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.

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