Regulus: Chapter 5

It was quiet. Not a single sound or light, with the sole exception being the small cracks of it slithering out from around the door. “Alright, here goes.” He sighed to himself, walking into the abyss. As he went further away from the light, he found his vision adjusting to the darkness, and he was able to make out the area he was in. It was a cavernous hallway, the ceiling and walls were occasionally embedded with pieces of uncut alexandrite. As he continued to wander into the darkness, he finally found a part of the hallway that was lined with several urns. Placing it down, the boy began to make his way back to the door. Only to find out, after the trek back, that the door had been locked. Banging on it, he was hoping his father would let him out. But he never did. It felt like ages of knocking the door, begging for it to be opened, but no response. Resigning to his fate, Lionel decided to go back to where the urns were. There was more past that area. If he was here, he might as well go as deep as he can inside of these catacombs. He normally was not allowed down here, so it was a rare opportunity to explore a new part of the estate. Wandering deeper and deeper into the the unknown, he readjusted his eyes to the darkness, allowing himself to better witness the depths of the basement. There was luckily just one linear path. And all he had to do was keeping delving deeper along it. He had no idea what was awaiting him on the other side. However, it would be better than the beatings and abuse that awaited him should he return to the house. At this point, it was all beginning to make sense to him, Lacey’s warnings. Anything would be better than living in these conditions. Even death, as his mother showed him.

Speak of the devil. There was a skeleton, sprawled on the floor before him. Somebody had actually died in these mines. At first, it was terrifying, but then Lionel remembered that he had just cremated his mother’s corpse and had to act as though nothing was wrong just a day ago. Or was it weeks ago? He had no concept of time in the darkness. He did not even remember how long he had been wandering in the catacombs for. However, he noticed something in the skeleton’s hand. It was a paper airplane. “No. This can’t be her.” He shuddered, pulling the airplane out of the corpse’s hand. It was hard to read, due to the cavern being only barely illuminated from the glow of the gemstones, but the boy could still make out what was written on that sheet of paper. “Lionel, in the darkest of places may just be your last hope. You might think that hope is lost, but you need to keep wandering on. They tried to lock me here, but they did not realize that they just set me free. I am free now. Free from this prison and free from them. Join me, Lionel. I will be waiting for you on the other side. Be brave, my little brother. -Lacey”. Taken aback, the boy tried his best to fight back the tears. That skeleton, it really must be her. She must have died here, locked up from their parents. But then he remembered what was written on that note. He could not stop here. He had to keep moving on. If he stayed here, his father would eventually find him and punish him in another twisted way. Either that or continue to leave him here to rot and die. Either way, he was not ready to succumb to such a fate. He needed to keep moving deeper into the darkness, and towards whatever hopes he still had for his freedom. If he gave up now, then he would have nothing left to live for. He had to keep living, for Lacey, and for his own freedom.

Wandering deeper into the depths of the catacombs, Lionel finally came to a dead end. It appeared to be a cave-in. Stones upon stones smothered any sight of the other side. “Oh no….” He sighed, leaning in to better inspect the rocks. He had not lost hope just yet. Even if he had to dig his way out, he would do it. Noticing that a roughly potato-sized rock, towards the top of the pile, was shifting to his touch, Lionel pulled it away, and darted back in caution. No avalanche. Much to his relief and slight disappointment. He was hoping that the rocks would give way to the exit. However, what come out of that hole was something else that he had sought after. Light. Not the glow of alexandrite. Natural sunlight. “Yes!” He gasped in relief, as the boy continued rummaging around for another loose rock to pull. He found it. Yanking another, then another, then another, Lionel smiled as more sunlight poured through as the hole grew larger. Wherever this cavern led to, he was determined to get away from Fangnis. “Finally!” He beamed. The hole was large enough for him to crawl through. Pulling himself out, he sighed in relief. It was a grassy green hill, much like the backyard of their estate. However, unlike his favorite viewpoint, this one was connected to a long slope of grass, leading downwards to a lot of smaller buildings. Buildings…. the town. He slowly realized, smiling. Lacey! She might have escaped after all. The boy realized. Turning around, he shuddered as he was faced with that cavernous mouth of darkness, tinged with a faint glow of alexandrite. Grabbing some rocks and dirt nearby, Lionel started to stuff that hole, trying his best to bury the darkness, the pain, the trauma behind him. He could not let him father believe for even a second that he escaped.

Satisfied with his handiwork, Lionel got up, and brushed the dirt off his hands. He managed to cover the entire hole with a combination of mud, rock, and sticks. There was no way that any light could slip through those cracks. Turning back around, he took a deep breath. This lifestyle that he was about to embark on, he had no idea what to expect. How long would his freedom and happiness last?  Shaking off all of his doubts, he started running down the hill. The village was drawing nearer. He could feel his heart beating out of his chest with anticipation. The hill, with Fangnis sitting on top of it, was vanishing into the distance. Putting a stop to his sprint, the boy finally made it to the base of the hill. “Oh, it’s rare that we have visitors to the village.” An elderly farmer looked at the panting boy. “What is your name, young man?” Pausing, Lionel took a second to catch his breath. “My name?” He didn’t want to state the name he was given. In the event his father ever catch wind of him being alive, he needed to be ready for that. He had to erase any trace of his old life. “Regulus.” He lied through his teeth. “I am a young traveler from a neighboring country in Regensberg, just passing by.” “Well, welcome to our fair village, young man. If you need a place to stay for the night, my wife and her sister own a hostel.” He offered. “Thank you, sir.” He smiled. “It’s not very often we get visitors. I think that the last time was years ago. A young lady, around the same age as you.” He noted, much to Regulus’s shock. “Do you remember what happened to her?” The boy asked, trying to mask his excitement. “She settled in the village for a few years, but left maybe a month of two ago. She said she wanted to explore the world.” He explained. This was Regulus’s only chance to reunite with Lacey. She was still alive. He had just overcome one of the hardest journeys of his life, escaping that hell, but another adventure was about to begin. He was going to reunite with his sister.

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Warrior Chef 3: Finale Part 1

The final four arrive in New Orleans, where the competition will conclude.

Justin: @I’m the last man standing and against three of the strongest cooks in this competition’s history. @Phung is definitely my biggest competition and I want her to go home next.

Michele: Welcome to the finale! Let’s get into your creativity challenge! Since we are in New Orleans, we want to see you guys make a delicious… beignet. You have just 30 minutes, and your time starts now!

Kira: @A beignet is a doughnut. @Lauren won the last elimination challenge with her doughnuts, so this will be tough. @I’m making a lemon-coconut beignet with lemon curd glaze and toasted coconut sprinkled on top.

Lauren: @I won the last challenge with my doughnuts so I’m going to do it again. @I’m making a matcha cake beignets with white chocolate ganache glaze. @The biggest competition for me in this challenge, probably Justin? @I don’t really think anyone here has as much pastry experience as me.

Phung: @I’m making mochi and red bean doughnuts. @These doughnuts are going to win Warrior Chef for me. @I swear upon it. @I’m excited to be competing in the finale, but I need to get another win in or else everyone will think I peaked.

Justin: @I’m going to nail this challenge. @I’m making almond, chocolate, and orange beignets. @I think that the flavor combination of these ingredients will deliver. @Lauren is the one to beat for this challenge, but I’m not too worried about the creativity challenge. @I’m thinking about the elimination challenge.

Michele: Time’s up!

Phung: @I’m feeling great. @This dough is a winner.

Michele: Your judge for this challenge is New Orleans native and Warrior Chef finalist, Tina Wang!

Tina: Hi, everyone! I’ve made it to the final three before, so I understand how it feels to be so close to the end. I can’t wait to try your beignets!

Tina and Michele taste the dishes.

Michele: So Tina, who prepared your favorite beignets?

Tina: Lauren, the matcha was creative and I liked the texture of your beignet. Kira, you produced the lightest beignets and the coconut and lemon was really good. Tonight, Kira, you won it for me.

Michele: Congratulations, Kira! You won the creativity challenge and a huge advantage going into the elimination challenge!

Kira: Thank you! @I’m stoked that I get a huge advantage. @If I play it right, then I’m guaranteed a spot in the next round. @After almost being eliminated in the last round, I really want to finalize my place in this competition.

A cart is wheeled in, carrying crawfish and shrimp.

Michele: For the elimination challenge, we want you guys to use either crawfish or shrimp in your dishes. Kira, you get to assign who cooks with what.

Kira: Phung’s getting the crawfish, and everyone else gets shrimp. @I want her out. @Crawfish, never cooked with it before. @She probably hasn’t either, so she’s probably screwed tonight.

Phung: @I’m so happy she gave me the crawfish. @I know how to cook it. @It’s delicious. @I’m going to win this challenge and send Kira home. @Bye, bye, girl.

Michele: 45 minutes to prepare your dishes, time starts now!

Phung: @I’m making a drunken crawfish broth, using plenty of lager to get that crawfish as wasted as possible. @I’m confident that I can demolish the competition tonight because of my skills. @Lauren’s my biggest competition right now, but she’s not somebody who can even hold a candle to me in the kitchen. @I’m going to knock her over in the name of the Phung Dynasty.

Kira: @I’m preparing butter poached shrimp with a shrimp butter and couscous to soak up the butter, and deep fried couscous for texture on top. @Phung is a tough, tough competitor. @She’s got skills, and I’m still amazed how hard of a time she gives me in this competition, given that she’s just a home cook.

Lauren: @For my dish tonight, I’m making grilled shrimp with a shrimp-pineapple stock and some ham wrapped shrimp tempura. @I want to make the shrimp be the star tonight, and I’m going to showcase them in three ways to show my mastery over this ingredient. @Kira and Justin have got a lot of techniques, and Phung is a monster. @This final four, it’s really competitive.

Justin: @I’m going to make shrimp scampi with a shrimp butter. @I’m making the pasta from scratch, and then I’m going to load plenty of lemon, garlic, and chervil onto the dish. @Phung, Kira, Lauren, they’re all strong cooks. @I have mad respect for Lauren and Kira, and I want the three of us to make it to the final challenge together. @Phung getting the crawfish, I think it’ll be good for the odds of that happening.

Michele: Time’s up!

Kira: @I see Phung’s final dish and I’m shocked. @She’s got a crawfish broth with some raw vegetables and crawfish in a bowl. @It’s a beautiful dish, and I think that if it works the way she’s intending for it to, then she might have just won this challenge.

Phung: @This dish won me the elimination challenge. @It’s everything I could ever ask for, and more. @I see the other dishes, and I’m not impressed. @Justin should just go home, because he’s made pasta in every challenge and that gets old really fast.

Michele: Your judges for this elimination challenge are:

Terrell Ayes – Warrior Chef two time finalist

Tina Wang – Warrior Chef finalist

Guy Flannigan

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

-butter poached shrimp with shrimp butter, couscous in two textures

Tina: The shrimp were cooked beautifully and I liked that she incorporated two kinds of couscous into her dish. The butter for me, it lacked shrimp flavor.

Guy: I agree on her shrimp butter being on the bland side. The flavor of the shrimp themselves, nicely done. I liked her couscous too.

Terrell: The dish was close to perfection. The shrimp butter needed more flavor of any kind. It tasted like unsalted butter, just melted down.

Michele: And now we have Lauren’s dish!

-grilled shrimp with shrimp-pineapple stock and some ham wrapped shrimp tempura

Terrell: I was really impressed by the flavor of the stock. The pineapple and the ham actually worked together nicely.

Tina: I hate Hawaiian pizza, but I loved her dish. The flavors complimented the shrimp and I’m just really impressed.

Guy: The flavor of the stock was very deep. The shrimp was cooked nicely, both the grilled and the tempura. I was impressed.

Michele: And now we have Justin’s dish!

-shrimp scampi with shrimp butter

Guy: The dish itself was just boring. Had he not made his own pasta, then it would have honestly been forgettable. The shrimp butter was a good idea, but it just was bland.

Tina: I thought that the pasta was cooked nicely but I agree that he hardly pushed the originality of the dish.

Terrell: I wanted spices and flavors, but instead, I got bland shrimp sauce. I just didn’t want to finish it.

Michele: And finally, Phung’s dish!

-drunken crawfish shabu shabu

Tina: Wow. Just wow. The flavors in her broth were incredible. Lauren’s broth was delicious, but Phung’s was deep.

Terrell: The spices she coaxed into that liquid, it was addictive. I could have finished an entire vat of that broth alone.

Guy: She managed to make an inventive dish with an ingredient that is really challenging. She nailed it on all counts.

Michele: So can we agree on who will make our final three?

Tina: Yes.

In walks the finalists.

Michele: Two of you impressed the judges tonight, and one of you is going home. Phung, Lauren, you made the judges’ favorite dishes tonight! Congratulations!

Lauren: @The last time this happened, I beat Phung. @Let’s hope for a repeat.

Phung: @I want to beat Lauren. @I want to prove that I’m better than second place.

Michele: Terrell, please announce the winner!

Terrell: It was a close decision. But in the end, the best dish was made by…. Phung!

Phung: BOOM! @I won. @I knew I was going to win though. @If I did not win this challenge, then I would be so embarrassed.

Michele: Congratulations, Phung! You and Lauren can leave the room.

Lauren: @I didn’t beat Phung, but I’m in the top three now. @It’s going to be a tough, tough battle ahead.

Phung and Lauren leave.

Kira: @I’m shocked. @I had the advantage, and I lost it. @Phung took my sabotage and won the challenge with it. @It really sucks.

Michele: Kira, Justin, one of you is going home tonight.

Tina: Kira, we liked the dish up until your shrimp butter. The fried couscous was original. But you didn’t make your own couscous.

Guy: Justin, the dish was just unmemorable. Had you not made your own pasta, this decision would be a very easy one to make.

Michele: The person leaving tonight is…. Justin. Please return to the kitchen and leave.

Justin: Thank you for this opportunity to compete. @I got sent home. @I can’t believe it. @I thought I was going to be Warrior Chef. @And I’m going home fourth.

Kira: @This needs to stop. @I’ve been on the bottom of the last few challenges and I’m getting sick of it. @I need to step up my game or else I’m going home next.

Justin: @Warrior Chef has been a wonderful experience overall. @I made a lot of good friends and I put myself out there. @I just wished that I had the chance to make it to the end and show that my food is worth the $30,000 prize.

How it is: Chapter 25

“It feels weird to be done already.” Tarou sighed, as he was putting away his things into boxes. Out of everyone, he finished his finals first, being done by the second day of finals. Valerie was finishing the day after tomorrow, and Timmy finished on the last day. Because he was spending the entire summer in Japan, he wanted to go back home to Queens to spend time with his family before heading out, so he was moving out earlier. “Wait, what’s this?” Tarou felt his phone vibrate. It was another email. “Wait, the program… oh shit.” He frowned. He misread the email. His offer was not just for the summer. It was from this summer until the following summer: he would be in Japan for an entire year. “Oh crap.” Hastily, he looked through the documents. He had already submitted his compliance for this. “Well, this is awkward.” He sighed. “Uh….” Thinking it over, the model decided he needed to commit to this. He could come back to school whenever, but working for Vogue, this could honestly propel his career to greater heights than he could have ever imagined. Tarou Shimizu, international supermodel, it was starting to sound increasingly like a possibility. Grabbing a pen and paper, he wrote a goodbye note to Timmy and Valerie. “Bye, guys.” He whispered, heading out.

“Ugh. He what now?” Valerie read Timmy’s text. She had finished her finals and finally turned back on her phone. Tarou was leaving for Japan for the next two years. That was the gist of what Timmy had said in his message to her. “Oh… well shit.” She whispered to herself. Unlike Tarou or Timmy, she was not going back to Queens at all after school. She was heading straight to compete on Warrior Chef: All Stars. Packing up her things, the Singaporean girl smiled to herself. It felt bittersweet to be leaving, but at the same time, this was her chance to do things right. “Redemption, here I come, hopefully.” She was ready to dive into the great unknown and finally be crowned Warrior Chef. “I’m ready to do right by everyone who has ever helped me get this far.” She smiled, putting her boxes into the moving van. Grabbing her suitcase and knife bag, she got into the taxi. “Where to” The driver looked over his chair at her. “JFK , please.” She smiled. “You got it, little lady.” And with that, Valerie left campus. Freshman year was on the lonelier side in terms of school friends, but the work friends she made were irreplaceable. Janice, I’m going to do my best to make you proud of me. Valerie smiled.

“It feels so empty.” Timmy yawned, finally returning to his room. He had finished his last final at this point. There was a sense of awkwardness, seeing Tarou’s emptied half of the room. It almost reminded him of their conflict. “No, it’s all in the past. We’re friends again.” The Taiwanese boy reassured himself, referring to the note the model had left for him. “Now, it’s time to get everything packed.” Timmy was going to be staying at an off-campus apartment during the summer, so he needed to first move all of his things into the apartment. Then he was going to spend some time at home before summer school begins. They were each going their own separate ways, yet Timmy did not feel sad. He felt excited about the opportunities still to come. Just because a couple doors closed does not mean that the entire world closed him off. ACU and TASA might have dropped him as an officer, but that does not mean it is the end of his college life. There were still many people yet to be met. To be befriended. Timmy, for the first time since he stepped foot into NYU, could not help but feel excited.

Arriving at the hotel where the All Stars contestants would be staying, Valerie got another text. It was a delayed message, an image of exactly what Tarou had written. Reading through it, the girl could not help but begin crying. “Oh, Tarou. Timmy. I’m going to win this for both of you. I swear on it.” She fought to not sob. “Oh, so this is our competition? Nice to meet you, newbie.” Valerie turned around, and saw the first of her competitors for the new season. “I’m sorry you have to see me this way. I swear, I’m not a big baby.” She insisted, wiping away the tears that had formed around her eyes. At the same time, Tarou was boarding his plane to Japan at the John F. Kennedy Airport. “Next stop, Narita Airport. Tokyo, here I come.” He whispered to himself, excitedly. Even though he was seated in the middle seat, the Japanese boy did not mind. He was too eager about what awaited him on the other side. He did not know what the future had in store for him. But the chance to become an internationally recognized model, that was incredible. Timmy was currently riding the bus on his way back to Queens. He was sitting alone, at the window seat, watching the city melt into the distance. In his hand, held tightly, was the paper Tarou had left for him. The Taiwanese boy was rereading it one last time before putting it away for good. The Taiwanese boy did not like to cry, but how could he not at what his best friend, the aspiring international model had written?
“Even when I was a fat, chubby little midget, I still had the two of you in my life. I am the person I am because of the friends I made, especially the two of you. Timmy, you’re going to be the best man at my wedding, whether you like it or not. We are more than just brothers, and nothing will ever change that. Valerie, your desserts always bring a smile to my face, but they also bring a smile to everyone around you. You will be successful in your future, because nobody can stop you at being yourself, and you are amazing. You guys mean the world to me, but I think we can all learn to be less sensitive about the little things. We don’t need to over think or overanalyze whenever somebody is acting weirdly or in an off-putting manner. If we have problems, we need to speak them and find ways to sort them out. And we shouldn’t worry about growing apart. Just because we are doing different things, and we do not know the next time we will see each other, we should not be sad or hung up about it. We can let things play out as they are, and roll with them. We’re simply living life. That’s how it is.”

-Tarou Shimizu

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 1

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

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

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

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

Carrie: Welcome to the Warrior Chef finale!

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

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

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

Karen – 1

Lucas – 2

Fanny – 2

Tadashi – 1

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Carrie: Time’s up!

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

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

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

Chloe and Carrie taste the dishes.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Karen – Atelier Crenn

Lucas – The French Laundry

Tadashi – Saison

Fanny – Campton Place

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Carrie: Time’s up!

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

Carrie: Your judges are:

Erwin Ko

Aster Walker

Miriam Adjanti

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

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

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

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

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

Carrie: Next up is Lucas’s dish!

Lucas – pear caramel tart with financier and sorbet

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

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

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

Carrie: And next is Fanny’s dish!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Miriam: We can.

In walks the final four.

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

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

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

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

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

Tadashi: Thank you.

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

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

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

Karen and Tadashi leave.

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

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

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

Carrie: Tonight, one of you is going home.

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

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

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

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