Cory Giardino: Small Italian-American brunette, living in San Diego, California. Loves to cook Italian food, but is open to using Mexican flavors, something else he’s been raised on. Wants to win the title so that he can gain more opportunities in the industry.
Karen Laverre: Small half French, half German girl from Salt Lake City, Utah. Loves to cook Italian and Asian food, fusing influences from all over the world. Is currently attending culinary school. Wants to open a line of bakeries and restaurants.
Jackson Perez: Tall blonde with brown eyes. Was a tennis player before he learned how to cook from his grandma. Cooks French-American cuisine. Wants to open a restaurant named after his grandma, Rachel.
Vanilla Cuylenberg: Slim girl with orange-auburn pigtails, born in Perth, West Australia, living in Florida. Originally a beauty guru, she learned how to cook from her chef friends. She loves all things fresh produce and and desserts and wants to open a bakery.
Duncan Fosters: Raven haired boy, originally from Toronto, Canada, but currently lives in Dallas, Texas. Loves to hunt for his own meats, and is skilled at cooking game meats and barbecue. Wants to open his own steakhouse, where all the meat is hunted daily.
Silvia-Olympia Judd: Tall girl with long silver hair with purple streaks from Portland, Oregon. Originally an aspiring artist, but found a love for food styling after she was introduced to fine-dining. Wants to open a culinary gallery.
Vanilla: @Haha! @I’m so happy and excited to be cooking in this competition! @I can’t wait to showcase my skills in the kitchen! @Being a former beauty guru, most people think I’m just a pretty face, caked in make-up. @But I’m so much more than that!
Duncan: @I walk into the kitchen, and we’ve got a really interesting bunch of people here. @Vanilla’s this ditzy Australian valley girl, Silvia looks like the quiet, artsy type, Jackson looks like the athlete in the bunch, and then we’ve got Karen and Cory, who both just look like little kids to me.
Carrie: Welcome to Warrior Chef, everybody!
Karen: @I’m the youngest here, being 13 years old. @I’ve got a lot to prove to everyone here, because they’re not going to take me seriously, being only a freshman.
Olympia: @I’m happy to be in the competition, and I’m ready to show off my artistry. @None of my plates will be ugly. @I’m going to clean out the competition.
Carrie: So for tonight’s challenge, it’s simple. Prepare your signature dish. The dish with the highest score wins immunity for that cook in the first round of the main competition. However, the person who makes the lowest scoring dish will be going home at the end of this round.
Cory: @I’m determined to make a good impression tonight, because I don’t want to go home first. @Hopefully, my signature dish will blow the judges away.
Jackson: @I’m confident in my dish tonight. @I’m not going to be the first person going home. @Bring it.
Carrie: You have an hour on the clock, your time starts now!
Cory: @I love cooking Latin food, because I’m from San Diego! @I’m going to use tomatoes in my dish tonight, because it’s a mixture of my Italian roots and my exposure to chilies and spices. @I’m making tomato crudo with tuna ceviche and homemade tortillas. @For my tortillas tonight, I’m preparing them using lard, water, and corn flour. @Hopefully, it comes together beautifully.
Karen: @I want to do something that shows my interest in Asian flavors, but I also want to showcase French and German upbringing that I hold so close to my heart. @I’m preparing a ginger dusted rock cod with confit morel mushrooms, spaetzle, and a lime-pepper butter sauce. @I’m using the rock cod because it’s got a delicate flavor, but a firm flesh, and that’ll pair beautifully with the butter sauce and tender morels.
Jackson: @I love cooking French food, because that’s what my grandma taught me. @I’m preparing grilled lamb lollipops with potato gratin and red wine jus. @I basically need to get the lamb and potatoes into the oven, and then get the jus going too. @It’s a lot of prep in the beginning, but after that, it’s easy sailing. @I’m thinking about how else I can jazz up the dish, but I think this is a passable dish.
Vanilla: @I’m so excited to be cooking, haha! @I learned how to cook and bake under a lot of celebrity chefs in Australia, so I want to prove that this girl from the WA can kick some butt. @I’m making apple-calvados sorbet with brown butter cake, fennel crumble, and salted caramel tuiles. @The biggest competitor, in my eyes, would have to be Jackson. @He looks really confident and he’s butchering that lamb really well.
Duncan: @I’m confident tonight that I can pull off a delicious dish. @I’m using venison, because that’s something I cook a lot of. @The best thing to pair with venison, in my eyes, is cauliflower. @I’m making a cauliflower puree and I’m grilling cauliflower, making a vinaigrette with the cauliflower leaves, and then roasting mushrooms and adding those in there. @This should be an exciting challenge. @Let’s do this.
Olympia: @I grab the lobster because it’s gorgeous and I know how to use it well. @I’m making poached lobster with kiwi-dragon fruit salad and lime butter sauce. @I see that Karen is making a lime butter sauce as well, but I know I can make mine a lot better than she makes hers. @I’m not afraid of the competition. @I’m the oldest person here, and my ability to make beautiful dishes will be my edge. @Nobody else can make dishes as gorgeous and aesthetically pleasing as mine.
Cory: @Shoot. @I try pressing my tortillas, and they crumble apart. @I see that I have only 10 minutes left. @I keep trying it, and I’m wasting time. @Eventually, I just decide to grab the premade tortillas. @I have no other option at this point. @The damn corn flour decided not to work at me tonight, and it’s a shame.
Karen: @Cory’s struggling with the tortillas, and I really feel bad for him. @I can’t really imagine him getting high scores or even decent scores with a raw dish and premade product. @I taste my spaetzle, and it’s tender and al dente, and I know that this is going to be good. @Olympia is also doing a butter sauce with lime in it, so I’m nervous that we’ll be judged head to head. @I just need to make sure mine tastes better. @I taste it, and it’s really fatty. @I add some pomelo juice in there, just to get the acidity levels up.
Jackson: @The lamb rack, I get it out of the oven, and slice into it. @It’s perfect medium rare. @The gratin, I push a fork into it, and it’s soft. @Perfect. @I taste my sauce, and it’s delicious. @I mount some butter in there, and I know that the texture is going to be where I want it to be. @Looking around the kitchen, I see some interesting things happening in Duncan and Karen’s stations.
Duncan: @I get the rack out of the oven, and I slice into it. @It’s medium. Sh*t! @I overcooked it. @There’s no salvaging this. @I taste my puree, and it’s good. @The salad, I taste the bits together, and it’s good as well. @I know my other components will be good, so maybe I’ll get another chance to prove myself.
Olympia: @Duncan overcooked his venison, and I’m just thinking he’s screwed. @I check the lobster, and it’s cooked through. @The salad looks gorgeous, with the colors of the green kiwi and the white dragon fruit. @I’m going to serve the entire dish in the dragon fruit shell, because I want that theatre to be there. @It’s going to be gorgeous.
Carrie: Time’s up!
Duncan: @I’m feeling decent about my dish. @The imperfect venison is going to cost me, but the rest of the dish is spot-on.
Cory: @Not getting the homemade tortillas plated, it sucks so much. @I could have made a perfect dish, and this just ruined it.
Carrie: Your judges are:
Aster Walker – renowned food critic in Los Angeles
Kierra Johnston – renowned food critic in Chicago/the Great Lakes area
Guy Flannigan – famous food television personality
Lotte Amazo – award-winning cookbook author from the UK
Frank Torres – award-winning pastry chef from New York
Chloe Lula – renowned vegan/vegetarian cooking expert
Carrie: So let’s start with the signature dish by Cory!
Cory – tomato crudo with ceviche and homemade tortillas
Kierra: The crudo and ceviche were both delicious. But the tortillas, they taste frozen and premade. He definitely didn’t make his own tortillas.
Lotte: I would want to give him a decent score for the crudo and ceviche, but what real technique has he shown? Two raw components and something out of a packet.
Frank: I have to agree. Had he made the tortillas like he promised, this dish would have been stellar. It’s a real shame.
Carrie: Next is Karen’s dish!
Karen – ginger dusted rock cod, confit morels, spaetzle, citrus-pepper butter sauce
Guy: The cod was cooked impeccably. The confit morels, it had a beautiful, crunchy exterior and a nice, silky interior. The sauce, it was a nice, acidic punch.
Aster: She made spaetzle, confit mushrooms, and prepared a butter sauce on top of cooking cod perfectly. If I had to criticize, the dish was on the fatty side.
Chloe: The ginger added a nice heat, and I enjoyed the flavors in her dish. My cod was cooked perfectly as well, and I’m impressed by that. I just wanted more of that sauce.
Carrie: Next up is Jackson’s signature dish!
Jackson – grilled lamb chops, potato gratin, red wine jus
Lotte: The lamb chops were beautifully cooked. The gratin was nice as well. The red wine jus, nice flavors in there. It was a solid dish.
Guy: For me, the thing I’m faulting is the concept. He basically chucks two components in the oven and reduces one over the stove. What else was he doing with his time?
Frank: Regardless of how he managed his time, the dish I received was delicious and I really enjoyed the flavors of it.
Carrie: And now we’ve got Vanilla’s dessert.
Vanilla – apple-calvados sorbet, brown butter cake, fennel crumble, salted caramel tuile
Frank: Wow. This was probably one of the prettiest desserts I’ve seen. I’m tired of eating cakes, but her cake, it’s moist, fluffy, and the brown butter really does come through. The salted caramel tuile, with that fresh sorbet, and the crumble, it was delicious.
Kierra: We’re hitting really close to perfection with this dessert. My cake was on the drier side, but the rest of the components were beautiful. The crumble, in particular, I could eat that by the fistful. It was spectacular.
Aster: The fennel crumble was the standout for me. My cake was moist, and I really enjoyed the presentation, being very whimsical and almost magical, with the caramel tuiles dancing off the quenelle of sorbet and the soil-like crumble. It was a gorgeous dessert and that’s what I loved about it.
Carrie: Next up is Duncan’s dish.
Duncan – venison loin, cauliflower puree, grilled cauliflower-mushroom salad
Chloe: My biggest complaint would be the venison loin. It’s overcooked. But the seasoning on the meat was beautiful. The cauliflower puree was silky and smooth.
Frank: The mushroom salad was probably one of the most complex components I’ve had so far. The earthiness of the mushrooms and the vibrant cauliflower flavor was nice.
Lotte: The venison loin just needed to be cooked less, and this would have been the standout dish tonight. It’s a hard protein to cook, so it’s just a shame he succumbed to it.
Carrie: And finally, Olympia’s dish!
Olympia – poached lobster, kiwi-dragon fruit salad, lime butter sauce
Aster: The lobster was cooked beautifully. The presentation, it was very provocative. The lime butter sauce was delicious as well. But the kiwi salad, it just got lost.
Kierra: I thought it was bizarre to plate the entire dish in the dragon fruit shell. But that being said, the lobster was cooked nicely. And I liked the lime butter sauce a lot.
Guy: It was two highs and two lows. The highs were obviously the lobster and the sauce. The salad, just why did she plate that directly in the sauce? It was lost in the butter flavor. And the choice to plate it all in the shell, it just pooled and got soggy.
Carrie: So can we finish scoring everyone’s dishes?
Chloe: Yeah, absolutely.
In walks the cooks.
Carrie: So only five of you will be continuing to the next stage of the competition. Let’s start with Karen’s score.
Aster: Karen, the cod was cooked beautifully. 9 stars.
Kierra: I wanted a little more acidity, but the rest was nice. 9 stars.
Guy: I gave you… 9 stars.
Lotte: I was really impressed. 9 stars.
Frank: You put up a strong dish overall. 9 stars.
Chloe: Just one tablespoon of sauce would have made it perfect. 9 stars.
Karen – 9 + 9 + 9 + 9 + 9 + 9 = 54/60 stars
Karen: Wow! @I got a pretty solid score from the judges tonight. @I hope nobody can beat that score. @Immunity is really important.
Carrie: Next is Cory’s score!
Aster: The ceviche and crudo were good. But there wasn’t a lot of technique. 6 stars.
Kierra: The lack of a homemade tortilla made the difference. 6 stars.
Guy: I’m not going to be as forgiving. 5 stars.
Lotte: 5 stars for a half-completed dish.
Frank: I’m giving you… 5 stars.
Chloe: 6 stars.
Cory – 6 + 6 + 5 + 5 + 5 + 6 = 33/60 stars
Cory: @Oh shit @That’s 21 stars between me and Karen. @I’m going home tonight.
Carrie: Now we’ve got Jackson’s score!
Aster: It was a delicious dish. 9 stars.
Kierra: 9 stars.
Guy: I just felt like you could’ve pushed yourself more. 8 stars.
Lotte: 9 stars.
Frank: It was a nice-tasting dish. 9 stars.
Chloe: I wanted more technique, but your dish had good flavors. 9 stars.
Jackson – 9 + 9 + 8 + 9 + 9 + 9 = 53/60 stars
Jackson: @Damn. @I got beat by just one star. @I thought I did enough.
Carrie: And next up is Vanilla’s score!
Aster: It was a beautiful dish. 10 stars.
Kierra: My cake was dry, but I loved the rest of it. 8 stars.
Guy: 10 stars for a gorgeous dessert.
Lotte: 10 stars. That was easily the best dish tonight.
Frank: 10 stars.
Chloe: I gave your dish… a perfect 10 stars.
Vanilla – 10 + 8 + 10 + 10 + 10 + 10 = 58/60 stars
Vanilla: Wow! @I got a 58?! @It was so close to being a perfect score! @I really wished that I could have beaten the pre-existing record of 59, but this is pretty awesome.
Karen: @I wanted immunity, but at least I’m safe for this round.
Carrie: Now we’ve got Duncan’s score!
Aster: Venison was… overcooked. But the rest was delicious. 8 stars.
Kierra: 8 stars for a decent dish.
Guy: I think your dish showed a lot of promise. My venison was medium well. 7 stars.
Lotte: 8 stars.
Frank: I wanted to give you more, but the venison was dry. 8 stars.
Chloe: 8 stars.
Duncan – 8 + 8 + 7 + 8 + 8 + 8 = 47/60 stars
Duncan: @I mean, it’s more than 33, but if I got less than 33, I would probably quit the competition and go back home.
Carrie: Cory, you are still in last place. Olympia, you need at least 34 stars to stay in the competition, and 59 stars to beat Vanilla for first place. Judges?
Aster: The dish just had a weird composition to it. 6 stars.
Kierra: I liked your lobster and the sauce. But the rest wasn’t good. 6 stars.
Guy: I could appreciate the creativity, but it needed balance. 6 stars.
Lotte: I thought the presentation was unique and it expressed your personality. 7 stars.
Frank: 6 stars.
Carrie: Olympia, that currently gives you 31 stars. To beat Cory and remain in the competition, you need at least 3 more stars from Chloe. In the case of a tie, it will be put to a vote.
Olympia: @I only need 3 more stars. @The judges so far might not have loved the dish, but they still gave me between 6-7 stars. @I doubt Chloe is going to give me anything less than that range.
Cory: @I’m freaking out right now, because I know that I’m a goner tonight. @Damn those tortillas.
Chloe: It didn’t wow me, but it had memorable components. 6 stars.
Olympia: 6 + 6 + 6 + 7 + 6 + 6 = 37/60 stars
Carrie: So let’s look at the leaderboard!
Vanilla – 58
Karen – 54
Jackson – 53
Duncan – 47
Olympia – 37
Cory – 33
Carrie: Vanilla, you retained first place, and you’ll receive immunity! Congratulations!
Vanilla: Haha! @I’m so happy right now! @I just won immunity! @I can’t go home in the first round of the main competition, and that’s a huge relief.
Carrie: Cory, unfortunately, you’ll be going home tonight. Please return to the kitchen and leave.
Cory: Thank you for this opportunity, and judges, I’m sorry about the tortillas. If I ever get a chance to cook again, I’ll be sure not to let that happen. @Leaving so early sucks! @I wanted to prove that even though I’m 14, I can cook really delicious food. @It’s pretty embarrassing, and I just know I could have done better.
Karen: @Seeing Cory go home, it does suck a lot. @I wanted him to stay, and help me represent the freshmen. @Oh well, I just have to do my best on my own.