Secret Chef (2023–…): Season 1, Episode 8 - Episode #1.8 - full transcript

Are you wondering how healthy the food you are eating is? Check it -
- Previously on Secret Chef...

A few old friends stopped by...

- "Want to come back?
Then, make a snack."

- ...but only one stuck around.
- I wanna throw up!

- Sydney questioned her good fortune.

- This is me having a meltdown.

And someone's winning streak
came to an end.

- What?!
- Bring it in.

Level eight of ten begins now.

It's not what you do.
It's the way you do it.

And it better be good

because today,
I'm going to critique technique.

Ten chefs compete...

through ten levels of cooking challenges,

secretly judging each other

for a $100,000 prize.

This is Secret Chef.

- I'm in the top four, baby.

- I'm still, like, freaking out.
Like, this is real.

- Everyone is gonna bring it up a notch.

The finale is right around the corner.

I wanna fight. I wanna claw.

I wanna win this competition.

I can't believe Josh is out,
and I'm here. I'm just like...

I don't know what happened yesterday.
I really don't understand.

- Oh, my goodness. Like, he trained under
some of the best chefs in the world.

Joshua worked at three different
Michelin-star restaurants,

and I'm a home cook
and I'm still in this thing.

I feel bad for Joshua,
but as myself still in the game,

I'm feeling pretty accomplished right now.

- He's phenomenal,
all the food he cooked,

but maybe things throw him off...
- Yeah.

- ...that are part of the challenge.

I've seen professional chefs go home,
and I'm still standing.

I kinda wanna do a happy dance.

Obviously, I can't be doing that.

- Hiya, chefs!

Hey, Cheffy.

- Once, there were more of you.

Now, there are four of you.

But who will be our Secret Chef winner?

- Me? I dunno.

- Just think, one of you
will walk away with my $50,000

and the $50,000

matched by our grand prize sponsor,

What will you do with all that cabbage?
- That's a lot of slaw.

This is real deal money
that could help fuel a restaurant.

$100,000 is like... right there.

It's time for a challenge.

And for today's first challenge,
I have a fantastic ingredient.

- Oh God.
- That's a lot of rice.

Oh, there's different types.
- Oh, grains!

- Lots of different rices.

- Rice! Rice is life!

All around the world, humans live on rice.

Just on that belt alone,
I've got...

brown rice, jade rice, jasmine rice,
sweet sticky rice, long grain basmati,

wild, arborio, sushi, bomba,
Calrose, and black rice.

You can steam it, boil it, or fry it.

With the right technique,
rice is a perfect foundation for anything.

The perfect rice dish has

perfectly cooked fluffy rice.

This is where you start to see

the difference in people's skill level.

You can make whatever rice dish you want

with whatever type of rice you want,

as long as it takes us
on a culinary journey.

A field trip around the world with rice.

Whoever wins this challenge will receive
a secret advantage for the next one.

You have 60 minutes.
Happy travels. Bon voyage!

- Let's go!

It is so important for me
that I win this advantage today

because I legit fought so hard
to get back in this competition.

And now that I won two challenges,

I really gotta stay on top.

- Chef JJ?

Chef JJ? Where are you?

- Yo. What's going on?

- Yeah, not much. How are you doing?
- I'm doing great.

It's good to see you. How you been?
- I'm alright. You know,

I'm working with a bunch of crazy chefs.

- Ooh! You know chefs can be crazy.

- Hoo hoo hoo hoo hoo!

Well, as one of the country's
most-respected chefs,

a magician with rice,

and a James Beard Award winner to boot,

you're the perfect mystery guest

for our field trip rice dish challenge.

- You know field trip and rice bowls
is my way.

- They sure are!
- So you have a kitchen for me?

- Yes! There's a little twist
on today's challenge

to keep our chefs on their toes.

Chef JJ is gonna
secretly cook a surprise dish

for them to taste and review.

Chef JJ, are you ready?

- I'm always ready to cook, Cheffy.
You know me.

I gotta get to the kitchen.

- Alright. So long!

Chefs, please begin the challenge

in three, two, one, go!

- We got rices of all sorts of... type.

We have to make a "field trip rice dish"

that takes us on a journey
to another part of the world.

With Chef Arugula gone,

I am like the strong front-runner here.

Now, people wanna see the dish
that I'm gonna cook.

People wanna open the cloche and be like,

"Alright, I see what Leon's bringing."

- You always wash your rice.

As a home cook at top four,

I'm feeling confident,
so I go with the theme

of a West African rice bowl,

and I'm going to make a jollof rice.

Basically, it's jasmine rice,
or a long green rice.

There's usually a protein, chicken,

and it's usually served
with plantains and fresh vegetables.

I haven't made jollof rice before,

so I'm taking a risk.

But I can do this.

I've been cooking rice since I was 5.

I immediately go over to the stove

because I smell something burning.

- Oh, my God.

My rice is still going.

This is not good.

This should be a foolproof competition.

- This is a rice challenge.
It's about the rice,

so I really need the rice
to have a lot of flavor.

I decide to make
an asparagus risotto with a poached egg.

I wanna up it a notch
by making buerre blanc,

a classic French butter sauce.

And that's just sautéing shallots
with wine,

so you're really packing in that flavor.

With this dish, I really wanna wow
my fellow contestants because,

if I'm correct,
they're all professional chefs.

As a home cook,

I need to take my flavors a step further,

so I can compete with these guys.

- I'm thinking about making

Korean fried rice with crispy tofu.

I haven't made a vegetarian dish here,

and that's kind of how I cook
a lot at home for my clients.

And I love making any kind of fried rice,

so it's gonna be fun.

I'm pretty impressed with myself today.

- I used to work at a sushi restaurant,

so I'm gonna go with the sushi rice.

I'm making a chicken cutlet rice bowl.

This dish takes you from Asia

to Mexico to the south.

Incorporate sriracha and chipotle,
top with a fried chicken.

Like a buttermilk fried katsu cutlet.

Gotta get that Southern influence,
so it's like a Southern-fried chicken.

- Alright, think I'm gonna do
a little tasso jasmine rice,

and then some crispy squid.

In Spain, you'll see a lot of squid

or a lot of like shellfish, and tasso ham,

being from the American South,

and that's where the inspiration is.

So I'm going from Spain to the Americas.

Oh, yeah. Look at this.


Holy cannoli! Look at that technique!

Alright, we cookin' with gas.

Chefs, 25 minutes remain.

I normally don't cook with rice.

It's just not one of my things.

I've been a bartender 15 years,

and, to be honest,
I don't really eat it a whole lot.

And now, I kinda feel like
I'm outta my element

because, for me, perfect rice dish

is a... pizza.

- Just gonna make some simple rice.

So I put my middle finger
to the bottom of the bowl,

and I was filling up the liquid
to the top knuckle of my finger.

That's the trick of cooking rice.

It doesn't matter what size your hand is.

If you use that, you're gonna get
this beautiful, fluffy rice.

Great technique, JJ.

- Now, I need to press my tofu.

When you're cooking with tofu,
you wanna press your tofu

to remove as much liquid as possible.

I'm doing this because I want it
to absorb some of the marinade,

so when you take a bite,
it's not just tofu flavor.

Just throw it in.

We're having fun over here. Woo!

- This is the base for the buerre blanc,

aka white butter.

Which, if I had a basketball nickname,

I would really hope they would
call me that. That sounds pretty cool.

We had a White Chocolate.
I'd be White Butter.

Oh, Buerre Blanc with the layup!

He shoots, he scores.

- Hook shot!
Oh, I don't know if I made it or not.

Oh, I don't know if I made it or not.

My beautiful jollof.

I gotta get this in there.

I want a component
of plantain on my dish

because that's authentic
to how jollof is served.

So, I decide to make
a crunchy plantain chip

to kind of add some texture.

Okay, this is done.

- Oh yeah, oh yeah, oh yeah, oh yeah.
That's what I'm talking about.


That's beautiful.

I'm looking for rice that's, like, fluffy.

I don't want the rice to be mushy.

Too many of us grew up on mushy rice.

Rice is one of the hardest
ingredients to cook.

I hope they're paying attention to it.

Risotto can be kind of a tricky dish

because it can't be underdone,
and you can't have it mushy.

It needs to be tender.
It needs to be creamy.

This challenge is all about technique,

and with risotto,
it's a fickle, fickle thing.

I've gotta continuously stir it.

Let's take a look at your egg.
Don't forget about your egg, Lanky.

Oh. See, that one might be
a little overdone,

but we've got plenty of eggs.

I would love to win this advantage.

It's been a little while
since I've had one.

The winner of
the white elephant challenge was...

Chef Macaron!

Really helped me out
in the past challenge.

I would love to do that again.

Chefs, 15 minutes remain.

- I'ma fry these bad boys.
And then, at the same time,

chicken can go in
while the skins are crisp-able.




My fryer handle breaks.

Did I put too much in the fryer?

Oh my God. Like...

Dang, man!

This is a crucial moment.

If I can't get
this fryer situation together,

there's gonna be no chicken on this bowl.

Fryer down.

Welcome back.

We left Chef Leon trying
to get a handle on his chicken.


- Whuh-oh.
- Dang, man!

Who's gonna pay for that, Leon?

- My fryer handle breaks,
and I'm running out of time.

This is crazy.

I'm gonna move the baskets
and rearrange stuff

and just improvise because the chicken's
gotta get cooked, no matter what.

This first chicken's basically done.

- Think I smell my rice burning.
That's gonna be a problem.

The rice is cooking way,
way faster than I expected.

No panic.

It's mushy on top.
The whole bottom layer is burnt.

I have seven minutes.

I can do this.

- Chefs, five minutes.
- Woo!

Now I'm frying the rice.

- I'm just putting
a little rice in here first.

I wanna mix it with the tasso ham mix.

Fold that in there.
We do a little bit at a time.

The trick is you don't need to rush.
Oh, that's great.

- Alright, last egg. Make it count.

Where's the bowl? Where's the bowl?

You get bacon. You get bacon.
Everyone gets bacon.

Chefs, one minute remains.

This plating is a little messy.
It's not gonna be my best.

- I don't know if I'm gonna
get this in time.

- Alright, now, this is the tricky part

because we can't break the egg.

Come on, Lanky. You got this, homes.

I always do it in sections of the bowl.

Rice on one side, the vegetables,

and then the protein.
Comes together really nice.

Oh God, my hands are messy.
Making-- Ah!

Ten, nine, eight,



five, four,


two, one.

Time is up.

- Hopefully, it's a winner,
and, hopefully, I get an advantage.

Not bad for on the fly.

please return to your tasting rooms.

It's that time again.

Please assess the taste,
execution, and presentation

of these four dishes?

- Why is there four?

So... who's back?

Is Josh back?

There's four dishes,

but there's only four chefs left,

and I don't eat my own food.

Who else is cooking?

Please don't tell me
Chef Joshua's coming back.

Psst! JJ! Chef JJ!

Today, you won't rate the dishes,

but please write our chefs a review.
- Got you.

- Let's get started.

"Jollof rice bowl. West Africa."

- It's really pretty presentation.

Plantain chip is delicious.

- The jollof rice is a little wet for me,

but everybody cooks jollof rice different.

I like the spinach and bacon.
Maybe not with the rice.

Maybe if it was mixed in?

- We have a Korean fried rice.

The tofu, we're good.

I like that someone used tofu.

I don't think anyone has used tofu
in this competition so far.

It's very delicious.

- That's good tofu.

But it's not about the tofu.
It's about the rice.

Rice is cooked nice.

Flavor is good. Has good kick.

That's tasty.

"Curry with tasso jasmine rice.

Spain to the Americas."

Yo, this is some next level.

It's all executed really well.

- When I think of rice bowl,
this is what I want.

- I like the protein and the sauce.

Seasoned perfectly.

I honestly don't know
whose this could be.

I feel like I've been
out of this for a little while,

but... it's really good.

"Chicken cutlet rice bowl.

Asian, Mexican, Southern American."

Let's start with presentation.
It looked good.

I mean, it really went
like around the world here.

- This sushi rice is cooked spectacular.
- The chicken is good.

- It's crunchy. I like it a lot.

Can't tell what-- Is this a chicken skin?

- Oh, that chicken skin is right!

- The rice is, like, the most
boring thing on that whole dish.

But, altogether, I just wanna
eat that plate more.

"Asparagus risotto from France."

- Ah, beautiful. Beautiful!

- Thought risotto is Italian.

Look at that yolk ooze!

Good flavor.

- The rice is kind of
not consistently cooked.

There are some pieces
that are chewy and some are good.

This one's probably my favorite,

only because it's just so well-balanced.

Having a fourth cloche,

I'm confused, for sure.

Do we got another person coming back?

Is this another top five?
Like, what's about to happen?

I don't know.
I think mine was definitely the most

direct to the point
of where it came from.

I hope they liked it.

- I'm really proud
of that tofu that I made.

- I'm scared.

- Time for reviews.

With just a few chefs left,

it's getting too easy
to guess who's saying what.

Let's make it interesting.

The reviews are going incognito.

Shh. Here they come.

- No, they're not.

No, they're not!

- I would like to note for the record
that the names have been crossed out.

- Ooh, and I can't tell
who's critiquing me.

- This is kind of an interesting twist.

The redacted aliases means
that we're not gonna be understanding

who is sending the feedback,

but maybe it's also to preserve
this fourth review?

- This is tough. Alright, here we go.

"The egg yolk was poppy.

"The risotto for me
could be cooked a little less,

but it's really good." Okay.

- "Super flavorful rice,

"but felt like the rice
was a little gummy.

Not sure if it was supposed
to be more sticky."

So, that means you've never had jollof,

so you don't know what
the texture is supposed to be.

- "Tofu and sauces
were the stars of the dish.

The rice flavors didn't quite
marry with the tofu and sauces."

I think that might be Radicchio.

Feel like they're always kind of
a little bit of a harsh critic.

- "Well executed. Wonderful flavor.

Mouth craved Parmesan after a bite."

But this was a French dish.
Parmesan is Italian.

I wouldn't put Parmesan.

But I'm glad they enjoyed the dish.

- "I like the journey
in different components.

I would have left the chicken out
and just... went with the skin?!"

Oh, my gosh!

A chicken skin rice bowl!

Duh! I missed it!

I wouldn't have had to deal
with the fryer situation.

I could have just got
all the skins off the chickens.

That would have been so perfect.

Okay. I don't know who said what,

but, at this point, it doesn't matter.

You just need to cater your dish
to the people who are eating it

if you wanna make it to the finale.

Oh boy.

- Come on, baby. Say something good.

- No!

It's okay. I won two yesterday.
I should be proud of myself.


"I'm sorry, you did not win.
Try again soon."

Curious who won.

- These are great reviews.

I am another step closer to $100,000.

After reading the reviews, I feel great.

I think I'm gonna win this challenge.

- I really packed in some nice
French flavors into this dish,

and I want the advantage
in the next round.

Roll the dice.

We left Lanky
calling on Lady Luck for a win

and the advantage over Leon.

Roll the dice.

- I hate this feeling. I hate it.

- "I'm sorry, you did not win.
Try again soon." Really? What won?

- Boom! I won.

- Think maybe Josh, if...
Josh is back? Maybe that cutlet?

- Finally. Finally.


Chefs, please exit your tasting rooms.

- Alright. See you later, room.

I'm ready to sit down.

My favorite room.

We had the fourth review
and a fourth dish.

- And no names.

- No names.
- No names. That was a new one.

- Walk in, four cloches,
and I'm like, "Oh, my God!

Another person's coming back!"
- Is Josh coming back again?

- I know. I literally was like,
"Who's back? Who's back?"

- That dish could be totally Josh.

It was 100%! It was a Josh dish!

- Show yourself, Josh!
- Come on, Josh.

He's like, the chair turns around.

- I think someone's coming back.

- Or someone else is.


- Hiya, Chefs.
- Hey, Cheffy.

- You brought a world of flavor
to those rice dishes. Great job!


- Did you happen
to notice anything special?

We sure did.
There was an extra one.
- Yep. We did.

- There was an extra dish.

- Yes. Someone very talented
is here today...

- Would Cheffy do this to us?

Really bring back
another eliminated contestant?

This could be Chef Joshua coming back.

Who is it?
- Who is it?

- Josh. It's definitely Josh.

Yes, it's James Beard Award-winning chef

and cookbook author Chef JJ Johnson!

- I am so excited to see Chef JJ.

I'm fangirling.
I've been to his restaurant. I love it.

I'm thrilled,
but I also know when there's a guest chef,

there's a unique challenge.
So, I'm curious to see what JJ has to say.

- What's up? How you feeling?
- Hello!

- You feel better now?

- Yes.
- I-I never feel good.

- You should be proud of yourselves!

I'm so relieved

that it's not another
contestant coming back.

- I'm gonna put you guys up to a task.


I was a coauthor of a cookbook
called Between Harlem and Heaven,

which featured recipes
that were influenced by Africa,

Asia, and the Americas.

The goal was to highlight
forced migration,

the way people move,

and all the food
that came out of those areas.

I'm gonna pair two countries,

and I'm gonna look for you to pull flavors
from there in your kitchens.

- Oh, goodness.

- For this challenge,
you'll go on a culinary journey

from one country to another,

drawing inspiration from both,
to create your own unique meal.

You must combine the flavors of each plate

and merge them into a totally new dish.

Show 'em which countries, JJ!

Okay, today in geography class.

So, chefs,

on this map,

I have eight countries

with distinct culture
and culinary traditions.

- Oh gosh.

- And here's what I paired together.

I have Germany to Korea,

Italy to India,

ooh, Mexico all the way to Greece,

and Japan to Spain.

Now, I know you're thinking... these countries and food
even go together?

But just let the ingredients
in your kitchen talk to you!

If you dig a little deep,

I'm sure you'll make
something truly delicious.

I'm kinda freaking out

because there are some countries

that really... are just so far apart.

And I don't really know Indian flavors.

For sure, I do not want Italy with India.

- Now, listen, when you get
back to your kitchens,

you'll see what countries
have migrated there

for you to start cooking.

And don't worry.

I'll be tasting,

but I will not be reviewing them.

That will be up to the four of you

because somebody's
going home today, right?

- I don't wanna talk about it, JJ.

These chefs are my best friends.

- Aw, Cheffy!
- Aw...

- Until next season.

Oh wow! Whoa!

Is Cheffy always like this?

- Yes. All the time.
- All the time.

- Come on, Cheffy.

So spicy today.

- One more thing.
The winner of the last challenge

has already been secretly informed.

Their advantage is that
they will receive three minutes

of intercom time with Chef JJ,

where they can ask him whatever they want.

- Boy, I wish I won the advantage.

- Alright, chefs, I hope your flavors

and ingredient pairings
won't get lost in translation.

You'll have 90 minutes. See ya!

- Ninety minutes.



For this challenge,
we have to combine flavors

from two different countries
that we're assigned

to make a cohesive dish.

Let's see what I got.

- Alright.

Come on, fingers crossed.
What do you got for me this time?

- It's going to Mexico to Greece.


Spain and Japan.

I'm very nervous.

This is going to be challenging.

Also, seat 42D.
All the way in the back of the plane?

Germany and Korea.

I don't know that much German food...

Italy and India.

For sure,
I do not want Italy with India.

I don't eat a lot of Indian food.

Chefs, please begin the challenge

in three, two, one...

- Alright.

- Okay.

Oh. There's some like
really nice prawn in there.

- Really need to come up with an idea.

Kind of bring a couple things together.

I mean, kimchi and sauerkraut

both fermented.

I am assigned Germany and Korea.

I don't really have
any experience with German food.

I've eaten a lot of brats,
and I've had spaetzle.

I've never really done
anything else besides that.

I wonder if I can make some kind of, like,

kimchi kind of stew

with, like, spaetzle with German pork.

Okay, well, I'm gonna see
what else I have.

- I'm going to do marinated lamb skewers

with Mexican refried beans

and a corn relish
topped with a sauce.

Don't know the sauce yet.

I know some Mexican flavors
and ingredients.

I know some Greek flavors and ingredients.

I don't know where they really overlap.

I think that's where I'm missing.

Like, where can I get them to hit in
right in the middle?


little bit of beer. Cerveza.

- These are flavors
I'm not quite familiar with,

but I think I've got a plan.

I'm gonna do spaghetti and meatballs.

I'm keeping things simple.
I'm just gonna work on flavors.

Instead of like a classic tomato sauce
that you get in Italy,

I'm gonna do like
a roast red bell pepper curry sauce.

This... This might work?

- Ramen noodles, love. Saké, love.

I got Spain and Japan,
and I love Japanese food.

I love ramen. I love sushi.

Yes. Let's do it.

We're going with a ramen,

and I'm going to figure out
what goes on the ramen.

I'm really confused
what I'm gonna do with Spain.

Where is the Spanish flavor
gonna come in?

When I think of Spanish food,

I think tapas, paella,
mussels, and prawns.

I'm gonna go with...

paella-style ramen.

I could do prawns and saffron
to flavor the stock.

- Alright. And I'll let that go 45.

That'll be fine.

Winning the advantage
just gives you an option to talk

to a James Beard Award-winning chef.
So, when he speaks,

I mean, that word to me is truth.

JJ, are you there?

- Yo, Chef Donut.

- I have a direction of how
I'm going to guide Mexico,

and how I'm gonna have
some Greek flavors.

Alright, my man.

I plan to do refried beans
with a corn relish

with marinated lamb skewers.

I would just like a little bit more
inspiration coming from Greece.

- Do you have feta?
- Uh, yeah.

- So, mix the feta in
with the ground lamb.

What're you thinking sauce here?

- The sauce? You got Greek yogurt?
- Yeah.

- Maybe like a raita or maybe a tzatziki?

- Yeah. Throw in some fresh oregano.

Throw in some za'atar.
- Za'atar is a good one.

- That's gonna bring it all together,
that nice creaminess.

I see this dish coming together well.

- Any other advice? Any direction you
think I should follow? Make note of?

- Just stay focused on what you need
to do. You're on to something...

...and now just execute it.

You're good. D-Don't go off path.
- Thank you.

- Thank you. That was a huge, huge help.

I feel amazing

that Chef JJ gave me

the perfect validation

that I'm kind of in the good mindset.

He really helped out the connection
with some sort of yogurt sauce.

That was a huge, huge help.

All I gotta do is execute. I heard that.

I heard that loud and clear.

- Infused oil.

Maybe one habanero for like good spice.

- We're just gonna keep blitzing that.

Sauté these out real quick.

This is the most chaos.

Chefs, you have one hour.

- As a home cook,
I like to take liberty because I can.

Sometimes, I can't decide
on what I want for dinner.

Like, "Oh, do I want Mexican,
or do I want Japanese?"

I have the liberty at home
of mix 'em together.

Kinda like what we're doing here,
except it's not really what I would pick,

but I'm rolling with it.
Moving with the flow.

My hands are literally goo.

Like I'm trying to make spaetzle,
but I have never made it.

I've only watched others make it.
Should've paid attention.

I'm starting to have doubts in my plan.

This spaetzle is not coming out
the way I thought it would.

I don't know how these two countries
can work together at all.

I'm at a loss.

This is definitely
the hardest challenge so far,

and it's really testing me.

Everyone's gonna be like,
"What am I even eating, Sydney?"

- All that oil, get an accurate taste.

Some people seem nervous
about the country origins.

I mean, my whole goal in cooking

is I wanna be familiar
with cuisines from everywhere.

So, like, gimme this.

I gotta go to the semis.
I can make it, man.

Like, the finish line's right there.
Making it to the semis would be so big.

Chefs, 25 minutes remain.

- I have mussels and clams

to add some of that seafood flavor

that's very prevalent in Spanish food.

I gotta do something with this,
and I don't want to.

I might have to grow up and do it.

I know prawns are always served
at tapas restaurants.

We're gonna think on this one.

I don't like touching them.

I don't like seeing them.
I don't wanna deal with this thing.

It has eyeballs!

Why do they have, like, a million feet?

I don't even know what you're
supposed to do with this.

Someone help me.

Welcome back.
Chef Poonam's having
crustacean frustration.


Really still thinking about these.

I don't know what to do with this,
but I know I need it.

I wanna be confident
and make something up,

but we're not-- we're not there.
We can't around today.

I'm gonna not.

Sorry, guys.

My dish will still have
a Spanish influence

without the prawns

because I still have mussels and clams.

- I was kind of hoping to have,
like, a more, like...

maybe orange curry sauce?

Because right now, it just looks
like Italian food. But, it's fine.

If it looks Italian,

and then it turns out to taste Indian,

I think I've hit the home run, right?

- I think the stew that
I've made so far is really good.

I think it's like a mushroom stew

that I would eat mixed
with Korean flavors.

I think it works.

Something's telling me to just go with it.

- Most of the things I wanted
to get done are now finished.

The only concern is cooking the lamb.

I think the lamb might not
cook right like I want.

If the cheese starts
sticking to the cast iron,

and I can't get the flavor I want in time,

we could be in trouble.

- I'm gonna taste this again,
and we're gonna see how it is.

This is pretty much
just an Italian sauce.

I need to get some more
Indian flavors in there.

There's some more spices,

so I'm gonna go a little heavier
with all these herbs

because I like what's going on right now.

I just hope that people get it.

My herbs and spices are coming together,

and it's starting to smell
like Indian cuisine.

But I've gotta give it time in the sauce

to make sure it tastes
like Indian cuisine.

Chefs! Fifteen minutes remaining!

- Oh, damn it.

One of my favorites.
Why didn't I think of this?

MSG. MSG, baby!



And now, the flame is out.

How do I make it...

Oh, okay, it's back.

Chefs, five minutes.

- Okay.

Roasty toasty.

- We've become a neurotic lunatic.

- Good enough, good enough,
good enough. Okay.

- If I don't get these noodles right,

the ramen will not be
the way I want it to be

because they will be overcooked
and not elevated.

No one wants overcooked ramen.

Unless you're a grandma without teeth.

Let me try these.

Let's bring this somewhere I can handle.

Yeah, I'm not loving these.

The noodles are overcooked.

I have other options.
I could do a soba,

but that means I have to get
a whole pot of water boiled,

then use those hot noodles to plate
and get all my garnishes.

This will never work.

I don't have time for this.
I need to just do it,

and that's what's gonna happen.

I'm plating early
because I want to make this pretty.

Skewers have ended up
working out exceptionally well.

This isn't supposed to work together,
and it does!

Like, I just don't want any cohesion talk.

If I hear "cohesion" one more time,

I'ma lose it.
Damn, this is awesome.


Chefs, one minute left.

- There's time to garnish.
I'll tuck you this way.

- Rizzo. One of these.

- Corn relish is there...

- Oh, this plating is really rustic.

Five, four, three, two, one.

Time is up.

- I feel really good.
I feel like it's just a matter of, like,

do the chefs feel good?

Do they like the dish?

The challenge has ended.
Please head to your tasting rooms.

Here we go...

- Ooh, this is lookin' good.

- Top four. Let's see.

This is a paella-style ramen.

Ooh! This is cute.

- So, they got Japan and Spain.

- Presentation of this dish
is spectacular.

Let's see if there's a good
texture on these noodles,

because that's
a big part of ramen, isn't it?

They are... overcooked.

The broth is a little bland.

I wish there was more seafood?

I got the attributes of paella,
but it doesn't taste like paella.

- I needed so much
more complexity in here.

The paella-style ramen was beautiful,

but I didn't get too much
of both countries.

I feel like Japan...

and then Spain.

This chef got Germany and Korea,

and they did a spicy stew
with schnitzel-style pork.

- I think the pork is great.

I don't really know
if this is a stew?

It's more like a broth.

- Woo! I got some spice!

- I was like overwhelmed with heat.

Is it a noodle? What is this?

It's flavorful. I don't know.

It tastes good.
I just don't know what it is.

"Lamb skewer with refried beans,
corn relish, and tzatziki.

Mexico and Greece."

- So, this is Chef Donut.

I gave him some advice.
Let's see if he took the advice.

- Tastes like tzatziki.
It's very delicious.

I would eat that all the time.

The sauce is good.

Okay, Donut!

I see you!

Now, I'm this type of guy
who takes a tortilla,

that little spread, that sauce,

you take that lamb, hit it with
a little dollop of the corn and refried...

And off, off away we go
to Mexico and Greece.

- I mean, it's all really good.

It's not cohesive as much.

We just took two elements

from each country and went hup!
Here we go! They're on a plate.

I was not blown away.

- Okay, my people.

"Indian spaghetti with meatballs."

- Ooh, yeah. Gimme this one.

- I can feel like I'm in Italy,

and I can smell like I'm in India.
Now, let's see what it tastes like.

- This better be like
a curried spaghetti and meatball.

- That's good. Nice kick.

Yep. Home run.

Whoever this was nailed the theme.

I'm not getting it.

I'm trying. I'm trying to like it.

I am so disappointed

because Indian food is multilayered.
You have to know when to add things.

You need to know how to toast the spices,

and I feel like people
just like using the word curry

and calling it Indian food.

I wanna roll my eyes
for five minutes if I could.

Like-- I wish I could.

Well, now this is the point

where I cross my fingers

and freak out my mind.

- Bye.

- I don't wish my competitors
any ill will,

but I hope they did worse than me.

Let's see what the chefs

have to say.

I don't wanna read yet.

Let's get comfortable first.

- Okay.

"Reviews for Chef Radicchio."

Again, they're redacted.

"I wanted more of a punch
in spice and saffron."

I forgot the saffron in my paella.

How do you make paella without saffron?



- "Great flavor. Very monochromatic."

"Korea was the star of the show.
You should be proud." I am.

- "Like the concept. Wished the sauce

had a stronger Indian influence/flavor."

I was kinda worried about that.

- Chef blank said,
"Flavors were incredible,

but it just doesn't feel
cohesive or different."

If I had to hear "cohesive"
one more time...

At this point, I'm annoyed.

It's no longer flavor. It's cohesion
that I'm getting killed on.

That I disagree with.

Everyone was very happy with it.

I think they just wanted, like, a vessel.

Just thinking out loud.
Ninety minutes to have Italy

and not make fresh pasta
and to use dried pasta,

that, like, is crazy.

Chefs, please exit your tasting room

and go to the lobby.

- Hoo, I have a feeling
I'm gonna throw up.

I'm starting to panic
because there's four of us,

and one is going home,

and I don't know where I stand.

- How y'all feeling?

- I'm, like, sick to my stomach,
but, you know.

My palms are always kinda sweaty

when I come back in the lobby.

There's nothing I can do now.
- Yeah.

The dreaded moment.

It is almost the semifinals.

Someone is going home.

I definitely don't want it to be me.

I don't want to be top four.
I wanna be number one.

We need a group hug
before this starts.

- Let's bring it in.
- I always give love, y'all.

- You guys have been a blast to cook with.

- Absolutely.
- Agreed. Agreed. It's a good bunch.

- Hi, chefs!

Hey, Cheffy.

- Chef JJ! Hooray!
- What's up?

- You made some awesome
flavor migration dishes today.

At least, I think you did.

I don't have taste buds.

Chef JJ,

you have taste buds.
How did they do?

- Oh, they did phenomenal!

- Wow!
- The food was spectacular,

and I would say the highlight for me

was the developed flavors.

I think that's what it was all about,

so you should be
really proud of yourselves.

That is awesome.

I just fed a James Beard Award-winner

and he loved my food.

And those words
will forever live in my heart.

- If I was voting,

it would be really, really tight.

- Thanks for being our guest today,
Chef JJ.

But what happens next is emotional.

- Oh no!

I think it would be best

if you were not here to witness this.

Goodbye, Chef JJ.

Thank you, Cheffy. Good luck.

Chefs, you made many impressive dishes,

but one of you didn't impress enough.

Chef Gherkin...


Chef Donut.

- Just... kill me!

Just-- Are you kidding?

I can feel my heart
just beating on my chest.

Am I in the top
or the bottom? Just tell me.

Four chefs standing here
soon will be three.

One must go. Who will it be?

- With my name being announced,
I'm nervous now because I'm like,

this is top three, 100,000 on the line!

Chef Gherkin and Chef Donut.

You're the two chefs...

...with the highest ratings!


You are one step closer
to the grand prize.

Like, I'm just blown away.
I'm so proud of myself,

and I'm finally
feeling confident in who I am.

- This is huge. You gotta get to top three
before you get to the finale,

so who's gonna be in top three with me?

This is what I'm waiting on.

- The chef who has the lowest rating

and who will be leaving us


- I'm either staying,

or I'm going home.
That's a 50/50 shot.

I have burnt my fingers and my hands.

I have been busting my ass
to make it to this point.

I want to be the home cook
who makes it to the top three.

Chef Radicchio.

Please take one step forward.

I am disappointed
because I wanted to be the winner,

but I kinda wanna take this moment in

because I, I did it.

I'm sad to leave,
but this, this was fun for me.

I just wanted to come and have fun,

share some of the recipes
that I love making.

And I learned from y'all.
Cheffy, I don't know about you anymore.

- Poonam, we will bill you
for the time incurred

to bleep out all of
your naughty swear words.

I have a ton of spices.

Okay, this.



Oh. Okay.

Ooh. Hot.

What the?


Cheffy! I'm leaving,
and you're throwing shade?!

- No. We'll miss you, Chef Radicchio.

- It was a joy to be here.

- Would you like to tell the chefs
what your culinary experience is?

- I am a home cook. I do this for fun.

- Okay...
- No way.

- I drink wine. I cook.

- Well.
- No, you don't.

- I work in corporate America
at a desk job.

- You should be extremely proud
of yourself.

- Thank you.
- I am extremely proud of you.

- Dang, Poonam.

You don't even do this for real,
and you're making amazing food.

What a testament.

Like, it doesn't matter who you are.
It's the food that you cook.

Can I have a hug?

I am proud to say
that I made it this far.

I beat a Michelin-trained chef.

I've gotten praise from
a James Beard Award-winning chef.

Bye, Poonam.

I proved you don't have to be a chef.

You do not have to have culinary training

to make incredible dishes.

Chef Radicchio, signing off.

- That's big.
- Yeah.


I've sent another chef home.

That means of the three of you,

one of you is closer to winning $100,000.

- Yes! Top three!


Job well done, Chef.

- Yes.
- Thank you.

- But, I can't celebrate just yet.

I still got two amazing chefs

to kick outta here.

I don't think Cheffy's having a good time

telling people to go home.
- I don't think so. Yeah.

Chef Poonam,
they had a good back-and-forth.

He's gonna pick on me
for the rest of my days.

And me!
Don't worry, we're in this together.

Bye, Cheffy.

Until next time...

So long!

Next time on Secret Chef...

Hip, hip, hooray!

The semifinal begins!
- It's been an honor

to go into battle with y'all.
- Here we go.

- Who's up for a threesome?
- We're cooking all three?

- Cheffy wants what Cheffy wants.

I'm feeling very generous.

: The winner of this challenge
will not go home today.

- Ooh.

The chefs
have to do it more than one way...

- Oh, my God! Dude!
- Oh, my God! Cheffy!

...or it's the highway.

- I gotta go for it. I gotta go for it.

It's level nine of ten
on the next Secret Chef.