Warrior Chef 1: Finale Part 2

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

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

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

Into the room walks… Vanilla.

Vanilla: Hi, guys! Did you miss me?

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

Carrie: Please help me welcome back Vanilla!

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

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

Vanilla – 1

Lucas – 1

Tadashi – 2

Karen – 2

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Carrie: Time’s up!

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

Carrie: Your judge is house critic, Max Hudson.

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

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

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

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

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

Carrie: And who won?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Carrie: Time’s up!

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

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

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

Carrie: Your judges are:

Max Hudson

Scott Connors

Miriam Adjanti

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

-abalone sashimi with cold shiitake broth and truffled tamagoyaki

-ube mochi with blackberry-rhubarb coulis and swiss meringue

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

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

Carrie: And now we have Karen’s dishes!

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

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

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

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

Carrie: And up next are Lucas’s dishes.

-scallops, basil emulsion, peach salad

-poached lobster, potato puree, lobster sauce

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

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

Carrie: And finally, Vanilla’s desserts!

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

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

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

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

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

Miriam: We have.

In walks the final four.

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

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

Tadashi: Thank you.

Carrie: Scott, please announce the winner.

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

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

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

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

Tadashi and Vanilla leave.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Lucas leaves the kitchen.

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

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