Warrior Chef 2: Round 1

Talia: @Rose, Vin, and I all have immunity going into the first round of this competition and that feels awesome. @I know that I can stand up with the best of them and win that title now.

Lilian: @I’m feeling good about this competition because I did really well in the Eliminator Round, but I still need to work my butt off or else I’m gone for good next.

Victoria: Welcome to the main competition! So let’s get into the creativity challenge! Everyone, please draw knives!

Talia – 1

Duke – 1

Amanda – 1

Rose – 2

Vin – 2

Jo – 2

Enrique – 3

Betsy – 3

Marisa – 3

Lilian – 4

Trisha – 4

Nate – 4

Nate: @I’m with Trisha and Lilian and that’s a good team to have. @The three of us can easily bust this out.

Amanda: @I’m working with Talia and Duke, so I’m excited. @Duke did really well in our preliminary and Talia won the Eliminator Round, so both of them are talented cooks.

Victoria: So this challenge will have two parts. In the first part, it’s a mise en place race. Members of your team will need to filet and portion 10 pieces of salmon, juice and seed 10 lemons, brunoise 8 shallots, and then peel 20 pieces of asparagus. And each member must be solely responsible for one task. The fourth task, all three of you can work on at the same time.
Rose: @Mise en place shouldn’t be the worst. @I know that I can handle the shallots or salmon easily.

Victoria: The winning team is going to be the team that finishes first. They will not receive immunity, but they will be given $500!

Vin: @Immunity is off the table, and that’s fine, because Rose and I both have it anyways. @So I’m not too worried.

Victoria: The team that finishes last, they will have to cook head to head to head to remain in the competition, using the mise en place from the first leg.

Jo: Oh. @I’m on a team with two people who both have immunity. @If they screw up and we end up on the bottom, then I’m going home.

Marisa: @I am definitely not envious of Jo, Amanda, or Duke right now. @If either of their teams are on the bottom, then one of those three are going home.

Victoria: So four tasks to complete and your time starts now!

Amanda: @So Duke is going to filet the salmon, I’m going to juice the lemons, and Talia is going to peel the asparagus. @We decide to handle the shallots together because peeling and chopping will take a lot of time.

Rose: @So Jo is going to do the salmon, I’m going to do the lemons, and Vin is handling the shallots. @We know that we will all jump onto the asparagus together anyways, so it won’t be a huge challenge.

Betsy: @Marisa is handling the salmon, I’m going to do the shallots, and Enrique is on lemon duty. @Right now, I’m thinking about who the biggest competitor in this season is, and it probably has to be the four cooks who came out of the Eliminator Round. @They’re going to be the toughest to beat by far.

Nate: @I’m going to do the salmon filet, Trisha is on lemons, and Lilian is handling asparagus. @I think that nobody would be dumb enough to try to delegate the salmon to multiple people, because you really can’t filet with more than one person.

Jo: @I manage to get the salmon filleted and now I’m starting to portion it out. @Rose finished off her lemons and she’s already starting to peel asparagus, and Vin’s working hard on those shallots too. @I think our team is doing well and I hope that they won’t try to sabotage me with their immunity.

Marisa: @I see that Rose’s team is almost done, and I’m pretty surprised. @If I were Rose and Vin, I might use that immunity to my advantage.

Enrique: @I almost finish the lemons, and then I squirt some of the juice into my eye. CRAP! @It hurts. @A lot.

Trisha: @Enrique managed to screw up his lemons, and I just finish mine and move on to the shallots with Lilian. @I see that our team is neck and neck with Jo’s.

Vin: @At this point, Jo, Rose, and I are all on asparagus, and we are just cruising through it. Check!

Everyone stops and looks up at them.

Victoria examines the mise en place.

Victoria: Congratulations! Team 2! You are the first team done, and you’ll win $500 each! Well done!
Rose: @At this point, I have immunity and $500 to burn. @Life is great!

Victoria: Everyone else, keep cooking!
Nate: Are you kidding me?! @They managed to just edge us out. Check!

Victoria examines the mise en place.

Victoria: Team 4, you guys are safe!

Lilian: Awesome!

Amanda: @Two teams are safe, and now I’m really hustling. @If our team is on the bottom, then it’s either me or Duke going home. @Duke finished the salmon and now he’s joining Talia and I on the shallots.

Betsy: @At this point, Enrique getting lemon juice in his eyes is setting us back. @It’s up to me and Marisa to get things done.
Marisa: @Betsy and I are on the asparagus while Enrique is recovering, and then my heart just sinks when I hear…

Duke: Check!

Victoria examines their mise en place.

Victoria: Team 1, you guys are safe. Team 3, that means you guys will be up for elimination tonight.

Betsy: Oh no….

Victoria: So you guys have just 30 minutes to prepare a dish using salmon, lemon juice, diced shallots, and asparagus. And your time starts…. now!

Marisa: @30 minutes is a lot of time for just salmon, so I know I need to push myself. @I’m going to make a salmon with a caramelized shallot and asparagus pesto, and a grated potato cake.

Enrique: @I decide on an asparagus soup with smoked salmon. @I’m going to sweat out the shallots, deglaze with white wine and lemon juice, and then blitz that with olive oil. @I think it’ll be good enough to keep me in the competition, especially against someone as white bread as Betsy.

Betsy: @I’m making a seared filet of salmon with a lemon hollandaise sauce, blanched asparagus, and caramelized shallots. @I’m not too confident on the shallots, just caramelizing them, but I just hope it all works together really well here.

Nate: @Looking at the three dishes, I like the direction Marisa is going in. @The pesto is definitely a cool idea with the pesto and she’s got the balls to add a component that doesn’t even use the mise en place.

Vin: @I think Marisa is surprisingly strong competition judging from how composed she is. @Enrique’s got the coolest idea, making a soup, but I don’t know about Betsy. @I still think she’s playing it too safe.

Betsy: @I’m hoping that the flavors come through, because my hollandaise is good and the salmon is cooked nicely. @I see that Enrique isn’t even cooking his salmon and that makes me interested. @He’s blanching asparagus however.

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

Marisa: @I see Enrique and Betsy’s dishes. @Betsy went a really obvious route in my eyes. @I’m not too impressed.

Victoria tastes the three dishes.

Betsy: @I’m really nervous at this point. @Victoria has hosted multiple Warrior Chef competitions in the past, so she definitely knows good food.

Victoria: Alright, so off the bat, one of you is definitely safe. Enrique, your soup was really clever and that just stood out to me. You are safe.
Enrique: Thank you. @It’s down to one of the girls, and I couldn’t care less. @One of them deserves to leave tonight.

Victoria: Marisa and Betsy, you guys just lacked the same creativity as Enrique. And that’s what it came down to. Both of you nailed your cook on the salmon and everything was well seasoned. But Marisa, your pesto is the one thing that set you apart. And that’s why, Betsy, you are going home tonight. Please leave the kitchen.

Betsy: Alright. @I’m leaving first in the main competition. @Yeah, I didn’t see that one coming. @It sucks so much, because I wanted to go all the way to that finale and be crowned the Warrior Chef.

Betsy leaves the kitchen.

Trisha: @I feel bad for her, but that’s the name of the competition. @Everyone here except for one will have to lose.

Victoria: Now for the elimination challenge! Tonight, we want you guys to prepare a dish inspired by your first food memory! You have 1 hour, starting now!

Vin: @I’m half Italian and half Singaporean. @Risotto is probably the first dish where I felt like my two cultures combined into one. @For the challenge, I’m going to prepare a miso risotto with basil poached shrimp. @I hope that I can continue nailing my dishes and staying on top of challenges. @It’s be nice to go three for three.

Amanda: @Right now, Vin and Rose have won every challenge they’ve attempted. @I really want to show both of them that I’m not somebody that’s just going to be eliminated just because I’m a freshman. @I learned this dish from my mom, so I decide on preparing grilled trout with poached escargot, tarragon butter sauce, and lemons. @She taught me everything I know about French food, so this will be a great homage to her and it’ll just be full circle.

Talia: @Being half Black, I do love my soul food. @I remember learning how to make chicken and waffles from my grandma Hilda, but I want to do something even more than that. @I’m preparing fried duck wings with waffles, orange syrup, and foie gras butter. @I think that it’ll show my willingness to take risks.

Enrique: @I love myself Latin or seafood. @I already proved in the last challenge that I can nail salmon, so tonight, I need to do something else with Latin flavors. @I’m going to make a ceviche with seabass, and then serve that with some roasted chilies and mango salsa. @I’m excited, because this is my chance to redeem myself from almost going home.

Marisa: @I need redemption. @At this point, everyone must be thinking that I am the weakest link in the competition, and I need to prove them wrong. @I’m making a mascarpone panna cotta with poached pears and cannoli crumble. @I love Italian food and it runs through my veins. @Cut my wrist and out spills tomato sauce. @Okay, I’m joking. @It’s obviously blood. @You get where I’m going with this.

Lilian: @Being a baker who loves using fruit, that’ll be my advantage. @I’m making schaumtorte, which is like a pavlova served with fresh fruit and berries. @I’m also going to prepare a champagne sorbet. @Right now, I think my biggest competition will be Rose and Vin, because they have won every challenge so far and have immunity.

Trisha: @Right now, Jo, Amanda, and I are the three youngest cooks here. @I want to make it to the end with them just for that reason. @I’m going to prepare Taiwanese soup dumplings with black vinegar and ginger sorbet. @I’m taking a risk using the liquid nitrogen to freeze the black vinegar and ginger, but that’s going to be what makes my dish unique to me.

Jo: @I love making stir fried noodles and I want to do exactly that. @I’m going to do stir fried noodles with grilled chicken thighs. @I’m using a wok to do the stir fry, and if I can nail the cook on the noodles with my wok, then I’m not going home. @I know that the competition is tough, but I’m more than ready to prove myself.

Rose: @Nobody can beat me. @My food speaks to who I am, and when I think about my first food memory, I just think about dim sum and offal. @I’m making steamed rice in a lotus leaf, so like a Chinese tamale, and then I’m going to serve that with crispy liver. @It’s two of my childhood favorites, coming together as one.

Duke: @Being raised in Arcadia, I was exposed to plenty of Asian food growing up. @I’m making a lamb hotpot, where I will slice the lamb tataki style, and then have the judges pour a savory Chinese broth using goji, wood ear, star anise, and kombu. @I’m hoping that my flavors come together and make something that’ll win me the first elimination challenge tonight.

Nate: @I know my biggest competition right now is Rose and Vin. @Both of them are strong. @I’m making glazed pork belly with rice and grilled bok choy. @It’s a relatively safe dish, but I know my pork belly will be killer and that will save me from being eliminated tonight. @It’s too early in the competition for me to feel comfortable taking risks. @I want to test the waters first and see how to approach the rest of my competition, using this dish first.

Victoria: Time’s up!

Rose: @I think that my dish, I’m feeling regret. @I could have done char su in a phyllo roll, and that would be a better merging of my two heritages.

Lilian: @I’m feeling bad. @All of the alcohol in the champagne kept the sorbet was freezing properly, so now it’s melting into the rest of the dessert.

Victoria: Your judges are:

Aster Walker

Miriam Adjanti

Erwin Ko

Victoria: Let’s start with the dishes by Trisha, Amanda, and Jo!

Trisha – soup dumplings with black vinegar-ginger sorbet

Amanda – grilled trout, poached escargot, tarragon butter, lemons

Jo – stir fried noodles with chicken thighs

Aster: I thought Trisha made a good dumpling, but the sorbet was just a complete miss. What she accomplished with her dumpling, she completely missed with that attempt at an ice cream that wound up more like vinegar-ice. It was just wrong.

Miriam: Amanda nailed her trout and the usage of escargot was daring. I loved her butter and the lemon highlighted those flavors. There was absolutely nothing I would change about her dish. Vive la France.

Erwin: Jo’s noodles were cooked nicely and I loved the grill on the chicken thighs. Mine were cooked through so I was happy about that. The biggest issue I’m having is that he played it safe. Nothing was wrong, but it was a really safe dish, even with the wok.

Victoria: Next are Vin, Talia, and Enrique!

Vin – miso risotto with basil poached shrimp

Talia – fried duck wings with waffles, orange syrup, and foie gras butter

Enrique – seabass ceviche, mango salsa, roasted chilies

Erwin: Wow. Vin’s risotto was delicious! The layers of umami in the rice was really addictive. I liked how he cooked the shrimp as well. This dish met the challenge brief perfectly. I loved it.
Aster: Talia just knocked it out of the park here. The innovative take on chicken and waffles was awesome and the foie gras butter and orange syrup were brilliant. I really loved her dish.

Miriam: The ceviche was just… disappointing for me. I enjoyed the flavors, but he had an hour and all he did was marinate fish? That’s playing it safe and in all of the wrong ways. I’m feeling frustrated right now.

Victoria: And finally, Duke, Nate, and Lilian!

Duke – lamb tataki hot pot
Nate – glazed pork belly with bok choy and rice

Lilian – schaumtorte with champagne sorbet

Erwin: Duke nailed his hot pot and I really enjoyed the flavors of it. The broth in particular, he developed so much flavor and that’s where you know his time went.

Aster: Nate played it safe. His rice was well cooked and I loved the pork belly, but really with the bok choy? It tasted like take out food. I’m feeling let down here.

Miriam: Lilian’s dessert, my biggest issue was that she tried to make a sorbet, and it just soaked everything. The meringue was soggy and it all tasted like cough syrup.

Victoria: So can we decide who won this challenge and who is going home?

Erwin: Yes.

In walks Vin, Talia, and Amanda.

Victoria: Tonight, the three of you prepared the judges’s favorite dishes, and one of you has won the elimination challenge!

Aster: Vin, that risotto was delicious and you were creative in melding your two heritages into a single dish. Talia, the play on chicken and waffles was nothing short of brilliant. And Amanda, You took the biggest risk tonight, cooking a dish with snails. That might be a first in this competition where somebody voluntarily chose to cook with them. But you nailed your dish and we loved the texture you achieved with them.

Talia: @Right now, I feel like it’s between me and Amanda for the challenge win. @Vin made a solid dish, but our dishes stood out against his.

Victoria: Miriam, please announce the winner tonight.

Miriam: It was tough, but the best cook was… Amanda.

Victoria: Congratulations, Amanda! You won the first elimination challenge!
Amanda: Oh wow! Definitely wasn’t expecting that! @I won! @Being the winner of the first elimination challenge feels wonderful. @I didn’t think I had it in me, but I’m proving to all of the older cooks that I am a strong contender in this competition.

The top three leave.
Vin: @Amanda’s strong, but I can’t let that stop me from putting up my best every single time. @This is just a wake-up call.

In walks Enrique, Lilian, and Trisha.

Victoria: The judges agreed that the three of you are on the bottom of tonight’s challenge and one of you is going home.

Aster: Enrique, we felt you were playing it too safe. Lilian and Trisha, you both felt the need to put a sorbet on your dish, and while we appreciate the risk taking there, it wasn’t a good choice in either of your dishes.

Trisha: @I’m scared. @I really hope that they value my creativity and just send Enrique home, but I think it might be my time.

Victoria: It was a tough call, because so many people played it safe. But Lilian, please return to the kitchen and leave.
Lilian: Thank you for giving me this opportunity to compete and I know it’s been a short ride, but I’ve honestly had a blast. @I’m leaving feeling grateful for the friends I’ve made and the dishes I’ve put up. @I’m proud of how far I’ve come along. @Warrior Chef, it’s an experience that I will appreciate for the rest of my life.

Enrique: @Seeing Lilian going home, it’s a wake-up call that I need to figure out the blend between staying in my comfort zone, but taking some risks, or else I’m gone.

How it is: Chapter 19

“How was your day?” Tarou turned to see an exhausted Valerie re-enter their room. “I’m just shot. I’m going to bed.” She yawned, dropping face-first on the mattress. The Japanese boy, deciding it was best to continue doing his homework elsewhere, left the room, turning off the lights as he exited. “Goodnight, Val!” “Goodnight, Tarou.” She murmured before drifting off to sleep. The boy decided to finish his homework in the hallway, just so that he would not disturb her. He was grateful to Valerie for housing him and did not want to do anything to agitate her or potentially compromise his ability to live there. It’s been a couple weeks at this point, and Tarou was already adjusted to living with her. The two knew that being a romantic couple was out of the question at this point, given how both of them were emotionally, and how Timmy would be affected if something like this were to happen. Finally saving his paper, Tarou closed the window and looked at job openings for the summer. The summer was close, so he needed to start thinking about what he would be doing then. “Huh? A modeling gig in Tokyo?” Tarou noticed an email sent to him from the agency. “Summer job, will be modeling for the summer edition of Vogue’s Menswear Collection.” He read aloud, intrigued. “Will need basic Japanese speaking skills and prior modeling experience preferred.” The more he looked into it, the more Tarou wanted to apply for the job. At this point, he had nothing to lose. “Hell, let’s do it.” He submitted his resume onto the site and closed his laptop entirely. “It’s 2am already. I’ve got to go to bed.” He sighed, going back into their room.

It was the next morning, and Tarou and Valerie were eating together in the dining hall. “How was your paper? Are you done now?” The pastry chef looked at him. “Yeah, I’m done with it! I also applied for a modeling job in Tokyo for the summer!” “Oh my god! That’s amazing! If you get it, send me pics! I want to see and live that experience through you vicariously.” She giggled. “How about you? Any news?” Tarou smiled at her. “Well, I got this in the mail.” She pulled out an envelope. “Wait, what’s in it?” The Japanese model looked at her curiously. “You won’t believe it. I actually didn’t myself.” She opened the flap and pulled out the letter. Tarou quickly scanned through the contents. “Dear Valerie, we are going to be holding a special Warrior Chef: All Stars edition, where previous finalists and contestants from all seasons will have a chance to redeem themselves. Since you were the runner-up in our most recent season, we in the Warrior Chef team would like to cordially invite you to compete. Please contact us at wcascasting@gmail.com if you are interested in competing again and hope to hear from you soon! Victoria Clark, Executive Producer.” Stunned, he just looked at her, awestruck. “So are you going to take it?” Valerie just smiled in response to that question. “Well, what do you think? I’m a previous runner-up! I need to represent!” She beamed. “Thanks, Tarou. You helped me regain my confidence, and I will try my best to win this one for you.”

“Tarou!” Misaki ran up to the model as he exited the changing rooms. He had finished another session and was getting ready to go home. “Misaki! What’s going on?” He looked at her. She was exhausted from running. “Hold on!” She put her hand up, panting. “Catching… my breath.” She sighed, getting up and looking at the slightly amused teen. “What’s going on?” “It’s Timmy. He wants to talk to you.” She lied between her teeth. “Wait, what?!” Tarou could not believe what he was hearing. “Yeah. Hold on, come with me.” She led him out of the building. Misaki was determined to make these two at least confront each other. Whether or not they remained friends was another subject entirely, but at the very least, she wanted Tarou to be able to put that frustration behind him, while on Timmy’s behalf, she just wanted him to live a life that did not involve hulling himself away in his room. Nobody deserved to be robbed of their youth like that, in her eyes.

“Here we are.” Justin looked at Timmy. The software engineer lied to Timmy as well, telling him to meet up with him in front of the Muji at Noho so that they can go get food together in the area. Misaki was going to be taking Tarou to this location as well, so that the two of them could leave the ex-friends and roommates confront each other. “Hey, Justin!” Timmy sighed, looked around fearfully before walking up to his friend. He was terrified that somebody was going to verbally assault him. “What’s with you? Don’t worry, okay? These kinds of issues and problems, they’re not going to be around for much longer, alright?” Justin assured him. “What makes you so certain about that?” Timmy frowned. He was scared at this point. What did Justin mean by that? How could he assure that nothing bad was going to happen. “I just have a gut feeling that no matter what happens, you’ll come out of this stronger. And that’s a big reason why I wanted to meet up with you.” He grinned, although Timmy was still visibly disturbed. And this uneasiness would only escalate within a mere few seconds of Justin’s last statement. “Timmy?!” The Taiwanese boy’s shoulders shot up at the beckon of his name. He was being called by a very familiar voice. Turning around slowly, he knew who this was. It was none other than a very dumbstruck Valerie Ang.

Deciding that it was something to celebrate over, Valerie decided to go to her favorite store, Muji in Noho, to buy some stationary. She was running low on sketchbooks and liked the simplistic design of the Japanese notebooks that Muji sold. She was excited. Even though just a few months ago, losing the competition had gotten her down, Valerie was determined to do this competition, and prove that, even if she were to lose, that she could be a gracious loser. Going to Muji, she was skittish. She needed to continue brushing up on different recipes, dishes, ingredients, and mentally prepare herself to be going head to head with some of the best chefs in the competition’s history. However, in that very moment, Valerie’s shopping spree was cut to an abrupt halt. Describing her feelings in that moment, it was difficult. Rage, frustration, irritation, complete anger, a linger bit of pity, and ultimately, disappointment. Timmy Li was standing in front of her favorite store, not only blocking the entrance, by ruining what could have been a wonderful day for her. Without thinking, the pastry chef found herself blurting out his name, in disbelief that she would bump into him. His very presence made her bury the urge of holding him underneath a tub of water, before dropping a toaster in said bathtub. Timmy, uneasy, turned to her, shaken by her unexpected appearance. “Uh….” He trailed off. Just knowing that he called her a slut made him feel an overwhelming sense of guilt. But the words “I’m sorry” could not come to him. He just found himself awkwardly standing there, staring at her, mouth agape. “Uh…” Justin did not anticipate Valerie’s appearance either. “Alright, so I said to meet up here!” Misaki ushered a still hesitant Tarou over to the front of Muji.

How it is: Chapter 18

“Wait, so you’ve been eating take out this whole time?” Justin eyed Timmy as the two were eating lunch together at a small diner in Chelsea. “Yeah. I don’t want to bump into Valerie or Tarou.” He sighed. “You’re still avoiding both of them?!” “Well, yeah. Since a ton of people hate me now, it’s hard to leave my dorm without getting death glares.” He sighed. Even when he goes to class, Timmy would face plenty of angry and dirty looks and people whispering threats at him. He did not feel safe whatsoever. Between the entire school of performing arts, Asian community, and the LGBTQIA community being mad at him, there were only few people who would treat Timmy mercifully. And by mercifully, Timmy meant outright ignore him. “You really need to talk to Tarou. I know you’re getting stressed, but avoiding him is only making the situation worse. A lot worse.” Justin wanted Timmy to just talk to Tarou, not even to mend their friendship, but to help his current living situation. To be in constant fear and hiding, that was no way to live. “I… I’ll think about it.” Timmy sighed. He could tell that Justin was getting visibly worried, and Misaki’s words were just ringing through his head. The way he was acting, it was causing those around him to worry. It was a cycle that he needed to break. He needed to stop acting in such a way that made others so stressed and concerned. He did not want to be a source of discomfort to those around him.

Walking to the curb, Timmy called an Uber for himself. He was feeling nervous at this point. Thinking about Tarou made Timmy feel like his stomach was twisting itself into knots. “You Timmy?” The driver, a gruff middle aged man looked through the window of the car. “Yeah.” He nodded shyly before getting into the passenger seat. Driving back, all Timmy could think about was hiding his face and avoiding being seen by anyone. ACU has made active efforts of alienating him, ranging from Alice ignoring him when they see each other in the engineering building to Gary glaring at him through the windows of the dining hall. At this point, Timmy did not feel safe. Nor did he know what to do. It was either live in fear and hiding from judgement, or confront Tarou, something he did not feel comfortable doing. He was afraid about what Tarou would do to him. Everything Tarou was saying and doing, it was unexpected. The Japanese boy Timmy grew up with, he was this young, unassuming, and loyal person. Since when did somebody so reserved and calm become so sporadic, overbearing, and dramatic in general? The Taiwanese boy sighed to himself, keeping his eyes to the floor. There was a looming anxiety bubbling in him. “What the hell do I do?” It was a question he had been asking himself for weeks now. And the answer was somewhere behind one of two really hideous doors. Timmy started to ponder why Tarou’s sexuality mattered so much to him. A large portion of this discomfort stemmed from all of those times Tarou insisted he was not gay, and how it felt like he was being lied to by his own best friend.

“He’s gay!” Two male eighth graders were mocking an already teary-eyed sixth grade Tarou. The 11 year-old was being made fun of for being on the effeminate side. “I’m not!” The chubby Japanese youth whined, trying to defend himself verbally, albeit poorly. No matter what the boy did, the two bullies continued to taunt him, kicking dirt at the younger’s face. “Hey, cut it out.” Timmy growled, walking up to them. He noticed his best friend laying on a tree, sobbing quietly as the two older boys continued to spew insults. “Oh, look, Glenn! It’s his boyfriend!” One of them laughed. “Yeah, Brent! What’s he going to do? Kiss us?” Glenn returned. “No. But you guys can kiss my ass!” Timmy shouted, kicking Brent straight in the stomach. “Oomph!” The 13 year-old groaned as he fell over. “You little punk-” Before Glenn could finish his sentence, Timmy punched him in the throat and proceeded to kick him in the groin. The older boy was on the floor, sputtering in fetal position on the grass. “Do that to my best friend again, and you’ll get worse treatment next time.” Timmy glared at the two before turning to Tarou. “What did they do to you? Are you hurt?” The boy wiped his tears and shook his head sheepishly. “They were just calling me gay.” He sighed. “But you’re not, right?” The Taiwanese boy looked at him, concerned. “No, I’m not.” Tarou shook his head. Little did neither of them know at the time, Tarou’s interest in males did not spur until high school. “What the hell happened here?!” Valerie ran up to the two of them, noting the two half-conscious teenagers laying in the dirt. “Timmy was protecting me. They were being bullies and calling me names.” Tarou admitted, half afraid that Valerie the hall monitor would tell on them. “Oh geez.” She shook her head. “Look, you’re my friends, so I’ll let this one pass. But please, Timmy, no more karate-chopping people.” She crossed her arms. “Now hurry up and get out of here. We can’t have you at the scene of the crime.” Thanks, Val!” The two quickly left the area. “And you two, if you try to say anything, I’ll tell the principal that you guys were trying to sexually harass me!” She frowned at Brent and Glenn. “We are going to say that this was you two trying to breakdance and failing epically.”

“Personally, I don’t know how I feel about gay rights and gay marriage.” Timmy admitted. He was in ninth grade now, and in his social studies class. They were discussing equality in gender roles and the topic of gay marriage arose. Timmy and Tarou were together, having a side conversation from the class’s discussion in the back of the room. “What do you mean?” Tarou raised his eyebrow skeptically. At this point, the Japanese boy was already slim and lanky, his features appearing more photogenic in general. This discussion was clearly unsettling to the aspiring model, who was just beginning to discover his sexual interests in men. After his first photo shoot, Tarou had been sneaking peeks at several of his male co-workers, and he found himself entranced by their physiques. “Well, I think that there’s a reason a man and woman can get married. And that stems from the fact that they can have children together. There’s no reason for same sex marriage, because these couples can’t have kids anyways, so why do they need marriage?” Timmy’s logic was that marriage was needed for parents to feel even more attached to each other and their children. Tarou was dumbfounded. That sort of logic made zero sense to the Japanese boy. But he could not bring himself to say anything at that point in time. But it was at moment that Tarou knew coming out to Timmy was not a possibility. He felt uncomfortable knowing that somebody could think in such a narrow-minded way. Timmy did notice Tarou’s discomfort, but could not take back the impact of his words. That was the way he was taught to feel. The Taiwanese boy always tried to rationalize emotions with logic and practicability, even when there were feelings and sensations beyond science and reason.

Warrior Chef 1: Finale Part 3

Carrie: This is it! The ending to the Warrior Chef finale! After several grueling rounds of competition, we have come down to the best three cooks here! Karen Laverre! A young prodigy, Karen has consistently delivered strong European and rustic dishes! And then we have Vanilla Cuylenberg! The Aussie fashion blogger turned baker, Vanilla won the Redemption Rounds and made her way back into the competition! And finally, Tadashi Hamilton! The Eliminator who has worked in multiple Michelin starred restaurants in Los Angeles, Tadashi has been one of the strongest cooks in this competition, earning a perfect score from the judges in the preliminary rounds. Tonight, one of these three cooks will be crowned Warrior Chef! Who will it be?

Vanilla: @Tadashi has a whopping 9 challenge wins, but I’ve got 8, and then Karen has 6. @Right now, Tadashi is going into this as the one to beat, haha!~ @But I know that I can beat him.

Tadashi: @Vanilla is my biggest competition by far. @Karen is a strong cook, but she’s not somebody that I would be too threatened by, just because Vanilla is that much of a threat compared.

Karen: @I’m feeling like this is going to be the hardest challenge of my life. @If I can come out of this the winner, then I would be blown away. @I really want to do this.

Carrie: Welcome to the Warrior Chef finale. So we have jus two more challenges before we determine who is going to be the winner. Let’s start with the high-stakes creativity challenge first!

Karen: @High-stakes? @That means that somebody is going home. @This is bad.

Carrie: We want you guys to prepare a memorable amuse bouche, which is a one bite start to your potential 3 course meal, in just 30 minutes. And your time starts now!

Karen: @For my amuse bouche, I grab the shrimp, and I decide to make shrimp and pate choux fritters with a caper-tomato relish. @I hope it all comes together and tastes delicious. @I need to focus on the flavors that got me to the final three, or else I’m going to be eliminated next.

Vanilla: @I’m making an apple roll stuffed with goat cheese, pickled raisins, and some hazelnut vinaigrette. @I’m making the roll using a slicer that will make the apple into this wrapper. @I think it’ll be ingenious, haha!~

Tadashi: @I’m feeling good about this challenge. @I’ve made the amuse at Melisse before. @I’m preparing a snapper crudo with spicy pickled cucumber and dehydrated olives. @I’m taking a risk with the dehydrated olives, but I’m not going to salt my dish just to balance that out.
Carrie: Time’s up!

Tadashi: @I’m feeling strong about my crudo, but there’s only three people left, and one of us is going home tonight.

Carrie: Your judges for this challenge are:

Aster Walker
Erwin Ko

Miriam Adjanti

Frank Torres

Chloe Lula

Missy Skies
Carrie and the judges taste the amuse bouches.

The judges then score each amuse out of 10 stars.

Carrie: So we have tallied up your scores for the amuse bouches. Let’s start with Tadashi’s scores for his snapper crudo!
Aster – 9 stars.

Erwin – 9 stars.

Miriam – 9 stars.

Frank – 9 stars.

Chloe – 9 stars.

Missy – 9 stars.

Tadashi – 9 + 9 + 9 + 9 + 9 + 9 = 54/60 stars

Tadashi: @That’s a solid score, but I’m nervous. @I really don’t want to get eliminated right before the last challenge.

Carrie: And next up are Vanilla’s scores for her apple rolls with hazelnut vinaigrette

Aster – 10 stars

Erwin – 10 stars

Miriam – 9 stars

Frank – 10 stars

Chloe – 9 stars

Missy – 10 stars

Vanilla – 10 + 10 + 9 + 10 + 9 + 10 = 58/60 stars

Vanilla: Yay! *claps hands* @I took the lead and I guaranteed myself a spot in the final challenge. @This is amazing!~
Carrie: Karen, you need at least 55 to beat Tadashi and enter the final challenge with Vanilla. Judges, what were your scores for her shrimp pate choux fritters?

Aster – 9 stars
Erwin – 9 stars

Miriam – 10 stars

Frank – 8 stars

Chloe – 8 stars

Missy – 8 stars

Karen – 9 + 9 + 10 + 8 + 8 + 8 = 52/60 stars

Chloe: Unfortunately, Frank, Missy, and I, we all got shrimp that were slightly overcooked, and that factored into our scores.

Carrie: Karen, I’m sorry, but with the lowest score, you are going home tonight. You may leave the kitchen.

Karen: Okay. @I’m feeling horrible right now. @I just got eliminated, and it was on overcooked shrimp. @I was so close to competing against Vanilla and it sucks.

Karen leaves.

Carrie: Tadashi, that means that you and Vanilla will now be competing head to head for the title of Warrior Chef!

Tadashi: @I’m feeling great that I’m going up against Vanilla, but I know that Karen would have beaten me had she not overcooked her shrimp. @This is the final challenge. @I can’t play it safe or else I’m a goner.

Carrie: So for the final challenge, we want to see you guys prepare the best three dishes of your life. And of course, you’ll need some help!

In walks Lucas, Fanny, Leona, Zack, Jackson, Jimmy, Vincent, Duncan, and Angelina

Carrie: Vanilla, you won the last creativity challenge, so your advantage is that you get to select your two sous-chefs first.
Vanilla: I’m taking Lucas and Fanny!

Fanny: @Vanilla is such a sweetheart and I can’t wait to be her sous-chef.

Lucas: @I’m stoked to be on Vanilla’s team, but Tadashi is tough competition. @She might not be able to take him down.

Tadashi: Alright then. @She took Lucas and Fanny, who are easily the two strongest. @But I don’t doubt the potential of everyone here. I’m taking Zack and Leona. @I pick the Eliminators, because we have been through this competition having been seen as the major threats.
Leona: @Being on Tadashi’s team, I want to beat Vanilla. @She’s not a chef in my eyes and I’m going to prove that tonight.
Zack: @I’m ready to show everyone why I did not deserve that early elimination. @I am a much stronger cook now, and I’m going to prove myself.

Carrie: You have one hour, time starts now!

Tadashi: @So for my final menu, I’m going to prepare a temarizuchi trio with blood orange, scallions, and wasabi, using hamachi, tuna, and salmon. @I’m taking care of the cuts because I want to prove that I have impeccable knife skills. @For the second course, it’s miso cod with uni risotto and pistachios. @I’m having Leona prep the cod and do the risotto and shell the pistachios, while I have Zack handle cooking the cod. @For the last dish, it’s dessert. @Castella with white nama chocolate, honey comb candy, and matcha ice cream. @Zack will handle the majority of the dessert, and I will step in to help him as he needs it. @I’m pretty certain I’m going to lose dessert, no matter what I put up, because Vanilla is that strong with pastry. @But I know my other two courses will be stronger than anything she puts up.

Zack: @I’m feeling pretty much in the weeds because I have to get the cake into the oven first, and then start on the nama chocolate, because that needs the whole hour to freeze. @Pastry is not my strength but I worked for Gordon Ramsay, so I know how to work under pressure and deliver the goods.

Leona: @The biggest pain is that I need to get the cod into the sous-vied after I filet and debone it, and then I need to rinse off the uni and get the rice going for the risotto. @And of course, I need to shell a shit ton of pistachios. @But I know that I am a strong asset or else Tadashi would not have chosen me. @I’m going to show why the Eliminators are the strongest cooks in this competition.

Vanilla: @For my first course, I’m going to prepare eggplant chips with lamb tartare and a yogurt skordalia. @I’m having Lucas handle the entire dish, because he knows Mediterranean flavors the best. @Fanny is doing the entree, which is coffee crusted kangaroo with cornbread, corn-peach salsa, and a brown butter-garlic cream. @For my dessert, it’s apricot-violet sorbet, homemade mascarpone cheese, violet syrup, and arlettes. @Arletts are caramelized puff pastry. @I’m making my own phyllo instead, just because I need to keep pushing myself. @I’m confident that I can take the dessert course, so that’s one down!~ @But I need to make sure that at least one of my other courses beats Tadashi, or else I’m not winning this.

Lucas: @The lamb tartare, the biggest thing I’m focusing on is the seasoning. @I got eliminated for not showing enough range, and this time, I need revenge. @I want to show that I can season aggressively, take risks, and show more range with the lamb and the skordalia, which is a garlicky hummus type of dip.

Fanny: @The roo filet is looking nice, but I need to make sure I cook it medium rare or else it will suck. @The cornbread, Vanilla is helping me on the batter because it’s not something that I am too familiar with. @But I’m glad Vanilla is trusting me, because my experiences with Jean-Georges will help me deliver on cooking these components.

In the judges room:

Miriam: This is the finale I think we were all waiting for.

Aster: All season, Vanilla and Tadashi have really delivered strong dishes. This is a true clash of the titans right now.

Missy: Seeing their menus, it’s interesting to see Vanilla go with more Western flavors, ranging from the Mediterranean to Australia to England. Tadashi is going full-blown Japanese, which is a bit of a departure from the French-Californian flavors I am so used to seeing from him.

Back in the kitchen:

Tadashi: @Time is winding down, but I’m proud of the first two courses. @The dessert, it’s looking a little sloppy to be honest, but I already knew that going into this finale that if I was up against Vanilla, my dessert wasn’t going to be the deciding dish anyways.

Vanilla: @My dessert looks stellar, but I need to really focus on the two savory courses. @Tadashi and I are both doing raw dishes to start, so I think that’s where the real competition is going to be. @The winner might just be decided in that first course.

Carrie: Time’s up!

Leona: *to Tadashi* Good job.

Fanny: *to Vanilla* You’re going to be Warrior Chef. Trust me.

Tadashi: @We finish and I’m feeling great. @It’s all up to the judges now.

Vanilla: @I’m feeling really nervous but we did all we can. @Hope it all works out!~

In the judges room:

Carrie: So here we have the first courses.
Vanilla – eggplant chips with lamb tartare and yogurt skordalia

Tadashi – temarizushi trio with blood orange, scallions, and wasabi

Erwin: Vanilla’s dish was really inventive. The usage of the eggplant as chips, it was clever. I loved the seasoning on the lamb tartare and the skordalia was tasty.

Chloe: The sushi on Tadashi’s plate was cut perfectly and the accompaniments were unusual but worked well with the sushi. Overall, a really strong start as well.

Aster: Trying to determine a winner between these two courses is going to be tough. Vanilla took more risks with this course, in my opinion, with those eggplant chips. But Tadashi using the blood orange was pretty ingenious as well. I loved both dishes.

Carrie: And now we have the main courses!

Vanilla – coffee kangaroo, cornbread, corn-peach salsa, brown butter-garlic cream

Tadashi – miso cod with uni risotto and pistachios

Missy: Vanilla cooked the kangaroo perfectly, so it was a nice medium rare. The salsa helped with the oiliness of the meat and the corn bread with the cream was delightful.

Miriam: Tadashi’s cod was delicious. The marinade really soaked in there. The uni risotto had great flavor and the usage of pistachios were surprising but tasty.

Frank: So far, we have had two great dishes from both menus. For me, I preferred Vanilla’s tartare, but Tadashi’s entree. Vanilla’s entree was just a tad cluttered for me.

Carrie: And now, we have the final courses!

Vanilla – apricot-violet sorbet, mascarpone cheese, violet syrup, homemade arletts

Tadashi – castella with white nama chocolate, honey comb candy, matcha ice cream

Frank: Vanilla’s dessert was elegantly presently. The violet was a surprising addition, but it worked so well with the apricot and mascarpone. I loved it.

Miriam: Tadashi made a nice castella but the dessert ate too sweet between the white chocolate and the honey comb. The dish just looked messy.

Missy: I’m feeling conflicted right now, before up until here, I slightly preferred Tadashi’s courses to Vanilla’s, but he dropped the ball on the dessert, while Vanilla’s meal ended on an epic high.

Carrie: So can we decide on our scores for their overall meals?

Erwin: We can.

In walks Vanilla and Tadashi.

Carrie: So tonight, one of you is going to be Warrior Chef. It was a really close call. The judges were split because quite a few of them preferred Tadashi’s first two courses just slightly more, but loved Vanilla’s dessert a lot more than Tadashi’s.

Tadashi: @Crap. @I might actually have lost the competition because of my dessert.

Vanilla: @I’m feeling it’s going to be close. @Tadashi did a great job with his savory dishes, so it’s a manner of if his dessert was that bad that I am able to squeak by.

Aster: We had to make our decision based on the meal as a whole. That being said, Carrie, please tell us who is Warrior Chef.

Carrie: Vanilla…. You are Warrior Chef! Congratulations! You won the title and $500,000!

Vanilla: WHAT?! OH MY GOD!

Confetti rains down as everyone walks over to congratulate Vanilla.
Vanilla: @I can’t believe I won!~ @I am Warrior Chef, haha!~ @Being able to prove myself and win the Redemption Rounds was huge, but to go on to win the entire thing was amazing! @I’m the winner!
Tadashi: @Seeing Vanilla win, I just feel horrible. @I knew that the dessert would be a huge factor, but I didn’t think it was the sole reason why I would lose. @I’m annoyed I didn’t win, but this is just another chance for me to learn and grow as a chef. @I really am appreciative of this entire experience. @I learned so much about myself and my love for cooking and food.

Vanilla: @Becoming Warrior Chef just helps me prove that I am going to make it in the culinary world. @This is my chance to make my dreams come true. @I can’t wait to open my bakery, and really make a name for myself. @I am not just a former beauty guru, haha!~ @I am a talented, passionate, and loving chef!

How it is: Chapter 14

“Wait, so you slept in the hallway?” Valerie looked dumbstruck and horrified. She was eating breakfast with Tarou in the dining hall when the model told her what happened the night before, sans Timmy’s feelings. “Well, you don’t need him. Here, grab some of your stuff. You can sleep on my floor.” The pastry chef offered. “Thanks, Val.” Tarou smiled. It felt good to know that he had somebody to rely on when things got tough. That person used to be Timmy, but now Valerie was starting to be more like his rock. And she felt the same way with Tarou. “No problem. Hanging out with you is a lot of fun.” She admitted. “I missed being able to just goof off with you.” The girl giggled before stopping herself. She was not one to giggle. It felt really unusual to her. And then it started to settle in: she just asked the boy she had a crush on since freshman year of high school to live with her. Were there not steps that preceded this? Valerie felt like she skipped ahead of a lot of cornerstones in a friendship or relationship and just plunged into the deep end. The girl started to feel awkward at her own proposal, but she knew that, her feelings for him aside, the model needed a place to stay, and she could offer him one. Tarou, on the other hand, was oblivious to Valerie’s feelings for him. He just felt vulnerable and helpless, and needed somewhere safe to shelter himself from Timmy.

Valerie’s single room was not terribly big. Granted, it was designed for one person, and in Manhattan, where rooms were small to begin with, it would be about the size of a walk in closet. It was later in the afternoon, after class. Tarou settled in a mattress pad on the floor. He did not care about the space. The room was only going to be where he slept. “Are you all-good?” Valerie looked at him. “Yeah.” He nodded, as the two walked out of their now-shared room. They both had work and needed to head out. Unbeknownst to both of them, they were seen by one of Valerie’s floor mates and an ACU officer, Holly. The girl looked intrigued, seeing Timmy’s really attractive roommate walk out of Valerie’s room with her. At first, she did not pay much attention to it. She assumed that he was just going over to hang out. Until later that night, when she saw both of them walk back into Valerie’s room as well. “Oh my god, they’re fucking.” She gasped in horror. Grabbing her phone, she texted Timmy. “I just saw your roommate. He’s hooking up with my floor mate, Valerie.” In his room, Timmy picked up his phone, and read the text. “WHAT?!” He screamed, slamming his fist into his wall. It left a fairly deep dent, chipping away the paint and revealing the brick beneath it. Timmy did not care though. As much as his hand hurt, his heart hurt more. He felt genuinely betrayed.

The next morning, a lonely Timmy got out of bed. He had very little sleep that night. He was too angry. Eyes red from crying, he quickly got changed. Looking at Tarou’s empty side of the room, he frowned. “Fucking bastard.” He growled, cracking his knuckles. A part of him wanted to throw the empty bed out the window. It would have made him feel a lot better. But he had to get that out of his system. Today was the day for the Asian Cultural Awareness Event for ACU. As sophomore rep, he was in charge of representing the club during this event, and had to be composed. If he let himself slip and lose composure here, then that would make a horrible first impression for his first ever event as an officer. He worked this hard to get on board, attending every event and getting to know every officer. It had finally paid off, and now he just wanted to continue working hard to make ACU the best club he can. At this point, aside from his computer friends, ACU was all the boy had left. He was not going to lose this on top of Valerie and Tarou. He could feel himself shaking from anger again at the mention of their names. Logging onto FaceBook, he pulled up Tarou’s account. “Block user?” A small window popped up. Hesitant at first, the boy clicked the “Yes” button to confirm.

For the Asian Cultural Awareness Event, it took place in the Rosenthal Pavilion, a large room normally equipped with several round tables and windows that overlooked the city. In this case, the round tables were removed and replaced with rectangular booths, each representing a different country. “Wow, we really got every club. Even JBA! And they never want to do things with us!” Alice giggled. “Yeah…” Timmy sighed. If it was not for Tarou, the Japanese Business Association would not have agreed to coming. “Hi.” A tall, tanned junior, Akinori approached Alice and Timmy. He was Tarou’s president. “Thank you for having us.” He bowed politely. Even though he was being amicable towards Timmy and Alice, the presence of the Japanese Business Association just made the Taiwanese boy uncomfortable. He felt uneasy because of how close the club was with Tarou; there was a part of him that was worried that Tarou had already told his fellow officers in the club about his current situation with Timmy. “Well, if you need any other help, feel free to ask Timmy or any of our other reps!” Alice smiled. “Alright, I’ll be sure to!” Aki grinned, walking off. “Hey, what’s wrong? You looked kind of… out of it.” She looked over at him. “It’s nothing. I’m just a little tired is all.” Timmy lied through his teeth. Timmy normally hated lying, mostly because he was not very good at it; keeping a straight face was a constant challenge for him, and it felt morally wrong. But in this situation, what else was there to do, other than lie?

The event started to drag on forever, or so it felt for Timmy. No matter where he was, he constantly bumped into JBA officers, who would constantly mention Tarou to him. “Hi, I’m Mari. Nice to meet you. I’m the freshman representative.” A small girl smiled at him. “Hi. I’m Timmy.” He grumbled. “Oh! I think Tarou mentioned me to you.” She giggled. “How is he?” “I don’t know.” Timmy froze. He was not sure what else to say, so he accidentally said the truth. “What do you mean?” She raised an eyebrow. “Aren’t you like his roommate?” She pressed. Timmy started to feel a lump form in this throat. “He’s not living with me right now. I did not want to live with somebody who’s bisexual. And he’s sleeping with that skank baker, Valerie!” He burst, unable to hold the truth back anymore. Unfortunately for him, the officers of ACU, JBA, and the Singapore Student Association overheard him. “Valerie? Like Valerie Ang? And with Tarou, JBA’s hot treasurer? No way.” One of the girls in SSA whispered to her friend. “Wait, so they’re dating? And I didn’t know he was bi. That’s actually pretty interesting.” Akinori looked at his sophomore rep, Taichi. Unfortunately, the rumor spread through the entire hall, with everyone thinking that Tarou and Valerie were having sex. “What?!” Melissa, Enya, and Sarah screamed. “NO! TAROU!!!!” Melissa flipped over a table as Enya put her leg through a nearby cutout. Sarah just began sobbing hysterically. “YOU LIED! YOU TOLD US YOU’D SAVE YOURSELF FOR MARRIAGE!” Despite escalating the situation, nobody stopped Melissa and Enya’s rampage. Everyone in the room was too preoccupied, being repulsed at Timmy’s statements. “I think we should leave.” Somebody suggested. And then surely enough, all of the other organization’s officers and event-goers left the venue in a rush.

“Well, that was shit.” Alex growled. The ACU officers had to stay after the event to clean up the mess Enya, Melissa, and Sarah caused. The entire room was a mess. The floor was covered in torn up posters and broken glass. Two wooden tables were smashed into pieces because of Melissa, who was a black belt in krav maga, decided to unleash hell upon them in a fit of rage. In terms of the event, it was a complete failure: all of the other clubs were unwilling to collaborate with ACU again because of the incident. Not only for the commotion that Tarou’s fan club caused, but also because of Timmy’s comment on Tarou and Valerie. “We do not condone homophobia. We will never work with ACU again. Have him issue an apology to his roommate.” Read one of the feedback responses, from the Taiwanese American Student Association. All of the clubs were sent a survey to fill out once the event was over, and these were filling in quickly. “He was born bisexual, he did not choose to be that way, nor should he be treated like the plague because of it. For a club that promotion inclusion, you guys should know better.” This was what the Chinese Student and Scholars Association stated. “How dare one of your officers call somebody a skank. We know Valerie personally, and she is nothing close to promiscuous.” That was another comment, this time by the National Society of Minorities in Hospitality. “This is a nightmare.” Alice sighed, pinching her temple. This event was the definition of a PR nightmare. “Hey, Timmy, how are you feeling? You know you can talk to us about these kinds of things too.” Gary looked at the shaken freshman. “Yeah, we elected you because we wanted you in our club. If other clubs don’t want to work with us or whatever, then it’s their loss.” Holly reassured him as well. But Timmy was still mortified. No matter what Gary and Holly said to comfort him, he felt entirely responsible for the chaos that ensued. If only he had kept his mouth shut. “It’ll be okay.” Holly and Gary hugged him.

“Wait, he called me a skank?” Valerie received a FaceBook message from one of her friends, Alexa, in the NYU Hospitality Facebook page. The two were still in her room together, later that night, getting ready to sleep. “He outed me?!” Tarou could feel himself feeling nervous. Apparently all of the Asian community’s officers knew that he was bisexual now. “Wait, look at this.” Somebody had uploaded a video of Timmy and Mari at the event. “Aren’t you like his roommate?” She asked him. “He’s not living with me right now. I did not want to live with somebody who’s bisexual. And he’s sleeping with that skank baker, Valerie!” He shouted back. The video cut off at there. The model turned to his friend. He was not sure what exactly to say. “Well, he’s dead to me.” She rolled her eyes and crossed her arms. Tarou was still speechless. Not knowing what to say, he decided to scroll through the comments. “This homophobic little shit needs to be expelled.” “Where does he get off, calling somebody a skank?” “Well, peace, ACU. I’m not going to attend your events anymore.” Suddenly, Tarou’s phone stared going off. He was receiving a ton of messages. “Are you okay?” “The Gay-Straight Alliance wanted to interview you.” “I just saw what happened on FaceBook. He’s the worst.” There were at least 50 messages that read along those lines. It was overwhelming. And then the model noticed he received an invitation. “You are invited to join the group, Boycott: ACU and its derogatory ways.” Looking at the page, it already had 200 members, including all of the officers from JBA, SSA, TASA, KSA, NSMH, CSSA, the Gay-Straight Alliance, the Modeling Club, and a lot of students from both the Hospitality and Performing Arts schools.

Warrior Chef 1: Round 7

Fanny: @I’m in the final five, and it feels great! @Out of the five of us, I think that Leona is the weak link. @She’s never really impressed anyone with any of her dishes so far.

Karen: @Being the youngest doesn’t seem the matter at this point. @I’m stronger than most other cooks here because I’m cooking from the heart, and that’s how I plan to win Warrior Chef.

Carrie: After today’s round, four of you will be progressing to the finale in San Francisco, California. And one of you, will be cut just short of that opportunity.

Lucas: @I’m feeling good about my odds for getting to the end. @Fanny, Karen, Tadashi, and Leona are my competition, but I know that I can take down Fanny and Leona without any trouble.

Carrie: So for the creativity challenge, you’ll have to prepare a dish using a delicious piece of seafood.

A cart is wheeled in, carrying skate, razor clams, octopus, squid, and arctic char.

Fanny: @I see all of the seafood and it’s inspiring. @I’m feeling good about the options.

Carrie: You have just 30 minutes to prepare a dish, using one of these proteins, and it’s first come, first serve! Your time starts now!

Tadashi: @I manage to run to the table first, and I grab the razor clams. @I love the flavor of them, and I think the best way to prepare it is raw. @I’m preparing a razor clam crudo with cucumber, Korean pear, and spicy ponzu sauce. @The components will be simple, but I want the flavors to really stand out.

Karen: @I manage to get to the table right after Tadashi, and I snag the squid. @I’m making lamb stuffed squid with homemade pasta and a mint-lemon butter sauce. @I’m hoping that all of the components I prepare will make my dish stand out. @Making pasta, cooking two proteins, I think it’ll be good!

Lucas: @I manage to take the arctic char, and I’m surprised nobody wanted to go for the fish. @I’m preparing a seared char filet with charred radicchio, agro dulce strawberries, and purple potato chips.

Leona: @I’m going to make a seared skate wing with almond Waldorf salad. @It was between the skate and the octopus, and I do not want that octopus. @It’ll take too long to cook, and I don’t have that time to waste.

Fanny: @I’m stuck with octopus, and I’m going to sous-vide it with a wine cork, yogurt, and buttermilk to tenderize it immediately. @I’m making crispy octopus tentacles with fried chickpeas, and buttermilk beurre blanc. @I see the other dishes, and I don’t think that Karen or Leona are really embracing their proteins as much as they can be.

Carrie: Time’s up!

Lucas: @I’m feeling good about my dish, and then I turn to see the others. @Tadashi made a sashimi dish, per usual. @Karen did some stuffed squid, and that just doesn’t really highlight the squid, but sort of overpowers it. @I think I might win this one.

Carrie: Your judge is Warrior Chef seafood critic, Max Hudson!

Max: Hi, everyone! Good quality fish is hard to come by, so I’m excited to see what you guys are going to put up.

Max and Carrie taste the dishes.

Carrie: So Max, who wowed you tonight?

Max: The first dish that really impressed me belonged to Tadashi. I’ve never had a raw razor clam before, and the combination with the pear, cucumber, and spicy ponzu, it was refreshing and beautiful. The second dish was Lucas’s. The filet was cooked perfectly and you paired it with some really great ingredients. It was inventive to use the strawberries. Finally, Fanny. You tenderized that octopus beautifully and I loved the combination of the buttermilk with the chickpeas. It wasn’t something I’d expect to see, and it was executed very well.

Fanny: @Being on top is great, especially since Max is such a sweetheart. @I’m thinking that this might be my chance to win the creativity challenge.

Tadashi: @I really hope that I win the challenge tonight. @I want that validation that my seafood reigns supreme.

Carrie: Who won tonight?

Max: The three of you prepared some really good dishes. But in the end, the best dish belonged to…. Fanny.

Carrie: Congratulations, Fanny! You’ll win a huge advantage going into the elimination challenge! Well done!

Fanny: Thank you. @I won the creativity challenge and just getting that advantage will put me one step closer to the end. @I’m ready to be in that finale.

Carrie: So now it’s time for your elimination challenge! For this challenge, you’ll have to prepare a dish worthy of the finale. However, you’ll need to make the dish inspired by one of these five dishes!

-ginger dusted rock cod, confit morels, spaetzle, citrus-pepper butter sauce

-beet-pomegranate sorbet, cacao soil, lamb loin, balsamic-black garlic puree

-green curry lobster, basil gnocchi, lime buttered scallops, puffed rice

-grilled shrimp, prickly pear salsa, corn milk

-bone-in ribeye, pomme puree, rosettes, potato-leek torte, jus

Carrie: Fanny, you have the honor of assigning each person which dish they’ll have to base their own off of!

Fanny: @Right away, I recognize the second and third dishes as mine and Lucas’s, so I know that these are everyone’s signature dishes. @The first and last dishes sound like it could be Karen or Tadashi’s, because they both have such heavy European influences. The grilled shrimp sounds like it’s Leona’s, mostly by default.

Karen: @I know how to prepare the first dish, obviously because it’s mine. @But looking down the list, I really hope Fanny assigns me the last one.

Fanny: So for the rock cod, I’ll give that dish over to…. Leona. @I’m hoping that the cod will trip her up, because there’s a lot of different components that need go into it. @Leona might trip herself up and that’s what I’m aiming for.

Leona: Thanks. @I can handle Karen’s signature dish. @It’s not hard. @Karen is a baby and I can easily make anything she can cook.

Fanny: For the second dish, my course with the lamb, I’m going to have Lucas re-invent that. @It’s a very tricky dish, and even though Lucas has seen me prepare it, I don’t know how comfortable he’ll be with my techniques.

Lucas: @I don’t feel intimidated by her dish. @I just need to translate her ingredients into something I can do. @That’s how I can win the challenge.

Fanny: The curry lobster, I’ll have Karen handle it. @It’s not an easy dish, with balancing those herbs, and I’m hoping Karen will be stumped.

Karen: Thank you. @I love lobster, and the fact that gnocchi was involved and I killed it with the gnocchi in the last elimination, I might be able to pull this one off.

Fanny: For the grilled shrimp, I’m going to give that one to Tadashi. @It’s the simplest dish, and I’m hoping that Tadashi won’t know how to interpret it, because the components are a bit out-there.

Tadashi: Alright. @Shrimp and corn milk sounds interesting, but I need to take that dish and do my best with it. @That’s what makes a Warrior Chef.

Fanny: And I’ll assign myself the bone-in ribeye dish. @I’m feeling great. @That dish sounds incredible, and I’m familiar with all of the techniques involved.

Carrie: So just 45 minutes to recreate those dishes in your own cooking styles, and your time starts now!

Karen: @The dish I need to recreate was a curried lobster with gnocchi, scallops, and puffed rice. @I’m going to remove the curry entirely, and prepare a lobster butter sauce with gnocchi, poached lobster knuckle, and seared scallops. @I’m going to be true to myself, and not use the Thai curry, because it’s not something I’m entirely familiar with.

Fanny: @With the rib-eye, I’m going to prepare a seared tomahawk steak with thrice cooked chips, and a leek barbecue sauce. @I’m going to completely strip down the dish and prepare it in the most honest and rustic way possible. @It’s not necessarily my style, but I know that it’s the best way to present a nice bone-in steak!

Lucas: @I have the lamb dish with the beets and pomegranates and cocoa. @I’m making cocoa dusted lamb loin with beet puree and pomegranate relish. @I’m going to use the ras el-hanout to season my dish, because it’ll tie together all of the flavors. @I think it’ll be great.

Leona: @I have the rock cod dish with morels and spaetzle. @I’m going to make tempura fried rock cod with pickled morels, and instead of spaetzle, I’m going to make homemade noodles. @I think it’ll be a great way to show off some really good flavors and techniques.

Tadashi: @I want to take a huge risk tonight with the dish I’m going to prepare. @It’s going to be a spicy shrimp and corn cake with a poached egg in the center, and then I’m going to make a prickly pear-peanut dipping sauce. @I’m going down a really rustic Asian path, but the shrimp cake will be like a blend with a scotch egg, and hopefully the innovation will be there for me.

Leona: @Tadashi is my biggest competition. @He’s been strong from the get-go. @I want to see Tadashi get sent home tonight.

Lucas: @I taste the puree and it’s looking good. @The relish needs more vinegar, so I’m just trying to make sure that’s balanced.

Fanny: @I’m starting to wonder if this is the right dish for the challenge. @My steak is cooked perfectly and the chips are delicious, but is this really true to me?

Carrie: Time’s up!

Karen: @The finale is just around the corner, and nobody is guaranteed safety, so this is going to be a huge toss-up on who will be going forward.

Carrie: Your judges are:

Erwin Ko

Miriam Adjanti

Chelia Van Buren

Carrie: So let’s start with the dish by Fanny!

-tomahawk steak, thrice cooked chips, leek barbecue sauce

Chelia: The dish was certainly…. rustic. Okay, it wasn’t an elegant dish. It’s something I’d expect in a pub. Fanny’s style, this doesn’t really scream that.

Miriam: It’s a side to Fanny we haven’t seen before, and I can appreciate that. The steak was cooked nicely, as were the chips. I liked the sauce a lot too.

Erwin: I guess for me, the biggest thing I can’t get over is how the dish went from being this elegant, Michelin rated course to something from a pub. She didn’t really elevate the dish.

Carrie: Now we have Lucas’s dish!

-cocoa seared lamb loin, ras el hanout-beet puree, pomegranate relish

Erwin: The relish has a great balance of flavor and the loin was nicely cooked. Lucas’s puree, it was smooth and creamy.

Miriam: I’m surprised by how much I genuinely like that puree. It was delicious! The texture was smooth, which is unusual for a beet puree, and the ras el hanout just perked that up right away.

Chelia: The pomegranate relish was a great idea and the flavors worked. The addition of the ras el hanout really elevated the dish and made it beautiful.

Carrie: Next, we have Karen’s dish!

-lobster butter gnocchi, scallops, lobster knuckles

Miriam: The lobster was cooked beautifully, the gnocchi were pillowy and light, and the scallops were seared perfectly. She made an impeccable dish.

Chelia: Karen omitted the curry from the dish, and it made it that much different. I’m surprised by that, but the actual flavors were beautifully developed.

Erwin: Karen’s techniques were there, and I’m genuinely impressed by how much she managed to do in just 45 minutes. Omitting the curry felt like a copout.

Carrie: And here is Tadashi’s dish!

-shrimp-corn wrapped scotch egg, prickly pear peanut sauce

Erwin: Wow. The scotch egg was oozing and the shrimp around it was cooked perfectly. The sauce was delightful.

Chelia: He managed to make a delicious dish overall, and it’s got just surprising how he managed to come up with this dish.

Miriam: Tadashi has continued to deliver great food in this competition. The creativity and technique he showed here, taking Leona’s dish and doing that to it, I’m wowed.

Carrie: And finally, Leona’s dish!

-tempura fried rock cod, pickled morels, homemade noodles

Chelia: The rock cod was cooked beautifully. I liked the battering around it. The pickled morels were a nice touch as well. Her noodles were nicely crafted.

Erwin: I think that the biggest issue with this dish is that it ate really greasy and dry. There was no sauce on the noodles.

Miriam: I’m genuinely confused about what to do with her dish. It was clunky, hard to eat, and while the components were individually well done, it didn’t eat together well.

Carrie: So can we decide on who is going to San Francisco for the finale?

Chelia: We can.

In walks Lucas, Tadashi, and Karen.

Carrie: Tonight… the three of you prepared the best dishes, and you’ll all be joining us for the finale!

Lucas: Awesome! @I’m stoked that I’m on top, because now there’s only a few challenges left, and I’m ready to take all of them.

Miriam: All three of you really impressed us for different reasons. Lucas, the usage of ras el hanout changed the dish drastically, but for the better. Karen, you did the opposite, by omitting the green curry, but the flavors were beautiful. Tadashi, the innovation to use the shrimp meat to coat an egg, and the sauce, we cannot stress enough how brilliant that was.

Carrie: And who won?

Miriam: Three incredible dishes, all strong for their own reasons. But the winner was… Tadashi. Again, you really can take this entire competition if you keep cooking like how you are right now.

Tadashi: Thank you! @Winning this challenge, and knowing that I can come back home to California, it means a lot for me. @I really need to win this season, just because it’ll validate all of those hours of driving to Beverly Hills and Santa Monica and staging.

The top three leave.

In walks Fanny and Leona.

Carrie: Unfortunately, one of you will not be joining us in the finale.

Erwin: This challenge, it was hard to really judge. Fanny, you made a fine-dining dish into something from a pub. Tadashi may have done the same, but he elevated the dish with technique and unique flavor profiles. Your dish, it was too plain. The technical skills were dumbed down on it.

Chelia: Leona, you prepared three fantastic components, but the dish ate dry. You didn’t have a sauce, and it really hindered how your dish ate.

Carrie: So one of you is going home tonight.

Fanny: @I’m a bit nervous, because my dish came off as really plain. @But we have Leona, who had no cohesion, so I might be able to squeak by here.

Leona: @Fanny’s dish was boring and she didn’t take any risks. @I tried to do something innovative. @Have you ever had tempura fried rock cod? @I don’t think so.

Carrie: Leona, I’m sorry. Please return to the kitchen and leave.
Leona: Alright. Okay, I see how it is. @I’m leaving, feeling pretty pissed. @I deserved to be in that finale. @Fanny, she’s going forward, just skating by.

Carrie: Fanny, you’ve made it into the final four. Congratulations, you’ll be joining Tadashi, Lucas, and Karen in the finale in San Francisco!

Fanny: Thank you, hun. @I’m feeling good about making it into the finale, but I know I need to step it up, or else I’m going home next. @Either way, I’m in the final four! @I’m ready to take that title.

Warrior Chef 1: Round 6

Karen: @I’m the first person walking into the kitchen tonight, but it’s not a good feeling. @After almost getting sent home, I just need some time to really dig deep and think about what makes me passionate about food.

Leona: @I’m confident that I can beat the rest of these cooks tonight. @Nobody here is as scrappy as I am.

Carrie: Hi, everyone! So tonight, the six of you will be competing in teams of three. Please draw knives!

Leona – red

Tadashi – red

Fanny – blue

Lucas – blue

Zack – blue

Karen – red

Carrie: So in teams of three, you’ll be preparing two dishes in 30 minutes. You’ll each have 5 minutes in the pantry, time starts now!

Karen: @So Leona, Tadashi, and I are discussing, and Leona and I both cook more European food, and Tadashi is Japanese. @So we decide on our first dish, which is going to be a slow-cooked egg with truffle foam and uni. @The second dish is black garlic roasted lamb with potatoes and mint puree.

Lucas: @Fanny, Zack, and I are on a team together. @We decide that the first course will be beef carpaccio with pickled vegetables and roasted pumpernickel. @Our second dish is going to be grilled octopus with confit potatoes and fried onions.

The teams both arrive at their stations.

Carrie: Guys, just one more twist before you cook. Switch stations!

Leona: What? @You’re kidding me, right?

The teams swap stations.

Carrie: You’ll have 30 minutes to cook two dishes, using ingredients selected by the other team. And you don’t have access to the pantry. Your time starts now!

Tadashi: @I see what we have to work with. @Octopus and beef tenderloin are the main proteins, so we decide on takoyaki fritters with caramelized onion mayonnaise. @For the second dish, we have the beef, so we will prepare a seared beef loin with pangritata and a carrot puree with beef pan jus.

Fanny: @I see the uni and the eggs with the lamb, and I’m really happy. @For our first dish, we want to prepare an egg yolk raviolo with uni brown butter and shaved truffles. @For the second dish, we are making mint crusted rack of lamb with potato puree and black garlic jus. @Lucas, Zack, and I are going to be a strong team.

Karen: @Working with Tadashi, it’s pretty incredible. @He’s a strong cook, and his leading style, it’s coming through. @Leona and I are working in sync with him, and our components are getting finished, one right after the other.

Carrie: Time’s up!

Leona: @I think our team did the best. @I look over, and I’m not impressed.

Zack: @I’m worried that my lamb is not cooked properly, but the rest of the dishes look great. @We might have a shot here.

Carrie: Your judge is Warrior Chef alum, Ashlee Pou!

Ashlee: Hi, babes. @Babes, it’s great to be back. @I’m ready to criticize the dishes, and I’m not afraid to be a biatch if I have to.

Carrie and Ashlee taste the dishes.

Carrie: So Ashlee, how did the red team do?

Ashlee: Babes, the best part of their meal was the appetizer. The fritters were phenomenal. I loved the second course, but not as much as I did the first.

Carrie: And how bout the blue team?

Ashlee: The raviolo was stunning, babes. It was oozy, it was sexy, I just loved it. The second course, I thought that the potatoes were good, but the lamb was cooked unevenly, babes. I’m disappointed by that.

Carrie: And the winning team?

Ashlee: Babes, it was an easy call. The winners were most certainly…. the red team.

Carrie: Congratulations, Tadashi, Leona, and Karen! You won the creativity challenge!
Karen: @Winning this challenge just puts the wind back in my sails. @This is just what I needed to really bolster my confidence.

Carrie: And now for your elimination challenge!

A cart is wheeled in, carrying six large crockpots.

Tadashi: @I’m seeing the large pots, and I’m feeling a little bit confused.

Carrie: So inside of each of these pots is a different kind of stew. Everyone, just take a pot, and open the lid!

Karen: @I grab the first one, and inside is a name tag. Hot pot?

Tadashi: Jambalaya.

Leona: Chairo? @What the heck is that?!

Zack: Cassoulet.

Fanny: Callaloo.

Lucas: Beef bourguignon.

Carrie: So for your dishes, you’ll need to make a dish inspired by the stew you drew. 1 hour, time starts now!

Lucas: @I got beef bourguignon, and all I really know is that it’s French, and it uses beef, and I think red wine. @I’m going to make red wine glazed beef short ribs with gnocchi and brown butter. @I’m keeping the dish relatively basic, focusing on the beef and red wine, so that I don’t really screw up.

Fanny: @I’m feeling a bit amused about the callaloo, because it’s another vegetarian-type of thing, and I just made a green soup in the last elimination challenge too. @I’m going to prepare a taro puree with mushroom stuffed spinach leaves and an olive oil-nasturtium emulsion.

Zack: @Cassoulet is like pork and beans. @I’m making chili con carne with a cheesy bechamel topping. @It’s going to be like a blend of shepherd’s pie and a gratin. @I think that my inventiveness with this will be great!

Leona: @I got chairo, and I have no clue what this is. @It’s supposed to be a stew. @I think it’s got corn in it, and I’m trying to figure out what sort of protein to use. @I’m making grilled skirt steak with coriander, and a homemade hominy, using plenty of butter and pepper to perk up that corn.

Tadashi: @I have Jambalaya. @It’s a delicious stew with sausage and rice. @I know right away that I can make a chicken roulade stuffed with farce and spices, and then for the rice, I’m making aranchini with corn and peas. @I think that the combination of flavors will be there, and hopefully, it’ll work well.

Karen: @I have hot pot. @Hot pot. @I decide to go with some raw mussels, parisian gnocchi, and then a scalding hot fennel broth. @I’m not really taking the flavors as much as I am taking the experience of hot pot and bringing that to the table.

Carrie: Time’s up!

Karen: @I look around, and I’m feeling a bit nervous. @I just won a creativity challenge, but in the last round, I almost got sent home, so I really don’t know where I stand.

Leona: @Karen’s weakness is that she’s still hung up on her previous progress. @That’s why she won’t ever win the title.

Carrie: Your judges are:

Miriam Adjanti

Frank Torres

Missy Skies

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

Tadashi – chicken farce roulade with corn-pea aranchini and hot sauce

Karen – mussels, parisian gnocchi, fennel broth

Miriam: Tadashi’s roulade was cooked perfectly and his aranchini were great. But my biggest complaint was that hot sauce. It was the wrong kind of sauce for this dish. It made the dish one note too spicy.

Frank: Karen’s play on hotpot was brilliant. The flavors, not necessarily what I’d associate with the Asian styled dish, but the experience was completely there, and she translated the dish into her own profiles really well.

Missy: Overall, both dishes had strong highs. Tadashi’s roulade was really well done and I liked the aranchini a lot. He did jambalaya justice. Karen’s dish, it was really brilliant. I loved her dish a lot.

Carrie: Next, the dishes by Fanny and Leona!

Fanny – taro puree, mushroom stuffed spinach leaves, olive oil-nasturtium emulsion

Leona – coriander grilled skirt steak with peppered hominy

Missy: Fanny’s taro puree was brilliantly done. It was creamy, light, and heavenly. I’m amazed that she didn’t even add any additional dairy to that. The leaves were delicious, and I almost forgot that her entire dish was vegan!

Frank: Leona captured the flavor profiles of chairo surprisingly well and I liked the hominy and how much butter she put into that. But my steak was undercooked, bordering on completely raw.

Miriam: Fanny’s dish was really strong. If she keeps putting up food like this, she could very easily make the finale. Leona, had she cooked the steak properly, it would have had a lot of promise.

Carrie: Finally, Zack and Lucas’s dishes!

Zack – chili con carne with cheesy bechamel

Lucas – red wine glazed beef short ribs with gnocchi and brown butter

Miriam: I really loved the textures in Zack’s dish. But the chili con carne was not spiced enough, because the bechamel overwhelmed the flavors of it. He promised me a chili, but it wasn’t spicy at all.

Frank: The ribs Lucas prepared were beautifully cooked. Personally, I preferred Karen’s gnocchi to Lucas’s, but his were still delicious overall.

Missy: Zack made a different kind of stew out of a stew he was handed. I liked his bechamel a lot however. With Lucas, the dish was great. Just the short ribs on their own, brilliantly executed.

Carrie: So can we decide who is going home tonight, and who won the challenge?

Miriam: We can.

In walks Karen, Fanny, and Lucas.

Carrie: Tonight, the three of you made the best dishes, and one of you won the elimination challenge!

Lucas: @I’m feeling really happy! @I could win the challenge tonight, and that’ll make me a really strong contender to win.

Carrie: Missy, please announce the winner!

Missy: All three dishes were great, but the best one was… Karen’s hotpot.

Carrie: Congratulations, Karen! You won the elimination challenge!

Karen: Thank you! @I managed to win back to back challenges, and I’m feeling really good about my odds at winning the whole thing!

The top three leave.

Fanny: @Karen winning, she’s such a sweetheart. @I’m feeling like she’s somebody to watch moving forward.

In walks Leona and Zack.
Carrie: Both of you had good dishes, but the judges had different complaints.

Frank: Leona, the flavors were good, but my steak was undercooked, compared to the other portions. It might be those small differences that will send you home.

Miriam: Zack, your bechamel was textbook. But it was the very thing that made your dish not spicy enough. It made your dish very one-note.

Carrie: Zack, please leave the kitchen.

Zack: Thank you for this opportunity, and I’m just glad to have made it this far. @I’m going home. @The competition is getting tougher, and I just need to keep my head held high. @That’s all.