Warrior Chef 3: Round 7

Justin: @Walking into the kitchen today, I’m feeling good. @The final five. @Let’s do it.

Michele: Hi, everyone! So today’s creativity challenge is something you want to win. The winner will automatically secure a spot in our finale in New Orleans!

Henry: @I’ve made it this far, but Kira, Phung, Justin, and Lauren are strong competition. @If I can beat them for a spot in the finale, then I have a good chance to win the title and be Warrior Chef.

Michele: For this challenge, you have 30 minutes to prepare a dish using… onions. And your time starts now!

Lauren: @I’m not the biggest fan of using onions to be honest. @I’m going to make a deep fried onion ring with an onion-dried mushroom broth. @I think it’s going to be super simple, but I want the onion to be the focus of the flavors.

Phung: @I love my onions. @I’m going to make a pickled onion salad with a scallion pancake. @To make my pancake, I’m going to start with flour and water, then then layer it with oil and wilted scallions. @I think it’ll be bomb.

Justin: @For my dish, I’m preparing a grilled onion broth with fried onions and a beef tortellini. @I’m going to dust the onions in mochiko flour and then fry those for a garnish on top of my dish.

Kira: @I’m debating on what to do with my dish. @I finally decide on a scallion salad with grilled skirt steak and an onion puree. @I’m hoping that the flavors will be good together, but the thing about onions is that they’re strong on their own. @I don’t want the dish to lose too much balance to that.

Henry: @I’m going to prepare a caramelized onion jam to go with a seared ribeye and then an onion jus with parmesan flaked into it. @I’m feeling good about the dish because it’s got everything I want in an onion dish in it. @There’s caramelized onions, and a delicious sauce with them.

Michele: Time’s up!

Kira: @I’m not quite sure how the dish will stack up, because the onions were really strong and my palate feels overwhelmed.

Michele: Your judge is Warrior Chef critic, Aster Walker!

Aster: Hi, everyone! I’m excited to taste your dishes tonight.

Michele and Aster taste the dishes.

Michele: So Aster, who failed to impress you tonight?

Aster: Kira, the onion flavor was too overwhelming. I lost the steak to the onion salad and puree. Phung, the scallion pancake was raw in the center. You didn’t have enough time to execute it properly.

Phung: @I’m pissed. @I wanted to win the challenge and it was my challenge to lose. @It sucks so much!

Michele: And who impressed you?

Aster: Justin, the tortellini were well made and the onions were fried beautifully. Lauren, your broth was perfectly executed. That broth had a lot of beautiful flavors in it. Tonight, the better dish was prepared by…. Justin.

Michele: Congratulations, Justin! You won the creativity challenge and you’re guaranteed a spot in the finale!

Justin: Thank you. @Not having to cook in the elimination challenge feels good. @I can just kick back and relax.

Justin leaves the room.

Michele: And now for the elimination challenge! This challenge is simple. You have an hour to prepare a dish based on your journey in the competition thus far. And your time starts now!

Phung: @I’m pissed. @I’ve been inconsistently performing in these challenges. @But I have six challenge wins so far, and that’s nothing to scoff at. @I’m preparing another banh mi. @With the baguette made from scratch. @That’s how legit I am going to be. @Keeping it simple, Vietnamese, and sassy as fuck. @That’s how I won those six challenges, and that’s why I’m going to win this next challenge. @Nobody is going to ever end the Phung Dynasty. @This is my season. @I’m doing pork this time, using pork belly and pork liver, because I did beef last time I made this.

Lauren: @Phung is making another baguette from scratch, and I know that’s going to be a surefire winner on her part. @I need to step it up. @I’m preparing caramel-miso doughnuts with a red bean ice cream and black sesame panna cotta. @I’m hoping that Phung gets sent home, because she’s super strong competition, but realistically, I need to just focus on my own food and cook it to the best of my ability. @My dish is based on my love of baking, and how I won the first elimination challenge with an Asian fusion dessert. @I want to win this one with that same kind of dish.

Kira: @Everyone wants Phung to go home at this point. @She’s extremely tough competition and none of us want to face off against her in the finale. @For my dish, I’m making a confit of ocean trout with black trumpet mushrooms, ramp-spring pea puree, and a lemon-poppyseed butter. @I’ve been cooking fine dining in almost every challenge, and I want to keep doing that to bring me a win, and to guarantee a spot in the finale tomorrow.

Henry: @Phung, Lauren, and Kira are all tough, tough competition. @But if even one of them slips up, then I can swoop in and take the challenge. @I haven’t won a challenge yet, but my journey has been me making pretty solid dishes overall. @I’m making a grilled chicken thigh with a chicken jus, parsnip puree, and fried parsnip chips. @I’m hoping that this will be winner, winner, chicken dinner for me tonight.

Phung: @I honestly hope that Lauren gets eliminated tonight, because she’s got more confidence in her cooking than Kira does. @Kira is a strong cook, but she still doesn’t quite have the soul to be a real chef, so I know I can take down Kira.

Justin: @I’m just sitting there, watching them cook. @Kira’s concept sounds really nice, but I feel like she needs to execute it well because the story isn’t there. @Henry’s dish sounds pretty boring. @He might be going home because he’s going with something that shows little risk. @Lauren’s dessert is ambitious but if she nails it, then she’ll win. @And Phung’s dish, I’d expect her to go home on making a baguette from scratch in an hour but she’s done that before, so she probably will be fine, if not win.

Lauren: @Kira and I get along fine because she’s very chill. @Phung, just too loud. @I can’t sometimes with her.

Phung: *to Henry* Go fuck yourself! @Henry tried to open the oven, but I needed it closed for my baguette. Use the one next to it, you fucking idiot.

Henry: @Only one oven was preheated to the right temp, and Phung’s using it. @I need to think fast, because I need the oven for my chicken. @I decide to drop it into the deep frier to finish it, because I’m running out of time.

Kira: @Henry is deep frying his par-cooked chicken, and I just think that’s the dumbest thing you can do with an uncoated piece of chicken. @It’s going to be tough and dry.

Michele: Time’s up!

Phung: This is the shit! @I’m confident that my banh mi will be epic.

Michele: Your judges are:

Chelia Van Buren

Thyme De Lys

Kierra Johnson

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

-confit ocean trout, ramp-spring pea puree, black trumpet mushrooms, lemon butter

Thyme: Her presentation was gorgeous and I loved the cook on my trout. The puree had a velvety texture. But the lemon butter was bland.

Chelia: I didn’t particularly care for the poppyseed in the butter sauce. The mushrooms for me were too cooked, and they lost their integrity.

Michele: Next is Phung’s dish!

-homemade pork banh mi

Thyme: I wasn’t sure what to expect. But the fact she made her own bread from scratch, I almost forgot she made it, because it was that robust. I’m just wowed by that.

Kierra: Her baguette alone, I could eat this for breakfast for the rest of my life. She nailed the filling too. The vinaigrette, aioli, and the seared pork belly, it was magical.

Michele: And now we have Henry’s dish!

-fried chicken thigh, parsnip puree and chip, chicken jus

Chelia: I’m in love with his puree and his sauce. The chip was cooked nicely, and had a good crunch. The seasoning on the dish was nice.

Kierra: The chicken was the biggest issue I had with my dish. It was dry, stringy, leathery, I just couldn’t eat it.

Michele: And finally, Lauren’s dessert.

-caramel-miso doughnuts with red bean ice cream and black sesame panna cotta

Thyme: I normally hate red bean and miso, but she put both of them together in a dessert, and they worked. I’m really in love with her dish.

Kierra: The doughnuts alone were fluffy, airy, light, and the panna cotta was well executed. Her dessert had everything you needed in a successful dish.

Michele: So can we decide on who our final four are?

Thyme: Yes.

In walks Henry, Phung, Kira, and Lauren.

Michele: Tonight, it was split down the line. Two of you impressed us, and one of you is going home. Kira, Henry, the judges agreed that the two of you had the most mistakes in your dishes, and one of you is going home tonight.

Thyme: Kira, your mushrooms were overcooked and the lemon sauce with the poppyseed was cumbersome and bland.

Kierra: Henry, the chicken was tough and stringy. We couldn’t really even eat it.

Michele: Phung and Lauren, that means that the two of you are the top two in this.

Kierra: It was a close call between both dishes to be honest. Phung, your baguette was a stellar component and it was the most ballsy thing I saw today. However, you prepared banh mi in another challenge and already won with it then, so we cannot award you the win tonight. Lauren, your dessert showed harmony, and as a dessert lover myself, I have to give you the win.

Michele: Congratulations, Lauren, you won the elimination challenge! Both of you will be joining Justin in the finale!

Phung: Okay. @I lost to Lauren? @Are you kidding me? @I deserved the win. @Fuck.

Lauren and Phung leave.

Michele: Kira, Henry, one of you is going home. The person joining Justin, Lauren, and Phung in the finale is…. Kira. Henry, please return to the kitchen and leave.

Henry: Okay. @I’m feeling deflated going home this close to the finale. @I wanted to go all the way to the end and win Warrior Chef but I didn’t get to. @God damn it.

Kira: @Being able to earn my place in the finale is great, but now I’m the underdog. @I need to prove myself in the finale or else nobody is going to take me seriously.

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Warrior Chef 3: Round 2

Lauren: @I’m walking into the kitchen feeling a lot more excited. @But I don’t want to get too ahead of myself. @If I think I’m the top dog for winning one challenge, then I’m definitely going home next.

Phung: @I’m the top dog in this kitchen, and I’m definitely going to win the next elimination challenge. @There’s no way that I’m going out next.

Michele: Welcome back to the Warrior Chef kitchen! So for this creativity challenge, you’ll have to prepare a dish, any dish you want…. without a knife.

James: @Without a knife? @How do you even do that?

Taylor: @I’m just racking through my brains for anything I can make without a knife. @This is going to be hard.

Justin: @I’m ready for this challenge. @I can make pasta without a knife, so I’m pretty much set.

Michele: So you have an entire hour to prepare your dish. Your time starts now!

Phung: @Right away, I know what I can grab instead of a knife. @I grab a food processor and a cheese grater, and I’m set. @I decide on making a pumpkin pie with whipped goat cheese and candied pumpkin seeds. @I’m going with a dessert because you’re stupid to try savory without a knife.

Jaenice: @I’m going to make hushpuppies with chorizo and shredded crab meat. @I grab the pizza cutter because I need something to cut up my crab meat with, and that’s where I’m going to go. @Phung and I are good friends at this point, and I want to see the two of us in the finale together. @It’ll be great times. @The rest of them can go fuck themselves, because they’re all boring little bitches. @Especially Henry.

Taylor: @I’m going to prepare a baba ganoush, but I’m trying to figure out what the heck to make with it. @I decide to make pita bread, but I don’t know if my pita will be proofed enough by the time the challenge is over. @It’s a risk, but I need to take those if I want to keep standing out.

Lauren: I’m going to prepare Kahlua pork with macaroni salad. @It’s classic Hawaiian food, and I can make that with a pressure cooker and no knives. @I’m confident in my dish, because it’s going to set me apart, making something savory.

Cherry: @I’m stoked that this challenge means that a lot of people are going to struggle. @I’m making crab rangoons with an apricot-Sriracha sauce. @I’m making my wrappers from scratch and using a pizza cutter to portion the dough. @I’m confident that the homemade wrappers will put me on another level from everyone else.

Elizabeth: @I’m making a miso glazed black cod with tempura vegetables. @For my vegetable tempura, I’m going to only do okra, mushrooms, and broccoli, because those don’t require knives to portion out for tempura. @I’m going to sous-vide the cod, just to make sure that the flavor is really packed in there.

Gabe: @I’m making chicken tamales with a salsa verde and roasted almonds and coconut flakes. @I’m confident with the choice to top the dish with almonds and coconut flakes because that’ll add a lot of texture to my dish. @After the last challenge, I really want to win this one. @Once you’re in the top 3, you want to continue to stay there.

Justin: @I’m preparing mushroom and beef ragout with paparadelle. @I’m lucky that our pasta machines are lined with the cutters, because I don’t have a knife to cut my own noodles with, and the pizza roller, I don’t trust that around my fingers. @I know that my biggest competitors are Phung and Kira, so I need to watch myself around both of them.

Kira: @I grab the scallops, because I don’t need a knife for those. @I’m going to prepare seared scallops with semolina gnocchiette, brown butter, pea tendrils, and black garlic. @I think it’ll be a great chance for me to show a lot of technique without needing to use a single knife.

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

James: @I step away from my dish and I’m feeling happy. @I see what Elizabeth made and it looks like cheap takeout.

Michele: Your judge is Warrior Chef judge, Chloe Lula!

Chloe: Hi, guys! As a vegan chef, I understand how difficult it can be to work with restrictions. That being said, I’m excited to try your dishes!

Chloe and Michele taste the dishes.

Michele: So Chloe, who failed to impress you?

Chloe: Cherry, your rangoons, you didn’t drain them on a towel, so they wound up being really greasy.

Phung: @Seriously? @Everyone making fried food this season keeps forgetting to do that. @How dumb can you be?!

Chloe: Elizabeth, the dish ate really dry. It needed a sauce. And Taylor. Your dish was pretty unimpressive. I didn’t really like anything on your plate at all.

Taylor: Crap. @I reached too far and didn’t make anything good. @This sucks.

Michele: And your top three?

Chloe: Kira, you made gnocchi, seared scallops, and just showed a lot of technique. I completely forgot you were handicapped without a knife in this challenge. Phung, your pumpkin pie was phenomenal and I’m genuinely stunned by how much I loved that. And Jaenice. Your hushpuppies with chorizo, it was great. The texture was brilliant and you fried those perfectly.

Jaenice: @See, Elizabeth and Cherry? @That’s how fried food is done. @Dumb skinny Asian bitches think they know how to beat me in a deep frying battle? @Think again!

Michele: And your winner?

Chloe: The best dish belonged to…. Kira.

Michele: Congratulations, Kira! You won immunity going into the elimination challenge!

Kira: Thank you. @Winning immunity means that I can’t be sent home tonight. @I can take a lot more risks and not hold back!

Phung: @Kira’s the last person who needs immunity right now. @So long as idiots like James are in the competition, she’ll be far from in danger of going home.

Michele: So for your elimination challenge, you’ll need to get narrative. You’ll need to prepare a dish inspired by a special moment or story in your life.

Cherry: @I already know which moment appeals to me. @I’m going to win tonight’s challenge so easily.

Michele: You’ll have just one hour on the clock, your time starts now!

Lauren: @I have to tell a story through my dish tonight. @I’m just thinking about the moment I met my boyfriend, Dennis. @We were practicing kung-fu together and just clicked. @He’s Taiwanese, and I decide to make a dish inspired by our first date. @He prepared Taiwanese soup dumplings for me, and I’ll just recreate that dish, and it’ll be my story for this challenge.

James: @I want to make a dish inspired by what got me into cooking. @I’m going to prepare a baklava, which is layers of phyllo pastry with nuts, dates, and spices mashed together into a paste and stuffed in there. @I’m going to serve that with coconut ice cream. @I really wanted to make a delicious dessert to impress a Turkish girl in my class, and that’s what I presented to her. @I didn’t get the girl in the end, but I developed a love for cooking from it.

Justin: @When I think about stories, I remember my grandma’s journey from Italy to New York. @Transitioning to life in Brooklyn was tough on her, and the only real comfort she found was making burrata cheese. @I’m making Grandma Angela’s burrata with tapenade crostini and pork crackling. @It’ll be simple but really well executed. @Just making the burrata from scratch should show a lot of technique.

Elizabeth: @I’m making a gluten-free and vegan chocolate-pumpkin bread that is inspired by my best friend, Casey, who can’t have eggs or gluten. @Casey was the person who sent in my Warrior Chef application, so I really want to win this challenge for her and show how our friendship can take me to the end of the competition.

Cherry: @I’m going to make my story based on the first time I had pot. @It was a delicious brownie. @I’m making a matcha-white chocolate blondie with matcha crumble and matcha ice cream. @I want to have two baked components on the plate, because they need to be baked. @Yes. @Very baked. @So fucking baked.

Kira: @I’m trying to dig deep and think about my childhood. @Growing up in San Francisco, we had good seafood. @I want to make a cioppino but with coconut milk, lemongrass, and chilies instead of the tomato and white wine. @It’s a fusion of my Asian heritage and my upbringing, and that should be an interesting story to tell.

Jaenice: @I love Korean soul fusion. @I’m going to make spicy chicken wings with kimchi-red bean butter and misugaru waffles. @If that does not tell you right away that I am a black woman who eats Korean food, then I really don’t know what else would. @I’m going to win tonight’s challenge with my story, for sure.

Phung: @I’m going to make a banh mi, but make the bread from scratch. @I only have an hour, but I’m going to go with a yeast based dough, because why not? @It’s going to have pate, my favorite, lime cured beef, and lots of chilies and herbs. @I’m looking forward to serving this to the judges, because they won’t be expecting this in just an hour, but I will deliver.

Taylor: @I wanted to do something with hapuku fish, but we don’t have that in the pantry, so I grab the cod instead. @I’m going to prepare oven roasted cod with beetroot chips and an olive hummus with tomatoes. @I’m feeling really good about this dish, because it’s mostly Greek, and it’s something that my parents would make for me all the time growing up.

Gabe: @Right now, Kira and Phung are the two best cooks in the competition. @I want to make sure that I can knock at least Phung out by the end of this challenge. @For my story, I’m going to talk about the time I did peyote in the dessert. @I’m making a chayote squash and cactus pear spring roll with jalapeno crumble and a lime-cilantro dipping sauce. @I think that making spring rolls will set me apart and show a lot more innovation in the challenge.

Henry: @I’m making poutine, because that’s what my grandma, Bella, would make for me all of the time whenever I would visit her in Montreal. @For my poutine topping, it’s a duck gravy with duck confit and some homemade cheese curds, that I’ll pickle for some extra tang and flavor. @When I see the other competitors, I’m just thinking about which one of them will be going home next. @I’m not too threatened, because it’s still early in the competition.

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

Gabe: @I don’t feel too confident with the spring rolls, but I see Elizabeth made yet another gluten-free chocolate cake. @She’s so going home tonight.

Cherry: @I think I nailed it. @Matcha domination, right?

Michele: So your judges are:

Miriam Adjanti

Guy Flannigan

Lotte Amazo

Michele: First are the dishes by Kira, Jaenice, and Justin!

Kira: So for my dish tonight, I have an Asian riff on a cioppino. I’m Filipino, but I was raised in San Francisco, so my dish embodies both my heritage through my choice of ingredients, but also the city I was raised in, by being an iconic San Franciscan dish. The seafood just reminds me of the beaches in both California and the Philippines.

Jaenice: I’m a black woman, and I love Korean food. I combined both of those and created a Korean fried chicken with kimchi-red bean butter, and misugaru waffles. I’m bringing to you guys the Soul in Seoul.

Justin: This dish is inspired by my grandma Angela. She always would make burrata cheese from scratch, so I did the same. My dish is fresh burrata cheese with tapenade crostini and pork crackling. I did the pork crackling as well because we would always have porcetta at the dinner table, and my grandma was the heart of my family.

Miriam: Kira’s Asian cioppino was delicious. I think her story-telling wasn’t terrible, but she could have sold her dish a lot more. That being said, the dish was faultless!

Guy: Jaenice’s story very bizarre. But she fried that chicken beautifully and I loved her waffle a lot. The one thing I didn’t appreciate was that kimchi-red bean butter. I don’t know what she was hoping to accomplish with it, but it was putrid.

Lotte: Justin had the best story out of the three of them. But in terms of the actual dish, his burrata was bland, and the cracklings were soggy. And what’s left of his dish? Just a piece of toast with tapenade. What could have showed skill, he fell flat on.

Michele: And next we have the dishes by Lauren, James, and Phung!

Lauren: So my dish is inspired by my first date with my boyfriend, Dennis. He is Taiwanese, and he took me to try Taiwanese soup dumplings, which were absolutely phenomenal. So I prepared exactly those with black vinegar and ginger for you.

James: I made a baklava inspired by when I first got into cooking. I met a girl in my dance class, and she is Turkish. I wanted to impress her, so I made this dessert. I didn’t get the girl, but it made me passionate about baking.

Phung: Growing up in a Vietnamese household, we know how to make pate and we know how to cure our own meats. My mom taught me how to do use every part of the animal from a young age, so that’s what I did with my banh mi tonight. It’s a homemade baguette with beef pate, lime cured beef, and plenty of sprouts, chilies, pickled vegetables, and herbs. Enjoy.

Lotte: Lauren’s dumplings were actually really well done. I loved the juiciness and the texture of the wrapper and meat. It was a bit simple, but her story sold it for me.

Miriam: I liked James’ story, but maybe there’s a reason why his baklava didn’t win over the girl. For his dish, the phyllo was soggy and undercooked. It wasn’t pleasant.

Guy: Phung just blew me away. Her story was alright, but the fact she made her own bread in less than an hour. I’m at a genuine loss for words. That plus the fact that her sandwich was perfection. I need time to process that achievements behind executing this dish in that time frame.

Michele: Finally, the dishes by Cherry and Elizabeth.

Cherry: So I used to be a pot addict, so my dessert is inspired by pot brownies, which were a thing I used to live by. To overcome my addiction, I deferred to drinking green tea and that helped me recover. I made green tea blondie with green tea ice cream and green tea crumble. I made sure to have two baked items on the plate, just because I used to be twice-baked.

Elizabeth: I prepared a gluten-free and vegan chocolate pumpkin bread that I used to make for my friend, Casey. Casey was the one who signed me up for this competition, and I want to do her proud with this dish.

Lotte: Cherry’s story was a combination of dark and hilarious. The dish was really well-executed and the flavors balanced nicely. It was a great blondie sundae.

Miriam: Elizabeth’s dessert bread was dense and chewy, and her story sounded more like her justifying why she should win the competition.

Michele: So can we decide on our top and bottom 3?

Guy: We can.

In walks Cherry, Kira, and Phung.

Michele: Tonight…. the three of you prepared the judges favorite dishes, and one of you is going to win the elimination challenge!

Kira: @I really want to win back to back challenges. @It would be amazing to set the bar high from the get-go.

Cherry: @Wait, I’m on top? @That’s amazing! @Wow. @I didn’t expect that!

Michele: Miriam, please announce the winner!

Miriam: Two of you made phenomenal dishes, but one of you really pushed the envelope, and possibly defied the laws of proofing bread. Phung, however you managed to make that light, airy baguette in just an hour, we will never know, but you won this one.

Phung: Oh my god! @I’m top dog, bitches! @I just won my second challenge, and I’m proving why I am the one to beat. @Come at me. @I’ve either won or been on top of everything so far, and I intend to stay there.

Kira: @Phung is my biggest competition. @I don’t even know if there’s any stopping somebody like her. @She’s something else.

The top three leave. In walks James, Justin, and Elizabeth.

Michele: Tonight, one of you will be going home.

Miriam: James, your story was good, but your baklava was obviously the reason why you didn’t end up safe tonight, or winning the girl over in your story. Justin, the dish was just bland and soggy, but we liked your story about your grandmother. Elizabeth, your story sounded more like you trying to explain why we should give you the title, and your bread was just dense and gummy.

Michele: Elizabeth, please return to the kitchen and leave.

Elizabeth: Alright. @I’m feeling deflated having to pack my bags and leave this early. @I know that I had the potential to make it so much further than this, and I’m disappointed in myself for not being able to show it.