Warrior Chef 2: Round 1

Talia: @Rose, Vin, and I all have immunity going into the first round of this competition and that feels awesome. @I know that I can stand up with the best of them and win that title now.

Lilian: @I’m feeling good about this competition because I did really well in the Eliminator Round, but I still need to work my butt off or else I’m gone for good next.

Victoria: Welcome to the main competition! So let’s get into the creativity challenge! Everyone, please draw knives!

Talia – 1

Duke – 1

Amanda – 1

Rose – 2

Vin – 2

Jo – 2

Enrique – 3

Betsy – 3

Marisa – 3

Lilian – 4

Trisha – 4

Nate – 4

Nate: @I’m with Trisha and Lilian and that’s a good team to have. @The three of us can easily bust this out.

Amanda: @I’m working with Talia and Duke, so I’m excited. @Duke did really well in our preliminary and Talia won the Eliminator Round, so both of them are talented cooks.

Victoria: So this challenge will have two parts. In the first part, it’s a mise en place race. Members of your team will need to filet and portion 10 pieces of salmon, juice and seed 10 lemons, brunoise 8 shallots, and then peel 20 pieces of asparagus. And each member must be solely responsible for one task. The fourth task, all three of you can work on at the same time.
Rose: @Mise en place shouldn’t be the worst. @I know that I can handle the shallots or salmon easily.

Victoria: The winning team is going to be the team that finishes first. They will not receive immunity, but they will be given $500!

Vin: @Immunity is off the table, and that’s fine, because Rose and I both have it anyways. @So I’m not too worried.

Victoria: The team that finishes last, they will have to cook head to head to head to remain in the competition, using the mise en place from the first leg.

Jo: Oh. @I’m on a team with two people who both have immunity. @If they screw up and we end up on the bottom, then I’m going home.

Marisa: @I am definitely not envious of Jo, Amanda, or Duke right now. @If either of their teams are on the bottom, then one of those three are going home.

Victoria: So four tasks to complete and your time starts now!

Amanda: @So Duke is going to filet the salmon, I’m going to juice the lemons, and Talia is going to peel the asparagus. @We decide to handle the shallots together because peeling and chopping will take a lot of time.

Rose: @So Jo is going to do the salmon, I’m going to do the lemons, and Vin is handling the shallots. @We know that we will all jump onto the asparagus together anyways, so it won’t be a huge challenge.

Betsy: @Marisa is handling the salmon, I’m going to do the shallots, and Enrique is on lemon duty. @Right now, I’m thinking about who the biggest competitor in this season is, and it probably has to be the four cooks who came out of the Eliminator Round. @They’re going to be the toughest to beat by far.

Nate: @I’m going to do the salmon filet, Trisha is on lemons, and Lilian is handling asparagus. @I think that nobody would be dumb enough to try to delegate the salmon to multiple people, because you really can’t filet with more than one person.

Jo: @I manage to get the salmon filleted and now I’m starting to portion it out. @Rose finished off her lemons and she’s already starting to peel asparagus, and Vin’s working hard on those shallots too. @I think our team is doing well and I hope that they won’t try to sabotage me with their immunity.

Marisa: @I see that Rose’s team is almost done, and I’m pretty surprised. @If I were Rose and Vin, I might use that immunity to my advantage.

Enrique: @I almost finish the lemons, and then I squirt some of the juice into my eye. CRAP! @It hurts. @A lot.

Trisha: @Enrique managed to screw up his lemons, and I just finish mine and move on to the shallots with Lilian. @I see that our team is neck and neck with Jo’s.

Vin: @At this point, Jo, Rose, and I are all on asparagus, and we are just cruising through it. Check!

Everyone stops and looks up at them.

Victoria examines the mise en place.

Victoria: Congratulations! Team 2! You are the first team done, and you’ll win $500 each! Well done!
Rose: @At this point, I have immunity and $500 to burn. @Life is great!

Victoria: Everyone else, keep cooking!
Nate: Are you kidding me?! @They managed to just edge us out. Check!

Victoria examines the mise en place.

Victoria: Team 4, you guys are safe!

Lilian: Awesome!

Amanda: @Two teams are safe, and now I’m really hustling. @If our team is on the bottom, then it’s either me or Duke going home. @Duke finished the salmon and now he’s joining Talia and I on the shallots.

Betsy: @At this point, Enrique getting lemon juice in his eyes is setting us back. @It’s up to me and Marisa to get things done.
Marisa: @Betsy and I are on the asparagus while Enrique is recovering, and then my heart just sinks when I hear…

Duke: Check!

Victoria examines their mise en place.

Victoria: Team 1, you guys are safe. Team 3, that means you guys will be up for elimination tonight.

Betsy: Oh no….

Victoria: So you guys have just 30 minutes to prepare a dish using salmon, lemon juice, diced shallots, and asparagus. And your time starts…. now!

Marisa: @30 minutes is a lot of time for just salmon, so I know I need to push myself. @I’m going to make a salmon with a caramelized shallot and asparagus pesto, and a grated potato cake.

Enrique: @I decide on an asparagus soup with smoked salmon. @I’m going to sweat out the shallots, deglaze with white wine and lemon juice, and then blitz that with olive oil. @I think it’ll be good enough to keep me in the competition, especially against someone as white bread as Betsy.

Betsy: @I’m making a seared filet of salmon with a lemon hollandaise sauce, blanched asparagus, and caramelized shallots. @I’m not too confident on the shallots, just caramelizing them, but I just hope it all works together really well here.

Nate: @Looking at the three dishes, I like the direction Marisa is going in. @The pesto is definitely a cool idea with the pesto and she’s got the balls to add a component that doesn’t even use the mise en place.

Vin: @I think Marisa is surprisingly strong competition judging from how composed she is. @Enrique’s got the coolest idea, making a soup, but I don’t know about Betsy. @I still think she’s playing it too safe.

Betsy: @I’m hoping that the flavors come through, because my hollandaise is good and the salmon is cooked nicely. @I see that Enrique isn’t even cooking his salmon and that makes me interested. @He’s blanching asparagus however.

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

Marisa: @I see Enrique and Betsy’s dishes. @Betsy went a really obvious route in my eyes. @I’m not too impressed.

Victoria tastes the three dishes.

Betsy: @I’m really nervous at this point. @Victoria has hosted multiple Warrior Chef competitions in the past, so she definitely knows good food.

Victoria: Alright, so off the bat, one of you is definitely safe. Enrique, your soup was really clever and that just stood out to me. You are safe.
Enrique: Thank you. @It’s down to one of the girls, and I couldn’t care less. @One of them deserves to leave tonight.

Victoria: Marisa and Betsy, you guys just lacked the same creativity as Enrique. And that’s what it came down to. Both of you nailed your cook on the salmon and everything was well seasoned. But Marisa, your pesto is the one thing that set you apart. And that’s why, Betsy, you are going home tonight. Please leave the kitchen.

Betsy: Alright. @I’m leaving first in the main competition. @Yeah, I didn’t see that one coming. @It sucks so much, because I wanted to go all the way to that finale and be crowned the Warrior Chef.

Betsy leaves the kitchen.

Trisha: @I feel bad for her, but that’s the name of the competition. @Everyone here except for one will have to lose.

Victoria: Now for the elimination challenge! Tonight, we want you guys to prepare a dish inspired by your first food memory! You have 1 hour, starting now!

Vin: @I’m half Italian and half Singaporean. @Risotto is probably the first dish where I felt like my two cultures combined into one. @For the challenge, I’m going to prepare a miso risotto with basil poached shrimp. @I hope that I can continue nailing my dishes and staying on top of challenges. @It’s be nice to go three for three.

Amanda: @Right now, Vin and Rose have won every challenge they’ve attempted. @I really want to show both of them that I’m not somebody that’s just going to be eliminated just because I’m a freshman. @I learned this dish from my mom, so I decide on preparing grilled trout with poached escargot, tarragon butter sauce, and lemons. @She taught me everything I know about French food, so this will be a great homage to her and it’ll just be full circle.

Talia: @Being half Black, I do love my soul food. @I remember learning how to make chicken and waffles from my grandma Hilda, but I want to do something even more than that. @I’m preparing fried duck wings with waffles, orange syrup, and foie gras butter. @I think that it’ll show my willingness to take risks.

Enrique: @I love myself Latin or seafood. @I already proved in the last challenge that I can nail salmon, so tonight, I need to do something else with Latin flavors. @I’m going to make a ceviche with seabass, and then serve that with some roasted chilies and mango salsa. @I’m excited, because this is my chance to redeem myself from almost going home.

Marisa: @I need redemption. @At this point, everyone must be thinking that I am the weakest link in the competition, and I need to prove them wrong. @I’m making a mascarpone panna cotta with poached pears and cannoli crumble. @I love Italian food and it runs through my veins. @Cut my wrist and out spills tomato sauce. @Okay, I’m joking. @It’s obviously blood. @You get where I’m going with this.

Lilian: @Being a baker who loves using fruit, that’ll be my advantage. @I’m making schaumtorte, which is like a pavlova served with fresh fruit and berries. @I’m also going to prepare a champagne sorbet. @Right now, I think my biggest competition will be Rose and Vin, because they have won every challenge so far and have immunity.

Trisha: @Right now, Jo, Amanda, and I are the three youngest cooks here. @I want to make it to the end with them just for that reason. @I’m going to prepare Taiwanese soup dumplings with black vinegar and ginger sorbet. @I’m taking a risk using the liquid nitrogen to freeze the black vinegar and ginger, but that’s going to be what makes my dish unique to me.

Jo: @I love making stir fried noodles and I want to do exactly that. @I’m going to do stir fried noodles with grilled chicken thighs. @I’m using a wok to do the stir fry, and if I can nail the cook on the noodles with my wok, then I’m not going home. @I know that the competition is tough, but I’m more than ready to prove myself.

Rose: @Nobody can beat me. @My food speaks to who I am, and when I think about my first food memory, I just think about dim sum and offal. @I’m making steamed rice in a lotus leaf, so like a Chinese tamale, and then I’m going to serve that with crispy liver. @It’s two of my childhood favorites, coming together as one.

Duke: @Being raised in Arcadia, I was exposed to plenty of Asian food growing up. @I’m making a lamb hotpot, where I will slice the lamb tataki style, and then have the judges pour a savory Chinese broth using goji, wood ear, star anise, and kombu. @I’m hoping that my flavors come together and make something that’ll win me the first elimination challenge tonight.

Nate: @I know my biggest competition right now is Rose and Vin. @Both of them are strong. @I’m making glazed pork belly with rice and grilled bok choy. @It’s a relatively safe dish, but I know my pork belly will be killer and that will save me from being eliminated tonight. @It’s too early in the competition for me to feel comfortable taking risks. @I want to test the waters first and see how to approach the rest of my competition, using this dish first.

Victoria: Time’s up!

Rose: @I think that my dish, I’m feeling regret. @I could have done char su in a phyllo roll, and that would be a better merging of my two heritages.

Lilian: @I’m feeling bad. @All of the alcohol in the champagne kept the sorbet was freezing properly, so now it’s melting into the rest of the dessert.

Victoria: Your judges are:

Aster Walker

Miriam Adjanti

Erwin Ko

Victoria: Let’s start with the dishes by Trisha, Amanda, and Jo!

Trisha – soup dumplings with black vinegar-ginger sorbet

Amanda – grilled trout, poached escargot, tarragon butter, lemons

Jo – stir fried noodles with chicken thighs

Aster: I thought Trisha made a good dumpling, but the sorbet was just a complete miss. What she accomplished with her dumpling, she completely missed with that attempt at an ice cream that wound up more like vinegar-ice. It was just wrong.

Miriam: Amanda nailed her trout and the usage of escargot was daring. I loved her butter and the lemon highlighted those flavors. There was absolutely nothing I would change about her dish. Vive la France.

Erwin: Jo’s noodles were cooked nicely and I loved the grill on the chicken thighs. Mine were cooked through so I was happy about that. The biggest issue I’m having is that he played it safe. Nothing was wrong, but it was a really safe dish, even with the wok.

Victoria: Next are Vin, Talia, and Enrique!

Vin – miso risotto with basil poached shrimp

Talia – fried duck wings with waffles, orange syrup, and foie gras butter

Enrique – seabass ceviche, mango salsa, roasted chilies

Erwin: Wow. Vin’s risotto was delicious! The layers of umami in the rice was really addictive. I liked how he cooked the shrimp as well. This dish met the challenge brief perfectly. I loved it.
Aster: Talia just knocked it out of the park here. The innovative take on chicken and waffles was awesome and the foie gras butter and orange syrup were brilliant. I really loved her dish.

Miriam: The ceviche was just… disappointing for me. I enjoyed the flavors, but he had an hour and all he did was marinate fish? That’s playing it safe and in all of the wrong ways. I’m feeling frustrated right now.

Victoria: And finally, Duke, Nate, and Lilian!

Duke – lamb tataki hot pot
Nate – glazed pork belly with bok choy and rice

Lilian – schaumtorte with champagne sorbet

Erwin: Duke nailed his hot pot and I really enjoyed the flavors of it. The broth in particular, he developed so much flavor and that’s where you know his time went.

Aster: Nate played it safe. His rice was well cooked and I loved the pork belly, but really with the bok choy? It tasted like take out food. I’m feeling let down here.

Miriam: Lilian’s dessert, my biggest issue was that she tried to make a sorbet, and it just soaked everything. The meringue was soggy and it all tasted like cough syrup.

Victoria: So can we decide who won this challenge and who is going home?

Erwin: Yes.

In walks Vin, Talia, and Amanda.

Victoria: Tonight, the three of you prepared the judges’s favorite dishes, and one of you has won the elimination challenge!

Aster: Vin, that risotto was delicious and you were creative in melding your two heritages into a single dish. Talia, the play on chicken and waffles was nothing short of brilliant. And Amanda, You took the biggest risk tonight, cooking a dish with snails. That might be a first in this competition where somebody voluntarily chose to cook with them. But you nailed your dish and we loved the texture you achieved with them.

Talia: @Right now, I feel like it’s between me and Amanda for the challenge win. @Vin made a solid dish, but our dishes stood out against his.

Victoria: Miriam, please announce the winner tonight.

Miriam: It was tough, but the best cook was… Amanda.

Victoria: Congratulations, Amanda! You won the first elimination challenge!
Amanda: Oh wow! Definitely wasn’t expecting that! @I won! @Being the winner of the first elimination challenge feels wonderful. @I didn’t think I had it in me, but I’m proving to all of the older cooks that I am a strong contender in this competition.

The top three leave.
Vin: @Amanda’s strong, but I can’t let that stop me from putting up my best every single time. @This is just a wake-up call.

In walks Enrique, Lilian, and Trisha.

Victoria: The judges agreed that the three of you are on the bottom of tonight’s challenge and one of you is going home.

Aster: Enrique, we felt you were playing it too safe. Lilian and Trisha, you both felt the need to put a sorbet on your dish, and while we appreciate the risk taking there, it wasn’t a good choice in either of your dishes.

Trisha: @I’m scared. @I really hope that they value my creativity and just send Enrique home, but I think it might be my time.

Victoria: It was a tough call, because so many people played it safe. But Lilian, please return to the kitchen and leave.
Lilian: Thank you for giving me this opportunity to compete and I know it’s been a short ride, but I’ve honestly had a blast. @I’m leaving feeling grateful for the friends I’ve made and the dishes I’ve put up. @I’m proud of how far I’ve come along. @Warrior Chef, it’s an experience that I will appreciate for the rest of my life.

Enrique: @Seeing Lilian going home, it’s a wake-up call that I need to figure out the blend between staying in my comfort zone, but taking some risks, or else I’m gone.

How it is: Chapter 20

“Uh….” The models looked at the awkward sight before them. Valerie stood there, stunned speechless while Justin and Timmy stared at her, terrified. This was not what the couple had in mind. “Well….. I’m going to go now.” Valerie turned around, clearly shaken by her encounter. She took off without looking back to see that Misaki and Tarou were approaching the Muji storefront. Timmy just looked at Justin, expectantly. “Was that your plan? To get me to talk to her?” He glared at him. “No! I wanted you to talk to Tarou!” “Wait, Tarou’s here?!” Timmy looked around and immediately noticed the Japanese boy standing just a couple meters off. Timmy froze in horror. “Okay, well we are blocking the entrance to Muji, so let’s go somewhere else for right now.” Justin ushered the three of them off to a couple of benches a block down from the store. “Here, let’s just sit here and talk it out.” Misaki suggested, looking at the two college freshmen. “I’m not ready.” Timmy frowned, crossing his arms and looking away from Tarou’s direction. The younger model just scoffed in disgust. Was this really the same person he used to look up to as a kid? It was hard to believe that, given how immaturely the Taiwanese boy was acting right now. “Timmy! Stop being a little bitch! Suck it up, and confront the problem like an adult!” Justin growled.

“Oh my fucking god. What the actual fuck?!” Valerie mumbled to herself as she continued storming back to campus. The last thing she wanted to do was see Timmy and his scrawny, cowardly face. To say that he was a disappointment as a human being was an understatement. He failed at taking ownership of anything, he tried to spread rumors, and while they used to be friends, Valerie felt like the Taiwanese boy deserved every ounce of misery he was receiving at this moment. “People like him, they just exist to hold us back.” She assured herself, trying to remove every thought of that pathetic excuse for an adult. Finally arriving at her dorm, Valerie grabbed her knife bag. She was going straight to work. Maybe being on the line was what she needed to brush off her steam. At this very moment, she felt hurt. Somebody she trusted and loved like family completely stabbed her in the back, on top of pushing her to the point of trying to kill herself. She felt hurt, frustrated, angry, there were a long list of adjectives, all negative, that described how her mood was when Timmy became the topic of discussion or interest. “I wonder if they’ll let me practice butchery today. I think I really need to put a cleaver through a pig’s head right now.” She growled to herself, gritting her teeth. At Wish, everyone knew that when Valerie was pissed, they needed to hand her off all of the primal cuts on the butchery station, or else she would not be pleasant to be around during service.

“So what exactly do we say in these kinds of situations?” Tarou looked at Misaki, puzzled. The Japanese boy was blatantly ignoring Timmy and Justin at this point. “How about you talk to Timmy.” The older model stressed the Taiwanese boy’s name as she turned Tarou to face him. The two former friends looked at each other and flinched. And then a few seconds later, Timmy was stifling a chuckle. Soon after, both boys were laughing. Misaki and Justin exchanged looks of confusion before stepping away. It seemed like Tarou and Timmy would be okay on their own for this. “Your face!” Timmy bursted into tears of laughter. “Even after all these years, becoming a model, you still look like the same crybaby Tarou when you’re scared!” “Shut up, dude! You should’ve seen the look on your face! I’ve never seen you look that scared before!” Tarou tried to calm down and take a deep breath, but he could not. This was just too funny for him. “Oh, Tarou, I missed this!” Timmy was beginning to realize just how important the Japanese boy was to him. They had been through so much together, and even after everything that happened to them, this moment just resonated with that fact. No matter how much changed, they could still enjoy a good laugh together.

“Oh geez, Butch Valerie is back!” Mako warned the line cooks. That was the kitchen’s nickname for Valerie when she was angry and needed to blow steam on the butcher station. Nobody felt safe with Valerie holding the cleaver, especially with her proficiency at using it. “Ah, shit. Not today!” Joseph groaned. “Uh, can I take my day off today?” Jacky looked at the sous chef and chef de cuisine. “Hell no.” They both glared at him. “We have to suffer through this together.” “Fucking… piece… of…. SHIT!” The girl swung down the knife through the neck of the duck carcass. Seeing Timmy’s cowardly, scrawny self angered her greatly. She was focusing all of her aggression onto the mountain of ducks that need to be broken down at this moment. “Oh, geez. Butch Valerie?” Janice walked into the kitchen to the loud noise the executive pastry chef was causing with her cleaver. “Yeah.” “Well, that means today will be a fast prep day. She’s going to breeze through the ducks, and move straight into the chickens, pork, lamb, and even after that, she’s still got enough steam in her to bust out all of the pastry prep, so this is a good day.” Janice giggled. Unlike everyone else, the executive chef did not mind Valerie’s bizarre and terrifying attitude because from an owner’s perspective, Butch Valerie was the most productive prep cook in the restaurant industry. So long as she was allowed to use a knife, Valerie would be able to breeze through any and all of the prep in the kitchen in a manner of two hours.

“Yeah, so ACU kicked me off their board.” Timmy explained. Tarou frowned. “Are you okay?” “Yeah. Honestly, I’m sorry about being homophobic. This is all still coming back to me, and I’m just getting used to the fact that you could be into dudes as well. It’s a lot to take in.” The Taiwanese boy apologized. “Something I’m realizing is that coming out is a process for everyone. I’m sorry I did not come out to you earlier, when less was at stake.” Tarou returned the apology. “I do love you, man. You’re family to me.” Timmy hugged his friend. “Thanks, Timmy. You’re my brother. Not older or younger. Just my brother.” The model laughed. “But Valerie, she’s… pretty pissed at you.” “Yeah… I’m feeling a bit scared to confront her. What should I do about that?” Timmy looked at his friend, concerned. “I’ll help you.” Tarou offered. “She might try to kill me, but I’ll help you.” “Oh geez.” Timmy gulped nervously. “Also, can you do something about all of those clubs that are trying to passive aggressively assault me? It’s been making my life a living hell.” Timmy admitted, awkwardly. He did not want this apology to seem like it had an ulterior motive, but all of the people death-glaring him was incredibly uncomfortable. “What do you mean?” “All of the people in basically every club you’re a part of hates me.” Timmy frowned uncomfortable. “Oh… Because of the video.” Tarou grimaced. “Yeah, I’ll just tell my friends that we made up, and that you’re coming to terms with the whole situation at your own pace, and that at the time of the video, you were being recorded at the worst possible time.” “Thanks, bro.” Timmy sighed in relief. Apologizing felt good.

Warrior Chef 2: Preliminary Rounds + Eliminator Round

Preliminary Round 1

Seniors:
-Roman Junior: Quarter Chinese, three-fourths American linebacker from Houston, Texas. Loves to cook homey, Southern dishes and wants to prove that he has what it takes to win the entire competition; he’s highly competitive.
-Rose Fu: Half Montenegrin, half Chinese girl from Brooklyn, New York. Loves to prepare rustic food true to both of her heritages, but does not partake in fusion cooking. Wants to win to put Montenegrin food on the map.

Juniors:
-Brandon Keane: Lanky blonde from New York City. Is a very confident individual and enjoys cooking with bold Asian flavors. Wants to win to prove that he is a capable cook and deserves his own restaurant.
-Enrique Morales: Fit Latin American from Portland, Oregon. Loves to cook with bold Latin flavors and specializes in seafood. Wants to win the competition and use the money towards funding his first restaurant, Cocina de la Playa.

Sophomores:
-Marisa Grafiato: Slim blonde with haughty brown eyes from Hollywood, California. Loves to sing and dance and cooks bold Italian food. Wants to win for her grandmother, who taught her everything about cooking.
-Duke Kensington: Tall brunette from Los Angeles, California. Loves to cook modern American food, namely Asian fusion. Wants to win to show that he is not just some trend-following millennial.

Freshmen:
-Jessica Yuo: Stout Taiwanese girl, raised in Warsaw Poland, but currently residing in Miami, Florida. Is obese, but also a fitness trainer. Wants to win the competition to prove that her lifestyle is amazing.
-Amanda Bolen: Slender brunette from Charleston, Massachusetts. Is a passionate French and American cook and loves to dance and play the cello on the side. Wants to win the competition so that she can pay for culinary school.

Rose: @I’m the first person walking into the room and I’m feeling stoked. @This is my chance to show off what I can make in a competition setting.

Brandon: @I love cooking Asian food and I want to use that money to travel throughout Asia. @I’m ready for this competition.

Victoria: Welcome to Warrior Chef! For this challenge, you’ll be preparing your signature dish in just one hour! And your time starts now!

Roman: @So for my dish tonight, I’m going to prepare a grilled skirt steak with salsa verde and mango salsa. @The inspiration for my dish tonight is Tex-Mex, because I’m from the South and I know how to make a delicious steak and a kick-ass salsa.

Rose: @Roman looks like a total hunk, but I don’t really see him as my main competition here. @Amanda looks like a really composed competitor, so I’m keeping my eyes out for what she’s got to bring. @I’m preparing a homemade baklava, making the phyllo dough from scratch, with a goat milk ice cream.

Brandon: @For my dish tonight, I’m going to prepare pressure-cooked lamb ribs with some homemade pulled noodles. @To make my noodles, I’m using flour, corn starch, and boiling hot salted water, and I’m using the dough hook on the stand mixer to help me do the rest of that.

Enrique: @I see that Roman cooking with spicy Latin flavors too, and I want to beat him. @I’m making a mahi-mahi taco with pineapple slaw and a lime-habanero sauce. @I’m making the tortillas from scratch, just to show even more technique in my dish.

Marisa: @I love to prepare Italian food, and I want to surprise everyone with what I can do exactly. @I’m making a salami-ricotta agnolotti with mostarda brown butter, apricots, and speck pangritata. @Amanda is probably my biggest competitor here, so I’m nervous about what she might put up.

Duke: @Brandon and I both cook Asian fusion, but I’m confident that I can do mine better, so I’m going to prepare a soft shell crab bao. @For the crab, I’m going to make a Singaporean spice paste, and the bao, I’m going to do a traditional Chinese styled bao. @For my dipping sauce, I’m going with peanuts, cucumbers, fish sauce, coconut milk, and shallots and mint. @I’m feeling good about this tonight.

Jessica: @I’m making an herb embedded lasagna with mushroom ragout and garlic chips. @I’m going with baked chips, because they are healthier, and the dish is vegetarian because that’s healthy too. @I’m confident that my healthy dish will be the winner of the night. @It’s going to be good.

Amanda: @I’m making lamb lollipops with red wine-onion jam, parsnip puree, and lamb jus. @Marisa’s making fresh pasta, and that’s incredible. @I’m not sure if my dish will measure up to all of the other older competitors, but that’s going to be what drives me to try harder.

Victoria: Time’s up!

Enrique: @I’m confident with this. @I see the other dishes, and I’m not impressed with Brandon’s lamb ribs. @They look greasy.

Brandon: @I know that the noodles are a bit greasy, but the lamb is cooked well, and that will need to count for something.

Victoria: Your judges are:

Aster Walker – renowned Los Angeles food critic

Kierra Johnston – famous food critic in the Chicago area

Guy Flannigan – food television personality

Lotte Amazo – award-winning cookbook author from the UK

Frank Torres – French-trained award-winning pastry chef from New York

Chloe Lula – highly acclaimed vegan and vegetarian cooking expert

Victoria: Let’s start with Roman’s dish!

Roman – grilled skirt steak, salsa verde, mango salsa

Aster: For me, my steak was overcooked. I liked the flavors, however.

Kierra: The presentation was sloppy, but I got a steak that was cooked properly.

Victoria: Next is Rose’s dessert!

Rose – homemade baklava with goat milk ice cream

Guy: Wow. She prepared the phyllo from scratch, and that already won me over.

Lotte: I felt that the dessert was a tad sweet, but the phyllo was impeccably done!

Victoria: Now Brandon’s dish!

Brandon – lamb ribs with homemade noodles

Frank: Brandon’s ribs were cooked nicely, but his noodles were greasy.

Chloe: Those were overcooked, limp, and swimming in oil. Just yuck.

Victoria: Next is Enrique’s dish!

Enrique – mahi mahi taco with pineapple slaw and lime sauce

Chloe: The mahi mahi was cooked nicely and I liked the tortilla a lot.

Aster: This dish was really well-executed overall. I enjoyed it a lot.

Victoria: This dish was made by Marisa.

Marisa – salami-ricotta agnolotti, mustard seed brown butter, apricot, speck pangritata

Kierra: Marisa cooked her pasta beautifully. The apricot was clever.

Frank: She managed to get creative with her flavor combinations, and the dish was nicely executed.

Victoria: Duke prepared the dish we are about to try next.

Duke – soft shell crab bao

Lotte: Wow. This was one of my favorites. The crab was fiery, and the sauce was beautiful. I really liked this dish a lot.

Aster: I felt that the bao was a bit underdone for me, but the crab and sauce were really inspired. It was nicely done.

Victoria: This dish was prepared by Jessica.

Jessica – herb embedded lasagna, mushroom ragout, garlic chips

Chloe: The lasagna was overcooked by a lot. And her chips were burnt.

Guy: I’m really disappointed. The dish was just bland. Creative, but mis-executed.

Victoria: Finally, Amanda’s signature dish!

Amanda – lamb lollipops, red wine-onion jam, parsnip puree, lamb jus

Kierra: The lamb was cooked perfectly, and I loved the combination of the flavors.

Lotte: She prepared a dish that was more simple, but perfectly done. It was solid.

Victoria: So can we decide on our scores?

Guy: We can.

In walks the competitors.

Brandon: @I’m feeling like I’m safe. @Jessica’s dish was a disaster, and she might be going home.

Roman: @I think Brandon or Jessica deserve to go home tonight.

Victoria: The lowest scoring cook will be eliminated, while the highest scoring receives immunity. Let’s start with Roman’s score!

Aster: My steak was overcooked. 6 stars.

Kierra: Mine was cooked nicely. 7 stars.

Guy: I unfortunately got an overcooked steak as well. 6 stars.

Lotte: 7 stars.

Frank: 7 stars.

Chloe: 7 stars.

Roman – 6 + 7 + 6 + 7 + 7 + 7 = 40/60

Victoria: Now we have Rose’s dish!

Aster: It was really well done, but a bit sweet. 9 stars.

Kierra: 9 stars.

Guy: I enjoyed the dessert a lot, and I was impressed. 10 stars.

Lotte: 9 stars.

Frank: 10 stars.

Chloe: 10 stars.

Rose – 9 + 9 + 10 + 9 + 10 + 10 = 57/60

Victoria: With that, Rose, you take the lead!

Rose: Oh my god! @I got a 57?! @How did I manage to get a 10 from Frank, the pastry master?! @I’m so floored right now. @I don’t even have to win the challenge.

Victoria: And now, Brandon’s dish!

Aster: It was just unpleasant to eat. 6 stars.

Kierra: 6 stars.

Guy: I enjoyed your ribs more than I disliked the greasy noodles. 7 stars.

Lotte: 6 stars.

Frank: 6 stars.

Chloe: 7 stars.

Brandon – 6 + 6 + 7 + 6 + 6 + 7 = 38/60

Victoria: Roman, you’re safe. Brandon, you are currently on the bottom.

Brandon: @Now I’m panicking. @I’m really hoping that somebody gets lower than a 38, or else I’m gone.

Victoria: Enrique, let’s see what the judges thought of your dish!

Aster: Beautiful mahi taco. I loved it. 10 stars.

Kierra: I thought that your flavors were good, but not quite hitting perfection. I wanted a bit more of a kick to be honest. 8 stars.

Guy: 8 stars.

Lotte: 8 stars.

Frank: 9 stars.

Chloe: 9 stars

Enrique – 10 + 8 + 8 + 8 + 9 + 9 = 52/60

Victoria: And next, Marisa’s score!

Aster: 9 stars.

Kierra: 9 stars.

Guy: 8 stars. The salami and speck, you should’ve chosen just one.

Lotte: 9 stars.

Frank: 9 stars.

Chloe: For your beautiful pasta, 9 stars.

Marisa – 9 + 9 + 8 + 9 + 9 + 9 = 53/60

Enrique: @So far, Rose has been crushing it. @But I hope that somebody can beat her.

Victoria: We next have Duke!

Aster: 9 stars. I liked the dish, but the bao tasted a little undercooked.

Kierra: 9 stars.

Guy: 9 stars.

Lotte: 9 stars.

Frank: 9 stars.

Chloe: You really delivered a lot of highs, so for that, 9 stars.

Duke – 9 + 9 + 9 + 9 + 9 + 9 = 54/60

Marisa: @So far, Rose is leading with 57, and then Duke, Enrique, and I all got in the 50s. @It’s not looking so good for Brandon right now.

Victoria: Next up is Jessica’s score.

Aster: Liked the idea for the most part. 6 stars.

Kierra: It was just not well executed. 6 stars.

Guy: I can’t give you more than 5 stars.

Lotte: 6 stars.

Frank: 5 stars.

Chloe: I’m personally offended by this dish, as a vegan chef. 2 stars.

Jessica – 6 + 6 + 5 + 6 + 5 + 2 = 30/60

Brandon: @I’m feeling really relieved right now. @Jessica is screwed.

Jessica: @I’m stuck with 30 stars, but I’m not scared. @Amanda’s lamb looked gross, so she’s screwed.

Victoria: Amanda, you need at least 31 to stay, and 58 to win. Judges?

Aster: Beautifully presented dish. 9 stars.

Kierra: 10 stars for something just so unforgettable.

Guy: 9 stars.

Lotte: 9 stars.

Frank: 9 stars.

Chloe: 9 stars.

Amanda – 9 + 10 + 9 + 9 + 9 + 9 = 55/60

Victoria: So let’s look at the final scores!

Scores:

Rose – 9 + 9 + 10 + 9 + 10 + 10 = 57/60 – won immunity

Amanda – 9 + 10 + 9 + 9 + 9 + 9 = 55/60

Duke – 9 + 9 + 9 + 9 + 9 + 9 = 54/60

Marisa – 9 + 9 + 8 + 9 + 9 + 9 = 53/60

Enrique – 10 + 8 + 8 + 8 + 9 + 9 = 52/60

Roman – 6 + 7 + 6 + 7 + 7 + 7 = 40/60

Brandon – 6 + 6 + 7 + 6 + 6 + 7 = 38/60

Jessica – 6 + 6 + 5 + 6 + 5 + 2 = 30/60

Victoria: Rose, you won immunity. And Jessica, you are going home.

Rose: @If I did not win immunity, I would be embarrassed. @I’m a senior, so I should be able to cook better food than the rest of these scrubs.

Jessica: I’m so embarrassed about the fact none of you liked my dish, but whatever. @It’s their choice, and they can live with it. @Bye.

Preliminary Round 2

Seniors:
-Betsy Saunders: Small brunette from San Francisco, California. Was taught how to cook from her mother, and loves to make American classics, but revised. Wants to win to showcase American food at its best.
-Vincent “Vin” Rugnetta: Half Italian, half Singaporean boy, currently living in Orlando, Florida. Is openly gay and proud. Likes to cook both Asian and Italian dishes from both his heritages. Wants to win to show his parents that he is a talented cook.

Juniors:
-Yang Yan: Tanned Chinese boy from Topeka, Kansas. Loves to cook Asian, namely Japanese and Chinese, and wants to bring both of those influences into his cooking going into the main competition. Wants to win for the title.
-Lilian Jagolta: Small, energetic brunette from Madison, Wisconsin. Loves to bake and enjoys making desserts with fresh, seasonal produce. Wants to win the money so that she can open her own bakery.

Sophomores:
-Nate Wong: Tall Chinese-Taiwanese boy from Boston, Massachusetts. Is unafraid to voice his opinion and knows how to cook classic Asian dishes. Wants to win to show that guys can cook and can cook well.
-Talia Garrett: Half Caucasian, half African American girl from Chicago, Illinois. Loves to cook small desserts and wants to open up her own bakery one day. Is good friends with fellow competitors, Marisa and Amanda, and wants to make the main competition.

Freshmen:
-Trisha Hou: An aspiring artist, originally from Montreal, Canada, but currently going to school in Pasadena, California. Wants to win the competition to show that her food is like art in itself.
-John “Jo” Chang: Slim Chinese-Taiwanese boy from Los Angeles, California. Loves to cook American food with Asian nuances. Wants to win the title so that he can open a business with his two older siblings.

Betsy: @I’m the first person walking into the Warrior Chef kitchen and I’m feeling pretty nervous. @The competition, we have eight of us, and it’s pretty intense already.

Yang: @I’m eyeing my competition, and I already think that the girls aren’t going to do very well. @Betsy looks basic, Lilian looks dumb, and Trisha and Talia both look spacey.

Victoria: Welcome to Warrior Chef! For this second preliminary round, you’ll be scored out of 60 points based on your signature dish. The highest scoring dish of this round will earn that cook immunity. The lowest, you’ll be sent home.

Jo: @I’m not feeling too confident that I can beat some of these guys. @Being one of the younger competitors, it’s intimidating.

Victoria: So just 1 hour to prepare your dishes, time starts now!

Betsy: @I’m making a chicken pot pie with a cream cheese and sour cream infused crust. @It’s something I’ve made with my grandma all the time growing up, and I know that the flavor combination will really blow away the judges. @I look down the line, and I think I’m most impressed by what Vin is doing there.

Vin: @I’m making a lamb rendang curry with homemade roti bread. @I’m blending up the spices for the rendang and getting the lamb and paste into the pressure cooker so that it’ll braise. @I know with the roti bread, I need to layer and press it until I can get it light and flaky.

Yang: @I’m preparing fried bass spring rolls with a black bean dipping sauce. @Being Chinese, we eat a lot of bass and spring rolls and black beans, so why not fuse them together and make them one cohesive dish? @I look around, and I think Nate and Jo are my biggest competition. @I want both of them out.

Lilian: @For my dessert, it’s going to be a chocolate ganache tart with raspberry compote and fresh raspberries. @I really like the flavor and I think it’s for the best that the flavors come out in just using the chocolate and the raspberries, and nothing else. @My tart is going to be a pate sucre base, using chocolate liquor to make it crunchy.

Nate: @I’m going with classic Chinese flavors and preparing a dried scallop and mushroom broth with shrimp crystal wontons, also called har gow. @I’m using the tapioca flour to create the dumpling wrappers and then for the filling, blitzing shrimp meat with fresh scallops. @I think it’ll show scallops in a completely different way and that’ll be my key to surprising everyone.

Talia: @I’m making lemon meringue cream puffs with a strawberry coulis. @For the pate choux, it’ll be stuffed with lemon pastry cream and then I’ll pipe meringue on top to torch. @My biggest competition tonight will probably be Lilian and Trisha because they are both making desserts as well.

Trisha: @I’m going to prepare black sesame macarons, ice cream, mousse, and cake. @I’m doing this quartet of black sesame because I love that ingredient and I love to bake, and this is an opportunity to show off what I can really do with these ingredients. @This is my chance to really shine and make a strong first foot in the competition.

Jo: @For me, I cook because I want to show somebody how much I care about them. @I’m preparing braised short ribs with mac n’ cheese and kale chips. @These are all foods that remind me of home and my mom cooking for me and my older siblings.

Victoria: Time’s up!

Vin: @I see Betsy’s chicken pot pie and all I can think is, ‘honey, no.’ @There is no way that I’m going to lose to that tonight.

Victoria: Your judges are:

Miriam Adjanti – chairwoman of the European Culinary Institutes

Max Hudson – renowned seafood chef from Los Angeles and Honolulu

Scott Connors – restauranteur in New York and Miami

Erwin Ko – famous Korean-fusion chef in Los Angeles

Missy Skies – Michelin starred Italian chef from New York

Chelia Van Buren – award-winning cookbook author and restauranteur

Victoria: Let’s start with Betsy’s dish!

Betsy – chicken pot pie

Missy: The actual cook on the pie was great and I loved that she did an original take on the classic with the cream cheese crust.

Erwin: I thought she played it safe, but when her execution is this good, then she is more than allowed to do that. Nicely done.

Victoria: And next is Vin’s signature curry!

Vin – lamb rendang, homemade roti

Scott: Wow. Just wow. The flavors really build up and I’m just left wanting to finish the entire plate and lick it clean.

Max: I was really impressed tonight by what he put up. So far, two really solid dishes. No complaints here.

Victoria: Next are Yang’s fried bass spring rolls!

Yang – fried bass spring rolls, black bean dipping sauce

Chelia: Just.. no. I get that I’m supposed to be the mean judge here, but the rolls were just greasy and unpleasant. I did like the sauce, however.

Miriam: He hammered the bass. I did not want to go back for another bite. That was just an insult to whatever culture that was supposed to be from.

Victoria: Then we have Lilian’s dessert!

Lilian – chocolate ganache tart, raspberry compote and fresh raspberries

Missy: The pastry was nicely made and I liked that she included two kinds of raspberries. But it needed a cream to round it out.

Miriam: It was a pretty little dessert and I would have liked it with some coffee to be honest. I still enjoyed it overall.

Victoria: And then we have Nate’s scallop dish!

Nate – scallop-mushroom broth, shrimp crystal wontons

Max: Alright, not what I was expecting when I heard you say “scallop dish,” but this was a really inventive dish overall. I liked the flavors.

Erwin: I wanted more texture in the dish, maybe some crispy shallots, but the dish was still really good and it was true, traditional Chinese cooking.

Victoria: Next is Talia’s pate choux!

Talia – lemon meringue cream puffs, strawberry coulis

Chelia: The dessert ate a tad too sweet at first, but then the lemon and strawberry do balance that out.

Scott: For me, it was nicely prepared but a little too simple for me. It almost felt incomplete, but I couldn’t fault anything on the plate otherwise.

Victoria: And then we have Trisah’s black sesame quartet!

Trisha – black sesame macarons, ice cream, mousse, and cake

Scott: This is a tough dish to rate. I loved her macarons, ice cream, and cake. But that mousse was chalky and dry.

Miriam: I was disappointed in her mousse. That was just getting stuck in my throat. But the rest of the dessert was nicely executed. The macaron, I would happily purchase.

Victoria: Finally, Jo’s family dinner!

Jo – braised Korean short ribs, mac n’ cheese, kale chips

Missy: The ribs were delicious and I liked the concept, but it lacked that sauce to really tie it all together.

Chelia: For me, it ate like Southern barbecue, so I still liked it. It was just not as inventive as some of the other dishes.

Victoria: So can we bring them in for scoring?

Miriam: Yes.

The eight contestants walk in.

Victoria: The winning cook will win immunity tonight while the lowest scoring cook will be sent home. Let’s start with Betsy’s score!

Miriam: It was a strong effort. 9 stars.

Max: You took a classic and did it justice. 9 stars.

Scott: 9 stars.

Erwin: 9 stars.
Missy: I liked the originality with the crust. 10 stars.

Chelia: 10 stars.

Betsy – 9 + 9 + 9 + 9 + 10 + 10 = 56/60 stars

Betsy: Wow! @I’m so excited that I got that high of a score! @This is incredible.

Vin: @Wait, seriously? @I’m shocked. @She got 56 for a chicken pot pie?!

Victoria: Next is Vin’s score!

Miriam: I was a huge fan. 10 stars.

Max: 10 stars.

Scott: I would not change anything. 10 stars.

Erwin: 10 stars.

Missy: 9 stars.

Chelia: 9 stars.

Vin – 10 + 10 + 10 + 10 + 9 + 9 = 58/60 stars

Betsy: @And just like that, he beat me right off the bat. @I’m feeling nervous.

Vin: Thank you. @And that’s how that’s done. @I got this in the bag.

Victoria: And now we have Lilian’s score!

Miriam: 9 stars.

Max: 9 stars.

Scott: 8 stars.

Erwin: 8 stars.

Missy: 8 stars.

Chelia: 8 stars

Lilian – 9 + 9 + 8 + 8 + 8 + 8 = 50/60 stars

Lilian: @I’m feeling a little nervous about being on the bottom, but there’s still five more people to go. @I should be fine.

Victoria: And now we have Nate’s score!

Miriam: 9 stars.

Max: 9 stars. You really did a good job on this dish.

Scott: 8 stars.

Erwin: 9 stars.

Missy: 9 stars.

Chelia: 9 stars.

Nate – 9 + 9 + 8 + 9 + 8 + 8 = 51/60 stars

Nate: Whew. @I’m safe and through to the next round! @It rocks!

Lilian: @Just by 1 point! @That’s what made this painful for me.

Victoria: And next is Jo’s score!

Miriam: 8 stars.

Max: 8 stars.

Scott: 8 stars.

Erwin: 8 stars.

Missy: 8 stars.

Chelia: 8 stars.

Jo – 8 + 8 + 8 + 8 + 8 + 8 = 48/60 stars

Lilian: @I’m sad for Jo, but now I’m safe. @Thank goodness.

Jo: @I’m feeling a little nervous now. @I’m on the bottom here. @It sucks a lot.

Victoria: Here we have Talia’s score next!

Miriam: 9 stars for an inventive dessert.

Max: 8 stars.

Scott: 8 stars.

Erwin: 8 stars.

Missy: 8 stars.

Chelia: 8 stars.

Talia – 9 + 8 + 8 + 8 + 8 + 8 = 49/60 stars

Talia: @I’m through! @And Jo is still on the bottom. @Sucks to suck for him.

Jo: @My heart is racing through my chest at this point. @It’s down to Tricia and Yang’s scores and that makes me really scared for my place here.

Victoria: The next score will be Trisha’s!

Miriam: I loved almost every component, but the mousse. 8 stars.

Max: 8 stars.

Scott: 8 stars.

Erwin: 8 stars. Your mousse wasn’t the best, but the rest did make up for it.

Missy: 8 stars.

Chelia: 7 stars.

Trisha – 8 + 8 + 8 + 8 + 8 + 7 = 47/60 stars

Trisha: Oh no! @I’m on the bottom now, and I’m feeling really, really anxious. @It’s down to Yang’s score.

Victoria: Yang, you need at least 48 to remain in the competition and 59 to beat Vin and take the lead. Judges?

Miriam: Just no. 4 stars.

Max: 4 stars.

Scott: 4 stars.

Erwin: 4 stars.

Missy: 3 stars.

Chelia: 1 star. You made me fear my job for once.

Yang – 4 + 4 + 4 + 4 + 3 + 1 = 20/60 stars

Victoria: Here are the total scores of this round!

Scores:

Vin – 10 + 10 + 10 + 10 + 9 + 9 = 58/60 – won immunity

Betsy – 9 + 9 + 9 + 9 + 10 + 10 = 56/60

Nate – 9 + 9 + 8 + 9 + 8 + 8 = 51/60

Lilian – 9 + 9 + 8 + 8 + 8 + 8 = 50/60

Talia – 9 + 8 + 8 + 8 + 8 + 8 = 49/60

Jo – 8 + 8 + 8 + 8 + 8 + 8 = 48/60

Trisha – 8 + 8 + 8 + 8 + 8 + 7 = 47/60

Yang – 4 + 4 + 4 + 4 + 3 + 1 = 20/60 – eliminated

Victoria: So Vin, congratulations! You won immunity! Yang, I’m sorry, but please return to the kitchen and leave.

Vin: @I won it and it feels good, because I’m a senior. @If anyone younger than me won, I would not be able to live it down.

Yang: Alright. Whatever. @I’m pissed. @I didn’t deserve to be eliminated and they know it. @This is bullshit.

Yang leaves the kitchen.

Victoria: And please help me welcome back the contestants from the first round!

In walks Rose, Amanda, Duke, Marisa, Enrique, Roman, and Brandon.

Rose: @I see the other seven and all I can think is, who the hell are they? @I’m going to take them down. @Bring it.

Victoria: We have tallied up your scores between both rounds!

Cumulative Scores:

Vin – 58

Rose – 57

Betsy – 56

Amanda – 55

Duke – 54

Marisa – 53

Enrique – 52

Nate – 51

Lilian – 50

Talia – 49

Jo – 48

Trisha – 47

Roman – 40

Brandon – 38

Victoria: Lilian, Talia, Jo, Trisha, Roman, and Brandon, the six of you are going to have to compete in the Eliminator Round against two incredibly strong contenders for the title. Let’s welcome the Eliminators!

In walks Courtney and Daniel, the two new contestants for the third round.

Courtney: @I see who I’m up against. @Not impressed. @I know I can knock them out of the competition.

Victoria: And to up the stakes, half of the contestants in this round will be going home.

Trisha: @Quadruple elimination? @Holy crap. @I’m trying to find a rock to hide under, because this is going to be intense.

Daniel: @That doesn’t scare me. @I’m in this competition because I’m that much better than everyone here. @I’m going to win this and the title, no questions asked.

Marisa: @All I can say is I am so relieved not to be in the bottom six right now. @Good luck to all of them, because that round sounds so brutal.

Jo: @I really don’t want to go home early, and this round is going to be the ultimate sink or swim. @I need to step it up and prove myself.

Eliminator Round (Four will be eliminated)

Seniors:
-Roman Junior: Quarter Chinese, three-fourths American linebacker from Houston, Texas. Loves to cook homey, Southern dishes and wants to prove that he has what it takes to win the entire competition; he’s highly competitive.
-Daniel Truong: Half Vietnamese, half American boy from Seattle, Washington. Has worked under some of the best chefs in the area, including chef Thierry Rautureau. Wants to win for the chefs he’s worked under and to make a name for himself.

Juniors:
-Lilian Jagolta: Small, energetic brunette from Madison, Wisconsin. Loves to bake and enjoys making desserts with fresh, seasonal produce. Wants to win the money so that she can open her own bakery.
-Brandon Keane: Lanky blonde from New York City. Is a very confident individual and enjoys cooking with bold Asian flavors. Wants to win to prove that he is a capable cook and deserves his own restaurant.

Sophomores:
-Talia Garrett: Half Caucasian, half African American girl from Chicago, Illinois. Loves to cook small desserts and wants to open up her own bakery one day. Is good friends with fellow competitors, Marisa and Amanda, and wants to open a bakery with them.
-Courtney Crnjac: Half Argentinean, half Italian girl from San Diego, California. Loves to cook with bold Asian, Latin, and Italian flavors and wants to win to show that her competitive drive cannot be stopped.

Freshmen:
-Trisha Hou: An aspiring artist, originally from Montreal, Canada, but currently going to school in Pasadena, California. Wants to win the competition to show that her food is like art in itself.
-John “Jo” Chang: Slim Chinese-Taiwanese boy from Los Angeles, California. Loves to cook American food with Asian nuances. Wants to win the title so that he can open a business with his two older siblings.

Courtney: @Walking into the kitchen, I’m feeling really to throw down. @The bottom six are weak and I know I can knock four them out just here and now.

Talia: @If I don’t bring it in this round, I’m out next. @Courtney and Daniel are strong and they’re meant to challenge us, but I’m ready to take them out of the competition.

Victoria: Welcome to the Eliminator Round. You have just 60 minutes to prepare a signature dish to keep you in the competition. Your time starts now!

Roman: @I’m preparing an Asian pork sandwich with pickled vegetables and fried lotus root chips. @Right now, I have a chance to prove that I can do better than 40 stars, and I know I can do it. @This dish better represents me than the last one, for sure.

Daniel: @I’m going to prepare pickled jicama spring rolls, stuffed with shrimp, vermicelli, cucumbers, mint, and chilies, and then a dashi espuma. @I’m going with something delicate but respectful for the seafood. @I don’t think anyone here, except maybe Courtney, is competition.

Lilian: @I’m going to prepare black currant ice cream with ricotta doughnuts and lemon curd. @I need to step it up and I know that the last dish, it lacked balance. @This time, I’m making sure to taste and really think about what my dish needs to improve it. @I have texture, freshness, tartness, creaminess, and sweetness, so it should be a really well-rounded dessert.

Brandon: @I’m going to make seared sirloin with potato puree and fried carrot chips. @I went with a really Asian dish last time, and I almost went home on that, so I’m dialing it back and going with something that I think should be able to work. @I see the other dishes, and there’s half dessert, half savory. @Literally all of the girls are making pastry tonight. @I’m making real food.

Talia: @I’m preparing a rhubarb financier with beet-strawberry ice cream, and an almond-oat brittle with rhubarb-strawberry-beet compote. @I see that Lilian and Trisha are occupying the ice cream machines right now, which makes me nervous, but I am just focusing on the mise en place and getting that done first.

Courtney: @I’m making a cherry mousse with meringues and chocolate soil. @I’m making the meringues, because I think that’ll be delicious. @I grab salt, and that’ll be my secret ingredient to making my dessert pop. @None of the other contestants phase me. @I’m just that much better than they are. @I am a competitive dancer, I work five jobs, and I’m on honor roll. @I live for the challenge.

Trisha: @I’m preparing a sticky toffee pudding with brueleed figs and a buttermilk sorbet. @I want the buttermilk because that’ll be a delicious addition and it’ll cut through the sweetness. @The judges liked my cake and ice cream last time around, so I know that making a cake and a sorbet will definitely go over well.

Jo: @I’m preparing fried sweetbreads in a miso-honey glaze and a roasted corn slaw. @The last time, I made a dish that was good, but not amazing. @I’m hoping that pushing myself with the sweetbread will really work in my favor and that it’ll set me apart. @I’m excited to see the dish and flavors come together.

Victoria: Time’s up!

Talia: @I’m freaking out because I managed to get everything done. @It feels amazing!

Daniel: @I’m an Eliminator, and I’m going to kick some major butt tonight. @Let’s do it.

Victoria: Your judges for this challenge are:

Ashlee Pou – former Warrior Chef runner-up

Sophia Pham – former Warrior Chef runner-up

Karen Laverre – Warrior Chef 1 third place finalist

Lucas Powers – Warrior Chef 1 fourth place finalist

Fanny Robinson – Warrior Chef 1 fifth place finalist

Tadashi Hamilton – Warrior Chef 1 runner-up

Victoria: Let’s start with Roman’s dish!

Roman – Asian pork sandwich with lotus root chips

Sophia: Babes, I knew what he was trying to make and that’s why it’s such a disappointment. This was just boring at best.

Ashlee: Babes, it definitely did not knock my socks off. I was put to sleep. Did he drug the sandwich? Either way, it was not particularly amazing or memorable.

Victoria: Next is Daniel’s dish!

Daniel – Pickled jicama spring rolls, dashi espuma

Lucas: Wow. Just wow. This really blew me away. The flavors and textures were there and it was inventive.

Fanny: I think he nailed the textures he was going for. I wish that there were more hot components, but it was still nice.

Victoria: Next is Lilian’s dessert.

Lilian – Black currant ice cream, ricotta doughnuts, lemon curd

Karen: The ice cream was flawless and so were the doughnuts. The lemon curd was a clever combination.

Tadashi: I really was impressed by her dessert. This is something that could easily win this round. Those fritters were perfectly done.

Victoria: And now we have Brandon’s sirloin dish!

Brandon – Seared sirloin, potato puree, fried carrots

Tadashi: Sirloin was cooked beautifully for me. But the dish ate really dry without a sauce and the fried carrots were a headscratcher. Why those and not more potato?

Fanny: The carrot chips weren’t even good, and you got lucky. My sirloin was overcooked and gray.

Victoria: And next is Talia’s dessert!

Talia – Rhubarb financier, beet-strawberry ice cream

Ashlee: Babes, the financier was on-point. Fruit based desserts normally don’t excite me, but the strawberries and rhubarb and beet really come together perfectly.

Karen: The almond brittle for texture was a nice touch and the flavors were great. I’m really happy with this dessert. It was possibly the best dessert I’ve ever tasted.

Victoria: Now we have Courtney’s dessert!

Courtney – Cherry mousse, meringues, chocolate soil

Sophia: Babes, this was just an abhorrence to chocolate and desserts in general. It was not mind-blowing. I found it rather offensive.

Lucas: Don’t know about abhorrence or offensive, but it’s not particularly amazing compared to the other dishes. But it was still a tasty bite.

Victoria: Next is Trisha’s dessert!

Trisha – Sticky toffee pudding, bruleed figs, buttermilk sorbet

Fanny: The cake was nicely baked and the buttermilk sorbet was delicious. I really enjoyed the flavors.

Tadashi: This was honestly a strong dessert to go up against. Every component she put it up was nicely done. The bruleed figs were a great contrast!

Victoria: So the last dish belongs to Jo.

Jo – Fried sweetbreads, miso-honey barbecue glaze, roasted corn slaw

Lucas: The flavors were there, the textures were there, and he’s only like what? 14? 15? And he prepared sweetbreads in probably the best way I’ve ever had them.

Fanny: If this is the type of food he makes, I would happily dine at Jo’s restaurant. I really enjoyed the texture of the sweetbreads, the glaze, and that slaw. It came together.

Victoria: So can we call them back in for scoring?

Tadashi: We can.

In walks the eight contestants.

Victoria: Unfortunately, half of you are going home tonight. Let’s start with Roman’s score first.

Ashlee: Babes, it was just boring. 6 stars.

Sophia: 6 stars, babes.

Karen: 7 stars.

Lucas: 7 stars.

Fanny: 7 stars.

Tadashi: 7 stars.

Roman – 6 + 6 + 7 + 7 + 7 + 7 = 40/60 stars

Roman: @I got 40 stars. @I’m not feeling too hot.

Victoria: Next up is Daniel’s score!

Ashlee: 10 stars. babes.

Sophia: 9 stars, babes.

Karen: 9 stars.

Lucas: 9 stars.

Fanny: 9 stars.

Tadashi: 9 stars.

Daniel – 10 + 9 + 9 + 9 + 9 + 9 = 55/60 stars

Roman: @Holy shit. @He just blew my score out of the water.

Daniel: @And this is why I am an Eliminator. @I’m that good of a chef.

Victoria: And now we have Brandon’s score!

Ashlee: 3 stars for a gross, overcooked piece of shoe leather.

Sophia: It was dry and boring. 3 stars.

Karen: 3 stars.

Lucas: 4 stars.

Fanny: 4 stars.

Tadashi: My steak was cooked nicely. But the rest was really dry. 6 stars.

Brandon – 3 + 3 + 3 + 4 + 4 + 6 = 23/60 stars

Brandon: @Fuck. @I’m definitely screwed right now.

Victoria: And next is Courtney’s score!

Ashlee: 7 stars.

Sophia: 7 stars.

Karen: 7 stars.

Lucas: 7 stars.

Fanny: 7 stars.

Tadashi: 7 stars.

Courtney – 7 + 7 + 7 + 7 + 7 + 7 = 42/60 stars

Courtney: @Right now, I’m in second place. @Brandon and Roman are definitely not going to stay tonight. @They’re both going home.

Roman: @I’m starting to think that my place is going to go to one of these Eliminators, and I really hope that doesn’t happen.

Victoria: Now let’s go into Lilian’s score!

Ashlee: 10 stars.

Sophia: 9 stars.

Karen: 10 stars.

Lucas: 9 stars.

Fanny: 9 stars.

Tadashi: 9 stars.

Lilian – 10 + 9 + 10 + 9 + 9 + 9 = 56/60 stars

Lilian: Wow! @I can’t believe I just beat both Eliminators. @This is a huge surprise to me. @I just guaranteed myself a spot in the main competition!
Brandon: @Crap. @I’m out.

Victoria: Brandon, unfortunately, that takes you off the top four scores, and your time in this competition is over. Please return to the kitchen and leave.

Brandon: Okay. @My second chance was a flop. @I’m feeling embarrassed about this.

Brandon leaves the kitchen.

Victoria: Trisha, your score is up next! You need at least 41 stars to possibly remain in the competition.

Ashlee: 10 stars.

Sophia: 10 stars.

Karen: 10 stars.

Lucas: 9 stars.

Fanny: 9 stars.

Tadashi: 9 stars.

Trisha – 10 + 10 + 10 + 9 + 9 + 9 = 57/60 stars

Trisha: What?! @I just took the lead with my dessert! @This is amazing!

Victoria: Roman, that means that you will be going home too. Please leave the kitchen.

Roman: Alright. *to the other competitors* Good luck.

Roman leaves the kitchen.

Victoria: Jo, your score is up next. To stay in the competition, you need at least 43 to stay in the top four scores.

Ashlee: 9 stars.

Sophia: 9 stars.

Karen: 10 stars.

Lucas: 10 stars.

Fanny: 10 stars.

Tadashi: 10 stars.

Jo – 9 + 9 + 10 + 10 + 10 + 10 = 58/60 stars

Jo: Thank you. @I just beat Trisha’s score, and now I’m in the lead! @I’m feeling really good about the fact that I put so much thought into my dish and it came through.

Victoria: Courtney, I’m sorry. Please leave the kitchen.

Courtney: Okay. @I can’t believe I’m going home. @I don’t deserve to be eliminated. @My dish was flawless and the judges couldn’t see that. @I’m an Eliminator. @It was my job to kick these losers out of the competition, not the other way around.

Courtney leaves.

Victoria: Talia, you need at least 56 to beat Daniel’s score and remain in the competition. Judges?

Daniel: @At this point, I think Talia’s going home. @She can’t beat me. @I’m here to kick these guys out of the competition, and I’m going to deliver on that promise.

Ashlee: 10 stars.

Sophia: 10 stars.

Karen: 10 stars.

Lucas: 9 stars.

Fanny: 10 stars.

Tadashi: 10 stars.

Talia – 10 + 10 + 10 + 9 + 10 + 10 = 59/60 stars

Talia: Thank you! @I can’t believe my eyes. @I literally went up 10 points from my last score. @This is unbelievable. @And I got a higher score than Vin did! Oh my God!

Victoria: Here are the final scores!

Talia – 59/60

Jo – 58/60

Trisha – 57/60

Lilian – 56/60

Daniel – 55/60

Courtney – 42/60

Roman – 40/60

Brandon – 23/60

Victoria: Talia, congratulations. You won immunity going into the main competition! And Daniel, unfortunately, your score was not in the top four, so you’re going home

Daniel: What? @I don’t think there’s ever been an instance where not even one Eliminator made it through to the main competition. @I can’t believe it.

Daniel leaves the kitchen.

Lilian: @I can’t believe it. @The four of us are all original competitors, and we managed to stay in the competition. @This is great!

Trisha: @I’m so happy right now. @I really hope that the four of us make it to the finale together. @This round was magical. @Just getting a 57/60 from the judges is enough of a reason for me to be really happy.

Talia: @Being immune rocks. @I know I’m not going home now and I can take much more risks in the main competition for that first round. @Let’s do this! @I’m ready to finally be crowned Warrior Chef!

Warrior Chef 1: Finale Part 3

Carrie: This is it! The ending to the Warrior Chef finale! After several grueling rounds of competition, we have come down to the best three cooks here! Karen Laverre! A young prodigy, Karen has consistently delivered strong European and rustic dishes! And then we have Vanilla Cuylenberg! The Aussie fashion blogger turned baker, Vanilla won the Redemption Rounds and made her way back into the competition! And finally, Tadashi Hamilton! The Eliminator who has worked in multiple Michelin starred restaurants in Los Angeles, Tadashi has been one of the strongest cooks in this competition, earning a perfect score from the judges in the preliminary rounds. Tonight, one of these three cooks will be crowned Warrior Chef! Who will it be?

Vanilla: @Tadashi has a whopping 9 challenge wins, but I’ve got 8, and then Karen has 6. @Right now, Tadashi is going into this as the one to beat, haha!~ @But I know that I can beat him.

Tadashi: @Vanilla is my biggest competition by far. @Karen is a strong cook, but she’s not somebody that I would be too threatened by, just because Vanilla is that much of a threat compared.

Karen: @I’m feeling like this is going to be the hardest challenge of my life. @If I can come out of this the winner, then I would be blown away. @I really want to do this.

Carrie: Welcome to the Warrior Chef finale. So we have jus two more challenges before we determine who is going to be the winner. Let’s start with the high-stakes creativity challenge first!

Karen: @High-stakes? @That means that somebody is going home. @This is bad.

Carrie: We want you guys to prepare a memorable amuse bouche, which is a one bite start to your potential 3 course meal, in just 30 minutes. And your time starts now!

Karen: @For my amuse bouche, I grab the shrimp, and I decide to make shrimp and pate choux fritters with a caper-tomato relish. @I hope it all comes together and tastes delicious. @I need to focus on the flavors that got me to the final three, or else I’m going to be eliminated next.

Vanilla: @I’m making an apple roll stuffed with goat cheese, pickled raisins, and some hazelnut vinaigrette. @I’m making the roll using a slicer that will make the apple into this wrapper. @I think it’ll be ingenious, haha!~

Tadashi: @I’m feeling good about this challenge. @I’ve made the amuse at Melisse before. @I’m preparing a snapper crudo with spicy pickled cucumber and dehydrated olives. @I’m taking a risk with the dehydrated olives, but I’m not going to salt my dish just to balance that out.
Carrie: Time’s up!

Tadashi: @I’m feeling strong about my crudo, but there’s only three people left, and one of us is going home tonight.

Carrie: Your judges for this challenge are:

Aster Walker
Erwin Ko

Miriam Adjanti

Frank Torres

Chloe Lula

Missy Skies
Carrie and the judges taste the amuse bouches.

The judges then score each amuse out of 10 stars.

Carrie: So we have tallied up your scores for the amuse bouches. Let’s start with Tadashi’s scores for his snapper crudo!
Aster – 9 stars.

Erwin – 9 stars.

Miriam – 9 stars.

Frank – 9 stars.

Chloe – 9 stars.

Missy – 9 stars.

Tadashi – 9 + 9 + 9 + 9 + 9 + 9 = 54/60 stars

Tadashi: @That’s a solid score, but I’m nervous. @I really don’t want to get eliminated right before the last challenge.

Carrie: And next up are Vanilla’s scores for her apple rolls with hazelnut vinaigrette

Aster – 10 stars

Erwin – 10 stars

Miriam – 9 stars

Frank – 10 stars

Chloe – 9 stars

Missy – 10 stars

Vanilla – 10 + 10 + 9 + 10 + 9 + 10 = 58/60 stars

Vanilla: Yay! *claps hands* @I took the lead and I guaranteed myself a spot in the final challenge. @This is amazing!~
Carrie: Karen, you need at least 55 to beat Tadashi and enter the final challenge with Vanilla. Judges, what were your scores for her shrimp pate choux fritters?

Aster – 9 stars
Erwin – 9 stars

Miriam – 10 stars

Frank – 8 stars

Chloe – 8 stars

Missy – 8 stars

Karen – 9 + 9 + 10 + 8 + 8 + 8 = 52/60 stars

Chloe: Unfortunately, Frank, Missy, and I, we all got shrimp that were slightly overcooked, and that factored into our scores.

Carrie: Karen, I’m sorry, but with the lowest score, you are going home tonight. You may leave the kitchen.

Karen: Okay. @I’m feeling horrible right now. @I just got eliminated, and it was on overcooked shrimp. @I was so close to competing against Vanilla and it sucks.

Karen leaves.

Carrie: Tadashi, that means that you and Vanilla will now be competing head to head for the title of Warrior Chef!

Tadashi: @I’m feeling great that I’m going up against Vanilla, but I know that Karen would have beaten me had she not overcooked her shrimp. @This is the final challenge. @I can’t play it safe or else I’m a goner.

Carrie: So for the final challenge, we want to see you guys prepare the best three dishes of your life. And of course, you’ll need some help!

In walks Lucas, Fanny, Leona, Zack, Jackson, Jimmy, Vincent, Duncan, and Angelina

Carrie: Vanilla, you won the last creativity challenge, so your advantage is that you get to select your two sous-chefs first.
Vanilla: I’m taking Lucas and Fanny!

Fanny: @Vanilla is such a sweetheart and I can’t wait to be her sous-chef.

Lucas: @I’m stoked to be on Vanilla’s team, but Tadashi is tough competition. @She might not be able to take him down.

Tadashi: Alright then. @She took Lucas and Fanny, who are easily the two strongest. @But I don’t doubt the potential of everyone here. I’m taking Zack and Leona. @I pick the Eliminators, because we have been through this competition having been seen as the major threats.
Leona: @Being on Tadashi’s team, I want to beat Vanilla. @She’s not a chef in my eyes and I’m going to prove that tonight.
Zack: @I’m ready to show everyone why I did not deserve that early elimination. @I am a much stronger cook now, and I’m going to prove myself.

Carrie: You have one hour, time starts now!

Tadashi: @So for my final menu, I’m going to prepare a temarizuchi trio with blood orange, scallions, and wasabi, using hamachi, tuna, and salmon. @I’m taking care of the cuts because I want to prove that I have impeccable knife skills. @For the second course, it’s miso cod with uni risotto and pistachios. @I’m having Leona prep the cod and do the risotto and shell the pistachios, while I have Zack handle cooking the cod. @For the last dish, it’s dessert. @Castella with white nama chocolate, honey comb candy, and matcha ice cream. @Zack will handle the majority of the dessert, and I will step in to help him as he needs it. @I’m pretty certain I’m going to lose dessert, no matter what I put up, because Vanilla is that strong with pastry. @But I know my other two courses will be stronger than anything she puts up.

Zack: @I’m feeling pretty much in the weeds because I have to get the cake into the oven first, and then start on the nama chocolate, because that needs the whole hour to freeze. @Pastry is not my strength but I worked for Gordon Ramsay, so I know how to work under pressure and deliver the goods.

Leona: @The biggest pain is that I need to get the cod into the sous-vied after I filet and debone it, and then I need to rinse off the uni and get the rice going for the risotto. @And of course, I need to shell a shit ton of pistachios. @But I know that I am a strong asset or else Tadashi would not have chosen me. @I’m going to show why the Eliminators are the strongest cooks in this competition.

Vanilla: @For my first course, I’m going to prepare eggplant chips with lamb tartare and a yogurt skordalia. @I’m having Lucas handle the entire dish, because he knows Mediterranean flavors the best. @Fanny is doing the entree, which is coffee crusted kangaroo with cornbread, corn-peach salsa, and a brown butter-garlic cream. @For my dessert, it’s apricot-violet sorbet, homemade mascarpone cheese, violet syrup, and arlettes. @Arletts are caramelized puff pastry. @I’m making my own phyllo instead, just because I need to keep pushing myself. @I’m confident that I can take the dessert course, so that’s one down!~ @But I need to make sure that at least one of my other courses beats Tadashi, or else I’m not winning this.

Lucas: @The lamb tartare, the biggest thing I’m focusing on is the seasoning. @I got eliminated for not showing enough range, and this time, I need revenge. @I want to show that I can season aggressively, take risks, and show more range with the lamb and the skordalia, which is a garlicky hummus type of dip.

Fanny: @The roo filet is looking nice, but I need to make sure I cook it medium rare or else it will suck. @The cornbread, Vanilla is helping me on the batter because it’s not something that I am too familiar with. @But I’m glad Vanilla is trusting me, because my experiences with Jean-Georges will help me deliver on cooking these components.

In the judges room:

Miriam: This is the finale I think we were all waiting for.

Aster: All season, Vanilla and Tadashi have really delivered strong dishes. This is a true clash of the titans right now.

Missy: Seeing their menus, it’s interesting to see Vanilla go with more Western flavors, ranging from the Mediterranean to Australia to England. Tadashi is going full-blown Japanese, which is a bit of a departure from the French-Californian flavors I am so used to seeing from him.

Back in the kitchen:

Tadashi: @Time is winding down, but I’m proud of the first two courses. @The dessert, it’s looking a little sloppy to be honest, but I already knew that going into this finale that if I was up against Vanilla, my dessert wasn’t going to be the deciding dish anyways.

Vanilla: @My dessert looks stellar, but I need to really focus on the two savory courses. @Tadashi and I are both doing raw dishes to start, so I think that’s where the real competition is going to be. @The winner might just be decided in that first course.

Carrie: Time’s up!

Leona: *to Tadashi* Good job.

Fanny: *to Vanilla* You’re going to be Warrior Chef. Trust me.

Tadashi: @We finish and I’m feeling great. @It’s all up to the judges now.

Vanilla: @I’m feeling really nervous but we did all we can. @Hope it all works out!~

In the judges room:

Carrie: So here we have the first courses.
Vanilla – eggplant chips with lamb tartare and yogurt skordalia

Tadashi – temarizushi trio with blood orange, scallions, and wasabi

Erwin: Vanilla’s dish was really inventive. The usage of the eggplant as chips, it was clever. I loved the seasoning on the lamb tartare and the skordalia was tasty.

Chloe: The sushi on Tadashi’s plate was cut perfectly and the accompaniments were unusual but worked well with the sushi. Overall, a really strong start as well.

Aster: Trying to determine a winner between these two courses is going to be tough. Vanilla took more risks with this course, in my opinion, with those eggplant chips. But Tadashi using the blood orange was pretty ingenious as well. I loved both dishes.

Carrie: And now we have the main courses!

Vanilla – coffee kangaroo, cornbread, corn-peach salsa, brown butter-garlic cream

Tadashi – miso cod with uni risotto and pistachios

Missy: Vanilla cooked the kangaroo perfectly, so it was a nice medium rare. The salsa helped with the oiliness of the meat and the corn bread with the cream was delightful.

Miriam: Tadashi’s cod was delicious. The marinade really soaked in there. The uni risotto had great flavor and the usage of pistachios were surprising but tasty.

Frank: So far, we have had two great dishes from both menus. For me, I preferred Vanilla’s tartare, but Tadashi’s entree. Vanilla’s entree was just a tad cluttered for me.

Carrie: And now, we have the final courses!

Vanilla – apricot-violet sorbet, mascarpone cheese, violet syrup, homemade arletts

Tadashi – castella with white nama chocolate, honey comb candy, matcha ice cream

Frank: Vanilla’s dessert was elegantly presently. The violet was a surprising addition, but it worked so well with the apricot and mascarpone. I loved it.

Miriam: Tadashi made a nice castella but the dessert ate too sweet between the white chocolate and the honey comb. The dish just looked messy.

Missy: I’m feeling conflicted right now, before up until here, I slightly preferred Tadashi’s courses to Vanilla’s, but he dropped the ball on the dessert, while Vanilla’s meal ended on an epic high.

Carrie: So can we decide on our scores for their overall meals?

Erwin: We can.

In walks Vanilla and Tadashi.

Carrie: So tonight, one of you is going to be Warrior Chef. It was a really close call. The judges were split because quite a few of them preferred Tadashi’s first two courses just slightly more, but loved Vanilla’s dessert a lot more than Tadashi’s.

Tadashi: @Crap. @I might actually have lost the competition because of my dessert.

Vanilla: @I’m feeling it’s going to be close. @Tadashi did a great job with his savory dishes, so it’s a manner of if his dessert was that bad that I am able to squeak by.

Aster: We had to make our decision based on the meal as a whole. That being said, Carrie, please tell us who is Warrior Chef.

Carrie: Vanilla…. You are Warrior Chef! Congratulations! You won the title and $500,000!

Vanilla: WHAT?! OH MY GOD!

Confetti rains down as everyone walks over to congratulate Vanilla.
Vanilla: @I can’t believe I won!~ @I am Warrior Chef, haha!~ @Being able to prove myself and win the Redemption Rounds was huge, but to go on to win the entire thing was amazing! @I’m the winner!
Tadashi: @Seeing Vanilla win, I just feel horrible. @I knew that the dessert would be a huge factor, but I didn’t think it was the sole reason why I would lose. @I’m annoyed I didn’t win, but this is just another chance for me to learn and grow as a chef. @I really am appreciative of this entire experience. @I learned so much about myself and my love for cooking and food.

Vanilla: @Becoming Warrior Chef just helps me prove that I am going to make it in the culinary world. @This is my chance to make my dreams come true. @I can’t wait to open my bakery, and really make a name for myself. @I am not just a former beauty guru, haha!~ @I am a talented, passionate, and loving chef!

Warrior Chef 1: Finale Part 2

Tadashi: @Karen, Lucas, and I are the final three, but we are about to be re-joined by the winner of the Redemption Rounds. @We don’t know who competed against Fanny, but we do know that it’s a 50% chance that the final four will remain the same.

Karen: @Personally, I think that Fanny or Vanilla will be coming back. @I don’t know who if it’s neither of those two.

Carrie: Hi, guys! So the Redemption Rounds just concluded, and the winner of the final round is about to re-enter the competition.
Lucas: @I really hope it’s Fanny, because she might be too shaken from the entire situation to be a strong competitor.

Into the room walks… Vanilla.

Vanilla: Hi, guys! Did you miss me?

Tadashi: @Oh lord. @Vanilla is one of the strongest competitors in the whole season and I know she’s going to be back in the final four with a vengeance.

Carrie: Please help me welcome back Vanilla!

Vanilla: It feels great to be back!~ @I managed to beat Fanny, win the Redemption Rounds, and now I’m back and ready for take the entire competition.

Carrie: So now that we are back to four again, let’s go into our next creativity challenge! Please draw knives!

Vanilla – 1

Lucas – 1

Tadashi – 2

Karen – 2

Carrie: So for this challenge, you’ll be working in teams! Vanilla and Lucas, you are team 1, Tadashi and Karen, you are team 2!

Tadashi: @I’m confident working with Karen. @She’s been on top of every challenge since the finale has begun, and I know that she’s going to be a strong teammate.

Carrie: In teams, you’ll have to prepare 10 portions of the same dish in just 25 minutes. And the catch is that only one person can taste, and one person can plate. Just 25 minutes on the clock, your time starts now!

Vanilla: *to Lucas* Do you want to taste or plate?

Lucas: I’ll taste. @So for our dish tonight, we are going to prepare fried oysters with pickled apples and mustard aioli. @Vanilla will handle the garnishes while I shuck the oysters. @It’s more of my concept, and I can just tell Vanilla how to plate the dish, so we should be good.

Tadashi: @We decide very quickly that I’ll plate and Karen will taste. @Our dish is roasted king oyster mushroom “scallops” with grapefruit segments, frisee, and brown butter vinaigrette.

Karen: @The scallops and brown butter, I will handle that. @Tadashi is going to segment the grapefruit and get everything ready to be plated, because we need to serve 10 portions.

Vanilla: @It’s interesting to be in the final four, but I’m ready to win the entire competition now that I’ve come this way. @The Redemption Rounds, it was my stomping ground, and I’m going to take the title away from these guys!~

Karen: @Vanilla is a terrifying threat in the kitchen. @She’s upbeat and cheerful, but that hides somebody who is extremely capable in the kitchen. @Vanilla coming back into the competition, I’m definitely worried about her.

Lucas: @Vanilla, Tadashi, and I all won our original rounds, so I’m expecting the three of us to make the next round of the competition. @I don’t really think that Karen is a threat, because she’s so young. @She might be strong in team settings, but she’s not going to make it to the end.

Tadashi: @I know that Vanilla is talented, especially since she came back from the Redemption Rounds. @But I’m not going to be distracted by her or the other two when it comes to winning the title. @I need to focus on my food, because if I try anything else, then I am going to be eliminated. @That title, it’s going to validate all of those years of work that I’ve put into my career.

Carrie: Time’s up!

Karen: @I’m hoping that our dish wins the challenge, because these creativity wins give us a huge advantage, and I need any advantage to get into the next round.

Carrie: Your judge is house critic, Max Hudson.

Max: Hi, everyone. I can’t wait to try your dishes tonight.

Max and Carrie taste the dishes.
Carrie: So Max, how did they do?

Max: So Vanilla and Lucas, the oysters were fried nicely and I was impressed you managed to shuck that many in the time allotted. Really well done.

Vanilla: @I’m feeling good that Lucas and I might be on top of this one. @I really want to win my first challenge back in the main competition to prove that I can win this!

Max: Tadashi and Karen, the fake scallops was clever. I really liked the flavors of the grapefruit and brown butter. It was nice.

Carrie: And who won?

Max: It was close, but the best dish was made by…. Tadashi and Karen!

Carrie: Congratulations, Tadashi, Karen! The two of you won the creativity challenge and you’ll each receive $500!

Karen: Thank you! @I’m surprised we won money, but I’m not complaining. @Lucas, Vanilla, and Tadashi are all a lot older, so if I can beat them, and win Warrior Chef, it would mean the world for me.

Carrie: So now for the elimination challenge! For this challenge, we want to see you guys prepare two courses each that represent your culinary dreams. You have 90 minutes, and your time starts now!
Vanilla: @I have just 90 minutes to prepare two dishes. @But in the Redemption Rounds, I had just 30 minutes to prepare one, so I think I can do this, haha!~ @My first dish is going to be a dessert. @Brown butter-apple-yogurt cake with caramel gelato, and fried apple chip. @This first course represents my love for using apples and caramel, and this cake is something I learned from my grandmother. @For the second course, I’m going to make a fennel gelee, strawberry coulis, ginger beignets, and strawberry-fennel sorbet. @I feel bad, hogging the ice cream machines, but I need to make sure that my desserts are perfect or else I’m going home again!

Lucas: @Vanilla coming back already is a huge shock, but I know I can beat her again. @For my first course, I’m going to make a seared scallop with peach salad and a basil emulsion. @The second dish is going to be poached lobster with potato puree and lobster butter sauce. @The dishes are ones that I would feature in my dream restaurant, where I will focus on seasonal ingredients, but with seafood.

Tadashi: @I need to stretch myself and show off that I can cook savory and sweet. @For the savory dish, I’m going to prepare abalone sashimi with a cold shiitake broth and truffled tamagoyaki. @For the second course, I’m making an ube mochi with blackberry-rhubarb coulis and swiss meringue. @I’m taking a huge risk using the abalone and the ube, but if I can nail both of them, then I know that the judges will be impressed by me taking a risk with some challenging ingredients. @Abalone needs to be cooked and sliced quickly or else it’ll be tough. @The ube is very dry, so I need to make sure that I add enough liquid or else it’ll be starchy.

Karen: @I’m going all savory all the way. @I’m not going to bake tonight, especially when Vanilla is back. @I’m preparing a roasted pork chop with apple slaw, cider jus, and celeriac puree for the first course. @The second course, I’m going to make a seared rainbow trout with spaetzle, pickled-grilled carrot coulis, and artichokes. @I’m hoping that with my rainbow trout dish, the carrot coulis will be a surprising but delicious addition. @The big challenge here is cooking two different proteins to two different temperatures, having to filet and debone my trout, and prepping those artichokes and the celery root. @It’s a mountain of prep, but once I bust those all out, then I’m golden.

Carrie: Time’s up!

Tadashi: @I step back and I’m feeling good about the entire dish. @The two courses I prepared have a lot of refinement. @I see the other dishes, and Karen doesn’t look terribly happy.

Karen: @My dishes are done, but they’re complete messes. @The carrot coulis looks like watered down baby food, and the pork chop dish looks like something you’d get from a cafeteria. @I’m not feeling good at all at this point.

Lucas: @I’m worried that my first dish didn’t show enough real technique. @And then the second course, it might not be complete enough. @I’m feeling nervous.

Carrie: Your judges are:

Max Hudson

Scott Connors

Miriam Adjanti

Carrie: Let’s start with the dishes by Tadashi!

-abalone sashimi with cold shiitake broth and truffled tamagoyaki

-ube mochi with blackberry-rhubarb coulis and swiss meringue

Max: The sashimi was delicious. I was apprehensive about having sashimi with a soup, but the dish being served cold, it was great! I felt like he managed to develop a lot of flavor in the broth, and getting that cold in the amount of time he had was impressive.

Scott: The mochi was a nice dessert. I didn’t expect to like it, but the ube, blackberry, rhubarb, it all came together nicely, and then the swiss meringue kept it from being too savory. He did a great job across two courses.

Carrie: And now we have Karen’s dishes!

-pork chop, apple slaw and cider jus, celeriac puree

-rainbow trout with spaetzle, pickled-grilled carrot coulis, artichokes

Scott: The pork chop was grilled beautifully, and the flavors were there in the pork alone. The apple slaw and cider jus were both delicious and worked well with the pork and the celeriac. It was just a great dish, flavor-wise. The presentation, it was sloppy.

Miriam: The rainbow trout was cooked phenomenally. I loved how she got the skin crispy. But the consistency of the sauce was a huge let-down. It was lumpy. The artichokes, they were cooked nicely, but the spaetzle was bland.

Carrie: And up next are Lucas’s dishes.

-scallops, basil emulsion, peach salad

-poached lobster, potato puree, lobster sauce

Max: The first dish felt incomplete. The scallops were cooked nicely and I felt the combination of his ingredients worked, but that was not even half a portion of food on the plate. Especially when you see his other course, which is a hearty, heart serving.

Miriam: The lobster was cooked nicely, but my biggest issue is just that Lucas has done lobster and scallops so many times and his dish was really basic for somebody who has made it this far. I’m wondering if we do see his final menu, if lobsters and scallops will be on that as well.

Carrie: And finally, Vanilla’s desserts!

-brown butter-apple-yogurt cake with caramel gelato, and fried apple chip

-fennel gelee, strawberry coulis, ginger beignets, and strawberry-fennel sorbet

Miriam: The brown butter cake took me back to my childhood. It was fragrant, moist, the apple flavor does come through, and the yogurt made the cake tender. The gelato and the apple chip were nice touches as well.

Scott: The second dessert blew it out of the park for me. The flavors were not something I would think to work, but the strawberry really did bring it together and I loved it.

Carrie: So have you guys agreed on which cooks are moving forward to our grand finale, and who is going to be eliminated?

Miriam: We have.

In walks the final four.

Carrie: Two of you really impressed the judges tonight. Vanilla, Tadashi, the judges agreed the both of you made the strongest dishes tonight!

Vanilla: Yay! @I hear this and I’m feeling good, haha!~

Tadashi: Thank you.

Carrie: Scott, please announce the winner.

Scott: Both of you blew us away tonight. But we had to award the win to the person who showed more range. Tadashi, you did just that for us.

Carrie: Congratulations, Tadashi! You won the elimination challenge! Vanilla, Tadashi, the two of you are safe and can leave the judges’ room.

Tadashi: Thank you. @Winning the elimination challenge was phenomenal. @I’m feeling really good about the final challenge at this point. @The question is, is it Lucas or Karen joining the two of us in that final round?

Vanilla: Yay! @Even though I didn’t win the elimination challenge, I still made it to the final three, haha!~ @I’m ready to fully redeem myself and be crowned the Warrior Chef!

Tadashi and Vanilla leave.

Carrie: Karen and Lucas, one of you is going home.

Miriam: Karen, we had an issue with the presentations of both of your dishes. For your trout dish, there were quite a few technical errors. The sauce was like baby food. And then the spaetzle was bland.
Max: Lucas, the first dish was gorgeous, the scallop and basil came together. But the dish was too basic. The second dish, we just felt like we’ve had that and just your general menu before. Scallops and lobster, you have proven you can cook both well. But we want to see more range.

Lucas: Crap. @I’m feeling terrible right now. @Those ingredients, I choose to cook them because they are challenging to prepare, but now I’m looking like a broken record here.

Karen: @It’s between me and Lucas, and I really want to beat him. @Tadashi, Vanilla, and Lucas, they all won the first challenge, so I want to make it to the end for the people who didn’t win with their signature dishes.

Carrie: Lucas. I’m sorry. Please return to the kitchen and leave.

Lucas: Okay. Thank you. I agree with your decision entirely. *to Karen* Good luck. You deserved it. @I’m feeling like shit for being eliminated right before the final challenge. @I was expecting to be the final challenge and getting sent home right before it really sucks. @I wish the three of them the best of luck.

Lucas leaves the kitchen.

Carrie: And Karen, that means that you will be joining Vanilla and Tadashi in the final challenge! Congratulations!

Karen: Thank you! @I’m in complete disbelief right now. @I’ve made it to the end. @I really hope that I can beat Vanilla and Tadashi. @I want to prove to them that I can be the Warrior Chef!

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….

How it is: Chapter 15

It was Thursday, early in the afternoon. “Hey, how are you?” Janice and Mako looked at Valerie as she stepped into the kitchen. They could both tell that she looked exhausted and bothered. “I did not get a lot of sleep last night. One of my best friends who had a crush on me, he basically bullied me into trying to kill myself, and then he called me a skank in front of everyone I knew.” Valerie clammed up at that point. She felt like she spoke an uncharacteristically large amount, given how quiet and reserved she normally was at work. She felt her entire right arm convulsing with rage. It was one of the few times she wished she was a butcher at the restaurant. She could really use a cleaver on something at the moment, just to blow off some steam. Imagining that the pig or chicken carcass was Timmy, since both of those descriptions suited him at this very moment. “Here, come with me.” Janice pulled her aside. The executive chef looked greatly concerned at what she was hearing. “Wait, but I have prep to do-” Valerie tried to interject. “Mako, you’re in charge! Keep making sure that prep is going on schedule! It’s a Thursday, so we aren’t going to be as busy, so you guys should be fine without us for a little bit.” She shouted. “Alright, chef!” Mako called back as the two girls walked into the restaurant’s seating area. “We can’t have you going into service like this. We are going to talk a little bit.” Janice explained.

“Alright, so I just need a second here to unravel what’s going on. So you’re saying that you wanted to kill yourself?” Janice looked at her. “Yeah.” Valerie sighed. “Why?” “It happened around the time the finale aired. All of the comments, saying how I was an idiot, it was just coming back to haunt me. And it was because I made desserts only on that finale, and I make desserts here, so work was a constant trigger.” She started. “Okay, well that was you over a year ago, alright? You were a dumb 17 year-old. You’re going to make mistakes when you’re that young. Hell, I make mistakes now, and I’m 26!” Janice confessed. “What?” Valerie looked at her in surprise. “Yeah! A couple services ago, I accidentally look a ramekin full of sugar to the pass, and sprinkled sugar on the venison loin. I tasted it, because it did not feel like the malden salt, but at that point, I had already put it on the meat, and we had to re-fire it.” Janice rolled her eyes. “But in your situation, trust me, I know what it’s like. Yeah, I won my season, but the way I won it was too controversial. People kept on telling me that I did not deserve to win, and that I was a gimmick. I got eliminated fourth, and only got back in because of the Redemption Creativity Challenge in the last round. It sucked. But I just started to ignore that, worked my ass off, and that’s why I got a Michelin star.” Valerie nodded. It was surprising for her to actually have this time to speak with Janice on a one on one basis.

“So what exactly did your friend say that made you try to act on these thoughts?” “He said that I would go from being a joke to a has-been.” Valerie frowned. “Look, you will only be a joke if you let others get to you like that. You are a hardworking and determined young woman, and that’s exactly why I promoted you to executive pastry chef. And I know you probably think this, but I did not promote you so that you can copy and replace Namie. I wanted you to lead the pastry department with your own techniques and vision.” Hearing that was a huge relief. “Thank you, Janice.” Valerie smiled. “Stop thinking about what others say about you. I don’t know about your personal life or decisions, nor I should ask, since it’s not workplace appropriate, but if they want to call you a skank or whore, don’t listen to that. Even if you are promiscuous or whatever, your work ethic and passion for your industry, that’s what they should be focusing on. People who spread rumors, they have too much time and insecurities on their hands. Don’t stoop to their level. Don’t let what they say get to you. Confidence comes from working hard and gaining experience. Doubt comes from sitting around, being too sensitive and unproductive. You have so much experience already, I just want you to take that and own it.” What Janice said, it was eye-opening to Valerie. “You’re right. I need to. Thanks, Janice” Valerie nodded. The two got up and returned to the kitchen. “And that friend of yours, cut him off. He’s not worth your time or attention. He owes you an apology. Until he gives you that, just forget about him. Focus on other things, and honestly, don’t wait around, expecting an apology either. Do things with your time.”

“Hey, feeling better?” Jacky looked at Valerie as she walked up to the pass with her cherry dessert. Like they suggested, Valerie opted for a honey-goat milk-vanilla panna cotta instead of the yogurt, and it tasted phenomenal. “I’m feeling good. How about you? How have you been?” She smiled. “I’ve been alright. You know, living the chef life.” They chuckled together, as the two walked back to their respective stations. “Alright, so next order. Three ube doughnuts, followed by that, two olive oil cakes.” Valerie read off the checks. “Heard!” Daphne and Megan chimed in. For the first time in a while, Valerie felt in control. Orders were coming in, and being sent out with no issues. Megan, Daphne, and her, they were working together seamlessly. I got the doughnuts out of the frier, and I’m tossing them in the cinnamon-sesame sugar right now, chef! Give me 30 more seconds!” Daphne cried. “30 seconds, heard!” “Here, chef!” Daphne handed Valerie three bowls and the components to go into it, which the chef quickly plated up. “Daphne, bring these two the pass.” “Got it!” The cook walked down with the three bowls on a sheet tray. “Here’s the olive oil cake, chef.” Megan presented Valerie the two plates. The chef quickly finished the plating on those as well. “Alright, Megan, bring those up to the pass.” “Thanks, chef!” Megan smiled as she walked up with the two desserts.

“Man, that was probably one of the best services we had in a while!” Megan smiled. “Tell me about it.” Daphne grinned. The three were cleaning down their station, and celebrating a very successful dinner service. “It’s good to have the Valerie we know and love back.” They looked at her. “Thanks, you two. I wouldn’t be the chef I am without such amazing pastry cooks. Literally everything you two brought up for me was perfection.” She beamed at the two older women. It was remarkable to think about how Megan was 27 and Daphne was 43 with a son, that the two would give her, a 18 year-old, so much respect. When Valerie was first promoted to chef, she was nervous. Even though she worked there longer than Megan had, she felt that Daphne was deserving of the promotion. “Say, Daphne. How come you did not take the promotion to executive pastry chef?” She looked over the mother. “Well, Janice and Namie did ask me, but I rejected the offer. Yeah, the pay is nice and all, but I have a family to raise too. If I was the executive, then I would have to be too preoccupied with menu planning and coordinating with Janice. And then don’t get me started on those events in the summer. You’ll have to travel a lot and it’s going to be a major pain. I’d prefer to just stay in New York with my family.” She sighed. “Besides, Ben’s getting to a difficult age. He’s 12 and thinks that he’s the boss of everyone now. I’d rather be here, keeping him in his place.” Keeping him in his place, huh? Valerie thought to herself. We all have a place where we fit in and thrive…