and then foaming it up. @For the lime snow, I’m foaming lime juice with soy lecithin, and then dunking that into liquid nitrogen and shattering it. @I practiced molecular gastronomy for fun, and now it all pays off for Phung, of all people.

Jessica: Your judges are:

Erwin Ko

Aster Walker

Miriam Adjanti

Vanilla Cuylenberg

Vin Rugnetta

Lauren Wilson

Jessica: Lauren, how does it feel knowing that Phung is back in the finale?

Lauren: She was tough then and I think Tadashi is going up against one of the strongest home cooks in the world. He’s got his work cut out for him.

Vanilla: I went against Tadashi and he was strong. I’d be scared to go against either of them, but the fact that they are going head to head means that we can all expect some really good food tonight.

In the kitchen:
Tadashi: @Time is winding down, but we are getting everything onto the plates at this point. @I think that Fanny and Karen worked perfectly with me and I do not regret my choices with them as my sous-chefs.

Phung: @I definitely am dialing back the drama twentyfold from last time, and I’m letting these bitches just do whatever they want with my recipe. @I chose them because neither of them suck as cooks, and that will help me win this.

Jessica: Time’s up!

Fanny: *to Tadashi* Good luck!

Karen: *to Tadashi* We know you can win this.

Phung: *to Nate and Amanda* Hopefully I won this tonight.

Nate: *to Phung* We gave it our all, so hope it does you proud.

In the judges room:
Jessica: Here come the first courses!

Tadashi – scallop and oyster crudo with chili, orange, and mint

Phung – scallion banh xeo with octopus and mussel stew

Vin: Tadashi’s crudo was light and elegant. I really think it’s a nice way to start out the meal, but it was not anything mind-blowing or risky.

Aster: Phung’s banh xeo was an odd choice to pair with her stew. The stew was delicious and the banh xeo was tasty, but both together did not eat well.

Erwin: I think Tadashi nailed the dish and faltered with creativity while Phung made delicious food that just did not work together.

Jessica: And next we have the entrees!

Tadashi – confit beef belly, purple cauliflower puree, roasted beef loin, cauliflower salad

Phung – homemade lobster banh mi with lotus root chips

Vanilla: I loved Tadashi’s dish. This is the type of cooking I remember him doing in my original season. He plated beef and cauliflower two ways, and all four components were really good!

Lauren: Phung’s banh mi was delicious and her presentation was gorgeous. But overall, I question why you would serve us a sandwich, even with homemade bread, in the finale. That’s not terribly inspired.

Miriam: For Tadashi, his second course stepped it up a lot and he delivered a flawless dish. Phung’s lobster roll banh mi was delicious and I love that she made her own bread. That shows ambition.

Jessica: And finally, the desserts!

Tadashi – passionfruit gelato, coconut tuile, rum-pineapple savarin

Phung – papaya milk sorbet, lime compressed dragonfruit, lime snow, rice foam

Vanilla: Tadashi’s dessert, it was not his best dish tonight. The gelato was phenomenal and I loved that component. The tuile was alright, but the cake, too much rum. He dropped the ball with the savarin.

Vin: Phung’s dessert just blew my mind. Just wow. The presentation was again, gorgeous. The dragonfruit, I thought it was actually palatable and that’s rare, given how bland the fruit is.

Lauren: Between the two tropical fruit desserts, Phung delivered on everything that makes fresh fruit beautiful. The sorbet was light and refreshing, the rice foam just soaked up all of those bright flavors. It was unforgettable.

Jessica: So can we come to an agreement on who is going to be redeemed and become the next Warrior Chef?

Lauren: Yes, we can.

In walks Tadashi and Phung, who are greeted by the judges and their fellow competitors from this season.

Phung: @I’m feeling good about my meal. @Those three courses were Phung Pham, all the way.

Tadashi: @It’s been a tough season, and I don’t know which way this is going to go. @Phung is strong competition, surprisingly.

Jessica: So let’s get into the courses.
Aster: Tadashi, your crudo was delicious and we enjoyed the fact you used two different kinds of shellfish. But it felt safe. Phung, you also did a dish with two kinds of shellfish, but you developed robust flavors in that stew. The banh xeo, it felt disjointed from the stew. We understood you wanted a toast point, but that was not the right way to do it.

Phung: @He still liked my dish and I took a risk, unlike Tadashi. @That should be awarded the win.

Erwin: For the second courses, Tadashi, you delivered perfection. That beef and cauliflower dish, we are all going to walk away feeling satisfied because everything was done so perfectly. Phung, your bread delivered and the lobster banh mi roll concoction was clever. The presentation was beautiful, but it ate messy.

Tadashi: @It seems like I beat her on the second course for sure. @The first course sounds like a toss-up. @But if I nailed the dessert, then I will definitely win tonight.

Miriam: Tadashi, for the dessert, we loved that gelato. The tuile was alright, but your savarin, there was too much rum and it overpowered the pineapple, which is surprising given how strong a flavor pineapple is. Phung, your dessert was as strong a dish as Tadashi’s entree. The sorbet was beautiful and velvety, the dragonfruit added a nice crunch with the seeds and the lime infusion worked so nicely there. The rice foam just screamed of ingenuity. Well done.

Phung: @Miriam wants to marry me over my dessert and it’s awesome. @I think I might actually be Warrior Chef tonight.

Tadashi: @She destroyed me in dessert and I think I made the largest mistake of the night with the rum. @This could send me home tonight.

Jessica: It was a close, close call. You each clearly won in one course, and it came down to the minute details. Tadashi… you are Warrior Chef! Congratulations! You finally redeemed yourself and you won $100,000!

Tadashi: Thank you! I can’t believe it!

Phung: @I’m pissed. @Two-time runner-up? @Are you fucking serious? @I’m so much better than that. @Tadashi got really lucky tonight, because if my lobster roll was on-point, I would have won this season. @Lucky bastard.

Tadashi: @Winning Warrior Chef is a dream come true. @I didn’t think that this would be possible, but I won and it feels amazing. @Coming back to compete again and being able to represent the food I stand behind, and getting the validation of the title, I’m proud of myself. @I don’t think I would change anything about my Warrior Chef journey. @It’s been an incredible ride.

Warrior Chef 5: Finale Part 2

Victoria: This is it! The Warrior Chef finale! After several grueling rounds of competition, three high school cooks are here to compete for the ultimate title! Kenny Jacobs! The youngest of the final three, Kenny has managed to prove that he can cook amazing food and deliver dishes from almost any cuisine! Kenny has the most challenge wins and is posed to take the Warrior Chef crown with his versatile flavors! And then there’s Tiffany Sherquise Gary! A force to be reckoned with in the kitchen, Tiffany has managed to be on top of a record twelve challenges on top of winning four of them! With brute sass and a strong culinary voice, having won the most elimination challenges, can Tiffany be our next Warrior Chef? And finally, Colt Horton! The dessert king from Kansas, Colt has been one of the strongest cooks in the Warrior Chef kitchen, winning repeatedly with his amazing desserts! A former quarterback turned pastry cook, will Colt’s sacrifices in life finally pay off? Which one of these three will be Warrior Chef? Find out tonight!

Tiffany: @At this point, this is my kitchen. @I don’t care what Colt or Kenny say, this competition is mine to lose. @I made it this far kicking ass and taking names, and I intend to do that until the very end.

Colt: @It’s down to the final three. @Tiffany has been winning everything in the finale so far, so I need to try my best to beat her tonight. @If I don’t win now, I don’t win period. @It’s time to bring it home for the Midwest.

Kenny: @These guys are strong cooks and they both belong in the finale with me. @But right now, I’d say that I’m the favorite to win and I’m here to do just that. @I want to be the first cook from Las Vegas to win the competition.

Mariko: Hi, you three. So there are two challenges in this finale. The first is to prepare an amuse bouche to begin your three course meals. This season, all three of you will be moving into the final elimination challenge, however, the person who performs the worst will have 15 minutes less, while the person who wins will get to choose both of their sous-chefs first!

Kenny: @On one hand, it’s great to hear that we don’t have to get eliminated, but on the other hand, 45 minutes to make three courses, I’m nervous. @You’d be heavily handicapped here.

Colt: @An amuse bouche? @I have to think about what would really make the best impression here.

Mariko: 30 minutes, time starts now!

Colt: @I’m preparing a tempura fried oyster mushroom with matcha salt and a mushroom broth. @I’m making the broth using dried mushrooms, mirepoix, bonito, kombu, and water. @Making a fully flavored broth in this amount of time is a huge risk, but if I can pull it off, then I’m going to win the advantage and I want that.

Tiffany: @I’m making huitlacoche and anchovy fritters with charred leek yogurt. @Laguna got in trouble for making a charred leek mixture, but I’m going to make it properly in this challenge. @I’m not aiming to win this challenge. @I’m aiming to not be on the bottom. @Girlfriend knows what she’s doing. @Enough of this foolishness.

Kenny: @Tiffany is a huge wildcard, but I think Colt is still a stronger cook. @I see that both of them plan on deep frying and that’s cool. @But I’m going to pan fry. @I’m making shrimp and pork gyoza with shrimp paste ponzu and minced green onions. @I’m going to make the gyoza wrappers from scratch and that will be my edge in this challenge.

Tiffany: @I get the fritters going and I’m feeling great about those. @I see that Colt is frying off mushrooms and I’m not impressed. @I know that Colt’s entire menu is going to be really boring, and that Kenny is my main competition going into the final elimination.

Colt: @I taste my broth and I think it’s really fully-flavored. @I love it. @The matcha salt will give the mushrooms a nice flavor, so those are going to be good as well. @I see that Kenny’s struggling with his dumplings, and I want to help, but at the same time, I’m not risking losing 15 minutes here.

Kenny: @My wrappers are sticking to the pan and time is winding down. @I have to get something on the plate. @So I grab some of my spare wrappers and fry those off separately as a tuile. @I’m going to take the filling and plate the cooked quenelles of it and call it a deconstructed gyoza.

Mariko: Time’s up!

Colt: @I like my dish. @The broth and the fried mushroom, it’s going to be delicious together. @Tiffany’s fritter looks nice too. @Kenny’s dish, it looks a lot bigger than an amuse bouche.

Kenny: @My dish is definitely not one bite. @I’m not feeling great about my dish right now. @Hopefully, the flavors work, and Tiffany’s charred leek yogurt screws her.

Mariko: Your judge for the challenge is Warrior Chef winner, Vin Rugnetta!

Vin: Hi, everyone! It’s exciting to see you all here again, and I can’t wait to taste your amuse bouches!

Kenny: @Now I’m feeling nervous. @The last time I cooked for Vin, I won. @He’s not going to like what I’m serving here.
Colt: @Vin judged my preliminary challenge and I won that one. @Then the next time I cooked for him, I was on the bottom. @Maybe this time, I’ll win again to average it out? @You know, full circle?

Vin and Mariko taste the dishes.

Tiffany: @I see Vin can’t finish Kenny’s amuse and that’s a bad sign. @Boy, you’re out of the competition.

Mariko: So Vin, who failed to impress you?

Vin: Kenny, the amuse bouche tasted nice, but it was too large.
Mariko: Kenny, you will have last pick of your sous-chefs and will be deducted 15 minutes from your cooking time.

Kenny: Crap. @This is horrible. @I’m freaking out right now.

Tiffany: @At this point, I am the only person who was never on the bottom of any challenge. @Kenny must be feeling really lucky right now, because he got saved by the fact that this wasn’t an elimination.

Mariko: And who won?

Vin: The other two amuse bouches were delicious. But for me, one of them just had more flavor. Colt, you won it for me.

Mariko: Congratulations, Colt! You won the last creativity challenge and a huge advantage going into the elimination! Speaking of, let’s bring in your sous-chefs!

In walks Claudia, Julie, Jacob, Fiona, Mary, Chloe, Jeanne, Kaity, and Laguna.

Mariko: See any familiar faces?

Colt: Hell yeah, I do.

Mariko: Colt, you get to pick both of your sous-chefs first.

Colt: My first pick is obviously Laguna. @He’s the man when it comes to seafood. @I know he’ll have my back.

Laguna: @Colt’s going to be Warrior Chef. @I’m going to do everything in my power to guarantee this. @Mark my words.

Colt: For my second choice, I’m going to choose Fiona. @Fiona and I won the first elimination challenge together and I think she’ll be a stronger asset than anyone else. @I don’t want to choose Kaity, because Kaity and Laguna might distract each other with their flirting, and I don’t have time to be a third wheel tonight.

Fiona: @I’m pretty stoked to be picked second out of all of these cooks here. @Being on Colt’s team, I want to do my best and help him be Warrior Chef. @Let’s do this!

Tiffany: Well my first pick is pretty obvious. I’m going with Chloe.

Chloe: *to Tiffany* Hell’s yeah, girlfriend! We are going to crush this motherfucker!

Tiffany: For my second choice, I’m going to pick Kaity. @That’s a strategic one. @I know that Kenny and Kaity work well together, and if I choose Kaity, then Kenny’s left with all of the weaker home cooks.

Kenny: @I need people who are fast and efficient. @Unfortunately, Colt took Laguna and Tiffany nabbed Kaity, so now I really need to improvise here. I’m going to choose Jeanne and Mary. @Jeanne is strong when she cooks properly. @Mary, she has hardly ever been on the bottom, so I think she can execute.

Jeanne: @Honestly, I’m not excited to be working with Kenny, because we have limited time and that’s going to suck hardcore. @I’d rather not cook than have to be under this kind of unnecessary stress.

Mary: @I’m scared to be working with Jeanne because she’s intense and honestly, a very uncomfortable person to be around. @I’d rather not deal with her bullshit.

Mariko: Tiffany and Colt, your hour starts now! Kenny, you’ll have to wait an entire 15 minutes before you can start cooking.

Colt: *to Fiona and Laguna* Alright, here’s the plan. @For my first course, I’m going to prepare skirt steak tostada on a homemade corn tortilla with corn and tomato salsa and a chimichurri. @Fiona will rock that out of the park for sure. @The second course is going to be grilled spiny lobster with a whipped uni butter sauce and buttermilk dumplings, and I’m going to work with Laguna on that, since there’s two proteins he needs to nail. @For my dessert, I need to take a huge risk here. @I’m making a chicken dessert. @It’s going to be a sticky chicken toffee cake with crispy chicken skin churro and a sage-camembert ice cream. @I want to make this dessert because I was raised around chicken farms my whole life, and I can’t be called a dessert king unless I can prove I can make a dessert with almost any ingredient.

Fiona: @I’m freaking out for Colt because he’s using chicken in a dessert. @If he can nail that, then he’s going to win the title. @But I’m having doubts, because the chicken’s umami might just overwhelm the cake. @For the tortillas, I’m using masa harina, lard, water, and just kneading that into the dough required. @I’m going to marinate the skirt steak in oil, salt, pepper, cilantro, a little lime, onion, and garlic, and then finish that on the plancha before serving. @I think my dish is straightforward in execution, so I should be right on schedule.

Laguna: @I have to first break down and clean the lobster and the uni, and from there, I’m going to marinate the lobster in melted butter and salt, while the uni sauce, I’m making that next. @Colt is starting the dumpling batter for me, so all I need to do is cook it and finish it off in the uni sauce. @He’s taking a risk, making a chicken dessert, but if he can nail it, then it’ll definitely earn him the crown.

Tiffany: @The theme of my menu tonight is going to be everything black. @So for the first course, it’s black bass with black lava salt, black garlic-charred eggplant puree, and black radishes in Chinese black vinegar. @For the second course, black chicken and activated charcoal waffles with Okinawan black sugar syrup infused with blackberries and ginger. @For the last course, black velvet and pinot noir cake with oreo crumble and a cream cheese-black sesame ice cream. @I’m having Chloe handle my fish, no lesbian pun intended, Kaity will be on the vegetables and fruits, and I’m handling the rest of the dishes myself.

Kaity: @I’m doing the black garlic-charred eggplant puree, the shaved black radishes in Chinese vinegar, and I’m also doing the blackberry syrup for the chicken dish. @Being in an all-girls team, I’m used to it. @In fact, I’m pumped and ready to knock out Colt and Kenny. @A girl is going to take it this year, even if it is Tiffany.

Chloe: @I’m breaking down the bass for the first course, and I’m going to help Tiffany make her activated charcoal batter for both the waffles and the chicken, as well as the oreo crumble. @I think that Tiffany is going to be Warrior Chef tonight. @No. @I know she’s going to be Warrior Chef tonight. @Homegirl is on fire, because she is mucho caliente, mamacita.

Kenny: @Even though we’re being forced to watch, I’m talking with Jeanne and Mary about my menu and where I want to go with it. *to Mary* Do you think we can try making that in 45 minutes, if we substitute the yeast with baking powder?

Mary: *to Kenny* I think it’s worth a shot.

Kenny: Alright then. @For my first course, we are going to make duck bao with fried leeks and far-far and a homemade hoisin sauce and Mary is in charge of that. @For the second course, I talk it over with Jeanne, and we’re going to make seared rainbow trout with fennel-mussel risotto and fennel salad. @Jeanne is confident that she can break down the trout quickly and I’m going to get the stock started while she does the knife work for that. @For the last course, Jeanne and I are going to work together again, and make a chocolate panna cotta, setting it with agar-agar, with orange liquor meringue and graham cracker crumble.

Jeanne: @I’m handling the meringue for the dessert while Kenny does the other components. @I think we are going to work really well together and we are going to crush it, despite the advantage. @All three of us know how to hustle, so this should not be a problem.

Mariko: Kenny, you have 45 minutes, time starts now!

Kenny: *to Mary* Get the buns started ASAP. *to Jeanne* Let’s get that trout butchered. I’m going to grab all of the pots and pans we need. @It’s a hustle, but we need to pull it together and make this happen. @I need to be Warrior Chef. @This is my chance to do it and I want it so badly. @I’m going to fight my hardest for the title.

Colt: @Kenny is showing why he’s such a beast in the kitchen. @Within just 1 minute of cooking, he already has all of the equipment set up and they’re just off to the races. @I’m really impressed, but at the same time, my team is already cruising. @Fiona’s almost halfway done with her dish, and Laguna’s already finished most of his components now and is helping me with my chicken dessert.

Tiffany: @Colt using chicken in his dessert, against me? @I’m using chicken in my entree, and that will just make the judges prefer my menu to his that much more. @Kaity has already finished the vegetable prep and I have the entire dessert either in the oven or in the ice cream machine. @We are busting it out right now. @I see Kenny’s struggling over there, and boy, he better get it into hyper drive, or else we are flushing that little sucker down the toilet tonight.

In the judges room:

Mariko: Thank you all for coming here to judge the final challenge!
Next to her are Warrior Chef alumnus:

Karen Laverre – Warrior Chef 1; 3rd place

Tadashi Hamilton – Warrior Chef 1; runner-up/ 4; winner

Amanda Bolen – Warrior Chef 2; 3rd place

Rose Fu – Warrior Chef 2; runner-up

Kira Taso – Warrior Chef 3; runner-up/ 4; 3rd place

Phung Pham – Warrior Chef 3; 3rd place/ 4; runner-up

Phung: I’m so glad to be back and eat their food, because we all know that my food was so much better than anything they can put up.

Kira: Well, reading their menus, I can see dishes I’m excited to try, and dishes, like that chicken dessert, that make me nervous. @I don’t want to see anyone fail tonight, so I just hope that it all goes well.

Amanda: I just wanted to point out how it’s funny Tadashi is the only guy sitting at the table tonight!

The other girls start laughing.

Tadashi: It’s… definitely been interesting, the conversation topics that have been floating around the table.

Phung: Yeah! Like how Colt is HOT!

Rose: Woohoo! Preach it, girlfriend! If he wins, I’m ripping his shirt off!

Phung: Hell, yeah! I wanna see what that beefcake is packing underneath there!

Tadashi: Oh geez…

Karen: *to Tadashi* It’s okay, I’ll be your normal friend tonight.
Tadashi: *to Karen* Thank you.

Karen: I’m excited to try their food, for sure.

Kira: Same. This is going to be a good night… hopefully.

Back in the kitchen:

Mary: *to Kenny* They worked! @I checked the steamer and the buns have risen. We have an appetizer!

Kenny: *to Mary* You’re amazing. Thank you so much! @Mary just saved my life. @If it wasn’t for her, I would have lost out on the first round for sure.

Colt: *to Laguna* Start dropping the lobster!

Laguna: @I’m cooking the lobster now that we only have 10 minutes left on the clock. @Spiny lobster has a much nicer flavor than a normal lobster, but it takes less time to cook, so I need to watch these carefully as I grill them. @And surely enough, with all of that butter, they start to catch on fire, so I take them off the grill and cover them with a towel to smother the flames.

Tiffany: Boos, where are we?!
Chloe: We are done here!

Kaity: Finished plating too!
Tiffany: Awesome! @We are done with our shit and it feels good to watch the other two teams squirm as time winds down. @I have the least amount of challenge wins right now, but at this rate, victory shall be mine!

Mariko: Time’s up!

Colt: @I’m feeling great about my dishes. @Kenny looks confident too, and that’s a huge shock because he had the disadvantage.

Kenny: @I think Jeanne and Mary saved my ass. @They managed to help me make the best three courses of my life, and I might still have a shot at the title here!

Mariko: Looks like the first courses are coming in right now!

Colt – skirt steak tostada, homemade corn tortilla, corn-tomato salsa, and chimichurri

Tiffany – black bass, black lava salt, black garlic-charred eggplant puree, black radishes

Kenny – duck bao with fried leeks and far-far and homemade hoisin sauce

Karen: Colt cooked the skirt steak well and I enjoyed the texture of the tortilla. I think he made a really strong first dish. No complaints here.

Rose: I think that Tiffany’s dish, it sounded horrifying. But the actual taste of the bass against the eggplant and radishes, it worked. She managed to make a really good dish.

Amanda: Kenny’s bao, I’m impressed he got that done in an hour or less. The duck itself, there was not quite enough rendering on the breast, so there was a fat layer, but I really liked his components other than that.

Mariko: Next are the entrees!

Colt – grilled spiny lobster with whipped uni butter sauce, and buttermilk dumplings

Tiffany – black chicken and activated charcoal waffles with Okinawan black sugar syrup

Kenny – seared rainbow trout with fennel-mussel risotto and fennel salad

Tadashi: The lobster was cooked beautifully and I loved the buttermilk dumplings. The butter sauce was not necessarily It made the dish way too heavy and decadent. I almost lost the seafood completely from the sheer amount of butter in the dish.

Kira: Tiffany’s chicken and waffles concept, it was boring. It’s the Warrior Chef finale, and you choose to go with chicken and waffles? Regardless, I loved the creative license she took with it, going all black and incorporating fresh blackberries into the syrup, but I question the creativity and level of ambition.

Phung: Kenny cooked the trout perfect and I loved the risotto. Folding mussels into the rice was almost like a paella meets a risotto and it was great. The fennel salad added a nice freshness that none of the other entrees had. He nailed this one.

Mariko: And finally, the desserts!

Colt – sticky chicken toffee cake, crispy chicken skin churro, sage-camembert ice cream
Tiffany – black velvet-pinot noir cake with oreo crumble and cream cheese ice cream

Kenny – dark chocolate panna cotta, orange liquor meringue, graham cracker crumble

Karen: Colt’s cake… I actually loved it. He had a really bad entree, but his dessert was phenomenal. I genuinely loved the sweet and salty flavors of the chicken toffee with the cake and the ice cream worked as well. It was arguably the biggest risk of the night.

Rose: Tiffany’s dessert was delicious. The black velvet and pinot noir worked so nicely with the oreo crumble and the cream cheese ice cream. It was the best plated dessert of the round and I’d say it was her strongest dish of the night.

Phung: Kenny’s panna cotta was well made and I liked the meringue and crumble. But together, he lacked a sauce. The dish ate dry and I found myself reaching for my glass of water a lot because I was half-choking on graham cracker crumble.

Mariko: So what are your guys’s thoughts on the final menus?

Kira: For Colt’s meal, he had a strong start with the steak tostada, even making the tortilla from scratch, and his sauces were great! The lobster dish was a very heavy entree, with way too much butter, between marinating the lobster in it and serving it with a butter sauce. But a great dessert, using chicken of all things! I’m floored by that dessert. Honestly, he had two of the biggest highs, but arguably one of the biggest lows.

Tadashi: With Tiffany, she made a strong first course, serving us bass with eggplant and black radishes, which I was not expecting to taste nearly as good as it wound up tasting. The chicken and waffles was her weakest course, because of how uninventive it was, but she still executed it well. For the dessert, she took a risk using red wine to dye the cake black, but it worked and she made a delicious dessert.

Amanda: Kenny’s first course was almost there, but the piece of duck fat just ruined the experience. For his entree, easily the best and most balanced plate. His risotto was my single favorite bite of the day. For his dessert, had he included like a ganache or a coulis or something else, it would have been perfection. But it lacked that, so it ate dry.

Mariko: So can we announce our winner tonight?
Phung: We can.

In walks the final three, who are greeted by Mariko, the judges, and all of the previous competitors from the season.

Mariko: Tonight, one of you is going to be crowned Warrior Chef. The judges have talked it over and it was not an easy decision to make. Colt, you managed to impress with by far the best dessert, and your appetizer was tied with Tiffany’s for being the strongest of the first course dishes. The entree, it was a letdown, however.

Colt: @Hearing that is very disappointing. @I think I might still win, because I tied in one round, and won the other.

Mariko: Tiffany, your appetizer, the judges loved it and you showed a lot of courage, making an all-black menu tonight. The entree, you were marked down for lacking creativity with the base concept, but everything was perfectly executed. For the dessert, the pinot noir, using it to dye your cake black, ingenious.

Tiffany: @So far, it sounds like I’ve come in second place for the dessert and entree, but I won the dessert. @I think I won overall.

Mariko: Kenny, the appetizer was almost there, but the duck fat was not rendered. The risotto dish, easily the best entree, and it kept you in the running for the title by a landslide. For the dessert, it lacked enough moisture to keep us going back in for another bite.

Kenny: @Hearing the critiques, I think I’m screwed. @I came in last for the first and probably the third courses, and I only won the second course.

Mariko: Tonight, only one of you can be Warrior Chef. And that person is… Tiffany. Congratulations, you are Warrior Chef!

Confetti rains down as everyone claps for Tiffany.

Tiffany: Thank you. @I won. @I fucking won it. @I knew I had it in me to be victorious. @When I said victory is mine, I meant it, boo. @Enough of this nonsense, give me my money! @I knew I was Warrior Chef. @These fools, they knew it too. @Being the winner, it feels right. @I know I earned it.

Colt: @She made the better menu. @At the end of the day, do I think Kenny or myself are weaker cooks than Tiffany? @Nope. @But she had a better day and good for her.

Kenny: @Losing this close, it hurts. @But I’m proud of myself for getting this far, overcoming so many hurdles, and almost winning. @I can look back on this experience and smile at all of the friends I have made. @It’s been amazing.

Chloe: *to Tiffany* You did it, girl!

Tiffany: I’m Warrior Chef!~ Yeah!~

Warrior Chef Redemption: Finale Part 1

The finalists arrive in San Francisco, California, where the remainder of the competition will take place.

Tadashi: @My original finale was also in San Francisco, so it feels a little strange to be back here again so soon. @Hopefully this isn’t a sign that I’m going to come in second place again. @That would seriously suck.

Kira: @This is it. @The finale. @Last time, it was New Orleans and Lauren took the prize. @This time, it’s my time to shine.

Phung: @I’d say it’s anybody’s game, but let’s be real here. @Jo is not going to be Warrior Chef. @Kira’s won five challenges, I’ve won seven, and Tadashi’s won seven as well. @Jo’s won an impressive zero. @If he beats any of us and makes it into the final three, I would saw off my own foot and do voodoo on it!

Jessica: Hi, everyone! So for this challenge, you will be cooking in pairs. Please decide who you want to be in a team with.
Kira: @I would love to work with Tadashi, but, Phung grabs me and I guess it’s decided.

Tadashi: @I’m working with Jo, and I’m already dreading it. @He’s not a team player, but maybe he might have a change of heart in today’s challenge?

Jessica: So in this challenge, you’ll be working in pairs to create a dish using local, Californian produce! You have just 15 minutes, and your time starts now!

Phung: @Right away, we see the Santa Barbara spot prawns and uni, and they look succulent. @We would be dumb not to use those.

Kira: @For our dish, we are going to make spot prawn ceviche with uni vinaigrette, shaved radishes, blood oranges, puffed black rice, and some pea tendrils. @Phung is handling the seafood while I do the vegetables. @15 minutes, it’s intense. @Honestly, I’m terrified that we won’t finish in time, but I’m just keeping my head down and focused on making sure each and every component is perfect.

Tadashi: *to Jo* How about the heirloom tomatoes?
Jo: I hate those.

Tadashi: What about the figs?
Jo: I hate figs.

Tadashi: @At this point, I’ve lost 3 minutes trying to get some ideas on the board. @This… it’s aggravating. @In the end, I decide to just ignore Jo entirely, and just focus on cooking. @My dish is wilted beet green-mascarpone pesto, beet chips, charred shallots, and crispy pancetta. @Jo’s not going to be a team player, but I still want to try my best and win, regardless of his bad attitude.

Phung: @I almost feel bad for Tadashi, but if he does win this challenge despite being with Jo, then he really does deserve the title. @But I think that he is failing at featuring the produce, even though he’s from here.

Jessica: Time’s up!

Jo: @Tadashi was being bossy and it shows on the plate. @We failed to work as a team together and it’s because he’s not a good teammate.

Tadashi: @The dish looks like a complete mess and it’s just a metaphor for this experience with Jo. @I think that this is frustrating, but I’m just glad I’m not going home over this dish.

Jessica: Your judge is Warrior Chef past winner, Jane Ognibene!

Jane: Hello, everyone! I’m excited to be the judge for this!

Phung: @Jane is the baking queen and when she competed in Warrior Chef, she managed to dominate the entire way through. @I’m nervous being judged by her.

Jane and Jessica taste the dishes.
Jessica: So Jane, how were the two dishes?

Jane: So let’s start with Tadashi and Jo’s dish. I liked the beet pest a lot. That was genius. The chips were good and I felt like the pancetta added a nice, savory flavor. But my biggest complaint is that the dish felt disjointed. There was nothing really tying it all together for me.

Jo: @It was Tadashi’s dish. @So it’s his fault.

Jane: Phung and Kira, the ceviche was delicious and I loved the fact you transformed the sea urchin into a vinaigrette that really highlighted its flavor profile. Overall, I loved the colors, presentation, and texture.

Jessica: So who won?
Jane: Definitely Phung and Kira’s seafood dish.

Jessica: Congratulations, Phung, Kira! You both won the creativity challenge!

Phung: @I’m glad I won the challenge because I know I’m better than everyone else here. @They’re all screwed.

Kira: @Winning back to back feels amazing! @I know that Phung and Tadashi are major threats, and I want to show both of them that I’m worthy of the final challenge and that I can still win the title.

Jessica: Now for the elimination challenge! For this challenge, you guys will be cooking head to head. The winners move into the final round of this competition, and the losers will cook head to head in sudden death, where one of you will be sent home.

Jo: @I know that one of these losers are going to be axed tonight. @There’s no way I’m going home when I’m so close to the end.

Jessica: The theme of the challenge is to create a dish inspired by San Francisco’s iconic Chinatown. Please draw knives to determine who you’ll be going up against.

Phung – 1

Tadashi – 2

Kira – 1

Jo – 2

Tadashi: @I’m stoked. @I’m glad I got Jo for once, because if I can’t beat Jo here, then I don’t deserve to win the title.

Phung: @I’m with Kira, and she’s strong. @But I’m not going to let her and her home turf take me down. @She’s a goner here.

Jessica: You have an hour, your time starts… now!

Phung: @Chinatown is the inspiration, and I’m stoked. @I’m going to make chicken dumplings with cilantro and mint slaw, lime infused black vinegar, and chicken-ginger sauce. @I’m pretty confident that I can beat Kira with my dumplings, because they bring all the boys to the yard, and damn right, they’re better than hers. *to Kira* What are you making tonight, boo?

Kira: *to Phung* None of your business, boo! @I’m making sticky rice steamed in banana leaves, and I’m going to stuff the rice with pork adobo, homemade Chinese sausage, compressed shiitake mushrooms, and preserved egg yolks. @For my sauce to go with it, I’m making my own sweet chili paste, because that will be delicious and it cuts through the richness of the dish.

Tadashi: @Chinese food, not my forte. @But I do love duck, so that’s the route I’m going to take tonight. @I’m doing an orange glazed duck with roasted yucca, a duck jus infused hoisin, and crispy-fried leeks. @I don’t even want to waste my time thinking what Jo is making. @He’s not worth my attention, because his level of pettiness will only drag me down.

Jo: @Tadashi, I can’t wait to beat him. @He doesn’t cook Chinese food, and I do. @This is my ballpark. @I’m making wok fried lobster with homemade noodles and a lobster-ginger broth, and chili poached eggs. @I think that the three people who will make it into the finale are me, Kira, and Tadashi. @Phung’s just too inconsistent and I think she’s a goner.

Kira: @Jo thinks Phung is going home, and as much as I’d like that myself, I know she won’t go home that easily. @The thing I can relate to with Phung is that we both are hardworking and ambitious and that translates well in this competition. @There’s a reason why we both made it to the finale twice.

Phung: @Jo can think I’m going home, but he’s delusional. @Bitch, I’ve won eight challenges. @You’ve won zero. @Come talk to me once you’ve even won half the number of challenges…. oh wait, you can’t, because there’s not even that many challenges left in this season. @Motherfucker, go eat a bag of dicks.

Kira: @I’m fumbling with getting my rice into the leaves. 25 minutes?! Shit. @I’m feeling under the pump for sure. @I finally get the rice wrapped and into the steamers with 20 minutes left. @I’m hoping that I can get them cooked in less than 20 minutes. @I’m hoping that I can plate the dish elegantly, but who knows at this point? @I’m just trying to get something plated, because I refuse to be in the sudden death cook-off.

Jo: @Kira’s struggling and she’s lucky that this is not an immediate elimination or else she’s going to be eliminated tonight. @I’m really feeling confident because these other cooks don’t make Chinese normally.

Jessica: Time’s up!

Tadashi: @I’m feeling great about my dish, but then I see what Jo made. @I don’t like him, but his dish, I would order that in a restaurant. @I’m actually nervous.

Kira: Shit. Shit. Shit. @My dish, I plated it, but I’m nervous. @What if the rice was not steamed enough? @I could be screwed.

Jessica: Your judges are all previous Warrior Chef contestants:
Ping “Pam” Ling – 3rd place

Noura Narwhal – 5th place

Tina Wang – 3rd place

Jessica: Let’s start with the dishes by Phung and Kira first!

Phung – chicken dumplings, cilantro-mint slaw, lime black vinegar, chicken-ginger sauce

Kira – pork adobo rice with Chinese sausage, shiitake, preserved yolk, sweet chili paste

Pam: I don’t know Phung, but I like her style. This dish, I would happily eat it with a nice, cold beer. It was banging.

Noura: I completely agree with Pam. I would love to get high and just devour Phung’s dish. Kira’s dish, the rice was undercooked and it sucked. I hated it.

Tina: The rice was undercooked and she tried to do too much in too little time. I appreciate the ambition, but at the end of the day, we had to eat it, and it was not good.

Jessica: And next up are the dishes by Tadashi and Jo!

Tadashi – orange glazed duck with roasted yucca, duck jus-hoisin, and crispy-fried leeks

Jo – wok fried lobster with homemade noodles, lobster-ginger broth, chili poached egg

Noura: I thought that Tadashi’s dish was very stuffy and boring. It was just not inspired at all to me. I could have done this dish sober. It was not a trip and I wanted a journey.

Tina: Jo’s lobster was actually quite nice. I enjoyed the flavor of the lobster and the broth and his noodles were great. Overall, nicely done.

Pam: I felt like Tadashi was cooking with a giant black dildo up his ass. He needed to loosen up more and really just be him. I think that he made a dish that I would need to put on panties in order to eat it and feel like I’m in the right setting.

Tina: Uh…… okay?

Jessica: So can we agree on the winners of each round?

Tina: Unfortunately, not. The first round was unanimous, but for the second, it’s a split decision at the moment.
Pam: No? Noura and I both preferred the same dish.

Tina: I felt like the lobster dish, it was good. The duck dish had a lot of flavor as well.

Pam: So which way are you swinging on this, Tina?
Noura: I think that I might change my vote.

Pam: Fuck me. I don’t like being the odd one out here.

Jessica: Do we have a decision?

Pam: Yes. Yes, we do.

In walks the final four.

Tadashi: @I’m feeling nervous. @All four of us are called in, and that almost never happens. @This… it’s scary.

Jessica: So let’s get into the results of the first match up.

Pam: Phung, Noura, Tina, and I would all love to get shit-faced drunk, high as hell, and then devour your dish. Kira, the rice was undercooked and it was the worst thing I ever put into my mouth. Honestly, you should be banned from cooking with rice, period.

Tina: I never said anything about getting high as hell, but I will admit, after this judging experience, I might need a drink or two. Pam and Noura are something else.
Noura: What she’s trying to say is that she loves us, like the rest of the world.

Tina: Let’s go with that.

Jessica: So who won?

Tina: It was unanimous. Phung was the best.

Jessica: Congratulations, Phung!

Phung: Thank you! @Winning the challenge feels great. @I knew I had what it took!

Jessica: Kira, that means that you will be going into sudden-death. Judges, who won the second match-up?

Noura: Tadashi, we felt like your dish was very buttoned-up. And we wanted to send you to the cook-off, because you were definitely not cooking for your audience. That being said, you did not actually know who was judging, so we had no choice but to judge you for your flavors.

Pam: Jo, we would have loved to get high as hell and then eat the shit out of your noodles and lobster. If this challenge was not set up this way, Kira would be packing her shit and leaving, because both dishes in this matchup did not suck.

Jessica: So who won and who is going to cook against Kira?

Tina: Tadashi won. And Jo is going into the sudden death cook-off.

Jessica: Congratulations, Tadashi!

Tadashi: Thank you! @I’m confused by their critiques, but I’ll take the win and run into the final three with that. @Phung and I are both runner-ups, and it’s going to be an interesting turn of events to see who will join us.

Tadashi and Phung leave.

Phung: @I hope Kira sends Jo’s ass packing. @He’s so dumb. @But if Jo does stay, it’s not the end of the world. @I can beat Jo, so that’s fine by me.

Jessica: Kira, Jo, you both will be cooking for your lives. For this challenge, we want to see you guys make a delicious dish using… soy sauce! You have just 25 minutes, and your time starts now!

Kira: @I’m determined to win this challenge. @I’m going to make a soy glazed pork loin with crispy miso rice balls, ponzu vinaigrette, and apple-cabbage slaw. @I’m hoping that I can really deliver on flavors here, because Jo does have strong flavor profiles, and like the judges said, I almost got sent home. @I am desperate for redemption here.

Jo: @I’m making soy glazed pork belly with fried rice and a soy sauce fried egg. @I’m confident that I can beat Kira, because I see her using the pork loin, and that is going to dry out a lot faster. @I’m confident that I can make tastier food and Kira’s definitely going to fumble tonight. @I’m going to get redemption and land into the final three.

Phung: @Tadashi and I both have reasons for either of them being in the final three with us. @For me, I think Kira deserves it more, but if Jo is in the finale, I can beat him. @So I honestly want Jo here because it will be a lot easier for me to win.

Tadashi: @I want Kira in the finale because I want to go against the best of the best. @Jo does not belong in the last challenge because he’s not a chef to me. @Kira’s my biggest competitor and if I am not going against somebody as talented as her, then I would not deserve the title at the very end.

Kira: @I taste my rice balls and they’re crunchy. @I’m feeling great about the pork loin’s cook and I’m looking at Jo and he’s trying to cook pork belly in 25 minutes. @That’s already a huge mistake.

Jo: @I think that the pork belly is not cooking fast enough, so I cut it up and dunk it into the deep frier to finish cooking it. @Kira’s not taking enough risks and I know that my usage of the soy sauce in fried rice and the pork will really sing and make the soy sauce the real hero of the dish.

Jessica: Time’s up!

Kira: @I like the dish and then I see that Jo deep fried his pork. @It might come out tough, but I think his dish did not use soy as much as he could have, and that’s going to be a major point against him.

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

-soy glazed pork loin, crispy miso rice balls, ponzu vinaigrette, and apple-cabbage slaw

Pam: The pork loin was cooked nicely and I liked her rice balls. The ponzu was tasty but I wanted some sort of soy component in her slaw. Overall, I would get high and go to town on this dish.

Noura: The pork loin was boring and I’m disappointed in her choice of protein. Serve me pork belly, or wrap the pork loin, don’t just give me a boring pork loin. I love the balls. I would put Kira’s balls in my mouth anytime.

Tina: A nice dish overall. I agree with Pam that Kira could have used more soy for that slaw, like maybe edamame, just for texture, but she put up something memorable.

Jessica: And now we have Jo’s dish!

-soy glazed pork belly, fried rice, soy fried egg

Pam: The fried rice and egg were bomb as fuck. Holy shit, somebody pass me a fucking joint right now, that is the shit. I want to kick this bitch over and make it rain on him, because that rice, I could make love to it.

Noura: I really liked the flavor of the fried rice and I could eat that alone with a nice, cold beer. Mmmm, beer. I could really go for a beer right now. This dish made me crave it and I hate that fucker for that.

Tina: The fried rice was delicious because of how nice the seasoning was. The flavor of the egg was great as well. Overall, he made a lot of delicious components and the taste of soy came through. I liked it.

Jessica: So can we agree on who is going to join Phung and Tadashi in the final three?

Noura: Hell, motherfucking yes, we can.

In walks Kira and Jo.

Jessica: One of you is going home tonight, and one of you will be in the final three. Judges, let’s get into the scoring of Kira’s dish first.

Pam: It was good, but not amazing. 8 stars.

Noura: 8 stars.

Tina: 9 stars. I think you used the soy and soy products well.

Kira – 8 + 8 + 9 = 25/30 stars

Kira: @That’s not good. @I might be a goner tonight. @I’m shaking because I’m so close to the end and I really don’t want to go home here.

Jessica: Jo, you need at least 26 to knock Kira out of the competition. Judges?

Pam: The fried rice and egg were flawless. But your pork was completely hammered. It was like shoe leather. 5 stars.

Noura: 4 stars. The pork not only ruined half the dish, it detracted from the good you managed to accomplish with the rice.

Tina: 3 stars for an incredibly tough, leathery pork belly. I honestly was horrified by that because you had something good going on.

Jo – 5 + 4 + 3 = 12/30 stars

Jessica: Jo, please return to the kitchen and leave.

Jo: Oh. Okay then. @I’m pissed. @I didn’t deserve to go home. @I’m scared and confused and angry right now because Kira was a weak cook who got lucky. @She messed up at the right time, and that’s why she is not in this position going home. @Coming in fourth twice, it fucking sucks. @I’m angry.

Jo leaves the kitchen.

Jessica: Kira, congratulations! You’re going to the final round again!

Kira: Thank you. @I’m so happy that I’m safe. @If I did not make it into the next round, it would have sucked so much. @I really want redemption and now it’s time for me to put my head down and focus.

Warrior Chef 5: Finale Part 1

The finalists land in Barbados, where the finale will take place.

Tiffany: @I’m the first person to walk into the kitchen and boy, it’s my challenge to win. @We are in the finale, and I know that I’m going to be the Warrior Chef now.

Kenny: @Two guys, two girls, and all four of us are strong cooks. @I’m nervous to see what’s going to happen.

Mariko: Welcome to the finale! For today’s creativity challenge, we want to see you guys make a dish using…. uni. For this challenge, it’s a Sudden Death challenge. The weakest performing cook will potentially be sent home. We have a twist for this one, but we won’t reveal it until after the weakest performing cook is decided.

Colt: @That’s awkward. @The weakest cook will be potentially kicked off. @I’m nervous about the twist, but it might be something insane like cooking against a previous winner for your survival, and I’m not sure if I would want to cook against Tadashi Hamilton or anyone else like that.

Mariko: You have just 30 minutes, and your time starts now!

Kaity: @I run to the station and I see that we have the orange tongues and the whole uni. @I decide to use the whole uni because it will be fresher. @I managed to practice cooking shellfish during the break before the finale, but I never touched uni before. @If I can get it open, I’m going to prepare an uni risotto with fresh uni and grilled ramps. @But then I see we have no ramps, so I grab the okra, and I decide to use that instead. @I have never cooked with okra before, but it’s the finale and I need to take a risk.

Colt: @I’m going to make an uni custard with lobster meat and uni vinaigrette to go with a cabbage slaw. @I’m setting the uni custard into the uni shells, and that’s the risk I’m taking for this challenge. @If I can nail it, then I’m definitely going to win the challenge tonight. @Since I’m not guaranteed an elimination if I screw this up, then I’m feeling okay about taking a risk tonight. @Out the everyone left, nobody is necessarily weak, but I think that both girls are the weaker cooks left. @I would not be surprised if Tiffany or Kaity wound up on the bottom tonight.

Tiffany: @Colt, shut the hell up. @I’m here, and I’m winning. @I’m going to make an uni melt with uni mayo and an uni sabayon to act as a vinaigrette with a frisee lardon salad. @I’m taking a risk, making basically a whole brunch-lunch meal, but I’ve got this. @My flavors and technique have gotten me this far, and they have gotten me a total of four wins. @I am not a pushover in this competition.

Kenny: @At this point, I’ve got five wins, Colt has five wins, Tiffany has three wins, and Kaity has three wins. @They’re all honestly strong, but I want to win the next four challenges and prove that I am the best one here. @Being number one would validate all of those years I spent working my ass off in both the stage and the kitchen and it will show everyone that with hard work comes great reward. @For my dish, @I’m making an uni angel hair with uni on top. @I’m making a beurre blanc and blending in uni butter into it to make it rich and velvety. @It should be good.

Mariko: Time’s up!
Kaity: @I feel good about my risotto. @I see the Tiffany made a brunch dish using the uni, and Kenny prepared angel hair pasta. @I’m hoping that using the okra will pay off big time for me.

Mariko: Your judge for this challenge is Warrior Chef winner, Lauren Wilson!
Lauren: Hi, everyone! Making it this far, it means that you all have promising careers in the industry ahead of you. But I can’t wait to see what you guys have managed to prepare using uni, which is one of my personal favorite ingredients!

Lauren and Mariko taste the dishes.

Mariko: So Lauren, how did they do?
Lauren: I have three standout favorites, actually. Tiffany, the uni melt and the uni salad were both delicious on their own, and they worked together flawlessly. I loved the different textures I got from your dish. Colt, the uni custard was presented nicely and the lobster worked well off of that. You did a nice job taking that kind of risk in just 30 minutes. And…

Kenny: @I’m hoping she says my name, because if she doesn’t, then I’m in the cook-off and I don’t want to be there.

Lauren: Kenny. You cooked the pasta nicely and I loved the uni beurre blanc. Nice flavors and it was a very strong showcasing of the uni.

Kaity: @My heart sinks. @I’m so screwed.

Mariko: Lauren, so who won?

Lauren: We had three great dishes, but the best by far was…. Tiffany’s.

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

Tiffany: Finally! Finally! @Winning this challenge feels so good. @I know that I’m a strong cook and even though I’m against Colt and Kenny, I can beat them down the line.

Kaity: @I was the only person on the bottom and it was a Sudden-Death Challenge. @Does that mean that I’m going home?

Lauren: Kaity, the risotto was a bit undercooked and the okra made it slimy. That just didn’t work for me tonight.

Mariko: Kaity, you’ll be up for elimination. However, the person you will be cooking against is not one, but three people! Help me welcome some familiar faces!

In walks Laguna, Jeanne, and Chloe.

Kaity: @Sh*t. @I see Laguna, and I’m so happy to see him, but then I realize that these guys were eliminated. @And since I’m up for elimination, that must only mean one thing. @Crap.

Mariko: The four of you will be cooking for Kaity’s spot in the competition.

Chloe: @I’m baaack. @And I’m ready to whoop some ass. @Bring it, boo.

Jeanne: @I definitely was eliminated too early. @Having a second chance at the finale, this is awesome. @I’m going to bring it and take home the title.

Mariko: For this sudden death challenge, we want to unleash the kraken!
A cart is wheeled in, carrying squid and calamari

Laguna: @It’s seafood again and I’m stoked. @I know what to make right away.

Kaity: @Calamari is Italian and I feel comfortable with that. 

Mariko: 30 minutes, one calamari dish. And your time starts now!

Kaity: @I’m going to make a lamb chorizo stuffed squid with mint-coconut pesto and puffed black rice. @I’m confident in my dish because it’s something I’ve been trying to do for a long time, and I finally get to do it. @I’m cooking for my life here, and if I don’t win, then somebody else is going to snatch my spot in the finale. @I can’t afford for anyone, even Laguna, to take that opportunity away from me. @I need to be Warrior Chef. @That title has my name on it.

Laguna: @Four cooks are competing in this, and I think we are all strong when we put our best foots forward. @Jeanne is a major threat when she can actually cook. @But I’m focusing on my own food at this point. @I’m preparing a grilled calamari steak with squid ink pasta and a lemon-basil sauce. @A second chance like this is amazing and I know that I was eliminated too early. @I’m sorry, Kaity, but I need to take the spot from you and win it for me.

Jeanne: @I’m going to prepare karaage squid with a black bean and mint infused butter sauce and chilies. @It’s 30 minutes, so I’m just thinking about what I can do that is practical and I’m battering and frying the squid tentacles. @For the bodies, I decide to grill those and make them act as the base for the karaage to sit on top of. @Chloe, in my eyes, she’s the weakest cook, so I am not even remotely worried about her.

Chloe: @I’m making tomato stewed squid bodies, charred tentacles, squid ink cavatelli, and garlic-herb crouton. @I need to show everyone here why I’m back and that’s to kick these guys’s asses, and then them guys’s asses. @Tiffany and I were originally going to make the final two together, and now it’s my chance to make it possible. @I’m here and here to win.

Tiffany: *to Chloe* You got it, girl! @Chloe and Tiff in the finale? @Hell, yeah I want that! @Better her than Jeanne or Laguna, for sure.

Kenny: @None of them are weak cooks. @Honestly, this was the strongest group of cooks we have ever had in Warrior Chef, and I just don’t want any of them to come back. @Can’t they all just stay eliminated?

Colt: @At this point, the three of us are nervous. @Personally, I hope that Kaity keeps her spot, because she earned it over somebody like Jeanne or Chloe, who did not even come close to the finale to begin with. @Laguna coming back, he’s actually a real threat. @If he’s back in the main competition, it will be that much harder to get the title.

Mariko: Time’s up!

Kaity: @I think I nailed my redemption dish. @I really hope I send the other three packing here tonight.

Mariko and Lauren taste the dishes.

Mariko: So Lauren, who did not deliver a good squid dish tonight?

Lauren: Jeanne, your dish was beautifully presented but the textures and components made no sense together. That entire grilled calamari steak on the bottom was bizarre.

Mariko: Jeanne, you may leave the kitchen.

Jeanne: Thank you. @I’m angry. @I didn’t deserve to be eliminated a second time like this. @I know I’m stronger than the rest of them by far.

Lauren: This is where it got tougher. Chloe, the stewed bodies were great and I liked that you used the squid three ways. But the tentacles were disjointed with the rest of the dish and did not belong there.

Mariko: Chloe, you can leave the kitchen as well.

Chloe: Alright. *to Laguna* Good luck! @I didn’t expect to even be invited back but at least I proved that I deserved to be here over Jeanne.

Lauren: Laguna, the steak was delicious and so was the pasta. Your usage of herbs paid off in spades here. Kaity, the surf n’ turf you prepared showed ballsiness and had you cooked like that in the uni challenge, you would’ve been safe for sure.

Mariko: So Lauren, who won?

Laguna: @At this point, it’s close. @It might be a reversal of fate this time around, and I might safe. @I’m hoping for that.

Kaity: @It’s down to both of us yet again. @If I get to keep my finale spot, that would be amazing, but Laguna’s a strong cook, and he deserves it just as much.

Lauren: Two strong dishes, but for me, it came down to who prepared the squid better. Kaity, the lamb slightly overpowered the squid. And that’s why, Laguna, you won this one for me.
Mariko: Congratulations, Laguna! You are re-entering the finale! And Kaity, I’m sorry, but your time here is over. Please return to the kitchen and leave.
Kaity: Thank you. *hugs Laguna* You honestly deserved it. Congratulations.

Laguna: *to Kaity* I’ll win it for you.

Kaity: @It’s bittersweet to be going home, but I lost to somebody who I have immense respect for and I think Laguna earned his spot rightfully. @I’m proud of myself for coming this far and I don’t have any regrets, well, other than winning the title.

Laguna: @It feels great to be back! @If I didn’t make the finale, it would have haunted me, but I’m here and I’m ready to claim the title. @Bring it.

Mariko: So everyone, this is the first of two rounds in this finale. Whoever does not make it past here will not be competing for the title.

Tiffany: @The end is near and that is awesome. @I’m stoked that I have an advantage too. @I’m going to be the first African American winner. @I can sense it.

Mariko: For this challenge, you’ll be cooking in head to head cook-offs. And the themes of your cook-offs will be three traditional dishes from Barbados.

A cart is wheeled in, carrying fish cakes, cassava pone, and conkies.

Mariko: Tiffany, you won the last challenge, so you will be deciding who will be paired with who, and which of these dishes they will be preparing. The two winners go straight to the final round. The two losers will be cooking head to head making the dish Tiffany did not yet select.

Tiffany: @This is pure strategy and I love it. Kenny, I want you to go up against Colt, and you two will have to cook the cassava pone. @That’s a dessert. @I think Colt will knock out Kenny with that and that’s one less contender I have to worry about.

Kenny: @I’m going against Colt, who in my eyes, is the strongest cook here, and it’s dessert. @I might as well just pack my bags, right?

Colt: @I’m stoked that Tiffany set me up, but if I don’t win this challenge, then I basically deserve to be eliminated tonight.

Mariko: So Tiffany, you’re up against Laguna. What’s the dish you want to cook?

Tiffany: Fish cakes.

Laguna: What?

Kenny: Oh sh*t. @She did not just go there.

Colt: @Tiffany wants to cook seafood against Laguna. @That’s the dumbest idea I have ever heard.

Tiffany: @I know I can beat Laguna at his own game, so I’m going to beat Laguna at his own game, simply put. @Bye bye, boo.

Mariko: So Colt and Kenny will be cooking cassava pone, Tiffany and Laguna will be cooking fish cakes, and the losers of each round will have to prepare conkies to remain in the competition. You have 45 minutes to prepare your dishes, and time starts now!

Tiffany: @I’m making green curry fish cakes with lime aioli and coleslaw. @I’m going to use salt cod, smoked salmon, and lump crab in the cakes because I know that will be fucking delicious, and I’m using avocado in my aioli because that will give it the texture it needs to stand up to all of the fish. @Laguna claims he is the seafood king, but let’s be real here, I’m a much stronger cook than he is.

Laguna: @I’m going to make banana leaf wrapped fish cakes with a charred leek emulsion and a chili-shallot vinaigrette. @Tiffany made a dumb mistake and I can’t wait to see her eat her own mistake and have to cook with conkies, whatever the hell those are. @I’m going to use snapper and mackerel to make the fish cakes so that we have a strong fish flavor, but not too strong to the point it overwhelms.

Kenny: @I’m going to prepare cassava pone, which is a cake made with the cassava root, coconut, spices, brown sugar, and butter. @I know that Colt and I are both using similar recipes, but to stand out, I’m making a coconut-elderflower gelato that I know will win over the judges. @Colt is the dessert king of this season and he continues to nail excellent desserts. @If I can beat him at his own game, then I definitely have earned a spot in the final challenge.

Colt: @Kenny’s been my biggest competition since day one of the main competition. @If I can beat Kenny, the title is as good as mine. @I’m going to prepare the cassava pone using palm sugar to add more flavor, and then I’m going to take candied palm seeds and use those in the cake as well for another delicious texture. @For my garnish, shaved coconut and coconut mousse.

Tiffany: @I form the cakes and get those into the frying pan. @Laguna’s doing steamed fish cakes and I’m doing fried and I realize that neither of us are really following traditional fish cakes in Barbados. @But I know my flavors will demolish Laguna’s.

Laguna: @Tiffany’s dish looks like it’s a mess. @If I lose to Tiffany tonight, then that would honestly suck. @I think she’s not terribly good or bright, so beating her should be a cakewalk. @I think it’s going to be an all-male finale this season, and that’s awesome, given how only four guys even made it to the final twelve this time.

Colt: @Laguna is a wildcard, because he is strong, but inconsistent. @Tiffany is arguably stronger, but I think the finale will come down to Kenny and I. @That entire other match-up, that’s not the two strongest cooks. @My match-up, this is what the next round is going to look like.

Mariko: Time’s up!

Tiffany: @I feel great about my dish. @I know that I’m going to be the winner tonight. @Laguna’s fish cakes look boring.

Colt: @Kenny and I went head to head with desserts and I’m just hoping that the cassava pone came out better than his.

Mariko: Your judges are:

Aster Walker

Erwin Ko

Lauren Wilson

Mariko: Let’s start with the fish cakes by Tiffany and Laguna first!

Tiffany – green curry fish cakes with lime aioli and coleslaw

Laguna – banana leaf fish cakes, charred leek emulsion, chili-shallot vinaigrette

Erwin: The green curry fish cake, I question the usage of the salmon in there, but the flavors were really delicious. I loved that there was avocado there to cut the heat of the curry and the flavors worked.
Lauren: The banana leaf fish cakes were really authentic and reminded me of when I visited Thailand with my parents. The emulsion was… gross. Honestly, it was like smearable ash. I hated it.

Mariko: Who won this match-up?

Aster: The green curry cake. The flavors of it just worked a lot better.

Erwin: I agree with Aster.

Lauren: I third that statement.

Mariko: Well, then that means that Tiffany won this match-up and Laguna will have to cook again!

Erwin: Alright then.

Mariko: Now for the next dishes! It’s cassava pone, prepared by Colt and Kenny!

Colt – palm sugar cassava pone with coconut crumble

Kenny – cassava pone with coconut-elderflower gelato

Aster: The palm sugar in the cassava pone was delicious and I really enjoyed the coconut crumble that was paired with it. Both cakes had the perfect texture.

Lauren: The gelato actually worked a lot with this cake and I just was impressed that this cook had the time to prepare a completely foreign cake and make ice cream.

Mariko: So can we decide on a winner for this match-up?

Aster: I have to go with the coconut gelato paired cassava. It was delicious.

Erwin: I’m going to put my vote in for the palm sugar cassava pone, because I really enjoyed how the palm sugar elevated the cake and the cake was the star.

Lauren: I think that the same can be said with the addition of the gelato, which is why I’m casting my vote for the gelato-paired cassava pone.

Mariko: So it looks like Kenny won this match-up! And up for elimination would be Colt and Laguna!

Erwin: This is going to be an interesting cook off.

In walks Tiffany and Kenny.
Mariko: Tonight… the two of you won your match-ups, the elimination challenge, and you’re both through to the final round! Congratulations!

Kenny: Thank you! @Winning the elimination challenge felt amazing, because I cooked a dessert up against Colt and still come out on top! @Being able to compete for the title of Warrior Chef feels surreal and I’m still processing it.

Tiffany: @I knew I would win. @All of these fools doubted me, saying that I was stupid for choosing fish cakes and going up against Laguna. @But I knew that I was going to be the winner of that match-up. @Next stop, the very top.

The two leave.

In walks Colt and Laguna.

Mariko: Only one of you can join Kenny and Tiffany in the final round. For this last cook off, you guys will have 75 minutes to prepare conkies! And your time starts now!

Colt: @I’m still processing how Laguna and I both lost in our specialties. @But at the same time, I’m cooking for my life and that’s just terrifying. @To win Warrior Chef would be life changing because it validates my choices in wanting to become a pastry chef and putting football behind me. @For my dish, I’m making a sweet conkies with coconut, pumpkin, and raisins, and I’m serving that with a coconut-rum custard. @I got to win this challenge tonight, or else that’s it for me.

Laguna: @I’m pissed because Conkies are basically a cornmeal based thing that’s wrapped in a banana leaf. @Kind of too soon for me, since I’m here because of a banana leaf dish. @I’m going to make a savory conkies, in the fashion of a tamale, but I’m going to pair it with shrimp because that will be a great way to incorporate seafood in with the corn. @I just came back into the competition from a sudden death cook-off, and now I’m in another one to get into the final round. @I need to beat Colt tonight. @He’s my toughest competition, and getting rid of him right before the end is exactly how I plan on intimidating the rest of the competitors.

Tiffany: @I know that Colt is going to knock out Laguna. @There’s no way that Colt is going to be beaten by that surfer dude. @He’s way too strong of a competitor to lose like that. @I’m just thinking about what kind of dishes I’m going to make for the finale, since that’s coming up soon.

Kenny: @At this point, I’m stoked because I’ve won the most amount of challenges out of everyone here and it feels amazing. @I hope that Laguna can knock Colt out, because I can definitely take down Laguna in the finale, and if Colt is my sous-chef, he can make my team’s dessert.

Laguna: @I check on the shrimp and it’s overcooked. @I have to throw it. Fuck. I can’t use them. @Now I just have a corn conkies, and I’m not sure if that’s going to cut it at this point. @But time is winding down, so I decide to focus on making a dipping sauce using chilies, oil, onion, shallot, ginger, and garlic. @It might be my saving grace tonight.

Colt: @Laguna’s making a sauce for his conkies, and I’m already a step ahead of him in that case. @My coconut custard is in the fridge, thickening. @The conkies are in the steamer, and I go to check on them, cutting one open. Completely raw in the middle. Shit. @I put them back into the steamer, with just 5 minutes left on the clock. @I finally decide “screw it” and I open up the conkies, scoop them and fry them off in the deep frier. @I just got to get them cooked at this point.

Laguna: @The conkies, I unwrap mine and they are undercooked. Crap. Fuck. @Nothing is going to plan. @I want to deep fry mine, but Colt is already at the frier. @So I’m going to pan fry them in the leaves, just to help get some more heat and steam inside of them. @There’s nothing else I can do at this point.

Kenny: *to Tiffany* I can’t watch. @I’m too nervous at this point. @Both of them are struggling and I don’t know if either of them will finish on time.

Tiffany: *to Kenny* Don’t worry, boo. I’ll watch for both of us. @I don’t care which one of them goes home. @Just bring the other one to slaughter- I mean, the final round, with me. @It doesn’t matter who joins me. @Oh, and Kenny. @Forgot about him already.

Mariko: Time’s up!

Laguna: *to Colt* Good luck, man.

Colt: *to Laguna* If I lose, you better win it all.

Mariko: Alright, so here are the dishes!

Laguna – savory corn conkies with chili sauce

Colt – sweet potato and raisin conkies with coconut-rum custard

Lauren: Laguna’s conkies were cooked nicely and I really enjoyed the chili sauce that added a good amount of heat. It was a great bite.

Aster: Colt’s conkies, I was not sure how to feel at first. The texture was great and I loved the coconut and rum custard a lot. That made the dish pop for me.

Erwin: My biggest issue with Colt’s dish is that it was not entirely cooked in the banana leaves. However, Laguna made a tamale, essentially. Both dishes, they tasted good, so I’m at a loss at how to judge this.

Mariko: So can we decide on our last finalist?

Erwin: We can.

In walks Laguna and Colt.

Laguna: @The chance to be Warrior Chef is so close. @I really want to make it to the end and win the title. @Being cut now would suck so much.
Colt: @Laguna is one of the strongest cooks in the competition, so to lose to him, it would be an honor, but at the same time, I want to win the title badly. @That’s the priority here.

Mariko: Tonight, only one of you can advance to the final round with Kenny and Tiffany. The judges were split on how to vote for this match-up. It came down to taste and how closely both of you were to cooking conkies. Laguna…. please return to the kitchen and leave. Colt, congratulations! You’re through to the final round!

Laguna: *to Colt* You killed it. Congrats, bro.

Colt: *to Laguna* Thanks, man. I’m going to win it for you and everyone else.
Laguna: @Leaving Warrior Chef, I feel a bit annoyed. @I just got back into the competition and they’re kicking me off right away yet again. @I know that I can be a winner of this competition, but this season was not my time. @Maybe in another season, I’ll finally get to come back and be crowned the winner. @But for now, I wish Colt, Kenny, and Tiffany the best of luck. @It’s going to be an epic showdown.

Laguna leaves the kitchen.

Colt: @I’m still shaking because it was that close of a call. @I almost got sent home. @Tiffany and Kenny probably think that I’m going to be an easy target in the next round, but I’m determined to prove them wrong. @Bring it. @I will be Warrior Chef.

Warrior Chef 5: Round 6

Kaity: @Winning the last two challenges proves to everyone here that I am worthy of being in the competition and making it to the final five. @That finale is around the corner and I really want to win.

Mariko: Hi, everyone! So after this round, the finale will commence! This season, it’s going to be in Barbados! But first, your creativity challenge!

Colt: @Mariko’s standing next to a giant row of dirt, and I’m not quite sure what to expect. @I’m feeling a bit nervous.

Mariko: So for today’s creativity challenge, we want you to dig deep, literally, and make a dessert! Inside of this dirt patch are several root vegetables! One by one, you’ll each pull out a root! Let’s start with Kenny!

Kenny: @I reach in, and I pull out… potato. @Fuck me. @Potato and dessert? @This is a nightmare.

Tiffany: Carrot! @I knocked it out of the park. @I know what to do with a carrot.

Colt: Parsnip. @I can live with parsnip. @I think parsnips are a lot better to use than several other kinds of vegetables.

Kaity: Uh, I don’t know this one.

Mariko: That’s a lotus root.

Kaity: Oh. @Fuck me. @Lotus root?! @What the hell can I do with those?! @This is my nightmare. @It looks like a stick.

Laguna: I got turmeric. @I’m stoked. @Turmeric is the easiest thing to cook with, because it’s a spice! @I’m feeling great about that.

Mariko: So 40 minutes on the clock, and your time starts now!

Tiffany: @Boo, I’m going to nail this one. @My aunt Jennivieve makes the best carrot cake, and the best walnut pave, so I’m making carrot cake with brown butter-cream cheese ice cream, walnut pave, and a cinnamon-salted caramel gel. @I’m going to nail this challenge. @it’s mine to lose.

Kaity: @I’m tasting the burdock, and it’s very… mild. @It’s a tiny bit sweet, kind of like jicama maybe? @I decide to caramelize the burdock root in brown butter, and then I’m going to stuff that into a chicory coffee crepe with some Valrhona chocolate pastry cream, meringue, and hopefully that’ll be enough to keep me off the bottom tonight.

Laguna: @I’m making a turmeric and mango flan with puffed black rice and a coconut milk sorbet. @I’ve been on the bottom a lot recently, and I want to pull back and actually win a challenge, just to prove to everyone here that I’m not weak or on my way home. @I’m going to make it to the finale. @I swear on it.
Colt: @For my dish, I’m going to make a parsnip cake doughnut with creme de cacao infused crumble and orange-cream cheese ice cream. @I’m feeling good about the potential behind my dish, but I’m not sure how it’ll fare against some people who have these extravagant desserts that they’re pulling out of their asses.

Kenny: @Colt’s the biggest threat. @And I’m forced to make a dessert using a bloody potato. @But then I remember that people make mashed potato doughnuts all the time. @So I poke holes in it and microwave it. @Then I puree it with sugar, baking powder, ricotta cheese, eggs, vanilla, and a little flour to make zeppolis. @I also decide to fry slices of potatoes and make a potato chip brittle. @I’m going to make a lemon curd and thicken it with potato starch instead of cornstarch, just to have more components.

Mariko: Time’s up!

Tiffany: @I know my carrot cake recipe, boo. @Enough of this nonsense, just give me the win already.

Mariko: Your judge is pastry chef Frank Torres!
Frank: Hi, everyone! I cannot wait to sample your desserts!

Frank and Mariko taste the dishes.

Mariko: So Frank, how did they do?
Frank: Overall, it was a difficult challenge, but they did well with the curveballs. I had two favorites. Tiffany, your cake was delicious and the fact you made a walnut pave in 40 minutes showed a lot of technique. Laguna, the flan was gorgeous and the flavors were 100% there. Turmeric transformed that pudding.

Mariko: And who won?

Frank: It was definitely Laguna.

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

Laguna: Thank you! @The finale in Barbados is really close and I don’t want to lose out on the chance to get there. @Any advantage really counts at this point. @I want to prove that I have versatility and I think I nailed it. @To be Warrior Chef, it would mean that all of those hours in the kitchen will come to fruition here. @I really need the validation that I am a strong competitor.

Tiffany: @Okay, now you have GOT to be screwing with me. @At this point, I’ve been on top of the last three challenges and I haven’t won any of them. @This is some serious bullshit. @Why is my food not good enough to win? @I don’t get it.

Mariko: Now for the elimination challenge! We want see you guys prepare a dish worthy of the finale! Laguna, your advantage is that you get an additional 30 minutes, which start right now!

Laguna: @30 extra minutes is amazing. @I’m going to kick some major ass and dominate this round. @I’m making an olive oil cured salmon filet with salmon tartare, crispy salmon skin, and a lemon-salmon fumet. @I’m pretty confident about the dish because I have so much time to really get everything together.

Tiffany: @This fool is not going to beat me, honey. @I’m so determined to beat Laguna and send him packing, despite his advantage. @Ooh, he’s making me so mad right now. @I’m so going to make a salmon dish, just to spite him now.

Colt: @Tiffany is getting angry and I’m just trying not to laugh. @I don’t get why she’s taking Laguna’s advantage so personally. @It’s not like he is sabotaging her in any way, right? @She needs to relax and take a chill-pill.

Kenny: @I’m just using this time to think through my dish. @Laguna has an extra 30 minutes, but if he can’t use that time wisely, then he’s going to be eliminated regardless. @And he’s cooking fish, which does not take that much time to prepare, so I’m feeling like he might be a goner.

Laguna: @I manage to get the salmon filleted and the fumet and skin are going now. @And then I hear Mariko say…

Mariko: Everyone else, your time starts now!

Tiffany: @I’m going to make a southern styled salmon dish. @It’s going to be deep fried buttermilk salmon filet with an orange and asparagus salad and a leek butter sauce that I’m flavoring with the same herbs that you find in ranch dressing. @Laguna’s salmon dish is not going to beat mine tonight, boo. @This girl is going to nail it and make everyone come in second place to me.

Kenny: @I’m making steamed sea bass with a miso beurre blanc and lemon braised fiddlehead ferns. @I’m going to steam the bass with ginger, shallots, and garlic, just to give it a lot of flavor, and I’m going to make sure that the flavors of my dish stand out. @I feel like this final five is a strong group, and I don’t want to be the one who goes home before the finale. @Colt is still my biggest competitor, but I think I can take him down if it comes down to the two of us.
Colt: @Kenny is my strongest competition by far. @He’s been on point with every dish, and it’s intimidating. @But I need to focus on perfecting my own dishes, and then I’ll be fine. @For my dish tonight, I’m preparing bruleed peaches, goat milk panna cotta, peach-goat milk sorbet, and goat milk crumble. @I love peaches and I have memories of picking peaches off the tree in my grandma’s backyard, while also milking cows in my uncle’s farm, so I want to translate that memory into my dish tonight.

Kaity: @I want to take a risk tonight, so I’m going to go back to my Italian roots. @It’s a risk, because if I can’t properly execute Italian food, then I’m screwed. @I’m making port braised beef cheeks with creamy grana padano polenta and cheese crisp, as well as mostarda carrots and capers. @This competition has been amazing so far, and I really want to make it into the finale. @So far, the only female winners have been a beauty guru and a Hawaiian girl. @It’s about time for a strong female athlete to take the title.

Tiffany: @The reason why I’m a much stronger cook than the rest of them is that I cook my own food and I make it all about Tiffany.

Mariko: Time’s up!

Kenny: @I think I did the best job with cooking a good piece of fish. @The bass tasted great and I firmly believe that I did a better job than Tiffany or Laguna.

Colt: @I know that I captured the memory of my family in this dish, but that was not really the challenge, so maybe I got too much into my own head on this? @I’m worried that I got carried away and in the wrong way.

Kaity: @I think that the beef cheeks were delicious and they’re just the way my mother would prepare them, so I know I nailed those.

Mariko: Your judges are:

Max Hudson

Erwin Ko

Frank Torres

Mariko: Let’s start with Laguna’s dish!

-olive oil salmon filet with salmon tartare, crispy salmon skin, and lemon-salmon fumet

Max: The filet was cooked nicely but eating the dish together, I was completely lost. There were raw components, cooked components, a hot broth that cooked the raw component and made the skin soggy. This needed to be edited.

Erwin: I’m disappointed. Laguna’s seafood cookery is his biggest weapon, and instead of delivering on delicious seafood, he gave us this bizarre dish. The fumet ruined it for me. Had he omitted that, there could have been some hope for this.

Mariko: Next we have Kaity’s dish!

-braised beef cheek, grana padano polenta and fricco, mostarda carrots and capers

Frank: The braised beef cheeks were delicious and I loved the polenta and fricco, separately of that. The dish ate salty overall, because of the cheese and capers. I managed to finish it, but I needed water.

Erwin: She seasoned just a tad too aggressively with the cheese and the capers. I think she showed creativity, making a caper mostarda, but she needed more honey or sugar in there to balance it all.

Mariko: And now we have Kenny’s dish!

-steamed sea bass with miso beurre blanc and lemon braised fiddlehead ferns

Frank: Kenny cooked the bass perfectly. I really enjoyed the flakiness of it. The miso beurre blanc was nicely done, with a beautifully velvety texture and a good hit of umami. The ferns had a nice crunch and popped with acidity.

Max: Kenny’s dish was my favorite dish so far. He cooked a delicious piece of fish and the beurre blanc was the best sauce I’ve had between the three dishes we have had. That sauce made the dish something else for me. The usage of sake made it pop.

Mariko: And then we have Tiffany’s dish!

-fried buttermilk salmon with orange and asparagus salad and ranch-leek butter sauce

Erwin: This was an interesting concept. I really loved the texture of the deep fried salmon and her salad had a lot of acidity and crunchiness to it. The sauce, I was expecting to dislike it, but the flavors of the herbs worked so well.

Max: She nailed it with this dish. The salmon was cooked beautifully and the salad worked so well with the salmon and the sauce, and the sauce just tied it all together. Tiffany’s cooking has continued to impress throughout this season. Just well done.

Mariko: Lastly, we have Colt’s dessert!

-bruleed peaches, goat milk panna cotta, peach-goat milk sorbet, and goat milk crumble

Frank: I loved it. I just loved this dessert. The goat milk and peach combination just worked on so many levels and he nailed the panna cotta, the sorbet, and the crumble. The bruleed peaches were great as well, adding a nice texture.

Erwin: I have no criticisms for this. Colt delivered a perfect dessert and I just loved the combination of peaches and goat milk. Out of everything I have tasted, the goat milk and peach sorbet was by far my favorite.

Mariko: So can we decide on our finalists?

Erwin: We can.

In walks Tiffany, Kenny, and Colt.

Mariko: Tonight, the three of you were on top of the challenge, and one of you won!

Kenny: @I’m keeping my fingers crossed it’s me. @How epic would it be to have won the last challenge going into the finale? @I really hope I can do it.

Max: Kenny, you made a beautifully cooked bass and the sauce was one of our favorites. Tiffany, we were skeptical of the concept, but the flavors, it was a flavor bomb. We all loved it. And Colt. You have served a lot of desserts this season, but this one was by far our favorite from you.

Mariko: Frank, please announce the winner!

Frank: It was not an easy decision, but the person who made the best dessert was the same person who showed me some really incredible techniques. And that was Colt!

Mariko: Congratulations, Colt! You won the elimination challenge! And well done, Colt, Tiffany, and Kenny! The three of you have made it to the finale in Barbados and we will see you guys there!

Colt: Thank you. @I won the challenge and now it’s making me realize that I can genuinely win this competition. @Winning with a dish that translated so many childhood memories, it really made this particular dish and win my favorite so far. @I’m going into the finale ready to win everything.

Tiffany: @I’m glad to be in the finale, but being the bridesmaid four times in a row, I’m just going to flip a table and crush some bitch. @I can’t. @I really can’t.

Kenny: @I’m so excited to be in the finale! @Colt and I both won our rounds for the preliminaries, and we’re both going into the finale with Tiffany. @The three of us together, it’s going to be an epic clash of the titans, and I’m determined to prove that I’m the strongest cook here.

The top three leave.

In walks Kaity and Laguna.
Mariko: Unfortunately, the two of you are on the bottom and one of you will not be joining Tiffany, Kenny, and Colt in the finale.

Kaity: @At this point, I’m feeling nervous and sad. @Laguna and I have become really good friends in this competition and I wanted us to make it into the finale together. @But now, one of us is leaving, and I can’t afford for it to be me.

Laguna: @Kaity, I really am sad that it’s down to the two of us. @But at this point, whoever moves on needs to win it for the other person. @That’s just the way that the cookie crumbles.

Erwin: Kaity, the dish ate salty but we loved the usage of the capers. Laguna, the broth was good, but it caused two of your components to become unpleasant to eat.

Mariko: Laguna, please return to the kitchen and leave.

Kaity: No!

Laguna: *to Kaity* It’s all good. Congratulations. *hugs her* @It sucks to be eliminated right before the finale. @But I’m glad that Kaity was able to make it into the final four. @She’s a force to be reckoned with and I know she’s going to do well. @I had a blast in this competition. @That round where I won both challenges, it was definitely one of my favorites. @I’m going to leave Warrior Chef a proud, proud chef with my head held high.

Laguna leaves.

Mariko: Kaity, that means you made it into the final four, and you will be joining Tiffany, Colt, and Kenny in the finale!

Kaity: @It’s bittersweet. @I’m glad that I made it through, but seeing Laguna get sent home, when we planned to make it to the final two together, it really sucks. @I have to win it for the both of us now. @And I intend to do just that.

Warrior Chef Redemption: Round 7

Jo: @Seeing Amanda get sent home feels good. @She was really talented in my season, and I wasn’t expecting her to go home before me this time around. @It just makes my chances at winning that much higher.

Nate: @Phung and I are both pretty bummed that Amanda got eliminated. @This season just got a lot more Asian without her here.

Phung: @Everyone left is Asian. @It doesn’t matter though. @Regardless of race, they are all living in the Phung dynasty. @They are all under my dominion! @Muahaha!

Jessica: Tonight is the last round before our finale in San Francisco!
Tadashi: @This is deja vu. @My finale is was in San Francisco too, so it’s a very strange homecoming for me.

Kira: @I’m from San Francisco. @If I don’t make it to this finale, I will be extremely angry. @I need to win this.

Jessica: For this creativity challenge, immunity is off the table, but you will gain a huge advantage going into the elimination challenge! For the challenge, you have just 30 minutes to prepare a dish using… sour grapes!

Nate: @That’s just funny. @Sour grapes? @They definitely did that to spite us.

Jessica: You have just 30 minutes, starting now!

Phung: @I swept the last round, and I intend to do that again tonight. @I’m making sour grape mustard to go with chicken liver pate and puffed wild rice and sour grapes for texture. @I’m not going to lose this challenge, because I’m much better than everyone else here. @Nobody can or will beat me. @I’m the strongest cook because I do not use professional experience to get me far in the kitchen. @This is all personal experience, on my own time, on top of being in school and working part time at a hotel, not even a restaurant. @The fact that I’m this good, it’s a testament to how amazing I am.

Nate: @I’m making hot and sour egg-drop soup. @I’m blending up the sour grapes to make the base of my soup, and then I’m going to season it with hot sauce and rice wine to finish it off. @I’m feeling that this is my challenge to win tonight. @Nobody here can beat me when it comes to making an inventive dish. @This is the reason why I get on top of a lot of the creativity challenges. @It’s because my food is out of the box and I take risks that nobody expects.

Tadashi: @Sour grapes are like capers, so I’m going to treat them exactly like capers. @I’m preparing a tuna tartare with the sour grapes, and I’m thinking about infusing them with Mediterranean flavors, so I’m also going to make a balsamic-sour grape compote, sweetening it with honey, and then I’m going to top it with some homemade creme fraiche, which I’ll making by using sour grape brine, cream, a cheesecloth, and the sous-vide machine. @I’m determined to prove to everyone here that I deserve the title.

Kira: @I taste the grapes and they’re… sour. @I feel so dumb saying that, but they make my mouth pucker the moment I brush my tongue against them. Yuck. @It’s abrasive. @I’m chopping them up super fine, and I decide to make a gremolata using the grapes. @I’m going to take scallops, and make a crudo with those, the sour grape gremolata, and I’m thinking about what else I need. @I think to make a brown butter and sour grape brine foam, to add body and hopefully a creamier texture to the dish. @And to add a crunchy element, I’m going to tempura-fry the sour grapes, and then grate frozen scallop roe over those to season them.

Jo: @I taste the sour grapes and I love them. @I decide to make a lemon vinaigrette and I’m making a sour grape salad with some crispy cilantro chicken. @I see the other dishes, and Kira and Tadashi are doing raw dishes, Phung is making some weird pate dish, and Nate’s doing something Chinese. @I’m feeling like they aren’t pushing themselves. @My dish will be more composed and complete than theirs. @Being so close to the finale last time, I want to win it this time. @Out of the remaining people from my season, I got the furthest, and I intend to do that again.

Jessica: Time’s up! Step away from your dishes!
Phung: @I know I did well on this one. @Nobody else is going to make a pate in this amount of time, but because I’m just that amazing, I can do shit like this and get away with it every single time.

Jo: @Phung’s smug per usual but I’m going to beat her because she’s too cocky. @If Phung wins Warrior Chef, then hell will burn over the Earth.

Jessica: Your judge for this is Chelia Van Buren!

Chelia: Hello, everyone! I’m excited to see if you guys managed to transform sour grapes into something more desirable.

Chelia and Jessica taste the dishes.
Jessica: So Chelia, how did everyone do?

Chelia: So there was one dish that was really bad. Jo, your dish was inedibly sour. I wanted to spit out the salad the moment I put that in my mouth.

Jo: @Chelia is full of bullshit and she’s just a hater. @I don’t believe for a second that my dish was the worst.

Jessica: And Chelia, who impressed you the most tonight?

Chelia: Kira, the scallops were delicious and I loved the foam, which I’m surprised to even say, given how… boring foams normally are to me. The sour grapes made your dish exciting. Tadashi, making creme fraiche from scratch using the sour grape brine was brilliant. It curdled the cream and made it into a smooth and velvety texture. And your tartare was delicious as well. Phung, you made pate in so little time, and it was perfection. You balanced your flavors perfectly.

Kira: @I want to win, but I think it might go to Tadashi, because he made something genuinely new.

Jessica: Chelia, who won?

Chelia: The best dish was prepared by… Tadashi! That creme fraiche was brilliant.

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

Tadashi: Thank you! @Winning the challenge felt great. @So far, I’ve managed to avoid being on the bottom this season, and I really want to keep that streak going.

Kira: @At this point, only Tadashi and I have avoided being on the bottom. @I genuinely think that the two of us will be the final two. @We keep trading wins back and forth, so it’s going to be a clash of the titans if it’s down to us.

Jessica: So for the elimination challenge, we want to see what you guys can prepare using… chicken! You will have 1 hour to prepare a dish using a cut of chicken. Tadashi, your advantage is that you get to assign each cook their cut! We have breast, thigh, wing, drumstick, and oysters to choose from!
Tadashi: @The breast is honestly the most boring piece of chicken to cook with, so I’m thinking about assigning to that the person I want to send home the most. Jo’s getting the breasts. @He doesn’t deserve to be a finalist.

Jo: @Chicken breasts, I know how to cook those. @I’m feeling good that this is my opportunity to really showcase my talents.

Tadashi: I’m giving the drumsticks to…. Phung. @Drumsticks are large, unwieldy, inelegant, so giving them to Phung, I’m hoping that she will know what to do with them.

Phung: Thank you, thank you. @I’m already stoked. @I love a good drumstick.

Tadashi: Nate, you will get the wings. @Wings are basically like drumsticks in that same exact way. @It’s not exactly the best cut to make a refined dish out of.

Nate: @Tadashi might see me as a threat, but the wings will not be my downfall. @I know how to make chicken drumettes, so I’m going to do that with these.

Tadashi: @The oysters and thighs are easily the best two parts. @Kira is my strongest competitor, and I want to make it to the end with her, because I want to win the title going against the best of the best. I’m going to give Kira the thighs. @The oysters are trickier, but if I nail those, then it will show a lot more skill than the thighs.

Kira: Thanks. @I love chicken thighs, and this is going to be great. @I’m feeling like this is my chance to shine.

Jessica: 1 hour to make a dish using your assigned chicken parts, time starts now!

Kira: @I have the chicken thighs. @I’m going to make thighs two ways: mushroom and ground chicken thigh ragout with stuffed-roasted thigh, ricotta gnudi, and brown butter sauce. @I’m feeling great about having chicken thighs, because they lend themselves naturally to being the center of a dish, and you don’t need to fabricate more out of them.

Tadashi: @Chicken oysters are something I’m feeling great about. @I’m making a pakora fried chicken oyster with poached cucumber, fennel-za’atar yogurt, and chicken skin tuile. @It’s a dish inspired by Annisa in New York, and I know it will work. @Working in Michelin starred restaurants, it just means that you need to put your head down and focus. @I’m not letting any emotions get to me at this point. @I’m thinking about my dish, and only my dish.

Phung: @I love the drumsticks, and I decide to make Korean fried chicken with a cabbage slaw. @I’m going to make an authentic Korean fried chicken, using cornstarch and rice flour to coat the chicken, and I’m dunking the wings in a mixture of soy, garlic, sesame oil, sesame seeds, and chili paste to get it nice and fiery hot. @My slaw, I’m going to season it with sesame oil, black pepper, and lemon juice. @I’m keeping it real, because that’s all I do, bitches. @Tadashi thinks Kira’s his biggest competitor, but he’s stupid. @I’m his biggest competitor, bitch. @I’ve won seven challenges at this point, because I’m that good. @I’m going to be Warrior Chef this time, I swear upon it.

Jo: @I have the chicken breasts, and I’m going to make braised chicken breasts in soy and ginger with spiced peanuts and noodles in a chicken broth. @Tadashi assigned me the breasts thinking that I would trip up on them, but instead, I’m going to excel because chicken is my specialty and I know how to make delicious chicken. @I decide to take the tenders of the breast because they keep falling off anyways, and I’m going to make fried chicken with those to top my dish off with.

Nate: @I have the wing meat. @This… really sucks. @I do not want to have the wing meat, but I’m going to make ponzu and sesame drumettes with pickled raisins and shaved bok choy salad. @I’m going to drop the drumettes into the deep frier and it will work wonders on the exterior of the chicken. @I see the other competitors, and Jo is braising chicken breast. @That’s going to be cat food at the end of the hour. @I’m feeling like it might be my season to get in the finale!

Phung: All you bitches better watch the fuck out! Phung is going to unleash her wrath onto all of y’alls!

Kira: @She’s being crazy, per usual. @There’s no changing people sometimes. @At this point, I’m focusing on getting my gnudi piped and blanched. @Getting distracted by Phung’s antics, that’s honestly what tripped me up last season. @I got too focused on other people that I did not focus on my own food. @I want the title so badly. @Being so close last season, and just barely losing it to Lauren, it was hard. @I want redemption.

Nate: @I’m so close to the finale that I want to be there. @We’ve come so far, but I’m positive that I can win the competition. @I’ve done well to get this far, and it’s still anybody’s game.

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

Tadashi: @I’m glad with my choices in this challenge. @I like the look of my dish, and I see the other dishes, and I think I won on the plating aspect for sure.

Jessica: Your judges are:
Ashlee Pou

Talia Garrett

Sophia Pham

Jessica: Let’s start with Tadashi’s dish first!

-pakora fried chicken oyster, poached cucumber, za’atar yogurt, chicken skin tuile

Sophia: Babes, I loved the chicken oyster. Baring the fact that Tadashi is really hot, I think his dish was a bang-on success.
Ashlee: Babes, I totally agree with you, even though we are older and that is technically barely legal, babes. The chicken skin tuile, babes, it was spot-on, on-point, it just smashed it out of the park for me. I loved the poached cucumber, even though it resembled the Hulk’s penis.

Talia: Well, besides that fact that Ashlee’s comment killed my appetite, I really liked the usage of the chicken oyster. The pakora batter was awesome and I think his entire approach was very unique.

Jessica: And now we have Kira’s dish!

-mushroom-chicken thigh ragout, stuffed-roasted thigh, ricotta gnudi, brown butter

Talia: The ragout was delicious and hearty and I loved the thigh. The gnudi was expertly made and the sauce was great as well. Overall, she did a lot and it all worked!

Ashlee: Babes, you can tell that this girl has some serious chops in the kitchen. If I was going up against this, I would be sweating, babes. She nailed it.

Sophia: Babes, I totally agree with you. The gnudi was fluffy and light, the sauce, you can drink it all up. The mushroom ragout was great, it was all great. I hate my cooking because it’s not at this level.

Jessica: And now we have Nate’s dish!

-ponzu and sesame drumettes with pickled raisins and shaved bok choy salad

Ashlee: *spits out the raisins* Babes, just ew. I don’t want to think about those anymore. They are disgusting. Just yuck. My dogs eat better than those raisins.

Sophia: Chicken was cooked nicely but the rest of the dish was bad. I could have honestly packaged it and sold it as commercial rat poison.

Talia: I would not say it’s commercial rat poison, but the raisins were very sour to the point of making my eyes twitch. The chicken was delicious, but nothing else worked.

Jessica: This next dish was made by Jo!

-soy-ginger braised chicken breasts, spiced peanuts, noodles, broth, tenders

Talia: The breasts were soggy, and that was not a pleasant mouthfeel. In terms of seasoning, he did a great job overall. It was just that texture I did not care for.

Ashlee: Babes, I made much better fried chicken in my signature dish, so I think he failed epically. He tried to make Asian food for the queens of Asian food, and he failed. He may be banished from my court now.
Sophia: Babes, it was such an epic fail, that braised chicken breast. I felt like I was chewing on a sponge. It was unpleasant, but I forced myself to swallow it because if I vomit up any more gross food from these cooks, I may become bulimic.

Jessica: And finally, Phung’s dish!

-Korean fried chicken with cabbage slaw

Sophia: Babes, she nailed the chicken, but just a chicken and slaw dish in an hour? Babes, I’m not feeling it.

Ashlee: She’s not cooking for the finale, babes. She’s cooking to play it safe, and that’s not cool, babes. She needs to step it up, babes, or else she will be going home.

Talia: The chicken was cooked nicely and the slaw was delicious, but I think she failed to show ambition. She could have done at least one more thing here.

Jessica: So can we agree on who is going through to the finale, and who is going home for the second time?
Sophia: Bring out the guillotine. It’s time to execute somebody.

In walks Tadashi and Kira.

Jessica: Tonight… the two of you made the best two dishes, both of you are going into the finale, and one of you won the overall challenge!

Tadashi: Awesome! @I played my advantage well, and now I’m going to be in the final four! @This feels great.

Kira: @Tadashi is a strong competitor and now we are both moving into the next stage of the competition. @I’m ready for this.

Jessica: Ashlee, please announce the winner.

Ashlee: Sophia wanted Tadashi to win because we all unanimously agreed he’s hot. But this is not a male beauty pageant. It’s a cooking competition. Kira, you just blew it out the water, babes. You win.

Jessica: Congratulations, Kira! You won the elimination challenge! The two of you are safe and can return to the kitchen.

Kira: Thank you! @Winning against Tadashi feels great, but at the same time, I’m curious who is going to be in the finale with us. @There’s still two more spots. @Depending on who stays, that will determine how hard the finale is going to be.

Kira and Tadashi leave.

In walks Nate, Phung, and Jo.

Jessica: Tonight. one of you is going home, just before the finale.

Sophia: Babes, Nate, your dish had phenomenal chicken. But your raisins were terrible and all bok choy should file to a restraining order against you for the violation you committed towards it in that dish.

Nate: @I’m not quite sure how to gauge Sophia’s comments, because they’re scathingly harsh. @I might be going home tonight?

Ashlee: Jo, your chicken pissed me off. The breasts were like cereal that was left in milk for 24 hours. It was gross.

Jo: @Ashlee’s a bitch, so I’m ignoring her. @Talia’s salty because I beat her in my original season, and she wants to put me on the bottom to spite me.

Talia: Phung, we felt like you were lazy tonight. It’s a spot in the finale and you hardly pushed yourself.

Phung: Shut the fuck up, I totally did push myself. I’m not going to be eliminated tonight, because at the end of the day, I’m better than these boobs.

Jessica: One of you is going to be sent home right before the finale. Phung… you are safe. But we do want to see more out of you.

Phung: Whatever. Like I fucking give a shit.

Jessica: Jo, Nate, one of you is going home. And the person leaving the competition tonight is…. Nate. Please return to the kitchen and leave.

Phung: @Nate gets sent home, and I’m ready to hold the door for him. *to Nate* Bye! Don’t get salmonella from your gross chicken dish!

Nate: @I’m pissed. @I think I’m a stronger cook than Phung and Jo. @Being sent home twice before the finale, it’s stupid. @I’m angry, because I deserved to be in the finale this time. @It’s aggravating, but I guess it was not in the cards for me.

Jessica: Jo, Phung, the two of you will be in the finale! Congratulations!

Phung: @Was there ever a doubt? @I’m not going to be sent home this season. @I’m much stronger than everyone else here!

Jo: @Phung’s arrogance will be what sends her home. @You saw it with Amanda and her hubris, and that will be Phung’s downfall.

Warrior Chef 5: Round 5

Jeanne: @I’m walking in thinking that this is going to be my night. @I’m almost at the finale, and I’m ready to take these morons down.

Kaity: @In the last elimination, I was on top and it felt so good to be recognized for my passion. @I want to keep trying my best, because I would love to be taken seriously in this competition. @I’m here to win. @Bottom line.

Mariko: Hi, everyone! So for today’s creativity challenge, you will be utilizing leftovers from a Thanksgiving feast to make an inventive dish! You have just 30 minutes, and your time starts… now!

Colt: @I hear Thanksgiving leftovers, and I know right away where I’m going. @I grab the pumpkin pie. @I’m going to scoop out that filling and make a pumpkin pie ice cream with gingerbread-cider cake, brown butter caramel, and sage-cranberry compote. @I think I have a decent shot at winning this challenge because I’m so used to repurposing leftovers all the time.

Tiffany: @There’s six of us left at this point, and I’m feeling good about the fact I just swept the last round. @I’m going to do that again tonight. @I’m preparing a cheesesteak panini using the roast beef, and then I’m also grabbing the roasted veggies, and blending them together into a roasted vegetable soup. @30 minutes is a lot of time to do good things with leftovers. @I’m feeling great.

Jeanne: @Colt is my biggest competition by far. @Tiffany, she’s weak. @She’s been coasting and skating and I don’t see her as a serious threat. @For my dish tonight, I’m going to prepare a Caesar salad gazpacho, blending up the Caesar salad with lemon juice and green grapes, which I know will work together with everything. @I’m thinking about my garnish for this, and I decide on slicing up the roast beef into thin sheets using the deli slicer, and treating it like a sort of vitello tonnato. @I think it’ll work brilliantly.

Kaity: @I need to make sure that my dish is awesome, so I want to focus on developing the flavors. @I’m making a barbecue sauce, using the turkey leg bones as the base. @I’m going to pull apart the leg meat and let that soak up the sauce. @My dish is a pulled turkey panini with tempura-fried green beans and a spicy cranberry chutney. @I see that Jeanne’s making a gazpacho using Caesar salad, and honestly, that’s brilliant, and I’m jealous that I didn’t think of doing that myself. @At this point, I just need to make sure that my flavors are on point, or else I won’t even be in the top three.

Kenny: @I think making a soup is the smartest thing, but I decide not to go that route. @I’m grabbing the potato salad, and I’m making croquettes. @For my sauce, I’m combining the cranberry sauce with red wine. @For the croquettes, I’m dicing up some of the roast beef and folding and some of the peas that into the mixture, just to make it all work together. @Out of everyone here, the strongest cook is probably Colt. @I see him as my biggest competitor, and I want to take him down.

Laguna: @I don’t know where I stand against everyone else anymore. @I honestly feel like I’ve been on this downward spiral, and I need to snap myself out of it, or else I’m gone next. @For my dish, I need to do something unique. @I grab the roast beef, and I’m going to make a roast beef ravioli with a Caesar salad gremolata and a red wine butter sauce with some pickled cranberries. @I’m taking a risk making pasta from scratch in 30 minutes, but if I nail it, then I definitely have a shot at being on top.

Mariko: Time’s up!

Tiffany: @I step back from my plate, and it looks fly as hell! @But then I see that Kaity also made a panini. @What the hell!

Kaity: @Tiffany and I both went the sandwich route. @That’s a bit of a surprise, but may the better sandwich win.

Mariko: Your judge is house critic and home cook turned domestic goddess and television cook, Thyme De Lys!

Thyme: Hi, everyone!

Kenny: @She’s the queen of making the ordinary extraordinary. @I’m in awe of just being in the same room as her.

Thyme and Mariko taste the dishes.

Mariko: So Thyme, how did they do?

Thyme: Overall, everyone did a good job. There were varying levels of complexity with the dishes, but I’ll just hop right into it. I had four favorites. Colt, you made the only dessert, and it was a great dessert. I loved the pumpkin pie ice cream a lot. The cake was delicious and you showed a lot of originality. Kaity, the sandwich was delicious and tempura-frying the green beans from the casserole was an amazing transformation of the ingredient. Tiffany, you also made a wonderful panini and I liked your approach, making the soup. And finally… Jeanne. On a creativity basis, you blew it out of the water. I would never have thought to make a gazpacho. It was a bit underseasoned for me, but the idea was great. Well done.

Jeanne: @This is only my second time ever being on top, but it feels good. @I hope she picks my dish.

Mariko: And the winner?

Thyme: Four amazing dishes, but the best one was prepared by… Kaity.

Mariko: Congratulations, Kaity! You won immunity and a huge advantage going into the elimination challenge!

Kaity: That’s awesome! @Winning my first individual challenge feels great! @I’m proving to everyone here that I’m not just here to go home empty-handed.

Mariko: And now it’s time for the elimination challenge! Tonight, you will be cooking for some really special guests.
In walks Vanilla Cuylenberg, Vin Rugnetta, Lauren Wilson, and Tadashi Hamilton, all four Warrior Chef winners.

Colt: Holy fuck! @Four champions are going to be tasting our dishes. @I’m feeling terrified right now. @The thought of cooking for Tadashi, who I adore and idolize, it’s a scary thought. @The last time I cooked for any of them, I cooked for Lauren and Vin and I won the challenge. @Hopefully I can do that again.

Jeanne: @I’m feeling pretty confident. @I got the highest score of this season being judged by them. @I know that I’m a good cook and that I’m going to win this challenge already. @They don’t know what hit them.

Mariko: So in teams of three, you’ll have to prepare a four-course meal inspired by these four winners. Kaity, you won the last challenge, so your advantage is that you get to decide the teams.

Kaity: @I know that everyone thinks I want to pick Laguna. @But I have immunity, and if we are on the losing team, he has a 50% chance of going home. @I do not want to put him at those odds. @So I decide to target two of the stronger cooks. I’m going to choose Tiffany and Kenny. @Tiffany’s been strong from the get-go, but sort of like a dark horse. @I think if I can kick her off before she hits finally her stride, then I’m knocking out a major potential threat. @Kenny has always done well, so if he goes home, then that would not be a bad thing for me.

Kenny: @I’m surprised she chose us and not Laguna. @I wonder how he’s feeling right now. @He must be pretty hurt.

Laguna: @I’m shocked that Kaity didn’t choose me to be on her team. @I’m curious what her rationale was behind that. @We did so well together before, and I don’t get why she wouldn’t pick me.

Mariko: So four courses, three people, each course must be inspired by a previous winner. You guys will have 75 minutes to prepare your dishes, and your time starts now!

Kaity: *to Kenny and Tiffany* Alright, what are you guys thinking?

Kenny: For Vin, he loves curry, so we have to do a curry. Vanilla bakes, so a dessert for her. Lauren’s from Hawaii, so maybe a luau type of dish? And something Japanese or seafood based for Tadashi.

Tiffany: I can handle the seafood and the luau. I love those.

Kenny: I can work on the curry for Vin then.

Kaity: I don’t mind doing the dessert. @So for our four course menu, we have curried mussels with crusty bread for Vin, kahlua pork with cabbage and apple slaw for Lauren, deep fried black cod filets with a soy-ginger vinaigrette for Tadashi, and for the dessert, an apple-vanilla sabayon with brown butter ice cream, poached apples, and candied pecans for Vanilla.

Kenny: @I have to spend a lot of my time making the crusty na’an bread for the curry dish, and then on top of that, de-bearding all of the mussels. @It’s going to be a process. @To make the na’an bread crusty, I’m going to parboil my dough, like a bagel, and then deep fry it to finish. @It’s not the traditional way to cook it, but I think it’ll really be delicious. @It’s a huge honor cooking for previous winners, and Vin in particular. @He’s the first gay and first male winner, and I really look up to him. @I want to make this dish perfect, just for him.

Tiffany: @I’m making the two entrees, and I’m fine with that. @I know my flavors are on point, and that I can execute anything and everything handed to me well.

Colt: @I’m working with Laguna and Jeanne, and that’s pretty awesome because both of them have restaurant experience. @For our first course, we’re making grilled scallops with fava hummus and olive oil foam for Tadashi. @Jeanne’s handling that. @For the second course, it’s for Vin, and it’s Singaporean chili lobster with a lime-coconut butter sauce, made by Laguna. @For the third course, it’s made by both me and Laguna for Lauren, and it’s roasted pork belly with a crab and mango salad. @For my dessert for Vanilla, it’s going to be a peach crumble with violet ice cream and honey brittle.

Jeanne: @I’m stoked to be working on the dish for Tadashi. @He got the highest signature dish score in his season, and I did that too in mine, so I know we have that connection going on. @The scallops, I’m going to lightly kiss them with the grill to get that caramelization and smokiness on there.

Laguna: @Right now, I’m feeling good about my team, because Colt’s solid, and Jeanne, when she does well, she dominates. @I’m stoked to be working on the crab and mango salad and the lobster for the curry dish. @I know I can rock it out on seafood, so we’ve got this one in the bag.

Colt: @Being from Kansas, yeah, I know how to cook pork and cook it well. @I’m feeling great about the pork belly because I’m planning to get that roasting in then oven until the skin gets super crispy. @For the dessert, I’ve got the peaches into the oven, and then start on my streusel. @I’m using butter, panko, milk powder, sugar, and bourbon to make it really crunchy and buttery. @The violet ice cream, I steep the flowers in the milk and that’ll get churned into ice cream. @I’m feeling good!

Kenny: @Kaity and I are working on our individual dishes, and Tiffany’s got her two dishes that she feels confident on doing. @I’m nervous leaving half the menu to Tiffany, but she is a strong competitor, and Kaity’s got immunity, so if we lose, Tiffany’s probably going home tonight.

Tiffany: @I know that doing two dishes when one of you two teammates have immunity, it’s risky. @But boo, I’m going to do just fine. @My two dishes are going to win this challenge for my teammates! @I can feel it!

Jeanne: @Tiffany’s doing two dishes on her own tonight, and I think that’s dumb. @Our team, we distributed the work smartly. @We have two people working on three dishes, and then me doing my own thing. @If either of Tiffany’s dishes suck, then she’s going home on her team, most likely. @I don’t think she belongs here.

Mariko: Time’s up!

Kaity: @I step back, and I love how our three dishes came out. @I honestly think our team had the better meal.

Laguna: @I see what we’ve got and I think we did a good job. @I see Tiffany’s dishes, and they’re sloppy. @She’s a goner.

Tiffany: @Everyone thinks I’m going home, but fuck them. @I’m here to stay, bitches.

Mariko: Your judges are:

Tadashi Hamilton

Lauren Wilson

Vin Rugnetta

Vanilla Cuylenberg

Mariko: Here’s the first two courses! Jeanne’s is inspired by Tadashi, and Kenny’s is inspired by Vin!

Kenny – curried mussels with crusty na’an bread

Jeanne – grilled scallops with fava hummus and olive oil foam

Vin: Well, besides the fact that Kenny thinks I’m curried and crusty, I felt like the dish was delicious. The mussels were cooked nicely and I loved the spice blend. The bread, that was genius.

Tadashi: I thought that Jeanne cooked the scallops well and I liked the flavor of her hummus. The components together, though, it was acrid from the grill and greasy from that foam. It was unpleasant.

Lauren: The na’an bread was innovative, the way he chose to prepare this. He managed to make a crust on it, but it was not unpleasant to bite around. The mussels, I loved that broth with the curry running through it.

Mariko: And next we have Tiffany’s dish for Lauren and Laguna’s for Vin!

Tiffany – kahlua pork with cabbage and apple slaw

Laguna – Singaporean chili lobster with lime-coconut butter sauce

Lauren: The pork dish was delicious. It took me back home to Honolulu, for sure. The cabbage slaw was delicious. Overall, she nailed the flavors, but I do question her creativity and her presentation, which were both on the lacking side.

Vin: Laguna cooked that lobster beautifully and I liked the chilies. The lime-coconut butter sauce was a little… greasy. I’m not sure if this team just likes making good seafood with greasy garnishes, but that’s the second time now.

Vanilla: I agree with Vin on that. The seafood has been impeccably cooked, but the amount of oil and butter, you can taste that and it’s not something you want to be thinking about when you’re eating a meal.

Mariko: And our third courses are here! Tiffany prepared a dish for Tadashi, and Laguna and Colt together prepared a dish for Lauren!

Tiffany – deep fried black cod filets with soy-ginger vinaigrette

Laguna and Colt – roasted pork belly with crab and mango salad

Tadashi: Tiffany’s cod was… phenomenal. I was hesitant because she deep fried it, but she did it in the style of tempura, and she marinated it in the miso and that was delicious. Her salad was nice too. Overall, she put up a solid dish.

Lauren: Laguna and Colt’s pork belly dish…. it was my favorite of the night. Honestly, the pork belly was delicious with perfectly crackled skin, and that salad was phenomenal. I can’t say enough good things about this. I’m honored they represented me with this.

Vanilla: So far, this is the only round where we got two good dishes from both teams. That being said, the pork belly was my preference as well. That pork was delicious and the salad made a lot of sense. It was an excellent surf and turf.

Mariko: And for our desserts, we have Kaity and Colt, who both prepared desserts inspired by Vanilla!

Kaity – apple-vanilla sabayon, brown butter ice cream, poached apples, candied pecans

Colt – peach crumble with violet ice cream and honey brittle

Vanilla: Well, funny that both of them made desserts for me. I felt that Kaity’s was delicious and surprising. I didn’t expect to like the dessert she presented, because it was a poached apple with garnishes, but it was delicious and I loved the texture of the apples against that sabayon, and the crunchy pecans and the ice cream.

Vin: Colt’s crumble, I loved that streusel. It was divine. For the brittle, it made the dessert too sweet. The violet ice cream, I did not necessarily taste the violet, so to me, that was a miss.

Lauren: I didn’t dislike the dessert Colt put up, but I just loved the one Kaity prepared more. Kaity’s dessert was my favorite by far. She showed us why poached apples and pears are still a thing.

Mariko: So can we decide on a winning team?

Lauren: We can.

In walks Kenny, Kaity, and Tiffany.

Mariko: Tonight, the three of you are on the winning team, and two of you won the challenge overall!

Tiffany: @I’m expecting one of those two to be me, because I pulled the weight on my team. @They know I helped them hardcore.

Kaity: @Being on the winning team is exciting but I don’t know if my dessert was enough to win the whole challenge. @If I could sweep the round, I’d be so amazed!

Mariko: Tadashi, please announce the winners!

TadashI: Overall, two of your dishes really clinched the win for your team. And those two dishes were… the mussels and the dessert!

Mariko: Congratulations, Kenny and Kaity! The two of you won the challenge!

Kaity: Thank you! @Being able to sweep my first round shows that I’m not Laguna’s follower. @I am a talented cook and I am here to win.

Kenny: @To be honest, I didn’t expect to work well with Kaity because she seems to only ever want to work with Laguna, but I’m really glad we managed to put our differences aside to win this challenge together. @And knowing that my dish, inspired by Vin, won, it feels incredible. @This is the best thing to happen in this season so far.
Tiffany: @Okay, this is some bullshit. @I don’t win the challenge even though I’m on the winning team? @Well, why I never!

The three leave.

In walks Laguna, Jeanne, and Colt.

Mariko: Tonight, the three of you are on the bottom and one of you is going home.

Tadashi: Jeanne, the scallops were cooked nicely but the olive oil was off-putting.

Lauren: Colt and Laguna, you guys made the best dish of the night, but the rest of your dishes collectively put you on the bottom.

Colt: @Hearing that, it makes me think we might be safe.

Laguna: @Jeanne’s a goner. @They disliked her one dish. @At least with Colt and I, we made a great dish and then a mediocre one each.

Mariko: Jeanne, please leave the kitchen.

Jeanne: Thank you. @I’m feeling pissed, robbed, gutted, all of the above. @This is ridiculous. @I’m so angry, because I deserved to go a lot further in the competition than this. @I’m not going to beat myself up too much about it. @I just need to sleep it off. @I know that I’m going to be one of best chefs in America one day. @I just have to keep pushing myself.

Warrior Chef Redemption: Round 6

Tadashi: @I feel good about winning the last elimination challenge, but going into this round, I don’t know what to expect. @Phung was on the bottom of the last challenge because she didn’t bother cooking. @That’s honestly not a good habit to have, because every challenge should be an opportunity to keep improving and practicing under these high-stress situations.

Phung: @I’m going to win this round. @I can sense it. @My Phung senses are tingling. @I’m not going to win just one challenge. @I’m winning both. @And when my Phung senses are tingling, that means that I’m going to be 100% correct.

Jessica: Welcome back! So for tonight’s creativity challenge, we want to see you guys prepare a delicious… deep-fried dish.

Amanda: @I hear the words deep-fried, and I’m just worried. @Frier oil is tricky to work with, and we only have one deep frier in the kitchen, and I do not want to fight over it if I do not have to.

Jessica: Immunity is off the table from this point on. However, the winner will receive $2,500! You have just 25 minutes to prepare your dishes, time starts now!

Tadashi: @I immediately think about tempura, and that’s just what I’m going to do tonight. @I’m making a tempura of shiso leaves with hondashi and some fried uni and geoduck as well. @After winning the last elimination challenge, I want to keep that momentum going and stay on top for as many challenges as possible.

Amanda: @At this point, everyone left except for Nate has made the finale before. @Everyone except for Jo is a strong competitor, so making it back to the final three for me, it’s going to be a major challenge. @For my dish tonight, I’m going with fried liver and onions with a lemon-caper cream. @I think it’s a clever play on an American classic, and it’ll deliver on flavor.

Kira: @Amanda’s big competition, for sure. @Out of everyone left in her season, she got the furthest, and she’s been really strong. @I’m thinking about deep fried foods, and immediately, I think about fries. @But I can’t just make fries on their own. @I decide to prepare pomme souffles with a haddock bagna cauda to play off of fish and chips. @Pomme souffles are puffed up potato chips, generally made  by pressing together two slices of potato. @I think it’ll be interesting and a lot more technically challenging.

Phung: @I’m in love with this challenge. @I’m making confit potatoes with confit pork belly and fried oysters, all with a spicy tomato relish. @I’m used to using oil. @I see that Kira and Tadashi are both going for the deep fryer, so I’m going to use the oil in a pot on my own station instead. @I’m going to win this one. @I know I’m going to win, because for some goddam reason, I always win challenges with weird, ghetto influences on them this season.

Nate: @I’m somewhat stoked about this challenge. @Being a former fat kid, I used to love shoving fries into my face. @I decide to prepare fried asparagus to go over an asparagus soup, and then for fun, I’m also breading and deep frying a soft boiled egg. @I’m going to garnish the dish with parmesan-truffle fricco. @I’m not going to let the deep frying portion of the challenge outweigh my fine-dining style of plating.
Jo: @I’m going to make fries with balsamic-onion ketchup. @I’m cooking my fries three times to make sure that they are perfect, and I’m tossing them in garlic, parsley, and cheese to finish them off. @Out of everyone here, I think that Amanda’s going to be the one going home next. @She’s much weaker than the rest of us.

Amanda: @I honestly don’t get Jo’s deal. @He keeps saying that I’m weak, but he’s been on the bottom of almost everything. @I don’t get why he insists that I’m the one going home tonight.

Nate: @Jo picks on Amanda a lot, and I think that’s just showing how…. immature he can be. @But Amanda should also just ignore him. @She’s better than that.

Tadashi: @Seeing how the other competitors interact, it’s interesting. @Since I’ve been the only one left from my original season for a while, I’ve been focusing entirely on the food. @But Jo, Nate, and Amanda, those three are like children, and it’s not okay in any kitchen. @They just bicker, and that will affect their dishes’ quality.

Jessica: Time’s up!

Phung: I crushed this bitch! @I know I won. @Hands down, I won. @My pork belly, it tasted bomb as fuuuuuck.

Jessica: Your judge for this challenge is house critic, Guy Flannigan!

Guy: Hi, everyone! I’m stoked to be judging this challenge, because I love pub food.
Jessica and Guy taste the dishes.

Jessica: So Guy, how did they do overall?
Guy: Nobody really disappointed tonight. For my favorite dishes, I had three. Nate, you made a beautiful dish but still held true to the challenge. I loved the soup and the flavors worked together. Kira, the dish was clever, and it was simple, yet really well executed. I loved the pomme souffles a lot. And finally, Phung. Your confit potatoes and pork belly were excellent, while the oysters were well fried, and the tomato relish tied it all together. I was impressed.

Jessica: And who won?

Guy: Three incredible dishes, but the best was made by… Phung. That pork belly, I will be dreaming of it tonight, the way the skin crunched and the fat melted in your mouth.

Phung: Blam! @I got the win again, and it just shows that I am a strong, strong chef in this competition. @Nobody can take me down.

Jessica: Congratulations, Phung! You won $2,500!

Phung: Thank you, thank you! @I’m going to blow the wad at the spa. @This bitch needs a mani-pedi right about now.

Nate: Damn it. @Phung is on fire and there’s like no stopping this girl. @I just want to see Phung get sent home.

Tadashi: @I honestly did not know what to expect out of Phung. @I saw her season before coming back to compete, and she was winning almost every challenge, but knowing that she has no professional cooking background, that’s what makes her such a wildcard to me.

Jessica: And now for the elimination challenge! Tonight, we want to see you guys prepare a dish inspired by… your family. You have just 45 minutes, and your cooking time starts now!

Amanda: @I want to make another homage to my mother, because that won me the eel creativity challenge the last time I cooked. @She’s a successful businesswoman, but she still made time to teach me how to cook. @I’m going to make a French classic, ratatouille, with some crostoli and a 63 degree egg. @I’m doing the crostoli and egg as a reference to breakfast, the first thing she taught me, while ratatouille is something my mother made for me a lot growing up.                   

Phung: @My family, we are a party bunch. @My parents are more than down to pass the tequila shots. @For my dish, I’m making drunken noodles with clams, chicken, cilantro, and lime. @I’m going to nail this dish tonight and I’m making my own noodles, but that’s standard for PhungFood. @I’m going to use the tequila to make my noodles drunk as fuck. @Nobody is going to beat me tonight. @I’m gunning for my second win in a row, because I feel like it.

Nate: @My family is Chinese, so I need to prepare a Chinese dish. @I’m going to make Peking duck baos with leeks, hoisin sauce, and far-far. @I’m making the hoisin sauce and bao from scratch, and for the duck, I’m going to blanch the whole duck in oil, then roast them on skewers in the oven to keep them from getting greasy. @I want to win the challenge. @I’ve been on top a lot lately, but I keep coming in second place. @Like, come on. @I’m a winner. @I swear!

Tadashi: @I’m half Japanese and half American. @I’m a bit nervous about this challenge because when I think of family, I think about how my parents did not want me to do this career and how we would argue a lot about it. @I need to figure out what I can do that is inspired by them, but without any of those bad memories. @I decide on doing something with influences of California and Japan. @I’m making crispy rice cake with cucumber and crab salad, avocado mousse, and a basil ice.

Jo: @I’m from SoCal, and I was raised on Asian food. @I’m going to make noodles with shiitake braised chicken and a ginger-chicken broth. @My biggest skill is that I make food that is comforting and that people want to eat. @That’s why I am not going to be sent home, ever. @My flavors are strong, and the judges can only ever ding me on creativity or presentation.

Kira: @I’m Filipino but raised in San Francisco for my entire life. @I’m feeling good about my odds going into this challenge because I can make something epic. @I’m making coconut flan with soy caramel tuile, peanut ice cream, and coconut-peanut streusel. @I’m making a dessert, and looking down the stations, nobody else is doing that. @I might be able to stand out because I’m taking a huge risk here.

Tadashi: @Kira’s making a dessert, and considering how the only strong pastry cooks were eliminated really early on, that’s a huge risk on her part. @If she can nail this like how I think she can, she’s going to win the challenge!

Nate: @I’m tasting everything. @I do not want my sauce to be gross or for the dish as a whole to come off as greasy because of the duck. @I’m blanching the duck first in water, then deep frying it because I do not have time to properly roast it in the oven. @I’m scared, because it’s a huge risk and the texture of my duck might be compromised entirely from this.

Phung: @Nate looks stressed, and this is why I dubbed him my gorgeous bitch. @He pulls that shit out of his ass at the last second and always comes through. @Jo is the weakest link here, and I think he’s going to be sent home next.

Jessica: Time’s up!

Amanda: @I managed to get everything onto the plate, but I don’t know if this dish was well-thought out. @If I go home now, it’s going to be an all-Asian final five, and that would be…. very interesting to see. @It’s just funny to think that the white chick is the minority in this competition!

Jessica: Your judges are:

Erwin Ko

Aster Walker

Miriam Adjanti

Jessica: Let’s start with the dishes by Phung and Nate!
Phung – drunken noodles with clams, chicken, cilantro, and lime
Nate – Peking duck baos with leeks, hoisin sauce, and far-far

Miriam: Phung’s noodles were expertly made. I just loved the texture of those. The clams were excellently cooked, I felt her chicken was still tender and moist, while her usage of lime and cilantro was fantastic. Using tequila was a clever choice, but I do question her household rules, just a bit. Otherwise, this was textbook delicious.

Erwin: Nate’s baos were fluffy and light, the fact he made his own hoisin sauce shows that he knows how to balance flavors well. The duck itself, the skin was crispy, which is what makes the dish so addicting. Using far-far was clever as well.

Jessica: Here we have Jo and Tadashi’s dishes!

Jo – noodles with shiitake-chicken broth, braised chicken

Tadashi – crispy rice cake with cucumber and crab salad, avocado mousse, basil ice

Aster: Jo’s broth was delicious but his dish, the description should be changed to Asian chicken noodle soup. And when you put it that way, I start to question if he deserves to be a Warrior Chef when he’s cooking such basic, unrefined dishes. I’m disappointed.

Erwin: Tadashi’s rice cake, I was apprehensive. But it was delicious, being coated and fried in panko. The salad with the basil ice was clever and the avocado mousse rounded out the entire dish. I loved it.

Jessica: And finally, the dishes by Amanda and Kira!

Amanda – ratatouille with crostoli and 63 degree egg

Kira – coconut flan, soy caramel tuile, peanut ice cream, coconut-peanut streusel

Aster: Amanda cooked her vegetables well, but it felt like two different dishes. The egg and crostoli were good together, and the ratatouille was good on its own, but together, it felt disjointed. It all clashed on my palate.

Miriam: Kira’s flan was excellent and I loved the streusel and ice cream. I wish she kept the caramel as a sauce instead of a tuile, because the dish needed another saucy component to add moisture.

Jessica: So can we decide on a winner and who’s going home?

Erwin: We can.

In walks Phung, Nate, and Tadashi.

Jessica: Tonight… the three of you prepared the best dishes, and one of you won the elimination challenge! Judges?

Aster: Phung, those noodles were dynamite. I couldn’t get enough of them! The usage of herbs and citrus to perk up the plate was brilliant and I loved the clams and chicken.

Erwin: Nate, the bao was fluffy and light, the duck was cooked excellently, and I loved the bravery you had, making your own hoisin. Well done!

Miriam: Tadashi, your dish was everything I loved about California in a single bite. I could have eaten a hundred of those rice cakes alone.

Jessica: Erwin, please announce the winner!

Erwin: We were really impressed by all three of you. The best dish was prepared by… Phung! Those drunken noodles were phenomenal.

Jessica: Congratulations, Phung! You won back to back challenges tonight!

Phung: Yes, yes I did.
Tadashi: @When she’s on point, Phung delivers. @It’s terrifying, but she’s just that good of a competitor. @I think this finale is going to be tough.

Jessica: The three of you are safe and can leave the room.

Phung: @And I just swept this round. @I know that I’m stronger than everyone here, and even though I came from the most recent season, that’s not stopping me. @I’m going to go all the way.

Nate: @Phung and Tadashi are my biggest competition here. @I know that it’s going to be a tough competition between those two, but I need to keep showing that I deserve to be here and stay on top of these challenges.

In walks Amanda and Jo.

Jessica: Tonight, the two of you made the weakest dishes based on the judges’ critiques, and one of you is going home.

Erwin: Amanda, the dish was fragmented and you just did not deliver on a single, cohesive dish. Jo, your broth was great, but we just did not understand why you thought chicken noodle soup was okay for a spot in the top five in a Redemption season.

Amanda: @I’m feeling nervous. @I thought that the dish was delicious, but clearly the judges did not think the same.

Jo: @Amanda’s dish was what I would make with my leftovers in my fridge. @I think she’s a goner tonight.

Jessica: Amanda…. you’re going home tonight. Please return to the kitchen and leave.

Jo: *to Amanda* Ha!

Amanda: @I have no words. @If I was going home, I would have rather it been without Jo standing right next to me, looking smug. @I’m so annoyed and it’s pissing me off. @Nate, Kira, Tadashi, please kick some ass in this season. @Jo, I hope you go home, and I hope Phung kicks your ass in a head to head challenge of any kind.