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.

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