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 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.