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.

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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.