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.

Warrior Chef 1: Afterword

Hopefully, you all who read the series actually enjoyed it. It must be strange seeing written text in paragraph form if you were reading through all of those previous Warrior Chef rounds before reading this, isn’t it?

Anyways, I started writing Warrior Chef 5 years ago. Fun fact, even though what I published on this site was listed as Warrior Chef 1, it is technically the third installment to receive that title. The original Warrior Chef 1 was written 5 years ago, and I continued writing until Warrior Chef 20 and then took a break once I graduated high school. I resumed in college, and decided to restart back at 1 again. That time, I wrote until Warrior Chef 24 before deciding to take a break yet again. And here we are, with a new installment of Warrior Chef. Despite this, I have kept a couple things from the previous two series, being that the judges are all the same as they were in the previous 44 Warrior Chefs, and the terminology remains the same.

When it came to writing this particular season, I did not necessarily know who I wanted to win. Vanilla was actually inspired by Oerba Dia Vanille from Final Fantasy XIII, while Fanny was inspired by Fang. Tadashi was inspired by Tadashi from Big Hero 6, hence why he was such a reliable person and why the finale took place in San Francisco. Karen was inspired by both one of my close friends and chef Karen Akunowicz from Top Chef (when I wrote this, Top Chef season 13 was playing). Lucas was inspired by this guy I had Real Estate Law with, and he was a really driven young man. I debated heavily between Lucas and Tadashi, but decided ultimately that Vanilla should be the winner, because her story was very unique and her cooking style, being Australian and dessert-inspired, was something that stood out amongst the other competitors.

Below is the final scoreboard of the final 13 (I’m counting Olympia for winning the first Redemption Round)

Screen Shot 2017-06-07 at 1.40.04 AM

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!

Warrior Chef 1: Finale Part 2

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

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

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

Into the room walks… Vanilla.

Vanilla: Hi, guys! Did you miss me?

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

Carrie: Please help me welcome back Vanilla!

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

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

Vanilla – 1

Lucas – 1

Tadashi – 2

Karen – 2

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Carrie: Time’s up!

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

Carrie: Your judge is house critic, Max Hudson.

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

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

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

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

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

Carrie: And who won?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Carrie: Time’s up!

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

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

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

Carrie: Your judges are:

Max Hudson

Scott Connors

Miriam Adjanti

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

-abalone sashimi with cold shiitake broth and truffled tamagoyaki

-ube mochi with blackberry-rhubarb coulis and swiss meringue

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

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

Carrie: And now we have Karen’s dishes!

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

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

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

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

Carrie: And up next are Lucas’s dishes.

-scallops, basil emulsion, peach salad

-poached lobster, potato puree, lobster sauce

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

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

Carrie: And finally, Vanilla’s desserts!

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

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

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

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

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

Miriam: We have.

In walks the final four.

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

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

Tadashi: Thank you.

Carrie: Scott, please announce the winner.

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

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

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

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

Tadashi and Vanilla leave.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Lucas leaves the kitchen.

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

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

Warrior Chef 1: The Redemption Rounds (All Parts)

Part 1

Olympia vs Judith and Corey

Carrie: Eliminated cooks will have a chance to gain back their spot in the competition! Tonight, three cooks who were sent home in the preliminaries will be competing head to head to remain in the competition!

Judith: @I got eliminated because I made a dish completely different from what I set out to make. @Tonight, I hope I don’t hallucinate over mayonnaise again. @That would suck a lot.

Corey: @Being eliminated in the first round, I want redemption right now. @I’m a freshman, I’m the youngest one here, and I’m ready to prove myself.

Olympia: @Being the most experienced cook, I’ve got to prove myself the most to the others. @I’m ready to win this.

Carrie: Welcome to the Redemption Rounds. The three of you have a chance to re-enter the competition. But first, you need redemption. I want you guys to prepare the dishes that eliminated you last time. But this time, make sure they have been done correctly. You’ll have 30 minutes to prepare your dishes, time starts now!

Corey: @I got eliminated because my tortillas weren’t working for me. @Tonight, I’m determined to make them work. @I’m preparing a grilled ahi taco with tomato salsa. @It’ll be very similar to the dish I made before, but I’m making the corn tortillas from scratch and they’ll be good. @Olympia and I competed together in my round, and she beat me. @I want to reverse the tables tonight.

Judith: @I didn’t get to prepare the fennel and mushroom salad with the coconut oil stuffed dates last time, so I’ll do that this time. @I make sure to avoid the mayonnaise jar, because it’s evil, and to be safe, I’m not going to taste anything, just because I don’t want to take that risk. @I don’t know Corey or Olympia, but I’m ready to beat both of them and win the competition!

Olympia: @I was eliminated because my halibut was overcooked. @This time, I’m going to cook it properly. @I’m making halibut wrapped in caul fat with a smoky tomato puree and pickled eggplant. @The last time, I went with fried eggplant, but I got dinged for greasy cooking. @Tonight, I’m doing the pickled eggplant, because it’ll be a better balance @Judith isn’t competition. @But Corey, he’s a threat. @If he plated his tortilla last time, he would’ve beaten me. @I don’t want to be eliminated again!

Corey: @Olympia and Judith are going home for sure. @I won’t let these girls beat me. @I might be younger, but I’m definitely stronger than them both. @The tortillas are properly rolled this time, so I’m stoked. @Olympia’s strongest dish was a salad last time, and I see Judith is making one now. @I’m confident my dish is the strongest.

Judith: @I shave the fennel on the mandolin, and then I cut myself. Sh*t @It’s a serious cut. @I’m bleeding so much blood that the paramedics have to pull me aside.
Paramedic: It’s looking bad. You might need a skin graft.

Judith: Sh*t. @And that’s all she wrote. @Just like that, I’m out. @I don’t even get a chance at redeeming myself. @This sucks so much.

Olympia: @Judith cuts herself really badly and the paramedics just escorted her out of the building. @It’s down to me and Corey at this point, and I’m pretty sure his tacos will give me a run for my money. @The halibut is cooked perfectly. @I taste the pickled eggplant and it’s delicious. @Corey’s dish can’t beat me.

Carrie: Time’s up!
Corey: @I look at Judith and Olympia’s stations, and Judith is gone.

Carrie: So Judith was deemed unable to physically continue in the competition. So it’ll come down to one of you two.

Corey: @I hear that and I’m relieved. @That’s one less person I need to think about. @Olympia’s dish, she made halibut, and I’m sure she overcooked it.

Olympia: @Corey’s looking smug, but his dish doesn’t look that good. @I’m going to be the person moving forward.

Carrie tastes the dishes.

Carrie: So let’s start with Corey’s dish. Corey, you prepared beautiful tortillas and a nicely cooked piece of ahi. The salsa was fresh but a little bland.

Corey: @Perfectly cooked. @The tortillas are supple and soft. @I’ve got this.

Carrie: Olympia, the halibut was cooked beautifully. The puree was tender, soft, and melted in the mouth, with this nice, smoky flavor. The eggplant added a nice hit of acidity and a great meaty texture.

Olympia: @No negatives. @I think Corey’s going home now.

Carrie: Tonight, it was a clear choice. Olympia, you’re going through.

Olympia: Awesome! @I’m still in the competition. @Nobody pinch me, I still want to keep dreaming. @It sucks to see Corey go home twice, but better him than me.

Corey: @Not winning sucks. @I wanted to get back into the competition, but good for her. @I’m just going to keep on cooking!

Part 2

Olympia vs Angelina vs Duncan

Duncan: @I’m walking into the kitchen and I see Olympia. @She wasn’t that strong in my preliminary, and I’m positive that I can beat her.

Angelina: @Olympia’s standing with Carrie and I know she must have beaten people already just to get to this point. @I’m confident I can take her and Duncan down.

Carrie: Welcome back! So for this Redemption challenge, you’ll have just 30 minutes to prepare a dish. The challenge you two were eliminated over was a fine-dining inspired one. So for tonight, I want to see you guys make the opposite. I want street food. 30 minutes on the clock, starting now!

Olympia: @Street food isn’t my forte. @I’d much rather do the fine-dining one. @But that’s the brief, and I need to meet it. @I’m going to prepare a crepe with an arugula and tomato salad with crispy pancetta and mozzarella cheese. @I’m keeping the dish simple, because I want to focus on the execution and presentation.

Angelina: @I got eliminated over cupcakes, and I know that I can make another dessert work in this challenge tonight. @I’m making churros with spicy Mexican chocolate. @Making the churros will be the best way to show some technique, and for my chocolate, it’s a ganache set with horchata.

Duncan: @Street food is awesome. @I’m making poutine. @It’s such a perfect dish for this challenge. @The gravy, the cheese curds, the thick cut French fries. @It’s such a good dish. @I’m going to do a spin on that, and I’m adding in crispy fried spam, because that’ll definitely add another nice flavor and texture.

Olympia: @I’m going French, Angelina’s going Mexican, and Duncan is making a Canadian dish. @It’s funny how diverse our backgrounds are, but at the end of this, I think I’m going to be the one coming out on top. @The crepes are looking perfectly crisp and beautiful. @My advantage is that I’m not frying something.
Angelina: @Duncan’s using the friers right now for his fries, and I need the frier too for my churros. @I’m just hoping that I can fry something in time, because it’s going to be cutting it close. @I taste my chocolate, and that’s perfect. @My dough is ready, I just need to fry something.

Duncan: @I pull my fries out of the frier, dab them with the towel, hit them with some salt, and then I leave them in the oven to keep them warm. @Angelina and I are both frying, which is interesting, because I don’t see Olympia touching the frier at all. @When you think street food, you think very cheap, unhealthy, so it’s odd, seeing her not touching too many unhealthy ingredients.

Carrie: Time’s up!

Angelina: @I get the churros out in a nick of time, and I’m feeling good. @I don’t think that poutine or crepes will beat me.

Duncan: @I’m not feeling so nervous this time. @The poutine looks great. @I made Canada proud.

Olympia: @My dish looks so much healthier compared to the other two. @Maybe I didn’t meet the brief?

Carrie tastes the three dishes.

Carrie: So let’s start with Olympia’s dish. Olympia, the crepe had a nice, golden-brown exterior and it was evenly browned. The presentation was gorgeous, per usual. The combination of flavors, it worked, but was it too simple to stuff a salad into a crepe and call it a day? Regardless, it was a tasty bite and it works as street food.

Olympia: @I think she liked it for the most part. @I might be in with a chance here!

Carrie: Duncan, your poutine was delicious. It was hearty, laden in fat, and I just wouldn’t mind eating that on a cold Sunday night while bing-watching reality TV. It was a tasty bowlful of fries and gravy.

Duncan: Awesome. @I have a lot of confidence in my poutine tonight. @This could be my crack at Redemption!

Carrie: Angelina, the dessert you presented was probably the simplest of the three dishes I tried tonight. Two components, nowhere to really hide. However, your churro dough was fried perfectly. It was crispy, but not too greasy. The chocolate was divine. I loved that you just went for it and used horchata to boost the spice levels.

Angelina: @She called my dish perfect. @But it wasn’t as ambitious as the other two dishes. @It’s up to Carrie’s call at this point, and she doesn’t have an easy job.

Carrie: You guys all presented three really nice dishes. Tonight, the best dish belonged to…. Angelina. Those churros and the horchata chocolate, it was a special combination.

Angelina: Thank you! @I’m still in it! @This is awesome! @After getting sent home so early, I felt like I had a lot left to prove. @I’m not going home anytime soon, that’s for sure. @Bring in the next opponent! @I’m ready for them!

Duncan: @Not winning the challenge, I’m a bit disappointed. @On one hand, she loved my dish, but on the other, it wasn’t enough to win.

Olympia: @I thought I did enough, but Angelina played it smart, and it worked in her favor. @I’m not sure who’s going to be her next opponent, but they’ll have a hard time competing against Angelina.

Angelina: @One round down, several more to go! @Come at me!

Part 3

Vincent vs Angelina

Vincent: @I’m back in the kitchen for another shot at the competition. @I see Carrie standing there with Angelina, who is an incredibly ambitious cook. @Bring it on!

Angelina: @I see Vincent, and he’s one of the weaker cooks in the competition. @He’s so obsessed with being trained by Bobby Flay that he doesn’t focus on his dishes.

Carrie: Vincent, welcome to the Redemption Rounds!

Vincent: Awesome. Pleasure to be here.

Carrie: So Vincent, you were eliminated for trying to put turkey into ice cream.

Angelina: @What?! @He got eliminated over that?! @And how was he able to outlast me? @I better win this challenge now, or else I’ll be devastated.

Carrie: Tonight, you’ll have a chance at redemption. You can either prepare a dish using turkey or a dessert. Vincent, you get to choose.
Vincent: I’d like to show that I can make a proper dessert.

Carrie: Alright. You’ll both have 30 minutes to make a dessert, your time starts now!

Vincent: @I’m making the same exact dish, but I’m not going to use turkey in my ice cream. @It’s a vanilla-cinnamon ice cream with cornbread crumble, rosemary caramel, and cranberry jam. @Angelina is a weak cook. @I think I can take her down.

Angelina: @Vincent thinks he’s a better cook, and that’s laughable. @You worked for a celebrity chef, and you still managed to make mistakes on that magnitude? @For my dessert, I’m making an apple crostata with vanilla bean ice cream and brown butter caramel. @I’m taking a risk making a crostata in 30 minutes, but if I can nail this, then I’m definitely going to win the challenge.

Vincent: @Angelina’s making a dough in that amount of time, and she’s got to roll it out and everything. @I think she’s going to waste too much time, and that’s going to be my advantage tonight. @My ice cream is tasting good, and that’s going to guarantee that my dish will be good.

Angelina: @Vincent’s looking cocky, but my ice cream is coming out perfectly. @The crostata is delicious, and I know that we’ve got a winner right here.

Carrie: Time’s up!

Angelina: @Vincent’s dish looks like what would happen if you pushed a Christmas tree over. @My dish isn’t going to send me home.

Vincent: I’m going to win this one. @Nobody will send me home.

Carrie tastes the dishes.

Carrie: So Angelina, I appreciate the ambition with your dish. The crostata was cooked nicely and your ice cream and caramel combination was delicious. Vincent, your dessert was tasty as well. It came down to a seasoning issue. Vincent, just too much rosemary. Angelina, you won this one. Congratulations!
Angelina: Thank you! @I won my second challenge, and I’m feeling redemption! @I just beat a moron! @Yay!

Vincent: @I’m feeling so angry that I’m shaking. @Angelina didn’t deserve to beat me and she knows it. @This was some bullshit.

Part 4

Jimmy vs Angelina

Jimmy: @I just got eliminated attempting a vegan dessert. @I know that I can cook better food. @It’s time to bring it.

Carrie: Jimmy, welcome to the Redemption Rounds!

Angelina: @Jimmy demolished me in the Preliminaries, and I’m ready to knock him out of the competition. @This would be pure redemption for me.

Carrie: So Jimmy, in the last challenge, you were eliminated because your pineapple upside down cake was dry. Tonight, I want to see you cook with pineapple again. The dish must be vegan, but it must also be savory.

Angelina: @A savory vegan pineapple dish? @That’s going to be terrible!

Carrie: So 30 minutes, time starts now!

Jimmy: @I’m still not sure what I can make that is vegan, savory, and incorporates pineapple. @I decide to make pickled pineapples with miso-mustard vinaigrette, paprika roasted walnuts, and frisee. @I’m hoping that this salad-type of thing will go over well and show plenty of technique, especially against Angelina.

Angelina: @I’m making a roasted pineapple curry with seitan, eggplant, and okra. @I’m going with an Indian-Chinese fusion here, because I know that these flavors will work well together and that the sweetness of the pineapple will offset the curry paste I’m preparing. @Jimmy, you’re going down.

Jimmy: @I see that Angelina’s making a curry with the pineapple. @Now I’ve really got to step it up. @I grab the pineapple and I’m going to deep fry them, because deep-fried pickles are pretty tasty, and I know that the pineapples will be able to hold up to being pickled and then fried. @I have to step it up against her.

Angelina: @Jimmy’s frying the pineapple, and that’s ballsy. @But I’m tasting my curry, and it’s delicious. @His fried pineapple needs to be really phenomenal if he hopes to beat me with it. @I’m not scared at all.

Carrie: Time’s up!

Angelina: @I step back, and my curry is perfect. @Jimmy’s got this fried pineapple salad going on there, and I’m just confused.

Carrie tastes the dishes.

Carrie: Tonight, I had a really tough criteria. And for the most part, you both delivered. Jimmy, the flavors of your dish were vibrant, fresh, and bold. The pineapple, it was definitely the star of the dish, being sweet, sour, crunchy. It was nice. Angelina, you prepared a curry using the pineapple, and you used your own curry paste to do it. I was really impressed by the balance of flavors you’ve achieved in just 30 minutes. Tonight, the winner is… Angelina. Congratulations!

Angelina: Awesome! Thanks! @I won three in a row! @I think I can definitely take it all the way to the finale. @This is my road to Redemption! @So awesome!

Jimmy: @I’m feeling a bit deflated that I lost, but at least I’m leaving on a dish that the judge actually liked for once. @That’s still a bit of a win for me, anyways. @Good luck, Angelina, you better win the whole thing!

Part 5

Vanilla vs Angelina

Vanilla: @Walking into the kitchen after that elimination, I’m not feeling too good. @I just got sent home in a trail of tears and embarrassment. @I can’t believe I disappointed my nan with that recipe.

Carrie: Welcome to the Redemption Rounds, Vanilla!

Angelina: @Seeing Vanilla is terrifying. @She’s been a strong cook from the get-go, getting immunity and the first elimination challenge win. @But she’s just going to be another step in my road to Redemption.

Carrie: So Vanilla, you were eliminated on a venison dish. The meat was tough, chewy, and overcooked. Tonight, do you think you can redeem yourself?

Vanilla: I hope so.

Carrie: Our challenge is about solely technique. You’ll have just 15 minutes to cook three steaks. I want one medium rare, one medium, and one rare. Whoever can nail the cooking temperatures of the three steaks will remain in the competition. You’ll have 15 minutes, time starts now!

Vanilla: @I wish I could cook, because I know I could beat Angelina in a dessert cook-off. @But I’ll take what I can get. @My oven is already preheated, and my strategy is to fire each steak within 1-2 minutes of one another. @They’ll all be able to flip at the same time, and then I can get the ones that finish cooking, namely the rare, resting, while the medium rare and medium can go into the oven. @Right now, it’s not laughs and giggles anymore. @I’m really determined to get back into the competition.

Angelina: @Vanilla is not going to be an easy opponent, but my strategy is to get the steaks cooked individually, so that I can get the medium steak into the oven first, then the medium rare, and once the rare is done cooking, I can rest all three at once. @I’ve already beaten Olympia, Duncan, Vincent, and Jimmy, so I’m determined to beat Vanilla and show everyone that my food reigns supreme.

Vanilla: @Showing up, I was always told to smile and laugh through everything. @I wasn’t allowed to cry, I wasn’t allowed to be sad. @If I needed to cry, I’d only do it when it was raining, and I’d run outside and hide my tears with the raindrops. @It was hard not to cry, when you were bullied for being overweight. @So I’d act outwardly happy and make the effort to exercise and get fit. @It wasn’t easy, but I managed to overcome almost a decade of being called fat or ugly, and if I could do that, then I can win this challenge and stay in the competition.

Angelina: @Vanilla’s steaks are all resting, either on the cutting board or in the oven. @I’m feeling good, because we’re cooking filet mignon, and those don’t need as much resting as most other cuts. @Winning this challenge just validates that I am a fantastic cook and that my future in this industry is going to be a bright one. @I really want everyone to know that this is my passion, and it’s my dream.

Carrie: Time’s up!

Carrie cuts into the steaks on both cooks’ stations.

Vanilla: @I’m feeling petrified, but at the same time, I know that my steaks are cooked perfectly. @Angelina better get ready to leave the kitchen.

Angelina: @Vanilla’s got this murderous look in her eyes, and I don’t care. @I know I’ve knocked her out of this competition.

Carrie: So overall, you both were really consistent between the cooks of your steaks. Angelina, your steaks were about 5-10 seconds over on each one. Vanilla, you had a perfect rare steak, but your other two were both about 10 seconds under. Overall, it’s a tough decision to make. But Vanilla, you did have one perfect steak, and that’s what’s keeping you in the running. Angelina, I’m sorry, but you’re going home tonight.

Angelina: That’s fine. *to Vanilla* Good luck. Represent the girls out there! @It sucks to be leaving! @I felt so ready to win the whole way through, but instead, I’m out. @Vanlila better win the whole thing, because I knew I would have done that if she was not so damn lucky!

Vanilla: Ciao!~ @Winning again feels nice, especially when you were doubting yourself about your abilities to cook meat. @I think I need to keep giving this savory cooking a go, because my dessert skills are incredible, but my savory cooking needs more work. @If I want to win the title of Warrior Chef, the only way for me to smash it out of the park is to fire all cannons and charge straight ahead.

Part 6

Jackson vs Vanilla

Jackson: @Walking back into the Warrior Chef kitchen, I’m feeling like shit. @I really tried to tackle my weakness with dessert and it totally backfired on me.
Carrie: Jackson, welcome to the Redemption Rounds! Any clues who you’re going up against in this challenge?

Jackson: It really could be anyone. Either Jimmy or Vanilla?

In walks… Vanilla.

Vanilla: Hi, Jackson! @I see Jackson, and he’s a strong cook. @His ability to cook beautiful French food is going to be a real problem in this challenge.

Jackson: @Vanilla is terrifying. @Her dessert skills are astronomical and I’m already feeling screwed if we have to make a dessert in this challenge, which is probably going to happen.

Carrie: So Jackson, you were eliminated on a black velvet cake. The judges, they thought it was too sweet and the usage of Oreos was just too juvenile. Tonight, I’d like to see what you can do with Oreos again. But this time, you need to use them… in a savory dish. I don’t want a dessert. I want an entree or an appetizer, incorporating the Oreos.

Vanilla: What?! @Oreos in a savory dish?! @Oh, well I have, you know, ZERO recipes for this.

Jackson: Well sh*t! @Oreos aren’t meant to be eaten in an app or entree! @I’m already struggling to think about what I can make.

Carrie: Just 30 minutes, starting now!

Vanilla: @I grab the Oreos and I think about what the heck am I going to do with them?! @I decide to remove the cream filling. @I’m making a turnip puree, adding the cream filling to cancel out that sulfurous quality in the root. @For the cookies, I’m roasting them in spices and blending them up for a crust for my liver. @I’m sous-viding the calves liver in milk and then crusting and frying it. @I’ve never cooked with liver before, and thinking about cooking with it just reminds me of how I used to be anorexic, and I thought food was my enemy. @Hopefully it won’t be the case tonight, because my food, I’m determined to make it delicious and make sure that I shine through!~

Jackson: @I grab the cookies and I decide to make a mole. @I’m blending them into the sauce and it’ll thicken them and provide the chocolate flavor so I don’t need to add in real chocolate. @I’m making a stewed pork mole. @I’m thinking that it’ll be a huge risk, making this sort of dish in 30 minutes, but I’m used the ground pork so that it won’t have to braise for as long to be soft.

Vanilla: @I get the liver into the hot oil and it’s looking good. @I made sure to remove as much sinew as possible and slice it into thin pieces so that it’ll cook faster. @Jackson’s station, it smells beautiful, but I don’t think he’s going to be as creative as I am, and I’m hoping that’ll pay off.

Jackson: @Vanilla’s at a huge disadvantage because she’s got to cook savory food and her lack of experience with it is what sent her home. @I’m feeling great about the flavor and texture of my sauce and I know my pork is going to be really tender because I put in plenty of honey and onions to break it down even further. @I’m not threatened by Vanilla at this point. @I think I have this one.

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

Jackson: @I’m feeling good about my dish, but Vanilla’s presenting liver. @That’ll either win her the challenge or give her a one-way ticket out.

Vanilla: @Mole is such a safe dish. @I don’t think Jackson played it as smartly as he could have.

Carrie tastes the dishes.

Carrie: So this was a really… interesting challenge. Vanilla, you took a huge risk using liver in your dish. Nobody would ever think to pair chocolate cookies with liver of all things. Jackson, you went with a much more obvious route. Chocolate and mole is an immediate association and I loved that you made such a delicious sauce.

Jackson: @At this point, I think I got this. @I’m confident I beat her.

Carrie: Vanilla, your liver was…. cooked beautifully. And that puree was gorgeous. Jackson, your pork was a bit tough. So I have to give this win to Vanilla.

Vanilla: *to Jackson* Ciao!~ @I’m feeling so excited to have won again!~ @The Redemption Rounds are intense but I’ve managed to wow my way into the next stage of the competition! @Let’s do this! @I’m ready for the next one!

Jackson: @I lost?! @I’m feeling a bit pissed, because Vanilla cooked liver and that’s how she beat me. @This is such a disappointment. @I lost to liver? @Just yuck.

Part 7

Zack vs Vanilla

Zack: @I’m walking into the Warrior Chef kitchen again feeling mortified. @I just got sent home over chili con carne. @That was something that surprised everyone! @It’s hispanic cooking, and I should have won that challenge!

Carrie: Hi, Zack! So welcome to the Redemption Rounds! Any guesses on who you’ll be facing tonight?

Zack: I’d guess Vanilla?

In walks Vanilla.

Vanilla: Hey, Zack! @Zack was an eliminator, and now he’s been sent packing. @I’d love to take him out of the competition for good, and this is the perfect chance to do it.

Carrie: So Zack, you were eliminated over chili con carne. The judges loved the chili, but the cheesy bechamel component you added completely overwhelmed your spices.

Zack: Yeah, it sucked.

Carrie: So for this challenge, you must prepare a dish using cheese! You have just 30 minutes, time starts now!

Zack: @Getting eliminated over trying to do a cheesy bechamel, it’s pretty sucky. @But I know how to cook with cheese, and I’ll prove that I can do that tonight. @I’m making a four cheese ravioli, using goat cheese, parmesan, pecorino, and ricotta, with sage brown butter sauce and toasted pine nuts. @Vanilla is a strong cook and she’s managed to last this long, so I know I have to watch myself against her and make sure that I cook everything perfectly.

Vanilla: Haha!~ I love cheese! @I’m so excited to be working with the cheese! @I grab the mascarpone and the ricotta and I know I need to make a dessert just to add some shock value. @I’m making a meyer lemon curd swirled mascarpone posset with ricotta doughnuts and mascarpone poached meringues. @To make the meringues, I’m going to melt mascarpone into some water and poach meringues in that to make them have a creamier finish.

Zack @I make sure that the pasta is rolled super thin. @I don’t have a lot of time left and I need the pasta to cook all the way through. @I see that Vanilla’s making a dessert per usual. @Does she ever make savory food? @I think she’s going to go home the moment the challenge actually requires her to cook real food. @But I might just be saying this because her desserts have done nothing short of win her challenge after challenge, and yeah, I’m definitely nervous going against a Vanilla dessert.

Vanilla: @I test my doughnuts and they float up, and I cut into one, and it’s still raw in the center. Sh*t! @I make them smaller because then they’ll actually fry properly. @The possets are in the blast chiller and I know that those will show off my skills. @I see what Zack is preparing and it’s a pasta dish! @I’m not feeling too nervous, because a filled pasta is not something I’m intimidated by.

Carrie: Time’s up!

Vanilla: @I step back from my station and I’m feeling excited!

Carrie tastes the two dishes.

Zack: @Carrie’s cutting into my pasta and it looks perfectly filled. @I’m stoked.

Carrie: So overall, I loved both dishes. Zack, pasta was rolled and filled perfectly. It was almost like cutting into a poached egg. The filling was cheese-packed and that sauce was the proper compliment. Vanilla, I didn’t think about a dessert when I thought about cheese. The posset was set and it was smooth and beautiful. The fritters were crispy and cooked all the way through and the meringues were creamy and tangy with the mascarpone flavor. Tonight, it was a hard decision because neither dish was poorly executed. But Vanilla, for featuring the cheese in more creative ways, I’ll have to give the win to you! Zack, please leave the kitchen.

Zack: Alright. @I’m leaving pretty disappointed. @I gave it my all and it just fell flat. @I’m really angry. @But I still knew it. @Vanilla’s desserts are undefeated. @I was basically set up to lose this one.

Vanilla: *to Zack* Ciao! @I’m feeling ecstatic that I won another challenge! @There aren’t too many people left in this competition and I’m hoping that I can win my way back into the main competition.

Part 8

Leona vs Vanilla

Leona: @I’m walking back into the Warrior Chef kitchen, and I see Carrie standing there with Vanilla. @Great, she’s back.

Vanilla: @Seeing Leona, it’s really bringing back some bitter memories. @We were on the bottom two together when I got sent home. @Maybe this is my chance to reverse my fate, and send her packing for a change.

Carrie: Welcome to the Redemption Rounds, Leona.

Leona: It’s great to be here. Glad to have another chance to send Vanilla packing.

Vanilla: I’m glad you’re honest, anyways.

Carrie: Leona, you were eliminated because the dish you prepared, it was dry and disjointed. For tonight’s challenge, you’ll both need to take unusual ingredient pairings, and make a cohesive dish out of them. You’ll have to choose between either squid and vanilla beans, or rhubarb and blue cheese. Vanilla, since you are the reigning champ, you get to decide.

Vanilla: It’s kind of an obvious one. I need to go with the vanilla beans and squid.

Leona: What? @Are you kidding me? @She just shot herself in the foot. @I’m not complaining or anything, but rhubarb and blue cheese, it’ll be so much easier to work with, and I know Vanilla’s going to struggle now.

Carrie: So Leona, you have the blue cheese and rhubarb. You’ll have just 30 minutes to cook, time starts now!

Vanilla: @I grab the vanilla beans, and I’m going to prepare a lemon verbena-vanilla vinaigrette, lightly dressed cucumbers and fennel, and fried calamari. @I’m feeling pretty confident that my flavors can carry me through to the next round.

Leona: @I’m going to make an ahi tuna crudo with pickled rhubarb and blue cheese foam. @I’m thinking that cutting the blue cheese with heavy cream will be key to making that funkiness go away. @I’m going to embrace the rhubarb, because it’s fresh.

Vanilla: @I see what Leona’s making. @Blue cheese with tuna? @I’m not sure if that’s a good combination to go for, and she might be in trouble. @I’m hoping that the flavors of my dish are going to be nice, and I grab a blood orange, and segment that into my salad, because I know that the citrus will bridge the vanilla and seafood.

Leona: @Vanilla is going with a lot of herbaceous and bitter notes, so I think that might overpower the vanilla and squid. @I am embracing the flavor of the rhubarb and balancing that with the pungent blue cheese. @From a flavor standpoint, I know that I’m going to be highlighting my ingredients much more than she is.

Carrie: Time’s up!

Leona: @I see what Vanilla prepared. @Fried calamari? @That’s pretty lame.

Vanilla: @Leona’s pairing of blue cheese with tuna, I really think she shot herself in the foot there.

Carrie tastes both dishes.

Leona: @I notice Carrie’s reaction when she is eating my dish. @She finished off all of the blue cheese foam, so I know she liked that a lot.

Carrie: So tonight, I’m feeling like this decision was a pretty easy one to make.

Vanilla: @Now I’m scared. @Did Leona smoke me that much? @Maybe I shouldn’t have been so cocky about how her dish turned out.

Carrie: Leona, the blue cheese foam was delicious and it paired well with the rhubarb. Vanilla, you managed to blend together the two ingredients with herbs and citrus, and that was smart. It came down to the theme of the challenge, which was cohesion. Vanilla, your dish ate a little bit clunky. But Leona, the tuna had no place on that dish, so Vanilla, you’ll be continuing to the Redemption Rounds finale!

Vanilla: Oh my god!

Leona: Damn it.

Carrie: Leona, please leave the kitchen.

Leona: Got it. @Damn, damn, damn it! @I’m so pissed right now. @I’m feeling ripped off. @I deserved to win that!

Vanilla: *to Leona* Ciao!~ @I might still win this season, and that’s making me feel so happy right now. @Being so close to the end, and possibly winning this from the Redemption Rounds, it’s surreal. @I need a moment to process that.

Finale

Fanny vs Vanilla

Fanny: @I’m walking into the kitchen, and I don’t know what to expect. @I’ve made it to the original final four, and I’m ready to defeat whoever I need to if it means I can secure my place in the final four, and then take the title.

Carrie: Fanny, I’m sure you’re interested in seeing who your opponent will be. Any guesses on who that is?

Fanny: It’s tough to say. Maybe Leona or Vanilla?

Carrie: You’ll see soon enough! Come on in!

In walks Vanilla.

Vanilla: @Fanny is a strong, strong cook. @Honestly, any of those four who were in the finale, I’d be scared to face off against.

Fanny: @Vanilla is not a lightweight in this competition. @Since the beginning, she was dominating, so I’m feeling like this is my chance to really prove myself as a cook.

Carrie: So Fanny, you were eliminated over a dish that the judges claimed was bland. This is the Redemption Rounds finale, so all I am really asking of both of you is to create a dish that is anything but bland. You have 30 minutes, starting now!

Fanny: @I run into the pantry, and I decide to redeem my previous dish. @I’m preparing a pea-yogurt panna cotta with coconut-lime sorbet. @It’s a huge risk making a panna cotta in 30 minutes, but I’m using cornstarch and gelatin to make it possible.

Vanilla: @Fanny is tough, but I need to be tougher. @I’m preparing a smoked scallop with corn puree, mint coulis, and fried mint leaves. @Fanny is going with a dessert, but I know that my dish will shine in the end. @I got to believe!

Fanny: So Vanilla how have the Redemption Rounds been?

Vanilla: *to Fanny* I’ve had to knock out some really good cooks! But I’m ready to take you out of the competition as well!
Fanny: Those are fighting words! It’s on!

Vanilla: @So far, I’ve won seven challenges, including my four wins in the Redemption Rounds. @If I can beat Fanny, then I’m really going to be primed and ready for what’s left of the finale!

Carrie: Time’s up!

Vanilla: @I step away from my dish, and I’m wondering if I did enough. @I see Fanny’s dish, and it’s this gorgeous dessert. @I’m beginning to second guess myself a little.

Fanny: @Vanilla’s scallops look very basic compared to my dessert. @I’m ready to re-enter the finale, and take down the other three.

Carrie tastes the dishes.

Carrie: So tonight, we have two really different dishes. Fanny, the dish was refreshing, light, and I liked that you attempted panna cotta in 30 minutes. The flavors were nice. Vanilla, the scallops were smoked beautifully and the usage of mint and corn was unusual, but it really did work. Tonight, it’s a hard decision, because both dishes tasted good and fit the criteria for being well-seasoned. But the person returning is…

To be continued….

Warrior Chef 1: Finale Part 1

The final four arrive in San Francisco, where the entire finale will take place.

Tadashi: @I’m here. @This is it. @The finale has begun, and I’m one of the competitors. @My chances at that title, it’s getting more and more realistic.

Karen: @I’m one of the final four, and I’m feeling really excited but nervous. @Tadashi, Fanny, and Lucas, they’re all a lot older than me, and it’s pretty intimidating. @But I need to believe in myself.

The four arrive in the kitchen at the resort they are staying at

Carrie: Welcome to the Warrior Chef finale!

Lucas: @Right now, I’m thinking that the final three will be me, Tadashi, and Fanny. @Karen’s been pretty inconsistent recently, so I doubt she can stay in the competition for much longer.

Carrie: So for the creativity challenge, you’ll have to prepare a dish using…. kale!
A cart is wheeled in, carrying kale, ranging from flower to curly to lacinato to purple.

Carrie: But to make things interesting, it’ll be done in head to head cook-offs! Please draw knives!

Karen – 1

Lucas – 2

Fanny – 2

Tadashi – 1

Karen: @I’m cooking kale against Tadashi, who is from SoCal. @I’m feeling really screwed. @This terrifies me.

Lucas: @I’m up against Fanny. @I’m comfortable with this match up. @I think her experience with kale, versus an Italian cook? @Not even a question.

Carrie: You have just 20 minutes to prepare an innovative kale dish. And your time starts now!

Tadashi: @I’m thinking about what I can do, and I’m going to deep fry the kale and prepare a crispy kale and shisso tempura basket with a kale stem infused dashi. @I’m keeping the flavors simple, because that’ll help me stay focused on what I have to get done during my 20 minutes.

Karen: @I’m going to prepare a dinosaur kale infused pasta with some crispy fried purple kale, pancettta, and chicken liver mousse. @I think that the combination of flavors will really help the kale stand up. @Tadashi is going almost entirely vegetarian, but that might honestly be the smart thing to do.

Fanny: @The kale looks great, and I’m feeling like this is an opportunity to really make this dish memorable. @I’m making a kale napoleon, using layers of fried kale, and then pickled kale stems, homemade mascarpone, and apples. @If I can get the mascarpone made in 20 minutes, then I’ll be good to go.

Lucas: @The kale, I’m going to prepare a pork stuffed kale sausage with crispy kale, kale stem gremolata, and shaved apples. @I’m trying my best to keep the flavors straightforward and beautiful. @I’m trying to make sure that the taste of the kale runs throughout the dish.

Karen: @I decide for the mousse, to make a kale butter, and fold that into the pate, just to really get the kale flavor throughout the dish. @I see what Tadashi is doing, and he’s moving surprisingly slowly, but he’s tasting very intensely. @I’m feeling really hopeful that the basic level of his dish will give me the edge.

Fanny: @I check the mascarpone, and it’s completely loose. @I can’t use it. @So I grab the ricotta, and it’ll be my substitute. @I start quenelling it, and the ricotta soaks into the kale, and it’s just a mess. @This is really bad.

Tadashi: @I taste the tempura, and I’m just realizing how few components are on my dish, but I hope that the flavors really do speak for themselves. @If I can accomplish that, then I’ll be good.

Lucas: @The kale sausage is cooked properly, and that’s already a huge advantage. @The flavors of my dish, it’s good. @I’m feeling confident that I can take down Fanny, and I’m sure that Tadashi is going to beat Karen. @The girls who are left, I’m not threatened by any of them.

Carrie: Time’s up!

Karen: @We are this far down the line with the competition, and I’m feeling nervous. @I really want to prove that even though I’m just a freshman, I can still beat these older cooks and win Warrior Chef.

Carrie: Your judge is Warrior Chef house critic, Chloe Lula!

Chloe: Hi, guys! Kale is such a beautiful ingredient, so I cannot wait to see what you have made with it!

Chloe and Carrie taste the dishes.

Carrie: So Chloe, let’s go down the line with each match-up, starting with Karen and Tadashi’s dishes!

Chloe: So Tadashi, the tempura dish was simple, elegant, and light. I liked the flavors and the balance there. Karen, the dish was ambitious, making pate and pasta from scratch, and you delivered on texture and presentation. Overall, the better dish was made by… Karen.

Karen: Oh my God! @I won? @Against Tadashi?! @I’m feeling elated right now! @I can’t believe it!

Chloe: Lucas, the sausage was delicious and the combination of kale textures was really well done. Fanny, the napoleon was an interesting take, but the kale itself was a bit soggy. Lucas, you won this match-up.

Carrie: Congratulations, Karen, Lucas! The two of you won the creativity challenge and will receive an advantage going into the elimination challenge!

Lucas: @This final four are strong, but we all know Tadashi is one of the biggest threats. @Any advantage that will let us edge him out of the competition is greatly appreciated.

Carrie: So now for the elimination challenge! San Francisco is known for having several Michelin starred restaurants, and we want you guys to take inspiration from one of four restaurants and prepare a dish! Please draw knives!

Karen – Atelier Crenn

Lucas – The French Laundry

Tadashi – Saison

Fanny – Campton Place

Carrie: Lucas, Karen, you both have an advantage. If you do not like the restaurants you’ve drawn, you can swap with either each other or one of your competitors.

Lucas: @I’m happy with The French Laundry, so I’m going to keep it.

Karen: I actually would like to swap with Saison from Tadashi. @Atelier Crenn is a really difficult concept to replicate because of all of these ridiculous chemicals and modern molecular ingredients I’ve never heard of. @It’s high-end artistic French food. @With Saison, it is refined, but the flavors speak more than the presentation.

Tadashi: @I got Atelier Crenn, but my experience with Melisse should help me overcome that gap. @I hope that this challenge, I can win.

Carrie: So just 1 hour to prepare your dishes. Time starts now!

Fanny: @I got Campton Place. @It’s modern Indian and Californian cooking. @I’m feeling okay because I can prepare a garam malasa rubbed lamb with a pea-yogurt flan and cilantro-coconut-lime foam. @I’m hoping that using the usage of a homemade garam masala will show enough technique. @Everyone thinks that Tadashi is the strongest cook, but I think of myself as more of a dark horse. @I made it this far, I have proven myself, and I’m ready to take the title.

Karen: @I have Saison, and I know that I can nail this concept. @I’m preparing a butter poached langoustine and chanterelles roasted in garlic-brown butter and a leek-poached lemon peel puree. @I’m literally layering butter into the dish, because that’ll be key to making sure that it really hits home that French feel, but balancing it with the right acidity, just so that it won’t be heavy.

Lucas: @Having to prepare a dish for The French Laundry is awesome. @I’m making a pear-caramel tart, with a pear sorbet, caramel tuile cone, and a pear puree infused toffee with brown butter financier as the base. @I thin that it’s really ballsy, but if I can pull it off, then it’ll be French Laundry-worthy.

Tadashi: @The reason why Lucas might be in trouble tonight is because The French Laundry is 3 Michelin stars and the expectation is that much higher. @He might be sent home because he didn’t deliver to those expectations. @I have Atelier Crenn, and right away, I decide to take a risk. @I’m making an earl gray whipped goat cheese with carrot spheres, fried chervil, brown butter soil, and carrot juice cider. @I’m going to take a risk because that’ll just set me apart, and I’m hoping that my dish will resemble pulling a carrot out of the ground.

Fanny: @I test out my foam, and it’s getting stuck in the canister. @My cilantro, I should have steeped it into the coconut milk rather than blended it in. @I’m wasting time trying to pour out the liquid through a strainer and cleaning out the canister. @I’m so annoyed.

Lucas: @I get the financier out and it looks nice. @The dessert can be a huge success, but it’s just a manner of whether or not it’ll stack up against the other dishes. @I can see myself and Tadashi in the final two. @Karen and Fanny are strong, but they haven’t delivered dishes on the same level as the two of us.

Karen: @I taste the puree, and it’s got a lot of layers of flavor. @The smoky sweetness of the leeks, the sourness and bitterness of the citrus, and I already know that this will make my langoustine taste delicious. @I might actually make it to the final three!

Tadashi: @I’m feeling good about the dish and where it’s going. @In terms of my competition, I’m just not going to pay attention to them. @The moment I get caught up in what they’re doing, I won’t be able to focus on my dishes or my food.

Carrie: Time’s up!

Lucas: @I step back, and my dessert looks like a bit of a mess. @But then when I see the other dishes, I might still be in with a shot here.

Carrie: Your judges are:

Erwin Ko

Aster Walker

Miriam Adjanti

Carrie: Let’s start with Karen’s dish!

Karen – buttered langoustine, roasted chanterelles, leek-poached lemon peel puree

Miriam: The langoustine was cooked beautifully. I’m surprised that Karen knew how to cook it so well, but the flavors were elegant and straightforward.

Aster: The puree was such a nice touch and it contrasted the richness of the rest of the dish nicely. I’m happy with the chanterelles and the caramelization she got on those.

Erwin: The dish was simple, elegant, classy. It really did embrace Saison’s French-Californian style well, and she nailed the challenge criteria really well.

Carrie: Next up is Lucas’s dish!

Lucas – pear caramel tart with financier and sorbet

Miriam: The financier was cooked beautifully but there was just too much going on. I get he was trying to capture the whimsy of Thomas Keller, but I was left confused.

Erwin: He had way too many things on a plate that just did not bring anything new to the dish. I felt like it was running a marathon just to get through eating every component.

Aster: I appreciate the ambition, and nothing was cooked poorly. I just wanted him to zero in on making the portion more elegant, and less of a buffet plate. He lacked any real restraint when it came to plating it.

Carrie: And next is Fanny’s dish!

Fanny – garam malasa lamb with pea-yogurt flan and cilantro-coconut-lime foam

Miriam: The lamb was cooked beautifully. I really thought Fanny’s presentation was there as well. But the thing I’m disappointed about is how underseasoned her flan was.

Erwin: The texture of the flan was beautiful. I liked the texture of her foam a lot too. But the flavors of the foam and flan were too subtle, so the garam masala overpowered it.

Aster: The dish basically tasted like lamb with creamy textures. There was not much contrast. But the thing I appreciated was the presentation and concept.

Carrie: Finally, the dish by Tadashi!
Tadashi – earl gray goat cheese, carrot spheres, chervil, brown butter soil, carrot cider

Miriam: The usage of the carrot, and deconstructing carrot cake into this elegant plated dessert, I really loved it. The cider, I was apprehensive, but it acted as a cool palate cleanser. This was a really incredible dish.

Erwin: The fact he made his own cider out of the carrot juice was already enough for me to shower him with praises. The one thing I’m disappointed about is that Atelier Crenn features this carrot jerky, and each contestant saw the cookbooks for the restaurants they had to base their dishes on. He missed that opportunity.

Aster: The dish itself was artfully plated and the concept was really clever. I’m blown away that he was able to accomplish this in just 1 hour, but the flavors were there. I’m impressed by his abilities.

Carrie: So can we decide on who is going to win this challenge, and which contestant is going home tonight?

Miriam: We can.

In walks the final four.

Carrie: So tonight, we agreed two dishes really stood out. Karen, Tadashi, both of you impressed us tonight!

Aster: Karen, the dish was simple but the flavors were delicate and beautiful.

Miriam: Tadashi, that carrot dessert was brilliantly done. We really just couldn’t stop raving about it.

Karen: @I beat Tadashi in the creativity challenge, and I really want to beat him tonight for a second time. @If I can do that, then I really do have a shot at Warrior Chef.

Carrie: Tonight, the best dish belonged to… Tadashi.

Tadashi: Thank you.

Carrie: Congratulations, Tadashi! You won the elimination challenge! Karen, you are also safe. The two of you can leave.

Karen: @I didn’t win, but it feels good to know that I made it to the final three!

Tadashi: @Right now, I have seven wins, and it feels great. @I need to keep producing strong dishes, and win the entire competition.

Karen and Tadashi leave.

Fanny: @It’s between me and Lucas now. @Only one of us can make it through.

Erwin: Fanny, our issue with your dish was that your garnishes were bland, so it made eating the entire dish really uninteresting.

Miriam: Lucas, you just had way too much going on. We appreciate the ambition, but the dish was hard to eat.

Carrie: Tonight, one of you is going home.

Lucas: @Fanny went simple and mis-executed. @I went complex, and went overboard. @I’m feeling that it’s going to be a nail-biting decision.

Carrie: Whoever is going home does have a second chance. We have the Redemption Rounds finale coming up next, so you will have an opportunity to beat the reigning champion and return to the finale. That being said, Fanny, please return to the kitchen and leave.

Fanny: Thank you for the opportunity to compete. @I’m not leaving sad. @I’m leaving determined. @I still have another shot at the title, and I’m ready to take my second chance and really fly with it.

Lucas: @I barely dodged a bullet. @That safety net of the Redemption Rounds, it won’t be here in the next round, so I need to be careful from now on.

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.