Warrior Chef 1: The Redemption Rounds (All Parts)

Part 1

Olympia vs Judith and Corey

Carrie: Eliminated cooks will have a chance to gain back their spot in the competition! Tonight, three cooks who were sent home in the preliminaries will be competing head to head to remain in the competition!

Judith: @I got eliminated because I made a dish completely different from what I set out to make. @Tonight, I hope I don’t hallucinate over mayonnaise again. @That would suck a lot.

Corey: @Being eliminated in the first round, I want redemption right now. @I’m a freshman, I’m the youngest one here, and I’m ready to prove myself.

Olympia: @Being the most experienced cook, I’ve got to prove myself the most to the others. @I’m ready to win this.

Carrie: Welcome to the Redemption Rounds. The three of you have a chance to re-enter the competition. But first, you need redemption. I want you guys to prepare the dishes that eliminated you last time. But this time, make sure they have been done correctly. You’ll have 30 minutes to prepare your dishes, time starts now!

Corey: @I got eliminated because my tortillas weren’t working for me. @Tonight, I’m determined to make them work. @I’m preparing a grilled ahi taco with tomato salsa. @It’ll be very similar to the dish I made before, but I’m making the corn tortillas from scratch and they’ll be good. @Olympia and I competed together in my round, and she beat me. @I want to reverse the tables tonight.

Judith: @I didn’t get to prepare the fennel and mushroom salad with the coconut oil stuffed dates last time, so I’ll do that this time. @I make sure to avoid the mayonnaise jar, because it’s evil, and to be safe, I’m not going to taste anything, just because I don’t want to take that risk. @I don’t know Corey or Olympia, but I’m ready to beat both of them and win the competition!

Olympia: @I was eliminated because my halibut was overcooked. @This time, I’m going to cook it properly. @I’m making halibut wrapped in caul fat with a smoky tomato puree and pickled eggplant. @The last time, I went with fried eggplant, but I got dinged for greasy cooking. @Tonight, I’m doing the pickled eggplant, because it’ll be a better balance @Judith isn’t competition. @But Corey, he’s a threat. @If he plated his tortilla last time, he would’ve beaten me. @I don’t want to be eliminated again!

Corey: @Olympia and Judith are going home for sure. @I won’t let these girls beat me. @I might be younger, but I’m definitely stronger than them both. @The tortillas are properly rolled this time, so I’m stoked. @Olympia’s strongest dish was a salad last time, and I see Judith is making one now. @I’m confident my dish is the strongest.

Judith: @I shave the fennel on the mandolin, and then I cut myself. Sh*t @It’s a serious cut. @I’m bleeding so much blood that the paramedics have to pull me aside.
Paramedic: It’s looking bad. You might need a skin graft.

Judith: Sh*t. @And that’s all she wrote. @Just like that, I’m out. @I don’t even get a chance at redeeming myself. @This sucks so much.

Olympia: @Judith cuts herself really badly and the paramedics just escorted her out of the building. @It’s down to me and Corey at this point, and I’m pretty sure his tacos will give me a run for my money. @The halibut is cooked perfectly. @I taste the pickled eggplant and it’s delicious. @Corey’s dish can’t beat me.

Carrie: Time’s up!
Corey: @I look at Judith and Olympia’s stations, and Judith is gone.

Carrie: So Judith was deemed unable to physically continue in the competition. So it’ll come down to one of you two.

Corey: @I hear that and I’m relieved. @That’s one less person I need to think about. @Olympia’s dish, she made halibut, and I’m sure she overcooked it.

Olympia: @Corey’s looking smug, but his dish doesn’t look that good. @I’m going to be the person moving forward.

Carrie tastes the dishes.

Carrie: So let’s start with Corey’s dish. Corey, you prepared beautiful tortillas and a nicely cooked piece of ahi. The salsa was fresh but a little bland.

Corey: @Perfectly cooked. @The tortillas are supple and soft. @I’ve got this.

Carrie: Olympia, the halibut was cooked beautifully. The puree was tender, soft, and melted in the mouth, with this nice, smoky flavor. The eggplant added a nice hit of acidity and a great meaty texture.

Olympia: @No negatives. @I think Corey’s going home now.

Carrie: Tonight, it was a clear choice. Olympia, you’re going through.

Olympia: Awesome! @I’m still in the competition. @Nobody pinch me, I still want to keep dreaming. @It sucks to see Corey go home twice, but better him than me.

Corey: @Not winning sucks. @I wanted to get back into the competition, but good for her. @I’m just going to keep on cooking!

Part 2

Olympia vs Angelina vs Duncan

Duncan: @I’m walking into the kitchen and I see Olympia. @She wasn’t that strong in my preliminary, and I’m positive that I can beat her.

Angelina: @Olympia’s standing with Carrie and I know she must have beaten people already just to get to this point. @I’m confident I can take her and Duncan down.

Carrie: Welcome back! So for this Redemption challenge, you’ll have just 30 minutes to prepare a dish. The challenge you two were eliminated over was a fine-dining inspired one. So for tonight, I want to see you guys make the opposite. I want street food. 30 minutes on the clock, starting now!

Olympia: @Street food isn’t my forte. @I’d much rather do the fine-dining one. @But that’s the brief, and I need to meet it. @I’m going to prepare a crepe with an arugula and tomato salad with crispy pancetta and mozzarella cheese. @I’m keeping the dish simple, because I want to focus on the execution and presentation.

Angelina: @I got eliminated over cupcakes, and I know that I can make another dessert work in this challenge tonight. @I’m making churros with spicy Mexican chocolate. @Making the churros will be the best way to show some technique, and for my chocolate, it’s a ganache set with horchata.

Duncan: @Street food is awesome. @I’m making poutine. @It’s such a perfect dish for this challenge. @The gravy, the cheese curds, the thick cut French fries. @It’s such a good dish. @I’m going to do a spin on that, and I’m adding in crispy fried spam, because that’ll definitely add another nice flavor and texture.

Olympia: @I’m going French, Angelina’s going Mexican, and Duncan is making a Canadian dish. @It’s funny how diverse our backgrounds are, but at the end of this, I think I’m going to be the one coming out on top. @The crepes are looking perfectly crisp and beautiful. @My advantage is that I’m not frying something.
Angelina: @Duncan’s using the friers right now for his fries, and I need the frier too for my churros. @I’m just hoping that I can fry something in time, because it’s going to be cutting it close. @I taste my chocolate, and that’s perfect. @My dough is ready, I just need to fry something.

Duncan: @I pull my fries out of the frier, dab them with the towel, hit them with some salt, and then I leave them in the oven to keep them warm. @Angelina and I are both frying, which is interesting, because I don’t see Olympia touching the frier at all. @When you think street food, you think very cheap, unhealthy, so it’s odd, seeing her not touching too many unhealthy ingredients.

Carrie: Time’s up!

Angelina: @I get the churros out in a nick of time, and I’m feeling good. @I don’t think that poutine or crepes will beat me.

Duncan: @I’m not feeling so nervous this time. @The poutine looks great. @I made Canada proud.

Olympia: @My dish looks so much healthier compared to the other two. @Maybe I didn’t meet the brief?

Carrie tastes the three dishes.

Carrie: So let’s start with Olympia’s dish. Olympia, the crepe had a nice, golden-brown exterior and it was evenly browned. The presentation was gorgeous, per usual. The combination of flavors, it worked, but was it too simple to stuff a salad into a crepe and call it a day? Regardless, it was a tasty bite and it works as street food.

Olympia: @I think she liked it for the most part. @I might be in with a chance here!

Carrie: Duncan, your poutine was delicious. It was hearty, laden in fat, and I just wouldn’t mind eating that on a cold Sunday night while bing-watching reality TV. It was a tasty bowlful of fries and gravy.

Duncan: Awesome. @I have a lot of confidence in my poutine tonight. @This could be my crack at Redemption!

Carrie: Angelina, the dessert you presented was probably the simplest of the three dishes I tried tonight. Two components, nowhere to really hide. However, your churro dough was fried perfectly. It was crispy, but not too greasy. The chocolate was divine. I loved that you just went for it and used horchata to boost the spice levels.

Angelina: @She called my dish perfect. @But it wasn’t as ambitious as the other two dishes. @It’s up to Carrie’s call at this point, and she doesn’t have an easy job.

Carrie: You guys all presented three really nice dishes. Tonight, the best dish belonged to…. Angelina. Those churros and the horchata chocolate, it was a special combination.

Angelina: Thank you! @I’m still in it! @This is awesome! @After getting sent home so early, I felt like I had a lot left to prove. @I’m not going home anytime soon, that’s for sure. @Bring in the next opponent! @I’m ready for them!

Duncan: @Not winning the challenge, I’m a bit disappointed. @On one hand, she loved my dish, but on the other, it wasn’t enough to win.

Olympia: @I thought I did enough, but Angelina played it smart, and it worked in her favor. @I’m not sure who’s going to be her next opponent, but they’ll have a hard time competing against Angelina.

Angelina: @One round down, several more to go! @Come at me!

Part 3

Vincent vs Angelina

Vincent: @I’m back in the kitchen for another shot at the competition. @I see Carrie standing there with Angelina, who is an incredibly ambitious cook. @Bring it on!

Angelina: @I see Vincent, and he’s one of the weaker cooks in the competition. @He’s so obsessed with being trained by Bobby Flay that he doesn’t focus on his dishes.

Carrie: Vincent, welcome to the Redemption Rounds!

Vincent: Awesome. Pleasure to be here.

Carrie: So Vincent, you were eliminated for trying to put turkey into ice cream.

Angelina: @What?! @He got eliminated over that?! @And how was he able to outlast me? @I better win this challenge now, or else I’ll be devastated.

Carrie: Tonight, you’ll have a chance at redemption. You can either prepare a dish using turkey or a dessert. Vincent, you get to choose.
Vincent: I’d like to show that I can make a proper dessert.

Carrie: Alright. You’ll both have 30 minutes to make a dessert, your time starts now!

Vincent: @I’m making the same exact dish, but I’m not going to use turkey in my ice cream. @It’s a vanilla-cinnamon ice cream with cornbread crumble, rosemary caramel, and cranberry jam. @Angelina is a weak cook. @I think I can take her down.

Angelina: @Vincent thinks he’s a better cook, and that’s laughable. @You worked for a celebrity chef, and you still managed to make mistakes on that magnitude? @For my dessert, I’m making an apple crostata with vanilla bean ice cream and brown butter caramel. @I’m taking a risk making a crostata in 30 minutes, but if I can nail this, then I’m definitely going to win the challenge.

Vincent: @Angelina’s making a dough in that amount of time, and she’s got to roll it out and everything. @I think she’s going to waste too much time, and that’s going to be my advantage tonight. @My ice cream is tasting good, and that’s going to guarantee that my dish will be good.

Angelina: @Vincent’s looking cocky, but my ice cream is coming out perfectly. @The crostata is delicious, and I know that we’ve got a winner right here.

Carrie: Time’s up!

Angelina: @Vincent’s dish looks like what would happen if you pushed a Christmas tree over. @My dish isn’t going to send me home.

Vincent: I’m going to win this one. @Nobody will send me home.

Carrie tastes the dishes.

Carrie: So Angelina, I appreciate the ambition with your dish. The crostata was cooked nicely and your ice cream and caramel combination was delicious. Vincent, your dessert was tasty as well. It came down to a seasoning issue. Vincent, just too much rosemary. Angelina, you won this one. Congratulations!
Angelina: Thank you! @I won my second challenge, and I’m feeling redemption! @I just beat a moron! @Yay!

Vincent: @I’m feeling so angry that I’m shaking. @Angelina didn’t deserve to beat me and she knows it. @This was some bullshit.

Part 4

Jimmy vs Angelina

Jimmy: @I just got eliminated attempting a vegan dessert. @I know that I can cook better food. @It’s time to bring it.

Carrie: Jimmy, welcome to the Redemption Rounds!

Angelina: @Jimmy demolished me in the Preliminaries, and I’m ready to knock him out of the competition. @This would be pure redemption for me.

Carrie: So Jimmy, in the last challenge, you were eliminated because your pineapple upside down cake was dry. Tonight, I want to see you cook with pineapple again. The dish must be vegan, but it must also be savory.

Angelina: @A savory vegan pineapple dish? @That’s going to be terrible!

Carrie: So 30 minutes, time starts now!

Jimmy: @I’m still not sure what I can make that is vegan, savory, and incorporates pineapple. @I decide to make pickled pineapples with miso-mustard vinaigrette, paprika roasted walnuts, and frisee. @I’m hoping that this salad-type of thing will go over well and show plenty of technique, especially against Angelina.

Angelina: @I’m making a roasted pineapple curry with seitan, eggplant, and okra. @I’m going with an Indian-Chinese fusion here, because I know that these flavors will work well together and that the sweetness of the pineapple will offset the curry paste I’m preparing. @Jimmy, you’re going down.

Jimmy: @I see that Angelina’s making a curry with the pineapple. @Now I’ve really got to step it up. @I grab the pineapple and I’m going to deep fry them, because deep-fried pickles are pretty tasty, and I know that the pineapples will be able to hold up to being pickled and then fried. @I have to step it up against her.

Angelina: @Jimmy’s frying the pineapple, and that’s ballsy. @But I’m tasting my curry, and it’s delicious. @His fried pineapple needs to be really phenomenal if he hopes to beat me with it. @I’m not scared at all.

Carrie: Time’s up!

Angelina: @I step back, and my curry is perfect. @Jimmy’s got this fried pineapple salad going on there, and I’m just confused.

Carrie tastes the dishes.

Carrie: Tonight, I had a really tough criteria. And for the most part, you both delivered. Jimmy, the flavors of your dish were vibrant, fresh, and bold. The pineapple, it was definitely the star of the dish, being sweet, sour, crunchy. It was nice. Angelina, you prepared a curry using the pineapple, and you used your own curry paste to do it. I was really impressed by the balance of flavors you’ve achieved in just 30 minutes. Tonight, the winner is… Angelina. Congratulations!

Angelina: Awesome! Thanks! @I won three in a row! @I think I can definitely take it all the way to the finale. @This is my road to Redemption! @So awesome!

Jimmy: @I’m feeling a bit deflated that I lost, but at least I’m leaving on a dish that the judge actually liked for once. @That’s still a bit of a win for me, anyways. @Good luck, Angelina, you better win the whole thing!

Part 5

Vanilla vs Angelina

Vanilla: @Walking into the kitchen after that elimination, I’m not feeling too good. @I just got sent home in a trail of tears and embarrassment. @I can’t believe I disappointed my nan with that recipe.

Carrie: Welcome to the Redemption Rounds, Vanilla!

Angelina: @Seeing Vanilla is terrifying. @She’s been a strong cook from the get-go, getting immunity and the first elimination challenge win. @But she’s just going to be another step in my road to Redemption.

Carrie: So Vanilla, you were eliminated on a venison dish. The meat was tough, chewy, and overcooked. Tonight, do you think you can redeem yourself?

Vanilla: I hope so.

Carrie: Our challenge is about solely technique. You’ll have just 15 minutes to cook three steaks. I want one medium rare, one medium, and one rare. Whoever can nail the cooking temperatures of the three steaks will remain in the competition. You’ll have 15 minutes, time starts now!

Vanilla: @I wish I could cook, because I know I could beat Angelina in a dessert cook-off. @But I’ll take what I can get. @My oven is already preheated, and my strategy is to fire each steak within 1-2 minutes of one another. @They’ll all be able to flip at the same time, and then I can get the ones that finish cooking, namely the rare, resting, while the medium rare and medium can go into the oven. @Right now, it’s not laughs and giggles anymore. @I’m really determined to get back into the competition.

Angelina: @Vanilla is not going to be an easy opponent, but my strategy is to get the steaks cooked individually, so that I can get the medium steak into the oven first, then the medium rare, and once the rare is done cooking, I can rest all three at once. @I’ve already beaten Olympia, Duncan, Vincent, and Jimmy, so I’m determined to beat Vanilla and show everyone that my food reigns supreme.

Vanilla: @Showing up, I was always told to smile and laugh through everything. @I wasn’t allowed to cry, I wasn’t allowed to be sad. @If I needed to cry, I’d only do it when it was raining, and I’d run outside and hide my tears with the raindrops. @It was hard not to cry, when you were bullied for being overweight. @So I’d act outwardly happy and make the effort to exercise and get fit. @It wasn’t easy, but I managed to overcome almost a decade of being called fat or ugly, and if I could do that, then I can win this challenge and stay in the competition.

Angelina: @Vanilla’s steaks are all resting, either on the cutting board or in the oven. @I’m feeling good, because we’re cooking filet mignon, and those don’t need as much resting as most other cuts. @Winning this challenge just validates that I am a fantastic cook and that my future in this industry is going to be a bright one. @I really want everyone to know that this is my passion, and it’s my dream.

Carrie: Time’s up!

Carrie cuts into the steaks on both cooks’ stations.

Vanilla: @I’m feeling petrified, but at the same time, I know that my steaks are cooked perfectly. @Angelina better get ready to leave the kitchen.

Angelina: @Vanilla’s got this murderous look in her eyes, and I don’t care. @I know I’ve knocked her out of this competition.

Carrie: So overall, you both were really consistent between the cooks of your steaks. Angelina, your steaks were about 5-10 seconds over on each one. Vanilla, you had a perfect rare steak, but your other two were both about 10 seconds under. Overall, it’s a tough decision to make. But Vanilla, you did have one perfect steak, and that’s what’s keeping you in the running. Angelina, I’m sorry, but you’re going home tonight.

Angelina: That’s fine. *to Vanilla* Good luck. Represent the girls out there! @It sucks to be leaving! @I felt so ready to win the whole way through, but instead, I’m out. @Vanlila better win the whole thing, because I knew I would have done that if she was not so damn lucky!

Vanilla: Ciao!~ @Winning again feels nice, especially when you were doubting yourself about your abilities to cook meat. @I think I need to keep giving this savory cooking a go, because my dessert skills are incredible, but my savory cooking needs more work. @If I want to win the title of Warrior Chef, the only way for me to smash it out of the park is to fire all cannons and charge straight ahead.

Part 6

Jackson vs Vanilla

Jackson: @Walking back into the Warrior Chef kitchen, I’m feeling like shit. @I really tried to tackle my weakness with dessert and it totally backfired on me.
Carrie: Jackson, welcome to the Redemption Rounds! Any clues who you’re going up against in this challenge?

Jackson: It really could be anyone. Either Jimmy or Vanilla?

In walks… Vanilla.

Vanilla: Hi, Jackson! @I see Jackson, and he’s a strong cook. @His ability to cook beautiful French food is going to be a real problem in this challenge.

Jackson: @Vanilla is terrifying. @Her dessert skills are astronomical and I’m already feeling screwed if we have to make a dessert in this challenge, which is probably going to happen.

Carrie: So Jackson, you were eliminated on a black velvet cake. The judges, they thought it was too sweet and the usage of Oreos was just too juvenile. Tonight, I’d like to see what you can do with Oreos again. But this time, you need to use them… in a savory dish. I don’t want a dessert. I want an entree or an appetizer, incorporating the Oreos.

Vanilla: What?! @Oreos in a savory dish?! @Oh, well I have, you know, ZERO recipes for this.

Jackson: Well sh*t! @Oreos aren’t meant to be eaten in an app or entree! @I’m already struggling to think about what I can make.

Carrie: Just 30 minutes, starting now!

Vanilla: @I grab the Oreos and I think about what the heck am I going to do with them?! @I decide to remove the cream filling. @I’m making a turnip puree, adding the cream filling to cancel out that sulfurous quality in the root. @For the cookies, I’m roasting them in spices and blending them up for a crust for my liver. @I’m sous-viding the calves liver in milk and then crusting and frying it. @I’ve never cooked with liver before, and thinking about cooking with it just reminds me of how I used to be anorexic, and I thought food was my enemy. @Hopefully it won’t be the case tonight, because my food, I’m determined to make it delicious and make sure that I shine through!~

Jackson: @I grab the cookies and I decide to make a mole. @I’m blending them into the sauce and it’ll thicken them and provide the chocolate flavor so I don’t need to add in real chocolate. @I’m making a stewed pork mole. @I’m thinking that it’ll be a huge risk, making this sort of dish in 30 minutes, but I’m used the ground pork so that it won’t have to braise for as long to be soft.

Vanilla: @I get the liver into the hot oil and it’s looking good. @I made sure to remove as much sinew as possible and slice it into thin pieces so that it’ll cook faster. @Jackson’s station, it smells beautiful, but I don’t think he’s going to be as creative as I am, and I’m hoping that’ll pay off.

Jackson: @Vanilla’s at a huge disadvantage because she’s got to cook savory food and her lack of experience with it is what sent her home. @I’m feeling great about the flavor and texture of my sauce and I know my pork is going to be really tender because I put in plenty of honey and onions to break it down even further. @I’m not threatened by Vanilla at this point. @I think I have this one.

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

Jackson: @I’m feeling good about my dish, but Vanilla’s presenting liver. @That’ll either win her the challenge or give her a one-way ticket out.

Vanilla: @Mole is such a safe dish. @I don’t think Jackson played it as smartly as he could have.

Carrie tastes the dishes.

Carrie: So this was a really… interesting challenge. Vanilla, you took a huge risk using liver in your dish. Nobody would ever think to pair chocolate cookies with liver of all things. Jackson, you went with a much more obvious route. Chocolate and mole is an immediate association and I loved that you made such a delicious sauce.

Jackson: @At this point, I think I got this. @I’m confident I beat her.

Carrie: Vanilla, your liver was…. cooked beautifully. And that puree was gorgeous. Jackson, your pork was a bit tough. So I have to give this win to Vanilla.

Vanilla: *to Jackson* Ciao!~ @I’m feeling so excited to have won again!~ @The Redemption Rounds are intense but I’ve managed to wow my way into the next stage of the competition! @Let’s do this! @I’m ready for the next one!

Jackson: @I lost?! @I’m feeling a bit pissed, because Vanilla cooked liver and that’s how she beat me. @This is such a disappointment. @I lost to liver? @Just yuck.

Part 7

Zack vs Vanilla

Zack: @I’m walking into the Warrior Chef kitchen again feeling mortified. @I just got sent home over chili con carne. @That was something that surprised everyone! @It’s hispanic cooking, and I should have won that challenge!

Carrie: Hi, Zack! So welcome to the Redemption Rounds! Any guesses on who you’ll be facing tonight?

Zack: I’d guess Vanilla?

In walks Vanilla.

Vanilla: Hey, Zack! @Zack was an eliminator, and now he’s been sent packing. @I’d love to take him out of the competition for good, and this is the perfect chance to do it.

Carrie: So Zack, you were eliminated over chili con carne. The judges loved the chili, but the cheesy bechamel component you added completely overwhelmed your spices.

Zack: Yeah, it sucked.

Carrie: So for this challenge, you must prepare a dish using cheese! You have just 30 minutes, time starts now!

Zack: @Getting eliminated over trying to do a cheesy bechamel, it’s pretty sucky. @But I know how to cook with cheese, and I’ll prove that I can do that tonight. @I’m making a four cheese ravioli, using goat cheese, parmesan, pecorino, and ricotta, with sage brown butter sauce and toasted pine nuts. @Vanilla is a strong cook and she’s managed to last this long, so I know I have to watch myself against her and make sure that I cook everything perfectly.

Vanilla: Haha!~ I love cheese! @I’m so excited to be working with the cheese! @I grab the mascarpone and the ricotta and I know I need to make a dessert just to add some shock value. @I’m making a meyer lemon curd swirled mascarpone posset with ricotta doughnuts and mascarpone poached meringues. @To make the meringues, I’m going to melt mascarpone into some water and poach meringues in that to make them have a creamier finish.

Zack @I make sure that the pasta is rolled super thin. @I don’t have a lot of time left and I need the pasta to cook all the way through. @I see that Vanilla’s making a dessert per usual. @Does she ever make savory food? @I think she’s going to go home the moment the challenge actually requires her to cook real food. @But I might just be saying this because her desserts have done nothing short of win her challenge after challenge, and yeah, I’m definitely nervous going against a Vanilla dessert.

Vanilla: @I test my doughnuts and they float up, and I cut into one, and it’s still raw in the center. Sh*t! @I make them smaller because then they’ll actually fry properly. @The possets are in the blast chiller and I know that those will show off my skills. @I see what Zack is preparing and it’s a pasta dish! @I’m not feeling too nervous, because a filled pasta is not something I’m intimidated by.

Carrie: Time’s up!

Vanilla: @I step back from my station and I’m feeling excited!

Carrie tastes the two dishes.

Zack: @Carrie’s cutting into my pasta and it looks perfectly filled. @I’m stoked.

Carrie: So overall, I loved both dishes. Zack, pasta was rolled and filled perfectly. It was almost like cutting into a poached egg. The filling was cheese-packed and that sauce was the proper compliment. Vanilla, I didn’t think about a dessert when I thought about cheese. The posset was set and it was smooth and beautiful. The fritters were crispy and cooked all the way through and the meringues were creamy and tangy with the mascarpone flavor. Tonight, it was a hard decision because neither dish was poorly executed. But Vanilla, for featuring the cheese in more creative ways, I’ll have to give the win to you! Zack, please leave the kitchen.

Zack: Alright. @I’m leaving pretty disappointed. @I gave it my all and it just fell flat. @I’m really angry. @But I still knew it. @Vanilla’s desserts are undefeated. @I was basically set up to lose this one.

Vanilla: *to Zack* Ciao! @I’m feeling ecstatic that I won another challenge! @There aren’t too many people left in this competition and I’m hoping that I can win my way back into the main competition.

Part 8

Leona vs Vanilla

Leona: @I’m walking back into the Warrior Chef kitchen, and I see Carrie standing there with Vanilla. @Great, she’s back.

Vanilla: @Seeing Leona, it’s really bringing back some bitter memories. @We were on the bottom two together when I got sent home. @Maybe this is my chance to reverse my fate, and send her packing for a change.

Carrie: Welcome to the Redemption Rounds, Leona.

Leona: It’s great to be here. Glad to have another chance to send Vanilla packing.

Vanilla: I’m glad you’re honest, anyways.

Carrie: Leona, you were eliminated because the dish you prepared, it was dry and disjointed. For tonight’s challenge, you’ll both need to take unusual ingredient pairings, and make a cohesive dish out of them. You’ll have to choose between either squid and vanilla beans, or rhubarb and blue cheese. Vanilla, since you are the reigning champ, you get to decide.

Vanilla: It’s kind of an obvious one. I need to go with the vanilla beans and squid.

Leona: What? @Are you kidding me? @She just shot herself in the foot. @I’m not complaining or anything, but rhubarb and blue cheese, it’ll be so much easier to work with, and I know Vanilla’s going to struggle now.

Carrie: So Leona, you have the blue cheese and rhubarb. You’ll have just 30 minutes to cook, time starts now!

Vanilla: @I grab the vanilla beans, and I’m going to prepare a lemon verbena-vanilla vinaigrette, lightly dressed cucumbers and fennel, and fried calamari. @I’m feeling pretty confident that my flavors can carry me through to the next round.

Leona: @I’m going to make an ahi tuna crudo with pickled rhubarb and blue cheese foam. @I’m thinking that cutting the blue cheese with heavy cream will be key to making that funkiness go away. @I’m going to embrace the rhubarb, because it’s fresh.

Vanilla: @I see what Leona’s making. @Blue cheese with tuna? @I’m not sure if that’s a good combination to go for, and she might be in trouble. @I’m hoping that the flavors of my dish are going to be nice, and I grab a blood orange, and segment that into my salad, because I know that the citrus will bridge the vanilla and seafood.

Leona: @Vanilla is going with a lot of herbaceous and bitter notes, so I think that might overpower the vanilla and squid. @I am embracing the flavor of the rhubarb and balancing that with the pungent blue cheese. @From a flavor standpoint, I know that I’m going to be highlighting my ingredients much more than she is.

Carrie: Time’s up!

Leona: @I see what Vanilla prepared. @Fried calamari? @That’s pretty lame.

Vanilla: @Leona’s pairing of blue cheese with tuna, I really think she shot herself in the foot there.

Carrie tastes both dishes.

Leona: @I notice Carrie’s reaction when she is eating my dish. @She finished off all of the blue cheese foam, so I know she liked that a lot.

Carrie: So tonight, I’m feeling like this decision was a pretty easy one to make.

Vanilla: @Now I’m scared. @Did Leona smoke me that much? @Maybe I shouldn’t have been so cocky about how her dish turned out.

Carrie: Leona, the blue cheese foam was delicious and it paired well with the rhubarb. Vanilla, you managed to blend together the two ingredients with herbs and citrus, and that was smart. It came down to the theme of the challenge, which was cohesion. Vanilla, your dish ate a little bit clunky. But Leona, the tuna had no place on that dish, so Vanilla, you’ll be continuing to the Redemption Rounds finale!

Vanilla: Oh my god!

Leona: Damn it.

Carrie: Leona, please leave the kitchen.

Leona: Got it. @Damn, damn, damn it! @I’m so pissed right now. @I’m feeling ripped off. @I deserved to win that!

Vanilla: *to Leona* Ciao!~ @I might still win this season, and that’s making me feel so happy right now. @Being so close to the end, and possibly winning this from the Redemption Rounds, it’s surreal. @I need a moment to process that.

Finale

Fanny vs Vanilla

Fanny: @I’m walking into the kitchen, and I don’t know what to expect. @I’ve made it to the original final four, and I’m ready to defeat whoever I need to if it means I can secure my place in the final four, and then take the title.

Carrie: Fanny, I’m sure you’re interested in seeing who your opponent will be. Any guesses on who that is?

Fanny: It’s tough to say. Maybe Leona or Vanilla?

Carrie: You’ll see soon enough! Come on in!

In walks Vanilla.

Vanilla: @Fanny is a strong, strong cook. @Honestly, any of those four who were in the finale, I’d be scared to face off against.

Fanny: @Vanilla is not a lightweight in this competition. @Since the beginning, she was dominating, so I’m feeling like this is my chance to really prove myself as a cook.

Carrie: So Fanny, you were eliminated over a dish that the judges claimed was bland. This is the Redemption Rounds finale, so all I am really asking of both of you is to create a dish that is anything but bland. You have 30 minutes, starting now!

Fanny: @I run into the pantry, and I decide to redeem my previous dish. @I’m preparing a pea-yogurt panna cotta with coconut-lime sorbet. @It’s a huge risk making a panna cotta in 30 minutes, but I’m using cornstarch and gelatin to make it possible.

Vanilla: @Fanny is tough, but I need to be tougher. @I’m preparing a smoked scallop with corn puree, mint coulis, and fried mint leaves. @Fanny is going with a dessert, but I know that my dish will shine in the end. @I got to believe!

Fanny: So Vanilla how have the Redemption Rounds been?

Vanilla: *to Fanny* I’ve had to knock out some really good cooks! But I’m ready to take you out of the competition as well!
Fanny: Those are fighting words! It’s on!

Vanilla: @So far, I’ve won seven challenges, including my four wins in the Redemption Rounds. @If I can beat Fanny, then I’m really going to be primed and ready for what’s left of the finale!

Carrie: Time’s up!

Vanilla: @I step away from my dish, and I’m wondering if I did enough. @I see Fanny’s dish, and it’s this gorgeous dessert. @I’m beginning to second guess myself a little.

Fanny: @Vanilla’s scallops look very basic compared to my dessert. @I’m ready to re-enter the finale, and take down the other three.

Carrie tastes the dishes.

Carrie: So tonight, we have two really different dishes. Fanny, the dish was refreshing, light, and I liked that you attempted panna cotta in 30 minutes. The flavors were nice. Vanilla, the scallops were smoked beautifully and the usage of mint and corn was unusual, but it really did work. Tonight, it’s a hard decision, because both dishes tasted good and fit the criteria for being well-seasoned. But the person returning is…

To be continued….

Warrior Chef 1: Finale Part 1

The final four arrive in San Francisco, where the entire finale will take place.

Tadashi: @I’m here. @This is it. @The finale has begun, and I’m one of the competitors. @My chances at that title, it’s getting more and more realistic.

Karen: @I’m one of the final four, and I’m feeling really excited but nervous. @Tadashi, Fanny, and Lucas, they’re all a lot older than me, and it’s pretty intimidating. @But I need to believe in myself.

The four arrive in the kitchen at the resort they are staying at

Carrie: Welcome to the Warrior Chef finale!

Lucas: @Right now, I’m thinking that the final three will be me, Tadashi, and Fanny. @Karen’s been pretty inconsistent recently, so I doubt she can stay in the competition for much longer.

Carrie: So for the creativity challenge, you’ll have to prepare a dish using…. kale!
A cart is wheeled in, carrying kale, ranging from flower to curly to lacinato to purple.

Carrie: But to make things interesting, it’ll be done in head to head cook-offs! Please draw knives!

Karen – 1

Lucas – 2

Fanny – 2

Tadashi – 1

Karen: @I’m cooking kale against Tadashi, who is from SoCal. @I’m feeling really screwed. @This terrifies me.

Lucas: @I’m up against Fanny. @I’m comfortable with this match up. @I think her experience with kale, versus an Italian cook? @Not even a question.

Carrie: You have just 20 minutes to prepare an innovative kale dish. And your time starts now!

Tadashi: @I’m thinking about what I can do, and I’m going to deep fry the kale and prepare a crispy kale and shisso tempura basket with a kale stem infused dashi. @I’m keeping the flavors simple, because that’ll help me stay focused on what I have to get done during my 20 minutes.

Karen: @I’m going to prepare a dinosaur kale infused pasta with some crispy fried purple kale, pancettta, and chicken liver mousse. @I think that the combination of flavors will really help the kale stand up. @Tadashi is going almost entirely vegetarian, but that might honestly be the smart thing to do.

Fanny: @The kale looks great, and I’m feeling like this is an opportunity to really make this dish memorable. @I’m making a kale napoleon, using layers of fried kale, and then pickled kale stems, homemade mascarpone, and apples. @If I can get the mascarpone made in 20 minutes, then I’ll be good to go.

Lucas: @The kale, I’m going to prepare a pork stuffed kale sausage with crispy kale, kale stem gremolata, and shaved apples. @I’m trying my best to keep the flavors straightforward and beautiful. @I’m trying to make sure that the taste of the kale runs throughout the dish.

Karen: @I decide for the mousse, to make a kale butter, and fold that into the pate, just to really get the kale flavor throughout the dish. @I see what Tadashi is doing, and he’s moving surprisingly slowly, but he’s tasting very intensely. @I’m feeling really hopeful that the basic level of his dish will give me the edge.

Fanny: @I check the mascarpone, and it’s completely loose. @I can’t use it. @So I grab the ricotta, and it’ll be my substitute. @I start quenelling it, and the ricotta soaks into the kale, and it’s just a mess. @This is really bad.

Tadashi: @I taste the tempura, and I’m just realizing how few components are on my dish, but I hope that the flavors really do speak for themselves. @If I can accomplish that, then I’ll be good.

Lucas: @The kale sausage is cooked properly, and that’s already a huge advantage. @The flavors of my dish, it’s good. @I’m feeling confident that I can take down Fanny, and I’m sure that Tadashi is going to beat Karen. @The girls who are left, I’m not threatened by any of them.

Carrie: Time’s up!

Karen: @We are this far down the line with the competition, and I’m feeling nervous. @I really want to prove that even though I’m just a freshman, I can still beat these older cooks and win Warrior Chef.

Carrie: Your judge is Warrior Chef house critic, Chloe Lula!

Chloe: Hi, guys! Kale is such a beautiful ingredient, so I cannot wait to see what you have made with it!

Chloe and Carrie taste the dishes.

Carrie: So Chloe, let’s go down the line with each match-up, starting with Karen and Tadashi’s dishes!

Chloe: So Tadashi, the tempura dish was simple, elegant, and light. I liked the flavors and the balance there. Karen, the dish was ambitious, making pate and pasta from scratch, and you delivered on texture and presentation. Overall, the better dish was made by… Karen.

Karen: Oh my God! @I won? @Against Tadashi?! @I’m feeling elated right now! @I can’t believe it!

Chloe: Lucas, the sausage was delicious and the combination of kale textures was really well done. Fanny, the napoleon was an interesting take, but the kale itself was a bit soggy. Lucas, you won this match-up.

Carrie: Congratulations, Karen, Lucas! The two of you won the creativity challenge and will receive an advantage going into the elimination challenge!

Lucas: @This final four are strong, but we all know Tadashi is one of the biggest threats. @Any advantage that will let us edge him out of the competition is greatly appreciated.

Carrie: So now for the elimination challenge! San Francisco is known for having several Michelin starred restaurants, and we want you guys to take inspiration from one of four restaurants and prepare a dish! Please draw knives!

Karen – Atelier Crenn

Lucas – The French Laundry

Tadashi – Saison

Fanny – Campton Place

Carrie: Lucas, Karen, you both have an advantage. If you do not like the restaurants you’ve drawn, you can swap with either each other or one of your competitors.

Lucas: @I’m happy with The French Laundry, so I’m going to keep it.

Karen: I actually would like to swap with Saison from Tadashi. @Atelier Crenn is a really difficult concept to replicate because of all of these ridiculous chemicals and modern molecular ingredients I’ve never heard of. @It’s high-end artistic French food. @With Saison, it is refined, but the flavors speak more than the presentation.

Tadashi: @I got Atelier Crenn, but my experience with Melisse should help me overcome that gap. @I hope that this challenge, I can win.

Carrie: So just 1 hour to prepare your dishes. Time starts now!

Fanny: @I got Campton Place. @It’s modern Indian and Californian cooking. @I’m feeling okay because I can prepare a garam malasa rubbed lamb with a pea-yogurt flan and cilantro-coconut-lime foam. @I’m hoping that using the usage of a homemade garam masala will show enough technique. @Everyone thinks that Tadashi is the strongest cook, but I think of myself as more of a dark horse. @I made it this far, I have proven myself, and I’m ready to take the title.

Karen: @I have Saison, and I know that I can nail this concept. @I’m preparing a butter poached langoustine and chanterelles roasted in garlic-brown butter and a leek-poached lemon peel puree. @I’m literally layering butter into the dish, because that’ll be key to making sure that it really hits home that French feel, but balancing it with the right acidity, just so that it won’t be heavy.

Lucas: @Having to prepare a dish for The French Laundry is awesome. @I’m making a pear-caramel tart, with a pear sorbet, caramel tuile cone, and a pear puree infused toffee with brown butter financier as the base. @I thin that it’s really ballsy, but if I can pull it off, then it’ll be French Laundry-worthy.

Tadashi: @The reason why Lucas might be in trouble tonight is because The French Laundry is 3 Michelin stars and the expectation is that much higher. @He might be sent home because he didn’t deliver to those expectations. @I have Atelier Crenn, and right away, I decide to take a risk. @I’m making an earl gray whipped goat cheese with carrot spheres, fried chervil, brown butter soil, and carrot juice cider. @I’m going to take a risk because that’ll just set me apart, and I’m hoping that my dish will resemble pulling a carrot out of the ground.

Fanny: @I test out my foam, and it’s getting stuck in the canister. @My cilantro, I should have steeped it into the coconut milk rather than blended it in. @I’m wasting time trying to pour out the liquid through a strainer and cleaning out the canister. @I’m so annoyed.

Lucas: @I get the financier out and it looks nice. @The dessert can be a huge success, but it’s just a manner of whether or not it’ll stack up against the other dishes. @I can see myself and Tadashi in the final two. @Karen and Fanny are strong, but they haven’t delivered dishes on the same level as the two of us.

Karen: @I taste the puree, and it’s got a lot of layers of flavor. @The smoky sweetness of the leeks, the sourness and bitterness of the citrus, and I already know that this will make my langoustine taste delicious. @I might actually make it to the final three!

Tadashi: @I’m feeling good about the dish and where it’s going. @In terms of my competition, I’m just not going to pay attention to them. @The moment I get caught up in what they’re doing, I won’t be able to focus on my dishes or my food.

Carrie: Time’s up!

Lucas: @I step back, and my dessert looks like a bit of a mess. @But then when I see the other dishes, I might still be in with a shot here.

Carrie: Your judges are:

Erwin Ko

Aster Walker

Miriam Adjanti

Carrie: Let’s start with Karen’s dish!

Karen – buttered langoustine, roasted chanterelles, leek-poached lemon peel puree

Miriam: The langoustine was cooked beautifully. I’m surprised that Karen knew how to cook it so well, but the flavors were elegant and straightforward.

Aster: The puree was such a nice touch and it contrasted the richness of the rest of the dish nicely. I’m happy with the chanterelles and the caramelization she got on those.

Erwin: The dish was simple, elegant, classy. It really did embrace Saison’s French-Californian style well, and she nailed the challenge criteria really well.

Carrie: Next up is Lucas’s dish!

Lucas – pear caramel tart with financier and sorbet

Miriam: The financier was cooked beautifully but there was just too much going on. I get he was trying to capture the whimsy of Thomas Keller, but I was left confused.

Erwin: He had way too many things on a plate that just did not bring anything new to the dish. I felt like it was running a marathon just to get through eating every component.

Aster: I appreciate the ambition, and nothing was cooked poorly. I just wanted him to zero in on making the portion more elegant, and less of a buffet plate. He lacked any real restraint when it came to plating it.

Carrie: And next is Fanny’s dish!

Fanny – garam malasa lamb with pea-yogurt flan and cilantro-coconut-lime foam

Miriam: The lamb was cooked beautifully. I really thought Fanny’s presentation was there as well. But the thing I’m disappointed about is how underseasoned her flan was.

Erwin: The texture of the flan was beautiful. I liked the texture of her foam a lot too. But the flavors of the foam and flan were too subtle, so the garam masala overpowered it.

Aster: The dish basically tasted like lamb with creamy textures. There was not much contrast. But the thing I appreciated was the presentation and concept.

Carrie: Finally, the dish by Tadashi!
Tadashi – earl gray goat cheese, carrot spheres, chervil, brown butter soil, carrot cider

Miriam: The usage of the carrot, and deconstructing carrot cake into this elegant plated dessert, I really loved it. The cider, I was apprehensive, but it acted as a cool palate cleanser. This was a really incredible dish.

Erwin: The fact he made his own cider out of the carrot juice was already enough for me to shower him with praises. The one thing I’m disappointed about is that Atelier Crenn features this carrot jerky, and each contestant saw the cookbooks for the restaurants they had to base their dishes on. He missed that opportunity.

Aster: The dish itself was artfully plated and the concept was really clever. I’m blown away that he was able to accomplish this in just 1 hour, but the flavors were there. I’m impressed by his abilities.

Carrie: So can we decide on who is going to win this challenge, and which contestant is going home tonight?

Miriam: We can.

In walks the final four.

Carrie: So tonight, we agreed two dishes really stood out. Karen, Tadashi, both of you impressed us tonight!

Aster: Karen, the dish was simple but the flavors were delicate and beautiful.

Miriam: Tadashi, that carrot dessert was brilliantly done. We really just couldn’t stop raving about it.

Karen: @I beat Tadashi in the creativity challenge, and I really want to beat him tonight for a second time. @If I can do that, then I really do have a shot at Warrior Chef.

Carrie: Tonight, the best dish belonged to… Tadashi.

Tadashi: Thank you.

Carrie: Congratulations, Tadashi! You won the elimination challenge! Karen, you are also safe. The two of you can leave.

Karen: @I didn’t win, but it feels good to know that I made it to the final three!

Tadashi: @Right now, I have seven wins, and it feels great. @I need to keep producing strong dishes, and win the entire competition.

Karen and Tadashi leave.

Fanny: @It’s between me and Lucas now. @Only one of us can make it through.

Erwin: Fanny, our issue with your dish was that your garnishes were bland, so it made eating the entire dish really uninteresting.

Miriam: Lucas, you just had way too much going on. We appreciate the ambition, but the dish was hard to eat.

Carrie: Tonight, one of you is going home.

Lucas: @Fanny went simple and mis-executed. @I went complex, and went overboard. @I’m feeling that it’s going to be a nail-biting decision.

Carrie: Whoever is going home does have a second chance. We have the Redemption Rounds finale coming up next, so you will have an opportunity to beat the reigning champion and return to the finale. That being said, Fanny, please return to the kitchen and leave.

Fanny: Thank you for the opportunity to compete. @I’m not leaving sad. @I’m leaving determined. @I still have another shot at the title, and I’m ready to take my second chance and really fly with it.

Lucas: @I barely dodged a bullet. @That safety net of the Redemption Rounds, it won’t be here in the next round, so I need to be careful from now on.

How it is: Chapter 7

It was a Saturday morning, and that meant the day of ACU elections. Timmy and Tarou were both dressed in formal wear, and waiting outside of a classroom for their interviews. Tarou was given a slightly earlier time slot, but felt rather self-assured about it. “Alright, Tarou Shimizu.” A girl, ACU’s vice president, Alice, walked out. “Alright, I’ll see you on the other side.” He smiled at Timmy as he walked into the room. “Alright, so you’ll have just two minutes to do your speech, and then we have five minutes for Q+A.” Alex explained. “Alright, time starts now,” “Hi, everyone. My name is Tarou Shimizu. I am a rising sophomore, and I am currently studying Drama in the Tisch School of the Performing Arts.” He started. He noticed that most of the board was almost glaring at him. “And I am running for the position of Event Coordinator. So the reason why I feel like I am qualified for this position is that I am a very careful yet somewhat improvisational person. Working in the theatre, I deal with high-stress situations constantly, and I am always trying to make sure that I deliver perfection every time. Having that sort of perfectionism, I know I can translate that skill well into running and coordinating events. Being Japanese-American, I am proud to be Asian and I love the idea of being able to represent my country in the Asian Cultural Union. Thank you for your time interviewing me.” He took a slight bow. “And I would love to open the floor to questions.”

Immediately, a taller boy, Gary, raised his hand. “Yes?” “So you say that you are a perfectionist. How do you deal with failure?” “Well, being a perfectionist, I always try my best to deliver the vision I have in mind. Obviously, with failure, there are lessons to be learned. So long as you learn the lessons from when you fail, then that’s really all there is to it right?” Another hand went up, this time from a girl named Holly. “So what other commitments do you have?” “I… am currently the secretary in Tisch School of Arts’ student government, the treasurer for Japanese Business Association, and the vice president of the NYU Modeling Club, and I model too.” Tarou listed as Holly’s jaw almost hit the floor. He could tell that he just shot himself in the foot with that response. Every officer in that room must be thinking that Tarou would be too busy to commit any time to this position. “I know it sounds like a lot, but I love being challenged and multitasking and I will make this work.” He insisted, only realizing that what he was saying made the situation worse. He made the problem more apparent with that comment. “Alright, I think we’re done here.” Alex nodded his head at the rest of his board. “Yeah. Thank you for your time.” Alice ushered him out. “I totally screwed up.” Tarou whispered to Timmy, as he left the room mortified. Normally, Tarou was great with public speaking, but he knew that he fell flat on his face. There was no way he would be elected.

Alice brought Timmy into the auditorium next, where he stood in front of the mass of seated ACU officers. “Hi, my name is Timmy Li, and I am applying to be a sophomore representative for the following year.” Timmy started. “I love ACU, and I got to a lot of your events. I want to make sure that as your sophomore representative, that I can bring my passion and love for this club to any, if not, all of our members. I want everyone here to see this club as a family.” He finished. Almost everyone in that room began to clap. “Does anyone have any questions for me?” He looked around. “So we know that you also applied and got into the Taiwanese American Student Association. When it comes down to having events for both clubs, what would you do?” “I am event coordinator for that club, so I will have to make sure that the events are running, but if there are things going on in the same day, then I will try my best to make time for both.” Timmy assured them. “We will get around to that when, uh, I mean, if we get you on board.” Gary nodded in acknowledgement. “I think we know you well enough.” Alex insisted. “Thank you for applying, Timmy!” Holly grinned. “We look forward to having you on board- I mean, letting you know what the results are.” Alice giggled as she walked Timmy to the door. “Have a nice ret of your day, okay?” She closed the door slowly on him.

“Hey, can we talk about something?” Both boys have changed out of their outfits, and were just sitting in their room together. Tarou just felt like it was time to be truthful to Timmy. He felt really vulnerable after failing in the interview, and wanted to move past this mini episode with ACU. “What’s up?” “So, I was really nervous to say this, but I’m… bisexual.” Tarou sighed. “Yeah, I knew that.” “Wait, what?” “Justin told me.” He admitted. “And you didn’t feel the need to talk to me about this?” Tarou was starting to get visibly upset. “I figured you’d talk to me about it when you were ready!” Timmy growled. “This is always the fucking problem. You take zero initiative when it comes to instigating things.” Tarou rolled his eyes. “Look, I did not want to say this, but I was starting to think this way the moment we started living together, and knowing that you are bisexual, it only further convinces me about this. I think you have romantic feelings for me.” Timmy glared at Tarou, who was stunned speechless. That was not what he was expecting to hear. “Why the fuck would you suggest something like that?” Tarou was trying to not punch a wall or Timmy at that point. He was fuming. “Just the way you act around me. You’re so invested in my life, and it just felt like you wanted to get romantically involved with me. Normal friends don’t act this way.” Timmy squeaked as Tarou cornered him. “You and I aren’t normal friends! We’ve known each other for years! And you don’t honestly expect me to fall in love with you like that, do you?” Tarou stared right into Timmy’s eyes.

At this point, tensions were high. Tarou stood before Timmy, whose back was against a wall. “I’m sorry I didn’t say it earlier.” Timmy was starting to cry. Being confronted to this degree was making him extremely uncomfortable. He already had issues with privacy around Tarou, but this was taking that sort of discomfort to an even greater degree. “Look, I actually don’t know why you mean so much to me either.” Tarou finally sighed, backing away from Timmy. “I just always felt this need to protect you ever since college. You were always the person protecting me when we were kids, and I used to look up to you as an older brother. But then everyone in college saw it more like I was the older brother, and it got to my head. I wanted to be the person who could protect you for a change.” He finally admitted. “Tarou, you don’t have to protect me. I’m my own person, and you know that. Just be the Tarou I was friends with, not this crazy, angry, and constantly vulture-ing person, okay?” Timmy sighed, pulling his best friend and roommate in for a hug. “But Timmy, I’m actually a little scared now.” “Hm?” “I’m afraid that I do have romantic feelings for you. I know you’re into women, and that a relationship with the two of us would never work out, and I’m just hoping that what I feel towards you, it’s really platonic or that those recent feelings, they were paternal or older brotherly, not romantic.” Unfortunately, Tarou saying that just stirred an uneasiness in Timmy. To the Taiwanese boy, it sounded as if Tarou was trying to reassure himself that he did not have feelings for Timmy and was failing to do so.

Warrior Chef 1: Round 1

Round 1

Vanilla: @Haha! @I’m so happy to make it to the main competition, and with immunity? @This is awesome! @I’m chuffed. @Couldn’t have asked for a better start!

Karen: @I’m looking around, and there’s no other freshmen here. @I’m the last one standing in my grade already, and that’s terrifying!

Lucas: @I’ve made it to the first of many challenges, and I’ve already made Warrior Chef history with the last round. @I’m here and I’m going to make big waves.

Carrie: Welcome to the first real elimination challenge. Tonight, we want to see you guys prepare a fine dining-worthy dish. The best dish will win the challenge, but the worst two dishes will be going home tonight.

Leona: @Being an Eliminator and making it into the competition controversially, I don’t want to be the one going home first.

Jackson: @I don’t want to think about who’s going home, but I know that three people have immunity, so it’s almost a 1 in 4 chance you’re going home.

Carrie: You’ll have an hour. And your time starts now!

Fanny: @Now there is no way I’m going home first. @Tadashi, Vanilla, and Lucas all have immunity, so eyes are on them to see how they perform. @Personally, I know that I’m a better cook than all three of them. @I’m making a seared duck breast with charred leek puree, caper-blood orange fritto misto, and brown butter-champagne emulsion.

Jimmy: @Not getting immunity makes me want to try harder. @But fine dining and Hawaii, it’s going to be a fun challenge for me to put Hawaiian food on the map. @I’m making roasted boar loin with pineapple pickles, roasted clams, and a yogurt sauce to pair with couscous. @It’s a weird combination, but I made a weird combination work really well in the preliminaries, and I know I can do it again. @Lightning can strike the same place twice.

Angelina: @I’m pretty confident that I can do fine-dining. @I love to make desserts, and that’s my edge. @I’m going to prepare a vanilla-coconut cupcake with chili caramel sauce and lime buttercream. @For my buttercream, it’s going to be an American buttercream using powdered sugar, butter, and lime zest and juice. @It’s going to be good. @I know I can make this work really well.

Duncan: @I got dinged in the preliminaries because I overcooked my venison. @Tonight, not going to make the same mistakes. @I’m preparing cockles with potato chips, shaved kohlrabi, and black olive puree. @I think that the olives and cockles will go together really well. @Angelina’s making a cupcake, and I think she’s screwed. @There’s no way a cupcake is considered fine dining.

Karen: @Fine dining is going to be tricky, because I’m going to need to devote a lot of time to just plating alone. @I’m going to prepare a roasted game hen with poached egg, shredded phyllo nest, parmesan-kale chips, and a carrot puree. @I’m making my own phyllo from scratch and it’s insane. @I have to make sure that the dough doesn’t break apart and that the butter won’t melt into the layers and keep them from forming.

Lucas: @Having immunity, I already know people are going to think I’m one of the people to beat. @But I want to play it safe with immunity, because I want people to let their guards down and not think of me as a huge threat, even if I actually turn out to be. @I’m making seared ribeye with cauliflower steak and mushroom jus. @The combination of textures and flavors will be very hearty, and if I execute everything perfectly, nobody will be able to fault my dish anyways.

Tadashi: @I want to keep proving, no matter what, that I am a frontrunner and that nobody can beat me in this competition. @I’m preparing an ash crusted hamachi loin with shaved radishes, red seaweed, sago, ruby grapefruit vinaigrette, spring pea-butter emulsion, and paprika dusted mango. @I want to transport the judges underneath the sea. @I’m bringing a lot of techniques to the table, but I want them to be balanced and work together harmoniously. @That’s the key to proving myself.

Vanilla: @Haha! @I’m so happy! @I have immunity, I’ve got a chance to prove myself again, and I know that I can do it!~ @Haha, ha! @I’m making a chocolate-mascarpone fonduta, hazelnut crusted bomboloni, caramelized hazelnuts, salted dark chocolate shards, and salted caramel-mascarpone ice cream. @This is such a thrill! @Hehehe! *squeals inaudibly*

Leona: @Vanilla’s shrill squealing is driving me insane. @I’m going to kill her. @Idiot. @I’m making a poached lobster in coconut broth, roasted corn, and yams. @I’m going to use the corn husks to season my broth, kind of like pandan leaves in Asian cooking. @I’m a stronger cook than all of these guys here, even Tadashi. @He raised the bar, yeah, but I’m going to raise it higher and leave him in my dust.

Zack: @Leona’s competitive, but I am too. @I’m making a pork roulade with apples, goat cheese, and currants, and I’m pairing that with an apple-parsnip puree and a cider-mustard butter sauce. @I’m pretty certain that the whole grain mustard will be the perfect accompaniment to the dish and I’m going to be on top with my flavors. @The roulade, I’m wrapping it in prosciutto and finishing it in the oven after I sear it.

Jackson: @This challenge is right up my alley. @I cook French-American food, and most high-end concept revolve around that. @I’m making gougeres with gruyere cheese, speck, and goat cheese. @I know I need something else to serve with that, so I grab the frisee and I’m going to make a frisee lardon with mustard vinaigrette, using the speck the bridge the ingredients together.

Vincent: @I had to cook twice to get to this point, so I’ve got a lot to prove to myself and everyone else. @I can’t keep disappointing chef. @I’m making a poblano soup with cream cheese puree and crostini. @But then I remember I can’t proof bread in that time, so I decide to make fritters, and those will be a good vehicle to soak up all of these delicious flavors. @It’s looking good for me!
Carrie: Time’s up!

Fanny: @I look over and see Tadashi’s dish. @It looks like a garden popping out of his hamachi. @I’ve got that beat, for sure.

Carrie: Your judges are:

Erwin Ko

Aster Walker

Miriam Adjanti

Carrie: Let’s start with the dishes by Lucas, Tadashi, and Vanilla!
Lucas – seared ribeye with cauliflower steak and mushroom jus

Tadashi – ash hamachi, radishes, red seaweed, sago, grapefruit, spring pea, mango

Vanilla – chocolate fonduta, hazelnut bomboloni, caramel-mascarpone ice cream

Erwin: The steak Lucas cooked was beautifully seared. The cauliflower steak was tender on the inside, but had a nice sear on the exterior. The mushroom jus, I think he had a triple win in terms of each individual component. Together, it was a bit plain.

Miriam: Tadashi cooked his hamachi perfectly. I loved all of the accompaniments on his dish and I’m surprised how spring peas and mango can actually work together. This was a very good dish.

Aster: Vanilla made a dessert worthy of her name. The fonduta was creamy, silky, and the bomboloni were fluffy and crisp. I loved that salted caramel ice cream a lot, and the chocolate and hazelnuts were a beautiful combination.

Carrie: Next are the dishes by Fanny, Angelina, and Duncan!

Fanny – duck, charred leek, caper-orange fritto misto, brown butter-champagne

Angelina – vanilla-coconut cupcake with chili caramel sauce and lime buttercream

Duncan – cockles with potato chips, shaved kohlrabi, and black olive puree

Miriam: Fanny cooked her duck breast perfectly and I loved that the fat was rendered so it had crispy skin. The fritto misto was an unusual garnish choice, but it worked with the different textures and levels of acidity. Her champagne emulsion was gorgeous. Smoky, light, airy, it was a nice combination of flavors.

Aster: Angelina’s cupcake, it was very bland. The cake itself was baked properly, but it had no real hit. The chili caramel, I was expecting a kick in there, but I didn’t get any. The buttercream was just a major letdown.

Erwin: Duncan’s cockles, mine weren’t opened, so I couldn’t eat most of them. The chips were soggy and the kohlrabi, I don’t know what it’s doing on this dish, but it’s just not working for me. His puree was a salt lake.

Carrie: And finally, the dishes by Karen, Jimmy, and Leona!

Karen – roasted game hen, poached egg, phyllo nest, parmesan-kale chip, carrot puree

Jimmy – roasted boar loin with pineapple pickles, clams, yogurt couscous

Leona – poached lobster, coconut broth, roasted corn, and yams

Aster: Karen’s game hen was roasted really nicely and it was juicy. I thought the combination of a poached egg and a baked nest, it was soggy and clunky. Her chips were tasty on their own, but it wasn’t necessary to have both those and the nest. Her puree was delicious, however.

Miriam: The boar loin Jimmy prepared was cooked and seasoned properly. But the combination of flavors between that and the pickled pineapples, clams, and couscous in yogurt, it was confusing. I didn’t know what to make out of it.

Erwin: Leona’s lobster dish was beautiful. The lobster was tender, that broth had a depth of corn and coconut flavor, and the vegetables in the soup were cooked perfectly. It was an impressive dish.

Carrie: So can we decide on a winning dish, and who’s going home?

Aster: We can.

In walks Angelina, Duncan, and Jimmy.

Carrie: Sadly, the three of you made the weakest dishes tonight, and two of you are going home.

Angelina: @They hated my cupcake?! @I’m starting to freak out a little bit.

Aster: Angelina, my question is why a cupcake?

Angelina: The challenge was to make a dish that showed finesse, and I thought a dainty little cupcake would have captured that.

Aster: Unfortunately, it came off as pedestrian. You even served the cake in the wrapper still. I felt like I was at a $5 bake sale, not a Michelin starred restaurant.

Erwin: Duncan, where were you trying to go with the dish?

Duncan: I wanted there to be a balance of flavors and textures. The kohlrabi and potato were there to mellow it out.

Erwin: We found the dish to be really clunky and it was hard to eat any component on it’s own, let alone together.

Miriam: Jimmy, what was your inspiration for this dish?

Jimmy: I wanted to take classic Hawaiian dishes and jazz them up.

Miriam: I still remember your signature dish and you managed to do that perfectly then. Tonight, it was just too many clashing flavors. Clams didn’t need to be there, nor did the pineapple. Editing was your enemy tonight.

Angelina: @After hearing the judges, I think Duncan is going home for sure. @But the question is, who else is joining him?

Carrie: It’ll be a tough decision to make, so in the mean time, please bring in Vanilla, Fanny, and Tadashi. Thank you.

The bottom three leave.

In walks Tadashi, Fanny, and Vanilla.

Carrie: Congratulations.The three of you impressed the judges tonight, and one of you won the challenge!

Fanny: @I’m the only one here without immunity, and it’s awesome. @I knew that I’m a better cook than the others, and I’m proving it here tonight.

Tadashi: @If I win this challenge, I’ll really cement myself as a huge contender to win the title. @I want to win this.

Vanilla: @Haha!~ @Winning would mean so much to me! @I want to be the person to beat in this season!
Carrie: Erwin, please announce the winner!

Erwin: We had three incredible dishes to choose from and you’re all setting the bar really high for just the first elimination challenge. But tonight, the person who won produced the best dessert I’ve ever tasted in Warrior Chef. Thank you, Vanilla.

Carrie: Congratulations, Vanilla! You won the elimination challenge!

Vanilla: Oh my goodness! Thank you, thank you, thank you very much! Haha!~ @I won! @I won! @I won the first challenge and I’m so excited and happy! @All of my friends and family back home will be so proud of me!

Tadashi: @Vanilla is a happy-go-lucky person, but she’s definitely using that as a facade to hide her cooking skills. @She’s someone to watch out for.

Fanny: @That’s high praise, the best dessert ever. @But I want to see where she’s at with savory dishes.

The top three leave.

Carrie: So let’s figure out who’s going home tonight.

Miriam: Well I think it’s obvious that Duncan’s going. His dish didn’t work for any of us. But between Angelina and Jimmy, who made the bigger mistake?

Erwin: I’d say Angelina. Jimmy cooked a lot of components, but they tasted nice, just not together. Angelina, her cake was flawed.

Aster: Her buttercream was powdery too. I just don’t think we can really excuse that. But at the same time, Jimmy’s mistake wasn’t forgivable either.

Carrie: So can we finalize our decision?

Aster: Yes.

In walks Angelina, Duncan, and Jimmy.

Carrie: Two of you are going home. The first person leaving us is… Duncan. You may leave the kitchen.

Duncan: Alright. @I”m not happy with the results, but I cooked a dish that sucked and that’s how the cookie crumbled. @At least I’m leaving with my dignity intact.

Duncan leaves.

Jimmy: @I might be going home tonight. @I really don’t want to be eliminated right at the beginning of the competition. @I have so much more left to prove!

Angelina: @I’m not sure which one of us is going home. @I really hope Jimmy leaves. @I’m a much better cook than he is!
Carrie: Angelina, you’re also going home. Please leave the kitchen.

Angelina: Alright. *to Jimmy* Good luck. @I don’t agree with the judges’ decision, but that’s just their choice, and I apparently made more mistakes. @I’m not proud of that, but it’s all I can do in terms of trying to be the next Warrior Chef. @I’ll still find a way to open my bakery. @You haven’t heard the last of me.

maturity and anger: realization

I’m writing this post so that I can distract myself from the fact I’m stuck in car with a very incompetent Lyft driver. Now I can be angry and completely bitch out the driver for driving into a traffic filled road rather than following the app’s suggested route and taking the back roads, or I can relish the fact that I’m in one of the busiest roads on the city, able to see the city life unfold around me. I’m letting time drift by, trying to not get annoyed or angry at my situation, because at the end of the day, there are better things to do than be pissed off.

This situation reminds me of two instances that were extreme opposites: when Scarlett forgot to register for classes and got extremely angry, to the point where she made everyone uncomfortable. She had the advantage of being able to pick her classes before the other college freshmen, and she did not realize that she simply planned her classes, not actually register for them. Her attitude was infectiously negative and made us all very unsure of how to feel. We were able to help her salvage a schedule for classes, but not after she had already went into a rage induced emotional rant about how unfair it was.

The other case was with my friend, Ann. She lost her wallet and credit cards flying over from NorCal to visit for spring break. Unlike Scarlett, Ann handled the situation really rationally. She figured out what she needed to account for, i.e. her credit cards, driver’s license, and while she did lose those, she still managed to have her passport. While she had to basically cancel her credit cards and rely on Venmo-ing strangers the whole time, she still had a lot of fun and completely forgot about the whole indicident. She invoked positivity and maturity in the face of a problem.

I’m trying to channel my inner Ann and take a horrible situation and make the most out it. My driver is a moron, and yes, he is going to get a very bad review, but that’s for later. In the present, I’m going to soak in the architecture of the buildings and people watch. Because that’s the most I can do with a situation out of my hands. Being angry will only make the situation escalate.

Subliminal Behavior and Bad Memories: realization

Something I’ve just realized is how subliminal thoughts can affect the way we act and react to things. And from that, I realized that those reactions, they can come off as passive aggressive, whether it is intentional or not. To add context to this situation, I will start with how as a child, I was bullied. A lot. Flash forward to when I am a 22 year old college graduate, and I am flirting with somebody who likes to sass people. I do not want to be the stick in the mud and stifle somebody else’s habits, so I try to play along with that. But then being sassed at, it spurred those subconscious bad memories of being teased as a child, and it caused me to become visibly uncomfortable, despite how hard I try to suppress that behavior or go along with being poked fun at in the present. And of course, that causes this domino effect of that person telling me that if I am offended, I should say it and not try to hold it against them. I did not realize how uncomfortable being sassed at made me, or more accurately, why being sassed at made me so uneasy, at least within the moment. And I am the type of person who does not want my past to interfere with my present.

These kinds of bad memories and experiences, they can really inhibit our outlooks on life, and close doors before we have a chance to explore certain things again. For me, I’m still trying to learn to be a good sport when somebody is playfully roasting me, because I am a grown adult and I should be able to take a joke; I know that their words are not of malicious intent, and I should not be this sensitive or put-off by something that should be funny. Yes, one could argue that these kinds of remarks could be rude or not-funny, but for me, I know the intention behind their statements, and they are not personally attacking me as a person, just maybe one or two quirks or funny habits of mine, so I know I should not be offended, hurt, or act like I am either of the above. Even though I am aware of this, my subliminal thoughts and bad memories just create this sort of rift between the me who knows better and the overweight, awkward kid who everyone would make an easy target out of.

I talk a lot about trying not to play the victim card, and that is why I’m constantly trying to overcome that hurdle of acting so sensitively when it comes to being made fun of. I do feel like this sort of behavior is justified in the face of knowing that the other party is not trying to bully me, bottom line. It is a tricky, tricky process, but I am trying to adjust myself to being sassed at, or at the least, being dealt with playful banter. I do not want to be this socially awkward monkey of a human being because I cannot take a joke, or because I am too busy being held back and caught up with my bad experiences from over 10 years ago… yeah, that’s actually just sinking in that it has been a full decade since anyone made fun of me for my weight. Tackling these subliminal thoughts, it is tricky, but subliminal thoughts are connected to your past experiences. Trying to go into things with the mentality of an observer helps a lot. Understanding that things are not intended as a personal attack on you, it softens the impact of any seemingly off-putting behavior.

It took me 22 years to realize this, but I need to continue looking forward. Being narrow-minded is only my past, and it will stay there. I refuse to make my idiotic upbringing the reason why I cannot move on with my life, make new memories and experiences, and forget about the bad ones entirely. Honestly, the main reason why I have not written a realization post is because for the most part, I have moved on with my life. I have new friends, new moments, and I have been enjoying my last days of college in full stride. I will continue to write in Featherlight regardless, because I enjoy doing it, and I know that this blog will always be here when I need to write in it, whether it is to overcome an emotional hurdle, or even occasionally share something special or fun in my life. I continue to find new ways to blur my past, heal my scars, and smile onwards, in my featherlight life.

misty

Walking along the rugged path, a tall, tanned youth frowned to himself. He had left behind his home to find a cure for his beloved, who was lost to the cold. It was up to him to embark on this journey. He had to find those elusive smoke lilies. Those purple and black flowers held a nectar that, when mixed with ginger root, should melt his prince’s locked heart. These lilies bloomed at the very bottom of the mountains; beneath the mist rested entire fields of them. His prince, the youth dreamt of ending his ailment.His sweet master used to be so kind and loving. But then it happened. The mist began to flood the mountains, in the midst laid their castle. Their paradise together, away from the world beyond. The benevolent boy was saddened.His tears had caused everything to be shrouded in the dark clouds. THe prince’s heart then fell into the coldness. Snow crept onto their kingdom, their haven, slowly draining life from all of its denizens. The youth had to flee, not only to survive, but to find those smoke lilies. Diving through the mist, he was determined to save his home. His prince was waiting, alone and scared. He was separate to remove the snow. He pushed himself forward, through the dark and cold, reaching for any hope. He wanted so badly to hold his prince in a tight embrace. Not as his knight, but as his beloved.