Warrior Chef Redemption: Finale Part 2

Jessica: This is it! The Warrior Chef Redemption Finale! Tonight, three returning runner-ups are back to compete for the title! The runner-up of season 1, Tadashi Hamilton! Trained under Californian legends such as Wolfgang Puck and Josiah Citrin, Tadashi just narrowly lost in his original season, only to come back with a vengeance! Being a consistently strong competitor, Tadashi has amazed time and time again with his modern Japanese cuisine! Next, Kira Taso! One of the two runner-ups from season 3, Kira has managed to dazzle the competition with techniques taken from her Michelin starred experiences! Finally coming back to her native San Francisco, Kira is here to claim the title that eluded her last time! And lastly, Phung Pham! The sassy Vietnamese juggernaut, and the other runner-up from Warrior Chef 3! While her competitors in this final round are professionally trained chefs, Phung has no professional cooking experience, and despite this, has won the most challenges, with a whopping nine! One of the strongest competitors ever in Warrior Chef history, Phung is a force to be reckoned with! Tonight, one of these three cooks will claim the title! Who will it be?

Phung: @I’m back in the final three and it feels great. @Kira and Tadashi are both alright, but let’s be real here, this is my time to claim the title. @They are NOT going to stop me. @I’m ready to unleash World War Phung, this time, not on my teammates, but on the other two teams here. @They are so going down.

Kira: @I barely made it into the final round but it’s down to the three strongest people, and I still have a shot here to win the entire competition. @Phung, I beat her last season, and it came down to the fact that this girl can’t lead to save her life. @Tadashi is my real competition here. @I have to watch out for whatever it is that he makes.

Tadashi: @I’m the last man standing, and I’m against Kira and Phung, who are easily the two best competitors here. @This is definitely going to be a blood bath tonight. @I know that the first challenge is the amuse bouche, so I’m already thinking about what kind of amuse bouche I want to make.

Jessica: So for tonight, we have two final challenges to determine who will be crowned Warrior Chef. For the first challenge, we want you guys to put up your best amuse bouche in 30 minutes. There are two twists to this challenge. The first one is that the weakest performing cook in this challenge will be eliminated.

Tadashi: @In my season, that’s how Karen got sent home and I barely scraped by to the final challenge against Vanilla. @I’m determined to put up a better dish this time.

Jessica: The second twist will be revealed later on. So 30 minutes, one bite, and your time starts now!

Tadashi: @I run into the pantry and I see the spot prawns. @I grab those, because I know that I can extract a lot of flavor out of them. @I’m making spot prawn broth with butter poached prawn and an edamame and endive microsalad to garnish it with some crunch. @I don’t have time to think about what Phung or Kira are making. @I’m trying my best to develop my flavors.

Kira: @I grab oysters because I know I can make a great dish with those. @I’m making crispy-fried oysters with nuoc cham shooter. @Phung won the challenge last time, and I came in second. @Had the elimination rule still been in place, one of us would not be in this redemption competition right now. @One of us would have actually won. @Thinking about it does frustrate me a little, but at the same time, those were the rules, and Lauren earned the title by out-cooking both of us, even when the odds were stacked against her in the last challenge.

Phung: @I won this challenge before so I know I can win it again. @But Kira grabbed all of the oysters and Tadashi took the prawns. @And Kira took all of the ingredients to make nuoc cham, something I was going to make. @That little bitch. @She knows how to fuck me over. @I grab eggs, and I’m going to make a poached egg with some fish sauce-fried artichoke shavings. @I have no fucking clue what I’m making here, but that’s not going to deter me. @I’m here to be redeemed, and redeemed I shall be!

Jessica: I hope you’re all not too attached to your ingredients, because this is the twist! You guys are switching ingredients! Everyone, step over one station to your left.

Tadashi: @I’m stuck with Phung’s ingredients, which include fish sauce, artichokes, eggs, panko, and it’s looking really sparse.

Phung: Yay! @I get Kira’s nuoc cham and oysters. @I’m pretty confident that I can win this challenge now.

Kira: @I’m gifted Tadashi’s station, and he has spot prawns. @I’m feeling great about this, because I’m not stuck with Phung’s nightmare station.

Jessica: 10 minutes have passed, but you guys still have 20 more minutes, and access to a limited pantry of staple ingredients. You must use every ingredient on your station in some way, and your time starts now!

Phung: @I’m making nuoc cham and oyster shooters. @But then I see that Kira has ingredients to make a breading, and I decide to make an oyster pancake with spicy nuoc cham dipping sauce. @I’m feeling great about that, because an oyster pancake is not something people expect me to pull, but I know I can do it and do it well.

Kira: @I’m going to make a spot prawn ceviche with prawn shell crackers. @I’m frying the shells until they are super crunchy and then making my tuiles, crushing the shells onto that and baking them off together. @I think it’ll taste great and I can stand apart from the rest of the competition.

Tadashi: @I’m making fried artichokes with a fish sauce aioli. @I have no choice but to keep it really simple here, but I want to make the artichokes different, so I’m going to toss them with salt, basil, mint, and cilantro, just to really give them a different flavor profile than what people would expect in a dish like this. @Phung’s station was a mess, but I think I sorted it out.

Phung: @Tadashi’s going home tonight. @There is no way that he knows how to handle my station. @I don’t even know how to handle my station, and I’ve won 17 challenges across two seasons, bitches.

Kira: @I’m not even thinking about what Phung or Tadashi are making. @I can hear Phung laughing a lot, and I know she’s not focusing on her food. @She’s honestly a strong competitor, but I hope she trips up and gets sent home first. @I just need to make sure that my dish is delicious, and that will keep me safe.

Jessica: Time’s up!

Kira: @I think that the dish looks good. @The prawn shell cracker is definitely an innovation that could either make or break me here.

Tadashi: @I think that I made something unique out of a very ordinary concept. @Hopefully minty artichokes put me in the lead.

Jessica: Your judge for this challenge is Warrior Chef winner, Sally Cho!
Sally: Hi, guys! I still remember when I competed and made it this far, and it was tough! I was up against Wolfgang Puck’s prodigy and somebody who had been winning all the challenges at that point, and even against all odds, I managed to pull out the victory! I can’t wait to see what amuse bouches you have made.

Sally and Jessica taste the amuse bouches.

Jessica: So Sally, how did they all do?

Sally: There were some really great flavors across the board. One of you made a solid offering, and that person was… Phung. You did not win this challenge, but you definitely put up a close second to the actual winner with your nuoc cham, which resonated with me personally. I used nuoc cham in my signature dish and it scored me a perfect score.

Phung: @Thank you, Kira, for trying to go Vietnamese against me. @I’m going to be on top, bitches.

Sally: Kira, the flavors of the ceviche were really good. Tadashi, your concept was seemingly simple, but the herbs transformed that dish. Both of you took risks here. Tadashi… you won the challenge for me! Your thought process, you are already thinking like how a Warrior Chef should be!

Jessica: Congratulations, Tadashi! You won the last creativity challenge of the season!

Tadashi: @It feels great to get my eighth win under my belt. @I redeemed myself by getting this far against some incredibly strong competitors, but now I have a chance to take the title. @It’s surreal.

Sally: Kira, unfortunately, the prawn shells were not cooked down enough, and they were inedible. You made the weakest dish tonight.

Jessica: Kira, I’m so sorry. Please return to the kitchen and leave.

Kira: Thank you. @Being sent home in the final round again, it really sucks. @It doesn’t get much easier the second time around, but at least I did really well this season. @I’m proud of myself regardless. @I took a risk with the prawn shells, and it just backfired.

Phung: @Seeing Kira get eliminated feels somber. @She was easily my strongest competition, and now she’s out. @Tadashi shall face my wrath. @I will go crae-crae on him and he will hate living afterwards.

Tadashi: @Seeing Kira go is hard. @I respect her so much and I wanted to go head to head with her in the finale. @It’s rough.

Jessica: Now it’s time for the elimination challenge! But first, let’s welcome back in some familiar faces!

In walks Rose, Karen, Fanny, Lucas, Justin, Henry, Amanda, Nate, and Jo.

Phung: @I see these guys and I know that these are our potential sous-chefs. @I need to make sure that I assemble a better team than last time.

Jessica: Tadashi, you get to choose your sous-chefs first!
Tadashi: @I see their faces, and I know right away I do not want Jo. @Rose, I think she’s good, but can I really trust her when I have no experience cooking with her? @Not at all. I’m picking Fanny and Karen. @I’ve competed with them and we are close. @I know that these two girls have got my back.

Fanny: @Tadashi is such a sweetheart and I’m going to give it my all for him. @I deserved to make it further in this season and this is my chance to win the challenge for Tadashi and prove everyone wrong.

Karen: @He’s like an older brother figure to me and I really look up to him. @I’m just honored that he would put so much faith in me.

Phung: @I’m pissed that Kira’s not an option, so I take a look around. @Justin sucked this season, and Henry was alright. @But I know Henry hates me. I’m going to choose… Amanda… and Nate. @Nate, I’m iffy on, but he is a talented cook, so I’m hoping that it works in my favor.

Nate: @I hate Phung, but does anyone really love her anyways? @She’s just a big, dead-set joke and I want to see her go home.

Amanda: @Phung terrifies me. @I’m nervous working with her, but at the same time, I just have to let myself focus on the food and executing that well.

Jessica: Everyone else, you are free to go.

Rose: @I’m the only runner-up who did not make it to the finale this season and it sucks. @I’m just glad I’m not cooking tonight, because it sounds like it will be a major shitshow, and I’m not into that.

Jessica: You have just 1 hour to make the best three courses, and your time starts now!

Tadashi: @I’m having Fanny handle the dessert while Karen and I work together on the two savory dishes. @I’m going to break down the scallops and oysters for the first course and the beef for the second course and get those all going. @For my first course, it’s scallop and oyster crudo with chili, orange, and mint. @The second course is confit beef belly with purple cauliflower puree, roasted beef loin, and cauliflower salad. @For my dessert, it’s passionfruit gelato with coconut tuile, and rum-pineapple savarin. @I’m trying to really showcase Californian cooking to the best of my ability.

Fanny: @I’m in charge of the entire dessert and I’m looking forward to this. @Tadashi’s got a lot of well-placed confidence in me and I’m going to try my best to deliver. @

Karen: @I’m going to be handling the cauliflower and the actual cooking of the beef in terms of getting it pressure cooked for the confit. @I’m strong with French techniques and that’s going to be how I plan to help Tadashi win this tonight.

Phung: @Amanda is going to do the first course, which is scallion banh xeo with octopus and mussel stew, because I know she can do that one to the best of her ability, with her heavy French background. @For the second dish, it’s homemade lobster banh mi with lotus root chips. @I’m going to do that because I know how to nail it. @I’m making Nate handle the dessert, which is papaya milk sorbet with lime compressed dragonfruit, lime snow, and rice foam.

Amanda: @I know how to stew mussels and octopus, but the banh xeo is what I’m not as familiar with. @It’s apparently a cross between a crepe and an omelet which are both French, so I should be fine, so long as I follow Phung’s recipe. @I’m just going to put the food before my nerves here.

Nate: @Phung freaks me out, but I don’t want to screw her over here. @I’m not the type of person who would sabotage somebody like that because it’s horrible. @I get the sorbet in first, then I focus on making the dragonfruit next. @The foam, I’m making rice pudding, blending it with a rice milk simple syrup, straining it, and then foaming it up. @For the lime snow, I’m foaming lime juice with soy lecithin, and then dunking that into liquid nitrogen and shattering it. @I practiced molecular gastronomy for fun, and now it all pays off for Phung, of all people.

Jessica: Your judges are:

Erwin Ko

Aster Walker

Miriam Adjanti

Vanilla Cuylenberg

Vin Rugnetta

Lauren Wilson

Jessica: Lauren, how does it feel knowing that Phung is back in the finale?

Lauren: She was tough then and I think Tadashi is going up against one of the strongest home cooks in the world. He’s got his work cut out for him.

Vanilla: I went against Tadashi and he was strong. I’d be scared to go against either of them, but the fact that they are going head to head means that we can all expect some really good food tonight.

In the kitchen:
Tadashi: @Time is winding down, but we are getting everything onto the plates at this point. @I think that Fanny and Karen worked perfectly with me and I do not regret my choices with them as my sous-chefs.

Phung: @I definitely am dialing back the drama twentyfold from last time, and I’m letting these bitches just do whatever they want with my recipe. @I chose them because neither of them suck as cooks, and that will help me win this.

Jessica: Time’s up!

Fanny: *to Tadashi* Good luck!

Karen: *to Tadashi* We know you can win this.

Phung: *to Nate and Amanda* Hopefully I won this tonight.

Nate: *to Phung* We gave it our all, so hope it does you proud.

In the judges room:
Jessica: Here come the first courses!

Tadashi – scallop and oyster crudo with chili, orange, and mint

Phung – scallion banh xeo with octopus and mussel stew

Vin: Tadashi’s crudo was light and elegant. I really think it’s a nice way to start out the meal, but it was not anything mind-blowing or risky.

Aster: Phung’s banh xeo was an odd choice to pair with her stew. The stew was delicious and the banh xeo was tasty, but both together did not eat well.

Erwin: I think Tadashi nailed the dish and faltered with creativity while Phung made delicious food that just did not work together.

Jessica: And next we have the entrees!

Tadashi – confit beef belly, purple cauliflower puree, roasted beef loin, cauliflower salad

Phung – homemade lobster banh mi with lotus root chips

Vanilla: I loved Tadashi’s dish. This is the type of cooking I remember him doing in my original season. He plated beef and cauliflower two ways, and all four components were really good!

Lauren: Phung’s banh mi was delicious and her presentation was gorgeous. But overall, I question why you would serve us a sandwich, even with homemade bread, in the finale. That’s not terribly inspired.

Miriam: For Tadashi, his second course stepped it up a lot and he delivered a flawless dish. Phung’s lobster roll banh mi was delicious and I love that she made her own bread. That shows ambition.

Jessica: And finally, the desserts!

Tadashi – passionfruit gelato, coconut tuile, rum-pineapple savarin

Phung – papaya milk sorbet, lime compressed dragonfruit, lime snow, rice foam

Vanilla: Tadashi’s dessert, it was not his best dish tonight. The gelato was phenomenal and I loved that component. The tuile was alright, but the cake, too much rum. He dropped the ball with the savarin.

Vin: Phung’s dessert just blew my mind. Just wow. The presentation was again, gorgeous. The dragonfruit, I thought it was actually palatable and that’s rare, given how bland the fruit is.

Lauren: Between the two tropical fruit desserts, Phung delivered on everything that makes fresh fruit beautiful. The sorbet was light and refreshing, the rice foam just soaked up all of those bright flavors. It was unforgettable.

Jessica: So can we come to an agreement on who is going to be redeemed and become the next Warrior Chef?

Lauren: Yes, we can.

In walks Tadashi and Phung, who are greeted by the judges and their fellow competitors from this season.

Phung: @I’m feeling good about my meal. @Those three courses were Phung Pham, all the way.

Tadashi: @It’s been a tough season, and I don’t know which way this is going to go. @Phung is strong competition, surprisingly.

Jessica: So let’s get into the courses.
Aster: Tadashi, your crudo was delicious and we enjoyed the fact you used two different kinds of shellfish. But it felt safe. Phung, you also did a dish with two kinds of shellfish, but you developed robust flavors in that stew. The banh xeo, it felt disjointed from the stew. We understood you wanted a toast point, but that was not the right way to do it.

Phung: @He still liked my dish and I took a risk, unlike Tadashi. @That should be awarded the win.

Erwin: For the second courses, Tadashi, you delivered perfection. That beef and cauliflower dish, we are all going to walk away feeling satisfied because everything was done so perfectly. Phung, your bread delivered and the lobster banh mi roll concoction was clever. The presentation was beautiful, but it ate messy.

Tadashi: @It seems like I beat her on the second course for sure. @The first course sounds like a toss-up. @But if I nailed the dessert, then I will definitely win tonight.

Miriam: Tadashi, for the dessert, we loved that gelato. The tuile was alright, but your savarin, there was too much rum and it overpowered the pineapple, which is surprising given how strong a flavor pineapple is. Phung, your dessert was as strong a dish as Tadashi’s entree. The sorbet was beautiful and velvety, the dragonfruit added a nice crunch with the seeds and the lime infusion worked so nicely there. The rice foam just screamed of ingenuity. Well done.

Phung: @Miriam wants to marry me over my dessert and it’s awesome. @I think I might actually be Warrior Chef tonight.

Tadashi: @She destroyed me in dessert and I think I made the largest mistake of the night with the rum. @This could send me home tonight.

Jessica: It was a close, close call. You each clearly won in one course, and it came down to the minute details. Tadashi… you are Warrior Chef! Congratulations! You finally redeemed yourself and you won $100,000!

Tadashi: Thank you! I can’t believe it!

Phung: @I’m pissed. @Two-time runner-up? @Are you fucking serious? @I’m so much better than that. @Tadashi got really lucky tonight, because if my lobster roll was on-point, I would have won this season. @Lucky bastard.

Tadashi: @Winning Warrior Chef is a dream come true. @I didn’t think that this would be possible, but I won and it feels amazing. @Coming back to compete again and being able to represent the food I stand behind, and getting the validation of the title, I’m proud of myself. @I don’t think I would change anything about my Warrior Chef journey. @It’s been an incredible ride.

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Warrior Chef Redemption: Round 7

Jo: @Seeing Amanda get sent home feels good. @She was really talented in my season, and I wasn’t expecting her to go home before me this time around. @It just makes my chances at winning that much higher.

Nate: @Phung and I are both pretty bummed that Amanda got eliminated. @This season just got a lot more Asian without her here.

Phung: @Everyone left is Asian. @It doesn’t matter though. @Regardless of race, they are all living in the Phung dynasty. @They are all under my dominion! @Muahaha!

Jessica: Tonight is the last round before our finale in San Francisco!
Tadashi: @This is deja vu. @My finale is was in San Francisco too, so it’s a very strange homecoming for me.

Kira: @I’m from San Francisco. @If I don’t make it to this finale, I will be extremely angry. @I need to win this.

Jessica: For this creativity challenge, immunity is off the table, but you will gain a huge advantage going into the elimination challenge! For the challenge, you have just 30 minutes to prepare a dish using… sour grapes!

Nate: @That’s just funny. @Sour grapes? @They definitely did that to spite us.

Jessica: You have just 30 minutes, starting now!

Phung: @I swept the last round, and I intend to do that again tonight. @I’m making sour grape mustard to go with chicken liver pate and puffed wild rice and sour grapes for texture. @I’m not going to lose this challenge, because I’m much better than everyone else here. @Nobody can or will beat me. @I’m the strongest cook because I do not use professional experience to get me far in the kitchen. @This is all personal experience, on my own time, on top of being in school and working part time at a hotel, not even a restaurant. @The fact that I’m this good, it’s a testament to how amazing I am.

Nate: @I’m making hot and sour egg-drop soup. @I’m blending up the sour grapes to make the base of my soup, and then I’m going to season it with hot sauce and rice wine to finish it off. @I’m feeling that this is my challenge to win tonight. @Nobody here can beat me when it comes to making an inventive dish. @This is the reason why I get on top of a lot of the creativity challenges. @It’s because my food is out of the box and I take risks that nobody expects.

Tadashi: @Sour grapes are like capers, so I’m going to treat them exactly like capers. @I’m preparing a tuna tartare with the sour grapes, and I’m thinking about infusing them with Mediterranean flavors, so I’m also going to make a balsamic-sour grape compote, sweetening it with honey, and then I’m going to top it with some homemade creme fraiche, which I’ll making by using sour grape brine, cream, a cheesecloth, and the sous-vide machine. @I’m determined to prove to everyone here that I deserve the title.

Kira: @I taste the grapes and they’re… sour. @I feel so dumb saying that, but they make my mouth pucker the moment I brush my tongue against them. Yuck. @It’s abrasive. @I’m chopping them up super fine, and I decide to make a gremolata using the grapes. @I’m going to take scallops, and make a crudo with those, the sour grape gremolata, and I’m thinking about what else I need. @I think to make a brown butter and sour grape brine foam, to add body and hopefully a creamier texture to the dish. @And to add a crunchy element, I’m going to tempura-fry the sour grapes, and then grate frozen scallop roe over those to season them.

Jo: @I taste the sour grapes and I love them. @I decide to make a lemon vinaigrette and I’m making a sour grape salad with some crispy cilantro chicken. @I see the other dishes, and Kira and Tadashi are doing raw dishes, Phung is making some weird pate dish, and Nate’s doing something Chinese. @I’m feeling like they aren’t pushing themselves. @My dish will be more composed and complete than theirs. @Being so close to the finale last time, I want to win it this time. @Out of the remaining people from my season, I got the furthest, and I intend to do that again.

Jessica: Time’s up! Step away from your dishes!
Phung: @I know I did well on this one. @Nobody else is going to make a pate in this amount of time, but because I’m just that amazing, I can do shit like this and get away with it every single time.

Jo: @Phung’s smug per usual but I’m going to beat her because she’s too cocky. @If Phung wins Warrior Chef, then hell will burn over the Earth.

Jessica: Your judge for this is Chelia Van Buren!

Chelia: Hello, everyone! I’m excited to see if you guys managed to transform sour grapes into something more desirable.

Chelia and Jessica taste the dishes.
Jessica: So Chelia, how did everyone do?

Chelia: So there was one dish that was really bad. Jo, your dish was inedibly sour. I wanted to spit out the salad the moment I put that in my mouth.

Jo: @Chelia is full of bullshit and she’s just a hater. @I don’t believe for a second that my dish was the worst.

Jessica: And Chelia, who impressed you the most tonight?

Chelia: Kira, the scallops were delicious and I loved the foam, which I’m surprised to even say, given how… boring foams normally are to me. The sour grapes made your dish exciting. Tadashi, making creme fraiche from scratch using the sour grape brine was brilliant. It curdled the cream and made it into a smooth and velvety texture. And your tartare was delicious as well. Phung, you made pate in so little time, and it was perfection. You balanced your flavors perfectly.

Kira: @I want to win, but I think it might go to Tadashi, because he made something genuinely new.

Jessica: Chelia, who won?

Chelia: The best dish was prepared by… Tadashi! That creme fraiche was brilliant.

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

Tadashi: Thank you! @Winning the challenge felt great. @So far, I’ve managed to avoid being on the bottom this season, and I really want to keep that streak going.

Kira: @At this point, only Tadashi and I have avoided being on the bottom. @I genuinely think that the two of us will be the final two. @We keep trading wins back and forth, so it’s going to be a clash of the titans if it’s down to us.

Jessica: So for the elimination challenge, we want to see what you guys can prepare using… chicken! You will have 1 hour to prepare a dish using a cut of chicken. Tadashi, your advantage is that you get to assign each cook their cut! We have breast, thigh, wing, drumstick, and oysters to choose from!
Tadashi: @The breast is honestly the most boring piece of chicken to cook with, so I’m thinking about assigning to that the person I want to send home the most. Jo’s getting the breasts. @He doesn’t deserve to be a finalist.

Jo: @Chicken breasts, I know how to cook those. @I’m feeling good that this is my opportunity to really showcase my talents.

Tadashi: I’m giving the drumsticks to…. Phung. @Drumsticks are large, unwieldy, inelegant, so giving them to Phung, I’m hoping that she will know what to do with them.

Phung: Thank you, thank you. @I’m already stoked. @I love a good drumstick.

Tadashi: Nate, you will get the wings. @Wings are basically like drumsticks in that same exact way. @It’s not exactly the best cut to make a refined dish out of.

Nate: @Tadashi might see me as a threat, but the wings will not be my downfall. @I know how to make chicken drumettes, so I’m going to do that with these.

Tadashi: @The oysters and thighs are easily the best two parts. @Kira is my strongest competitor, and I want to make it to the end with her, because I want to win the title going against the best of the best. I’m going to give Kira the thighs. @The oysters are trickier, but if I nail those, then it will show a lot more skill than the thighs.

Kira: Thanks. @I love chicken thighs, and this is going to be great. @I’m feeling like this is my chance to shine.

Jessica: 1 hour to make a dish using your assigned chicken parts, time starts now!

Kira: @I have the chicken thighs. @I’m going to make thighs two ways: mushroom and ground chicken thigh ragout with stuffed-roasted thigh, ricotta gnudi, and brown butter sauce. @I’m feeling great about having chicken thighs, because they lend themselves naturally to being the center of a dish, and you don’t need to fabricate more out of them.

Tadashi: @Chicken oysters are something I’m feeling great about. @I’m making a pakora fried chicken oyster with poached cucumber, fennel-za’atar yogurt, and chicken skin tuile. @It’s a dish inspired by Annisa in New York, and I know it will work. @Working in Michelin starred restaurants, it just means that you need to put your head down and focus. @I’m not letting any emotions get to me at this point. @I’m thinking about my dish, and only my dish.

Phung: @I love the drumsticks, and I decide to make Korean fried chicken with a cabbage slaw. @I’m going to make an authentic Korean fried chicken, using cornstarch and rice flour to coat the chicken, and I’m dunking the wings in a mixture of soy, garlic, sesame oil, sesame seeds, and chili paste to get it nice and fiery hot. @My slaw, I’m going to season it with sesame oil, black pepper, and lemon juice. @I’m keeping it real, because that’s all I do, bitches. @Tadashi thinks Kira’s his biggest competitor, but he’s stupid. @I’m his biggest competitor, bitch. @I’ve won seven challenges at this point, because I’m that good. @I’m going to be Warrior Chef this time, I swear upon it.

Jo: @I have the chicken breasts, and I’m going to make braised chicken breasts in soy and ginger with spiced peanuts and noodles in a chicken broth. @Tadashi assigned me the breasts thinking that I would trip up on them, but instead, I’m going to excel because chicken is my specialty and I know how to make delicious chicken. @I decide to take the tenders of the breast because they keep falling off anyways, and I’m going to make fried chicken with those to top my dish off with.

Nate: @I have the wing meat. @This… really sucks. @I do not want to have the wing meat, but I’m going to make ponzu and sesame drumettes with pickled raisins and shaved bok choy salad. @I’m going to drop the drumettes into the deep frier and it will work wonders on the exterior of the chicken. @I see the other competitors, and Jo is braising chicken breast. @That’s going to be cat food at the end of the hour. @I’m feeling like it might be my season to get in the finale!

Phung: All you bitches better watch the fuck out! Phung is going to unleash her wrath onto all of y’alls!

Kira: @She’s being crazy, per usual. @There’s no changing people sometimes. @At this point, I’m focusing on getting my gnudi piped and blanched. @Getting distracted by Phung’s antics, that’s honestly what tripped me up last season. @I got too focused on other people that I did not focus on my own food. @I want the title so badly. @Being so close last season, and just barely losing it to Lauren, it was hard. @I want redemption.

Nate: @I’m so close to the finale that I want to be there. @We’ve come so far, but I’m positive that I can win the competition. @I’ve done well to get this far, and it’s still anybody’s game.

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

Tadashi: @I’m glad with my choices in this challenge. @I like the look of my dish, and I see the other dishes, and I think I won on the plating aspect for sure.

Jessica: Your judges are:
Ashlee Pou

Talia Garrett

Sophia Pham

Jessica: Let’s start with Tadashi’s dish first!

-pakora fried chicken oyster, poached cucumber, za’atar yogurt, chicken skin tuile

Sophia: Babes, I loved the chicken oyster. Baring the fact that Tadashi is really hot, I think his dish was a bang-on success.
Ashlee: Babes, I totally agree with you, even though we are older and that is technically barely legal, babes. The chicken skin tuile, babes, it was spot-on, on-point, it just smashed it out of the park for me. I loved the poached cucumber, even though it resembled the Hulk’s penis.

Talia: Well, besides that fact that Ashlee’s comment killed my appetite, I really liked the usage of the chicken oyster. The pakora batter was awesome and I think his entire approach was very unique.

Jessica: And now we have Kira’s dish!

-mushroom-chicken thigh ragout, stuffed-roasted thigh, ricotta gnudi, brown butter

Talia: The ragout was delicious and hearty and I loved the thigh. The gnudi was expertly made and the sauce was great as well. Overall, she did a lot and it all worked!

Ashlee: Babes, you can tell that this girl has some serious chops in the kitchen. If I was going up against this, I would be sweating, babes. She nailed it.

Sophia: Babes, I totally agree with you. The gnudi was fluffy and light, the sauce, you can drink it all up. The mushroom ragout was great, it was all great. I hate my cooking because it’s not at this level.

Jessica: And now we have Nate’s dish!

-ponzu and sesame drumettes with pickled raisins and shaved bok choy salad

Ashlee: *spits out the raisins* Babes, just ew. I don’t want to think about those anymore. They are disgusting. Just yuck. My dogs eat better than those raisins.

Sophia: Chicken was cooked nicely but the rest of the dish was bad. I could have honestly packaged it and sold it as commercial rat poison.

Talia: I would not say it’s commercial rat poison, but the raisins were very sour to the point of making my eyes twitch. The chicken was delicious, but nothing else worked.

Jessica: This next dish was made by Jo!

-soy-ginger braised chicken breasts, spiced peanuts, noodles, broth, tenders

Talia: The breasts were soggy, and that was not a pleasant mouthfeel. In terms of seasoning, he did a great job overall. It was just that texture I did not care for.

Ashlee: Babes, I made much better fried chicken in my signature dish, so I think he failed epically. He tried to make Asian food for the queens of Asian food, and he failed. He may be banished from my court now.
Sophia: Babes, it was such an epic fail, that braised chicken breast. I felt like I was chewing on a sponge. It was unpleasant, but I forced myself to swallow it because if I vomit up any more gross food from these cooks, I may become bulimic.

Jessica: And finally, Phung’s dish!

-Korean fried chicken with cabbage slaw

Sophia: Babes, she nailed the chicken, but just a chicken and slaw dish in an hour? Babes, I’m not feeling it.

Ashlee: She’s not cooking for the finale, babes. She’s cooking to play it safe, and that’s not cool, babes. She needs to step it up, babes, or else she will be going home.

Talia: The chicken was cooked nicely and the slaw was delicious, but I think she failed to show ambition. She could have done at least one more thing here.

Jessica: So can we agree on who is going through to the finale, and who is going home for the second time?
Sophia: Bring out the guillotine. It’s time to execute somebody.

In walks Tadashi and Kira.

Jessica: Tonight… the two of you made the best two dishes, both of you are going into the finale, and one of you won the overall challenge!

Tadashi: Awesome! @I played my advantage well, and now I’m going to be in the final four! @This feels great.

Kira: @Tadashi is a strong competitor and now we are both moving into the next stage of the competition. @I’m ready for this.

Jessica: Ashlee, please announce the winner.

Ashlee: Sophia wanted Tadashi to win because we all unanimously agreed he’s hot. But this is not a male beauty pageant. It’s a cooking competition. Kira, you just blew it out the water, babes. You win.

Jessica: Congratulations, Kira! You won the elimination challenge! The two of you are safe and can return to the kitchen.

Kira: Thank you! @Winning against Tadashi feels great, but at the same time, I’m curious who is going to be in the finale with us. @There’s still two more spots. @Depending on who stays, that will determine how hard the finale is going to be.

Kira and Tadashi leave.

In walks Nate, Phung, and Jo.

Jessica: Tonight. one of you is going home, just before the finale.

Sophia: Babes, Nate, your dish had phenomenal chicken. But your raisins were terrible and all bok choy should file to a restraining order against you for the violation you committed towards it in that dish.

Nate: @I’m not quite sure how to gauge Sophia’s comments, because they’re scathingly harsh. @I might be going home tonight?

Ashlee: Jo, your chicken pissed me off. The breasts were like cereal that was left in milk for 24 hours. It was gross.

Jo: @Ashlee’s a bitch, so I’m ignoring her. @Talia’s salty because I beat her in my original season, and she wants to put me on the bottom to spite me.

Talia: Phung, we felt like you were lazy tonight. It’s a spot in the finale and you hardly pushed yourself.

Phung: Shut the fuck up, I totally did push myself. I’m not going to be eliminated tonight, because at the end of the day, I’m better than these boobs.

Jessica: One of you is going to be sent home right before the finale. Phung… you are safe. But we do want to see more out of you.

Phung: Whatever. Like I fucking give a shit.

Jessica: Jo, Nate, one of you is going home. And the person leaving the competition tonight is…. Nate. Please return to the kitchen and leave.

Phung: @Nate gets sent home, and I’m ready to hold the door for him. *to Nate* Bye! Don’t get salmonella from your gross chicken dish!

Nate: @I’m pissed. @I think I’m a stronger cook than Phung and Jo. @Being sent home twice before the finale, it’s stupid. @I’m angry, because I deserved to be in the finale this time. @It’s aggravating, but I guess it was not in the cards for me.

Jessica: Jo, Phung, the two of you will be in the finale! Congratulations!

Phung: @Was there ever a doubt? @I’m not going to be sent home this season. @I’m much stronger than everyone else here!

Jo: @Phung’s arrogance will be what sends her home. @You saw it with Amanda and her hubris, and that will be Phung’s downfall.

Warrior Chef Redemption: Announcement

Since I have concluded Warrior Chef 3 for quite a while now, I had been focusing on writing more Warrior Chef series since then. For the fourth installment of this series, I wanted to do something a little different. I wanted there to be a Redemption competition. For this upcoming Warrior Chef, I will be featuring all previous contestants who have lost the title and are coming back for a second chance. Below is the list of the competitors who are vying for the title yet again! I have linked the rounds that they previously were eliminated in, just so that you can catch up to their respective seasons, as well as listed their total challenge wins from their previous runs.

Warrior Chef 1

Tadashi Hamilton – runner up (3 creativity, 6 elimination; 9 wins)

Karen Laverre – 3rd place (4 creativity, 2 elimination; 6 wins)

Lucas Powers – 4th place (3 creativity, 2 elimination; 5 wins)

Fanny Robinson – 5th place (2 creativity, 1 elimination; 3 wins)

Warrior Chef 2

Rose Fu – runner up (4 creativity, 2 elimination; 6 wins)

Amanda Bolen – 3rd place (4 creativity, 2 elimination; 6 wins)

John “Jo” Chang – 4th place (1 creativity, 3 elimination; 4 wins)

Nate Wong – 5th place (1 creativity, 1 elimination; 2 wins)

Warrior Chef 3

Phung Pham – runner up (3 creativity, 5 elimination; 8 wins)

Kira Taso – runner up (4 creativity, 1 elimination; 5 wins)

Justin Chiarello – 4th place (1 creativity, 1 elimination; 2 wins)

Henry Parker – 5th place (0 creativity, 0 elimination; 0 wins)

Multidimensionalism: realization

Something that got me thinking was when I saw one of my classmates making a separate “food” Instagram account, and then telling everyone on FaceBook to follow her on it. It was a lot of an eye-roller, I will admit, but that is not the point of this post. I just want to understand why so many people, especially young people, find the need to create an entirely new Instagram, typically titled (Insert your name here)eats, or something to that effect. It’s honestly so unnecessary. Why can’t you just upload food pictures to your current Instagram? What is so difficult about doing that?

But the answer I am likely to hear is not a pretty one. It is almost always that these people want to be “discovered” as food authorities. They want the likes, the attention, the fame. They want an entirely different account for their food-related lives, in addition to their personal accounts, just to double the chances of them gaining likes and followers, which in turns, is supposed to help with their self-esteem and just making them feel better about themselves. And some people might make the argument that “oh, they don’t post the same photos in their Foodstagrams as they do their normal accounts!” But trust me, they do. Half the time, I get the same photos circulating my feed because they double-dip photos between both accounts. That’s why I came around to this conclusion.

Now, I just don’t understand why we can’t consolidate our photos and interests to one account. Yes, half of the this post is to call out people who are obnoxious enough to do that, but the rest of this post is to question the necessity of it. Are people, we are allowed to have more than one interest. We can express ourselves through these different topics and interests. Compartmentalizing ourselves to just one thing, or separating that one aspect from the rest of our lives, is it really worth compromising the multidimensionality of our personalities? And for those who double-dip their food photos between their two accounts, just why? Does it make you feel better to know that there are more likes on at least one of the same two food posts? And if you want a separate Instagram just to sort through your food posts, why make it public or go out of your way to advertise it to get a following? Those sorts of things, make them private, since you’re probably just using them to reference certain things you’ve eaten or made in the past. Or just be a less obnoxious human being a make a folder on your computer. Being able to see the different occurrences of your life, through your photos, whether it be a selfie, a photo of a sunset, or a picture of a dish you ate, that sort of variety is a lot more worthwhile if it is true to who you are as a person.

For me, I used to struggle with having that sort of variety at all. I came from the opposite issue, where I was obsessed with food and had literally no other interests. That is why I prefer and cherish that variety. Seeing others revert into something that I personally had to overcome, it’s unsettling to say the least. And for them to expect to be rewarded for that kind of behavior, again, it makes me uneasy knowing how vain or shallow certain people are. Now this blog is dedicated to good vibes, so I want to end this post on a positive note. embrace the different sides of your personality and admire them as a whole. Life is too short to be lived in pieces or compartments. Being able to showcase your interests in a great big mosaic, as opposed to smaller, separate ones, is a lot more impressive and makes you a much more beautiful human being. Don’t let stupid things like followers or likes define who you are as a person or what you are worth to the world.

 

Warrior Chef 3: Finale Part 2

Michele: This is it! After nine grueling eliminations, we are down to the top three best cooks in the competition! Phung Pham! The sassy Vietnamese from Cambridge, Massachusetts. Phung has managed to win a whopping seven challenges and continuously impress the judges in both her attitude and ability to cook incredible dishes. Lauren Wilson! The girl from Hawaii who has managed to wow everyone with her skills in both Hawaiian cooking and desserts. And Kira Taso! A prodigy working in Michelin starred restaurants, Kira’s techniques and finesse has put her on top of several challenges. Tonight, one of these three wonderful young women will win the title of Warrior Chef! Who will it be?

Kira: @I’m feeling like a bit of the underdog tonight, because I scrapped my way into the final challenge. @But I’m here, I’m ready to win the title, and I have a kick-ass menu.

Phung: @I know that I’ve got this one. @That title is so mine. @The Phung Dynasty shall never end.

Michele: Welcome to the last round! To start this round off, your final creativity challenge! You guys have just 30 minutes to prepare an amuse bouche! The winner of this challenge will be allowed to choose their sous-chefs first.

Lauren: @Michele didn’t say that the losing cook is going home, which is something that normally happens. @I’m slightly shocked to hear that, but I’m not complaining, because I’m only cooking to win, and not to survive for this challenge.

Michele: So 30 minutes, one amuse, time starts now!

Phung: @I decide for my amuse bouche, I’m making banh xeo spring rolls. @It’s the Vietnamese pancake, lettuce, spring roll wrapper, shrimp, and pork. @For the vinaigrette, I’m going to use molecular gastronomy to make it into caviar to top my dish. @That will set me over the edge. @I know molecular shit, so bite me.

Kira: @For my amuse bouche, I’m going to make whipped foie gras with plantain chips and curry salt. @I want to do something with the plantains because they are a really delicious ingredient. @Three Asian girls in the finale of Warrior Chef. @It’s pretty awesome to know that one of us is going to be the winner tonight.

Lauren: @I’m making a grilled chicken heart with lemon ponzu. @I’m keeping the components limited to two. @The heart needs to be cooked nicely and the ponzu, I’m making my won to show some technique. @And I’m garnishing with the chicken skin for a good texture on top.

Michele: Time’s up!

Kira: @I’m feeling good but then I see that Phung used molecular gastronomy to make spheres and that’s awesome. @She might have just stolen the advantage.

Michele: Your judge for this challenge is Warrior Chef runner up, Rose Fu!

Rose: Hi, everyone! I’m excited to taste your food!

Lauren: @Rose is Montenegrin, and she loves organs, so this might be an easy win for me. @I’m keeping my fingers crossed.

Rose tastes the amuse bouches.

Michele: So Rose, which were your favorites?

Rose: Kira, the foie gras butter was awesome. I loved that one with the curry salt. And then the roll by Phung. Inspirational. Brilliant. I really loved it. And Phung, you made the best amuse bouche.

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

Kira: Drat. @I wanted to pick my sous-chefs first, but oh well. @Phung got the advantage instead.

Lauren: @At this point, I’m just shocked that they didn’t eliminate me for coming in last in that challenge. @In the past two seasons, Amanda and Karen were, so I was expecting that to happen to me.

Phung: @I think this is dumb that Lauren gets to stay, but whatever. @She has to work with the people Kira and I don’t really want, so she’ll sink herself by working with them.

Michele: For the elimination challenge, you need to prepare the best three courses of your life. And you’ll need some help to do it.

In walks Teddy, Elizabeth, Taylor, Jaenice, James, Cherry, Gabe, Henry, and Justin.

Michele: Phung, you get first pick.

Phung: Justin. @Obvious reasons why I’m choosing Justin: he doesn’t suck and he works hard. @No brainer.

Justin: @I’m nervous working with Phung because she’s got a volcanic personality. @I just need to bear with it. @It’s no longer my ass on the line anyways.

Michele: Kira, for having the next best amuse, you choose second.

Kira: Henry. @I think Henry will be a supportive sous-chef, so I’m glad choosing him.

Henry: @Kira is probably the most level-headed of the three, so I’m good with that.

Lauren: Cherry. @I’m surprised nobody picked her, but I’m not complaining. @Cherry and I won a challenge together, so we will win this one together too.

Cherry: @Lauren and I are going to kick Phung’s ass. @For sure.

Phung: Jaenice. @She did really well in the beginning of the competition and I know we will crush this.

Jaenice: Oh, hell, yeah! @I want to nail this for Phung. @We are going to curbstomp these bitches and break their teeth.

Kira: Gabe. @He likes to bake, I have a dessert on my menu, so I’ll give him my dessert so that I can focus on the savory dishes.

Lauren: Taylor. @He’s honestly the only semi-competent one left. @Definitely beats James, Teddy, or Elizabeth.

James, Teddy, and Elizabeth leave the room.

Teddy: @I’m not feeling butthurt about not being picked. @I was eliminated first, so I definitely expected it.

Michele: So you have just 1 hour to prepare your best three dishes and your time starts right now!

Lauren: @I’m working with Cherry and Taylor, and I’m feeling good about this, even though I had to pick my sous-chefs last. @For my first course, Taylor is going to be preparing the spam fried rice cakes with crab salad and avocado crema. @I’m working on the main course, which is braised oxtail with homemade noodles and black garlic broth. @And for the dessert, Cherry is preparing chicory coffee panna cotta with caramel chocolate ganache and mini malasadas. @I’m going to help her on the dessert because my main course is basically all the pressure cooker.

Phung: @For my first course, I’m making “Shaking Beef” tartare, which is the raw beef with “Shaking Beef” seasonings, a homemade baguette, and minted tomatoes. @For the second course is oil poached snapper with lemongrass butter sauce, grilled squid, and pickled vegetables. @My dessert is misugaru doughnuts with red bean filling and a miso-coconut creme brulee. @I’m having Justin handle the tomatoes and the creme brulee, I’m going to do the baguette and most of the proteins, and Jaenice and on the doughnuts, sauce, squid, and the pickled vegetables.

Kira: @For my menu, I’m starting with shave fennel, seared scallops, and pepper-lemon reduction. @The second course is brown butter basted halibut with blueberry gastrique, artichokes, and basil foam. @For my dessert, vanilla cake with cider-apple spheres, salted caramel, and goat cheese ice cream. @Gabe is doing the entire dessert on his own. @Henry is on the first course, while I’m on the second, with Henry helping Gabe once he finishes his own course.

Jaenice: *to Phung* How do I make the sauce for the main course? And how long does squid take to cook? And should I do the sauce first or the pickled vegetables? I’m really lost here. How do you want me to cut the squid? Or not cut it? Grill it whole?

Phung: @Jaenice is a complete fucking moron. @I love her to death normally, but she doesn’t know how to make the sauce or the grilled squid, so I need to help her and then focus on getting that baguette made too. *to Jaenice* FUCKING GET THE FUCKING PICKLES GOING! FUCK!

Jaeince: @Phung is unleashing World War Phung on Justin and I right now and it’s really bad. @I’m just trying to make her happy at this point.

Justin: @I’m just trying to focus on my creme brulee because it takes the longest to prepare. @The biggest challenge about working with Phung is that she’s a dictator.

Kira: @I hear Phung screaming her head off and I am so glad that Henry and Gabe aren’t doing that or making me act that way. @The cake is looking good from Gabe’s station and Henry’s sauces are coming up correctly. @We are one cohesive unit!

Lauren: @I taste the broth for the oxtail dish and it is great. @The panna cotta is in the fridge setting up, and the crab salad prep is ready for it to just get tossed. @I’m glad that my team isn’t butting heads with each other, unlike Phung’s team.

Taylor: *to Cherry* I’m so happy we’re not on Phung’s team right now.

Henry: @She scares me. @I’m going to have nightmares about her face from now until the end of time.

Phung: I SWEAR TO FUCKING GOD! I’M GOING TO SHOVE YOUR HEAD INTO A DEEP FRIER!

Jaenice: @Uh, I want to not make the doughnuts now. @I fear for the safety of my head. @That’s reasonable, right?

In the judges’ room:

Michele is sitting with Warrior Chef winners Vanilla and Vin, alongside finalists Karen, Tadashi, Amanda, and Rose.
Vin: It feels great to be on this side of the table, judging them.

Karen: I still remember getting to the final three, and not being allowed to cook. It was heartbreaking because I was that close!
Amanda: *to Karen* I feel the same. We both were cut in the same kind of challenge!

Vanilla: I loved the experience and I hope that they all bring their best. I’m excited to see what these finalists have to bring.

Michele: Ooh, looks like the first courses are up! Here they are!

Phung – “Shaking Beef” tartare with homemade baguette and minted tomatoes

Kira – shaved fennel, buttered scallops, pepper-lemon reduction

Lauren – spam fried rice cakes with crab salad and avocado crema

Karen: For the tartare, it was bland. I was impressed by making a baguette in less than an hour, and the tomatoes were tasty, but the tartare needed more flavor.

Vanilla: The scallop dish was way too simple. They had an hour, and that’s what they brought up? It was very underwhelming.

Vin: I felt like the crab dish showed the most technique out of the three. I liked the crispy rice, the crab salad was refreshing and the avocado was a nice contrast.
Michele: Who won this round for you guys?

Vanilla: Definitely Lauren.

Vin: Lauren.

Tadashi: Lauren.

Rose: Lauren.

Karen: Lauren.

Amanda: Lauren.

Michele: Wow! A clean sweep!

Karen: Kira’s was too simple and Phung’s was bland.

Michele: And we have the entrees!

Lauren – braised oxtail with homemade noodles and black garlic broth

Phung – oil poached snapper, lemongrass butter sauce, grilled squid, pickled vegetables

Kira – brown butter basted halibut, blueberry gastrique, artichokes, basil foam

Amanda: The oxtail was unctuous and fell off the bone. The noodles had a nice bite to them and I loved the black garlic broth a lot.

Vin: The poached snapper was undercooked and like sashimi in the center. And the squid was rubbery and overcooked. It was all inedible.

Tadashi: The halibut was cooked perfectly and I loved that sauce and the artichokes. Out of the three dishes, this one pushed the envelope the most.

Michele: And who made the best entree?

Vanilla: Kira.

Vin: Lauren.

Tadashi: Kira.

Rose: Kira.

Karen: Kira.

Amanda: Lauren.

Michele: So Kira took the second course!

Karen: I was split between her and Lauren’s dishes, but Kira did take more risks and they paid off more.

Michele: And now, the desserts!

Kira – vanilla cake, cider-apple spheres, salted caramel, goat cheese ice cream

Lauren – chicory coffee panna cotta, caramel chocolate ganache, mini malasadas

Phung – misugaru-red bean doughnuts with miso-coconut creme brulee

Vanilla: Wow. Just wow. Kira’s dessert, the cake was light and airy and I loved the cider spheres and how they exploded in your mouth. The ice cream gave the dessert a nice tang of goat cheese. It was great!

Rose: Lauren’s panna cotta was tasty and I liked the mini malasadas that she garnished it with for texture. That was very inventive.

Amanda: Phung’s doughnuts… they were phenomenal. She messed up in her first two courses, but her dessert was stellar.
Michele: And can we make a vote on the desserts?

Vanilla: Honestly, if I had Lauren’s app, Kira’s entree, and Phung’s dessert, I would be so happy right now.

Vin: It’s unanimous that Phung took the third course, and that’s where the problem is. Lauren took the first, Kira took the second, and Phung took the third.

Rose: But look at it as a progression. I’d eat Kira’s meal again over Phung or Lauren’s because it was very elegant and smartly done.

Karen: But when you go individually, Lauren’s three dishes were either the first or second strongest in each meal.

Amanda: I just think that no matter what, we can agree that Phung is out of the running. Her meal was the weakest of the three. Agreed?

Vin: Yeah, I think that’s reasonable. But it’s between Lauren and Kira, and that’s where it gets dicey.

Rose: I still stand behind my vote for Kira. She did an phenomenal job.

Michele: So can we finally agree on a winner?

Amanda: Yes, we can.

In walks Phung, Kira, and Lauren.

Michele: Tonight, the three of you prepared really phenomenal meals. But only one of you can be crowned the winner. The judges have voted, and one of you is already out of the running.

Phung: @I think it’s Kira. @Her first course was an epic fail.

Michele: Unfortunately, Phung, you are not Warrior Chef.

Phung: FUCK! ARE YOU KIDDING ME?! @I WON 8 CHALLENGES AND I STILL COULDN’T WIN?! @WHAT THE ACTUAL HELL?!

Lauren: @That’s actually a huge shock going into this round, but seeing how she treated her teammates, it makes sense.

Kira: @It’s down to me and Lauren now. @I’m feeling nervous. @I want this so badly.

Michele: Kira, you had a really strong entree and dessert. Lauren, the judges felt like your meal as a whole, there was a lack of progression. But each dish individually was very strong.

Lauren: @Should the meal be considered as a whole? @I don’t know if it should, but I know if it didn’t count, then I won this.

Kira: @I’m nervous because they made it sound like my first course was a disaster.

Michele: Lauren…. you are Warrior Chef! Congratulations!

Lauren: Wait, what?!
Confetti rains down as everyone congratulates her.

Lauren: I won?! @I can’t believe it! @I’m Warrior Chef!

Michele: You won the title and the cash prize of $50,000!

Lauren: Thank you. @I’m in disbelief that I won the prize. @I knew I had strong dishes and that my passion was there, but it just feels surreal right now. @All of that hard work, and this incredible journey, it’s paying off right now!

Kira: @Being so close is probably what hurts the most about losing. @I hope I get a chance to redeem myself, because I know I can take that scallop dish and make it a winning dish. @But kudos to Lauren to winning the title. @She’s talented, strong, determined, and she deserved it a lot.

Lauren: @This competition was easily the hardest thing I have ever done in my life. @But being crowned the winner of Warrior Chef, it feels unreal. @It was a long journey, starting from peeling those russet potatoes, but now I’m here and I’m the champion! @I’m Warrior Chef!

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.

Warrior Chef 3: Round 7

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Michele: Time’s up!

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

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

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

Michele and Aster taste the dishes.

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

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

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

Michele: And who impressed you?

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

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

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

Justin leaves the room.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Michele: Time’s up!

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

Michele: Your judges are:

Chelia Van Buren

Thyme De Lys

Kierra Johnson

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

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

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

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

Michele: Next is Phung’s dish!

-homemade pork banh mi

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

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

Michele: And now we have Henry’s dish!

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

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

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

Michele: And finally, Lauren’s dessert.

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

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

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

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

Thyme: Yes.

In walks Henry, Phung, Kira, and Lauren.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Lauren and Phung leave.

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

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

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

Warrior Chef 3: Round 6

Phung: @I was almost sent home in the last round, but it doesn’t matter. @People have bad days. @You know what? @I can just win a challenge or two this round, and it’ll be my mini redemption. @The Phung Dynasty shall continue into a new era!

Lauren: @I’m surprised that Cherry got sent home, but we’re down to six really strong cooks. @Anyone can be going home at this point.

Gabe: @I’ve made it far, but I can go further. @I’m aiming for that finale now.

Michele: Hi, everyone! Welcome to the final six!

Kira: @Being in the top six feels good, but I want to make it to the finale. @We’re halfway done with the competition at this point.

Michele: So let’s start with our creativity challenge. We want you guys to prepare a delicious breakfast dish in just 30 minutes. Immunity is off the table, but we will be giving the winning cook $1,000!

Phung: @Want.

Lauren: @$1,000? @I need to step it up.

Michele: Your time starts now!

Phung: @I’m making banana-nut muffin doughnuts with a Nutella-Vietnamese coffee cappuccino. @I’m making the muffin dough and then deep frying them, because these doughnuts will win Warrior Chef for me. @The Vietnamese coffee kept me safe in the last round, and I’m just going to keep on going with that because I am here to win it.

Gabe: @For my breakfast dish, I’m preparing orange-maple crepes with brown butter sauce. @I want to do something simple and light, because I think breakfast shouldn’t be too fussy with bells and whistles. @That would get annoying really fast.

Henry: @I’m making a classic. @Bacon pancakes with caramelized ham, and an eggs benedict on top of the bacon pancake. @So I’m doing the egg and the hollandaise on top of the pancake and the ham. @I think it’s ingenious. @I haven’t won a challenge yet, but Justin just won his first challenge in the last round, so there’s still hope for me.

Justin: @I want to keep this winning streak going and the best way for me to do that is to push myself. @I’m making a zucchini cake with poached egg and a fresh crab salad. @I’m going with a savory breakfast because a sweet one is the most predictable way to go and I’m not about doing the most obvious thing at this point in the competition.

Kira: @I’m making a matcha-chia seed parfait with homemade granola and whipped coconut cream. @I’m trying to make a very light dish and make it vegan and gluten-free just to show that I am a fearless competitor. @I love chia seed pudding, so hopefully it will go over well.

Lauren: @I don’t really enjoy breakfast to be honest. @I’m making a rice porridge with a poached egg and some Kona coffee quick-braised ham. @Right now, Justin and Kira are the most consistently strong competitors, but Phung is a demon who I can’t just ignore. @She is definitely the strongest cook when she gets it right.

Michele: Time’s up!

Henry: @I’m feeling good about my dish and then I realize that I didn’t plate my hollandaise. @Crap. @My dish is going to be dry.

Michele: Your judge for this is Warrior Chef house critic, Lotte Amazo!

Lotte: Hi, everyone! Breakfast is the most important meal of the day, so thank you guys for preparing it for me six-fold!

Lotte and Michele taste the dishes.

Michele: So Lotte, who failed to impress you?

Lotte: Gabe, the dish was very underwhelming, especially compared to the other dishes. And Henry. Your dish was dry. I needed a glass of orange juice for that.

Henry: @I could’ve won the challenge if it wasn’t for that sauce missing. @This sucks.

Lotte: So for my favorites. Phung. The fact you managed to get yeast-leavened doughnuts that fluffy in the time allotted, and the overall concept of your dish was inspired and genius. You really do have a mastery over yeast that nobody else, myself included, seems to grasp. First the baguette in an hour, and then doughnuts in 30 minutes? I’m just stunned. Justin, the crab and zucchini combination was great and it was cool to see you incorporate that into a breakfast dish. And Kira. You managed to really impress me with an inventive breakfast that showed ambition as well.

Michele: So who won the challenge?

Lotte: It was a close call between all three dishes. But the best dish definitely went to… Phung for defying the laws of physics and proofing with yeast yet again!

Michele: Congratulations, Phung! You won $1,000!

Phung: Thank you! Thank you! I love you all, my loyal subjects! @I won!~ @I won!~ @Told you my doughnuts would win me this challenge. @Who said that you need yeast to proof for at least an hour? @They’re dumb because I’ve proven them wrong twice now. @Suck it! @That money will fund my “Dummies’ Guide to using Yeast” cookbook! @Expect it in a bookstore near you!

Michele: And now it’s time for the elimination challenge! For this challenge, you guys have 60 minutes to prepare your signature dishes! Your time starts now!

Phung: @This challenge? @Normally they have it in the preliminary rounds but they didn’t do that this year. @Oh well, I’m going to just have to crush it here. @I’m preparing a seared duck breast with banana flower salad and lime reduction, as well as duck carpaccio with crackling and pickled bean sprouts. @I’m tasting the flavors this time because I want my duck to not suck like the lamb in the last challenge.

Justin: @I’m feeling good about this challenge. @I’ve made pasta throughout this entire competition so it’s only natural for me to… not do that. @I’m going to prepare a play on pasta, but it’s a German dessert. @It’s called spaghettieis, which is vanilla ice cream piped to look like noodles, with a strawberry sauce, some chocolate truffles, and a cookie to garnish. @I think it’s a funny thing to prepare here.

Lauren: @For my signature dish, I’m going to do a kahlua glazed pork belly with a raw egg-yogurt emulsion, pickled radicchio, and scallop dumplings. @I’m so ready to take down these guys and make my way to the final five.

Kira: @I’m nervous about this challenge, because I don’t want to disappoint and these numbers just show what the judges think of our dishes down to the margin. @I’m making a confit tuna belly with braised onions, caramelized mushrooms, and brown butter. @I’m going to try my best to show good French technique.

Henry: @I love crab cakes so I’m making a crab beignet with a spicy remoulade sauce and a corn and pepper slaw. @I’m hoping that the flavors really deliver. @I’m not ready to get eliminated and I want to show everyone why I deserve to be in the final five.

Gabe: @For my dish, I’m preparing a seared duck breast with guava glaze and a fried rice with chilies. @It’s Chinese and Mexican fusion, but I know that I can pull this off. @My biggest strengths tonight will be in my flavors and seasoning. @I want to nail it because I haven’t won anything yet.

Michele: Time’s up!

Phung: @I nailed it. @I know I nailed it.

Michele: So your judges are:

Aster Walker

Erwin Ko

Miriam Adjanti

Missy Skies

Guy Flannigan

Frank Torres

Michele: So let’s start with Phung’s dish!

-duck breast, banana flower salad, lime, carpaccio, crackling, pickled bean sprouts

Frank: Phung’s flavors were beautiful. The presentation was astonishing and I liked the amount of flavor she developed into that carpaccio.

Guy: The dish came together. Using the duck fat and salt to dress the flesh of the breast meat was a smart trick.

Michele: And now we have Justin’s dish!

-spaghettieis

Missy: He normally makes pasta, so this was hilarious to see. The ice cream was well made and the sauce was delicious.

Erwin: Overall, two thumbs up for a great dish. I have no complaints either. He did a really good job.

Michele: And next is Lauren’s dish!

-kahlua glazed pork belly, raw egg-yogurt emulsion, pickled radicchio, scallop dumplings

Aster: The pork belly was cooked nicely and I liked the pickled radicchio against the egg emulsion. She balanced her flavors quite nicely.

Miriam: I got a fattier piece, so it was not as enjoyable for me, the pork. But the dumplings alone were fantastic. I loved those.

Michele: And now we have Kira’s dish!

-confit tuna belly with braised onions, caramelized mushrooms, and brown butter

Miriam: The tuna belly was cooked well, but the dish itself, I was looking for brightness and that’s what I was missing.

Missy: I agree. The dish lacked acidity to really compliment the tuna. But the confit technique alone was impeccably done.

Michele: And this is Henry’s dish next.

-crab beignet with spicy remoulade sauce and corn and pepper slaw

Guy: Compared to some of the other dishes, his was very plain. That being said, the beignets were inventive and I liked those a lot.

Frank: The pairing of the beignets with peppers, corn, and remoulade was clever, but the amount of technique he showed compared to Phung or Lauren or Justin, just none.

Michele: And finally, Gabe’s dish!

-seared duck breast with guava glaze and chili fried rice

Aster: The duck breast was cooked nicely but the entire dish just ate heavy. I couldn’t really stomach most of that rice.

Erwin: I felt that the combination was interesting and he cooked the rice and the duck well, and the glaze was well seasoned. I just didn’t think he did enough with his time.

Michele: So can we score the dishes?

Erwin: We can.

In walks the six contestants.

Michele: Six of you stand, but one of you is going to be eliminated. Judges? Let’s start with Phung’s score!

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

Phung: Boom! @I got 3 10’s. @Nobody is going to beat me.

Michele: And now we have Kira’s score.

Kira – 9 + 9 + 9 + 9 + 8 + 8 = 52/60 stars

Kira: Crap. @I’m behind Phung by 5 whole stars. @I might be going home tonight over my tuna dish.

Michele: And now we have Justin’s score!

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

Justin: Thank you. @Not enough to beat Phung, but I’m still safe. @It’s a good feeling.

Michele: And next is Lauren’s score!

Lauren – 10 + 9 + 9 + 9 + 9 + 8 = 54/60 stars

Lauren: @I got a 10, but Justin and Phung still beat me. @It sucks, but at least I’m safe.

Michele: Phung, you actually received the highest score and you won the elimination challenge! Congratulations!

Phung: Of course I would get first. @I managed to really blow the judges away and getting a 57/60 just shows why I am going to be Warrior Chef. @Winning back to back challenges just proves to everyone why they can eat my dust.

Michele: Lauren, Justin, Phung, the three of you are safe and can leave the kitchen.

The three leave.

Michele: Henry, you need 53 to beat Kira. Let’s see your score!

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

Michele: Henry, that means you’re currently in last place. Kira, you are safe.

Kira: Thank you. @I was getting nervous there. @It sucks that I was so close to the bottom. @I don’t like that feeling.

Michele: Gabe, you need at least 51 stars to remain. Here’s your score!

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

Michele: Unfortunately, Gabe, with the lowest score, you are going home tonight. Please return to the kitchen and leave.

Gabe: Thank you. @I’m gutted. @I just got eliminated from Warrior Chef and I didn’t think it was my time to leave. @The final five are strong cooks, but I think Phung will win this season. @She’s been the strongest by far.

Warrior Chef 3: Round 3

Phung: @Walking into the kitchen, thus begins another chapter of the Phung Dynasty. @I’m going to continue dominating, because that’s what I do best.

Cherry: @Elizabeth going home makes me excited, because that’s one less person between me and the title. @I’m going to win the competition. @And not listen to Elizabeth’s whiny voice anymore. @God, she makes me want to smoke a joint so badly.

Taylor: @James and Henry have both been underperforming in this competition and they’re definitely going home within the next two rounds. @I’m not feeling too nervous, knowing that they’re still around.

James: @I haven’t really been on top of any challenges so far, but I think tonight might just be my night to win something. @I got to believe.

Michele: Hi, everyone! So for tonight’s creativity challenge, we want you to make something delicious using an ingredient that might not be commonly used.

A cart is wheeled in, carrying vats of sour cream.

Lauren: @Whoa. @Sour cream. @I’m not really sure what I can do with that. @I’m not feeling super confident, but that’s going to be where I need to improve.

Michele: You have just 30 minutes to prepare a dish using sour cream. And your time starts… right now!

Phung: @I grab an entire vat, because I don’t like to share. @I’m going to prepare a sour cream crepe with caramelized onions, roasted mushrooms, and pork belly. @I’m keeping it super simple but savory.

Lauren: @I’m stoked to be cooking with the sour cream, because I know that the majority of the cooks here will be going with something sweet. @I don’t want to do that. @I’m making sour cream marinated curry chicken salad. @I want to show a much more creative use of the ingredient so that I can continue proving myself in this competition.

Cherry: @With sour cream, I know you can use it in cakes. @I’m making a sour cream chocolate cake with chocolate-sour cream frosting. @I’m keeping it really forward with the flavors, because that’ll really make it a special dish.

Gabe: @I’m making tacos. @You give me sour cream, I’m going to make a good fish taco with pico de gallo and sour cream. @I’m sure that I’ve got this one in the bag, because it goes straight to my roots, and I know what I’m doing here.

James: @I’m going to make a beet and sour cream soup with olive oil croutons and lemon juice vinaigrette. @The beet and sour cream combination will be a huge risk, but huge risk, huge reward. @I’m going to push myself.

Henry: @So far, I’ve been coasting or skating by on the bottom. @Tonight, it’s got to change. @I need to win this challenge. @I’m making a sour cream and caramelized onion puree under a coffee crusted sirloin and sour cream battered onion rings.

Justin: @I’m not too afraid of the challenge tonight. @For my dish, it’ll be a sour cream polenta with spice crusted lamb chops and a mint-sour cream butter. @Out of everyone in this competition, Kira, Phung, and Lauren continue to be the strongest three, and I want to stop them in their tracks.
Kira: @I can’t keep thinking about the previous challenges, or else I’ll get too distracted. @I’m making a charred sour cream puree, sour cream-strawberry puree, and lime-sour cream foam. @Going with this super modern take on strawberries and cream, I’m hoping it’ll stand out and that I’ll really make an impression.

Michele: Time’s up!

Cherry: @My cake is still in the oven. @Fuck. @I’m so not going to win tonight.

Gabe: @Cherry ran out of time, but I also not happy with my presentation. @The tortillas tore when I filled them, and I can’t do anything about that.

Michele: So your judge for this challenge is pastry chef, Frank Torres!

Frank: Hi, everyone. It’s great to be judging this challenge, and I can’t wait to see what you guys have in store for me!

Cherry: @Well, I’m so screwed. @I couldn’t plate up my dessert, and I’m being judged by a pastry chef. @This is really embarrassing.

Michele and Frank taste the dishes.
Michele: So Frank, who didn’t really impress you tonight?

Frank: Cherry, you didn’t plate your dish, so by default, you are on the bottom. Gabe, your tortilla was torn, and the taco ate very sloppy. And James. Your soup was bitter and astringent. I didn’t enjoy it whatsoever.

James: @I thought I dug deep, but I clearly didn’t. @This really sucks.

Frank: So for my top three, let’s start with Henry. Your dish, the puree was phenomenal, and the coffee steak was great, and the onion rings were beautiful. Phung, the crepe was delicate but the flavors inside were bold. The sour cream tied everything together nicely. Lauren, your curry salad was simple, but just so clever. You took the sour cream to a dish I never would have suspected, and that makes me incredibly happy to see you innovate the ingredient.

Henry: @Hearing that I’m on top feels great. @I’m finally starting to show that I don’t suck at this!

Jaenice: @Not being on top is disappointing. @I really wanted to win a challenge.

Michele: And your winner?

Frank: Three incredible dishes, but my favorite had to be… Lauren’s curry chicken.

Michele: Congratulations, Lauren! You won immunity!

Lauren: Thank you. @Winning my first creativity challenge feels great. @I just got immunity, and now it means I can take a lot more risks in the next challenge.

Michele: So for the next challenge, you’ll have to cook in pairs! Please draw aprons!

A box is passed around, and the contestants have to draw the aprons blindly

Lauren – red

Cherry – red

Jaenice – green

Justin – green

Phung – blue

Kira – yellow

Taylor – yellow

James – blue

Henry – purple

Gabe – purple

James: @I’m with Phung, and I’m feeling like I just got immunity. @Phung is such a strong cook that I doubt I can weigh her down.

Phung: @Shit. @I’m with James. @Has he ever NOT been on the bottom? @Oh well, I know how to work like a machine, and I’ll just put him in the corner so that he can’t touch anything.

Michele: So in pairs, you’ll need to prepare a creative surf and turf! You’ll have an hour, and your time starts now!

Lauren: @I’m working with Cherry, and she’s been on top and on the bottom a lot, so not quite sure what to make of her. @So for our dish, we decide on preparing a crab dumpling with pork belly and ginger infused black vinegar.

Cherry: @Both of us have Chinese backgrounds, and I’m pretty confident that I’m going to nail this one for both of us. @I’m in charge of the pork belly and the vinegar while Lauren handles the entire dumpling.

Kira: @So Taylor and I agree on lamb and squid. @We are preparing a lamb stuffed squid sausage with tomato puree and lemon oil to toss with some deep fried capers. @I’m going to handle the puree and the capers with the lemon oil.

Taylor: @I’m comfortable grinding up the lamb and stuffing the squid. @Kira is a strong cook and I know that she is a hard worker, so I’m confident that the two of us can knock this one out of the park.

James: @Working with Phung is great. @We are going to prepare a Vietnamese pancake with shrimp, pork, and a fish sauce vinaigrette.

Phung: @Yeah, so James is going to grab the pans and plates, and I’ll handle the entire dish on my own, because James just sucks, and I don’t want to work with him. @I don’t care if there’s no I in team. @There’s a me, as in there’s a me who doesn’t want to go home. @So he can deal with that.

Jaenice: @Justin and I agree on a pancetta seared scallop that we will also sear in duck fat, and then we will also prepare a corn succotash and a corn milk beurre blanc. @This skinny white boy had to agree with me on what we doing, because if he tried to make me submit to his white hand, then he be racist, that little fucker, he be.

Justin: @Jaenice will handle preparing the corn milk for the beurre blanc and the succotash while I do the scallop and the final sauce. @I think we can work well together, because we are communicating. @I’m feeling good.

Henry: @We agree on a tostada with scallop and beef ceviche. @I’m going to let Gabe handle the tostada while we work together on the filling and I’ll do the entire ceviche portion on my own.

Gabe: @Henry and I are communicating and we are making sure to taste each other’s dishes. @I see that Phung is making James run around the kitchen, which is hilarious for me to see, but I have no time to be amused by that. @I need to focus on the tortilla and redeeming myself on that.

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

Kira: @I’m feeling really screwed right now. @Time is called, and Taylor didn’t plate the squid sausage on every plate. @We might be going home tonight.

Phung: @Crap. @I forgot to plate an entire portion. @Fucking James did not do anything, so I ran out of time trying to do everything while he was just in our way.

Michele: Your judges are:

Max Hudson

Chelia Van Buren

Scott Connors

Michele: Let’s start with the dish Lauren and Cherry prepared!

-crab dumpling with pork belly and ginger infused black vinegar

Chelia: Wow. The flavor of the dumpling was just an umami bomb. The vinegar infused with the ginger was subtle and it paired well with the crab.

Scott: The crispy pork belly on top was a clever idea and it added a nice texture to the steamed dumplings. I’m impressed.

Max: The fact that they cooked the crab so perfectly, I really loved it. There was nothing I could really change with this dish.

Michele: And next, Jaenice and Justin’s dish!

-pancetta seared scallop, corn succotash and corn milk beurre blanc

Max: The scallop was cooked beautifully. The inside was still opaque and glistening. That was already a good sign that this dish was going to be great.

Scott: The beurre blanc was nice, the succotash was pleasant, and I’m just really impressed by the usage of the corn milk. That was brilliant.

Chelia: So far, we’re off to a strong start. All of the dishes we’ve tried have been really solid. I’ll give this team more points on creativity, for the corn milk beurre blanc.

Michele: Now we’ve got Kira and Taylor’s dish!

-lamb stuffed squid sausage with tomato puree, lemon oil, fried capers

Scott: Well the squid sausage was a bit chewy. I liked the puree and the lemon oil with the capers a lot. The flavors worked well together.

Chelia: The squid exterior was not cooked enough, so it was just tough and almost leathery. The biggest disappointment was the sausage.

Max: I can’t even criticize the sausage, because I didn’t even receive any on my plate. The things I did taste, however, the puree and the capers, I really enjoyed that.

Michele: And finally, James and Phung’s dish!

-Vietnamese pancake with shrimp, pork, and fish sauce vinaigrette

Scott: Well, I guess the teams are struggling to work together here, since I didn’t get a pancake. I just have lettuce and the vinaigrette. The vinaigrette tastes great, however.

Max: The pancake was delicious and the fish sauce vinaigrette was dynamite. Honestly, this was the best dish I’ve tasted out of the five and it’s a shame they didn’t finish.

Chelia: I’m so pissed because the dish was so close to perfect, but they messed up royally with portioning. That’s such a shame.

Michele: So can we decide on which teams are up for elimination and which ones are up for the win?

Chelia: We can.

In walks Kira, Taylor, James, and Phung.

Michele: Unfortunately, the four of you are on the bottom, and one of you is going to be eliminated tonight.

Max: Kira and Taylor, who prepared what?

Kira: I made the tomato puree, the lemon oil, and the capers.

Taylor: I handled the squid.

Chelia: James and Phung?

Phung: I did literally everything. James did not touch the dish.

Max: Kira, the tomato mixture was delicious and the capers were our favorite part of it. The biggest difficulty was that the dishes weren’t consistent, and then the squid sausage was just bad.

Chelia: Phung, you put us in a difficult position. The actual dish was delicious, but you failed to plate for all of us.

Phung: But James didn’t do anything. Eliminate him!

James: *to Phung* I tried to help, but you wouldn’t let me touch anything! You were being a control freak!

Scott: Unfortunately, this is a team challenge, so teamwork will have to be a factor in who gets eliminated tonight. Phung, you weren’t a team player, but James, you needed to assert yourself more.

Phung: ARE YOU FUCKING KIDDING ME?! @This is some bullcrap. @I might be going home when fucking James didn’t do anything? @I can’t even right now.

Kira: @Phung is showing a terrifying side of her and Taylor and I are hoping that with her bad attitude, she might be going home next.

Michele: The judges have talked it over. Kira, you are safe. Phung, Taylor, James, we will ask you to come back, after we announce the winner.

Kira: Thank you. @I’m feeling relieved that I was declared safe, but I’m worried for Taylor. @We are really hoping that Phung or James go home instead.

The bottom four leave.

In walks Cherry, Lauren, Justin, and Jaenice.

Michele: Tonight, the four of you prepared the best dishes, and one team will win the elimination challenge!

Chelia: Cherry and Lauren, the dumpling was elegantly done and I really was impressed by your choice tonight. I was amazed by how dainty the dish was!

Max: Justin and Jaenice, you prepared that scallop perfectly and the best part of that dish was definitely the corn beurre blanc. That was genius.

Michele: It’s a tough call for who our winner was. Scott, as one of our judges, can you please announce the winner?

Scott: I am happy to say that tonight’s winning dish belonged to… Lauren and Cherry.

Michele: Congratulations, Lauren, Cherry! You won the elimination challenge!

Cherry: Oh my god! @I won! @Yes! @Freaking yes! @Elizabeth goes home, and now I win a challenge. @Life is getting better and better.

Lauren: @Winning the elimination challenge feels great. @I’m hoping that I can keep this streak up and continue impressing the judges.

Michele: Lauren, you won both challenges! How does that feel for you?

Lauren: Honestly, I’m just still amazed I won even a single challenge tonight. Thank you.

Jaenice: @Damn it. @I was hoping that this Southern belle was going to win something. @I know I belong in the competition.

Justin: @And out of nowhere, Lauren sweeps a round. @I can see her as that girl who gets into the finale, and then loses out at a spot for the final three. @She’s got talent, but she’s not going to make it to the end.

The top four leave.

In walks Phung, James, and Taylor.

Phung: @I can’t believe it’s between me, James, or Taylor. @I think that’s complete bullshit. @What the actual fuck.

Michele: Phung…. the judges agreed that you have an attitude issue. But the dish was virtually flawless. Taylor, unfortunately, the sausage was the weakest component tonight, and you will be leaving tonight.

Taylor: Okay. @I’m leaving, and I’m feeling really deflated. @I thought I’d make it further than just the third round, and I’m getting cut nowhere near where I was hoping to go. @I really hope that Phung’s attitude comes back to bite her.

Phung: @Crap, we just escaped elimination. @James really should be going home tonight. @He did not do jack fucking shit. @I’m going to punch a wall after we leave the kitchen. @Maybe set fire to some senior citizens. @I’m just pissed.