After defeating his 100th Shokugeki opponent, Takumi Aldini, Subaru Mimasaka claimed his Mezzaluna as compensation for his win. Because of his victory, Subaru advanced to the Semifinals of the 43rd Tōtsuki Autumn Election and found out that his opponent for the Semifinals was none other than Sōma Yukihira.
Subaru infiltrated the Polar Star Dormitory to discuss with his future opponent about their match. Upon his return from the arena, Sōma found Subaru in his room and offered to make him a meal during his visit. During their meal, Subaru told Sōma that their Semifinal match would be like his Quarterfinal match: a Shokugeki. Initially, Sōma would have to surrender his knife if he lost while Subaru would have to return Takumi's Mezzaluna if he did. However, after Subaru tried to insult Takumi, calling him pathetic, Sōma called Subaru the pathetic one. He decided that if Subaru lost, he would have to return all 100 knives Subaru had won from his previous Shokugekis. Failing to see the equality of the 100 knives to Sōma's one knife, Sōma assured Subaru that he would make a compensation worth his while: he would quit being a chef forever. The news shocked Subaru and Sōma's supporters because of what had happened in Subaru's previous Shokugeki, but nevertheless, Sōma was willing and confident to go with his compensation if he lost. Knowing that Subaru will stalk Sōma to prepare, Sōma decided to "make his work easier" by telling Subaru that he would make a beef stew like the one the two had been eating, since their theme for their Semifinal match is a Western-Style dish. When asked why he was so adamant about his decision, Sōma said that he refused to lose to Subaru who lacked the true joy of cooking through trial and error and merely was a copycat of others. Intrigued by Sōma's words, Subaru agreed to the terms and their Shokugeki was set.
One week later, the time for the Shokugeki finally arrived and Sōma arrived at the arena, confident for his match. Before him doing so however, Sōma visited Isami and told him to deliver a message to Takumi to see his match. Upon his late arrival to the arena, Sōma was confronted by Mitsuru who asked him about his strategy to beat Subaru. Sōma instead told him that he did not know yet and all that is left to do is to enjoy cooking as usual, much to Mitsuru's shock and concern.
Upon entering the battle kitchen, unlike his first Shokugeki, Sōma received cheers from the crowd while Sōma's supporters expressed their concerns about him. Afterwards, Subaru came into the arena with high confidence and with their cooking set ready, both battle chefs began their match. As the cooking period began, Gin Dōjima announced that he along with Hinako Inui, Fuyumi Mizuhara, Taki Tsunozaki, and Sonoka Kikuchi would be the judges for the Semifinal rounds.
Up in the viewing booths, Erina watched Sōma intently, expecting him to use the same Beef Stew he had given her earlier. However, much to Erina's surprise, Sōma was using a different beef than before: beef tail. While the crowd wondered why Sōma was using that instead of beef belly, Erina realized that the beef tail is the most gelatinous part, creating a viscous feel that complements his original brown miso idea, a technique he developed after watching Hisako's Quarterfinal match. Sōma added black pepper directly to his meat and planned on using clove later to prevent an overpowering taste from the clove. Finally, Sōma finely sliced his vegetables to give his dish a sweetness to it, creating a new beef stew that would blow his previous stew out of the water. Even though Erina was impressed by Sōma's answer to her critique, Sōma felt like a snake was coiling around his arm.
The Snake's VenomEdit
Subaru laughed hysterically as even Sōma's usage of beef tail was uncovered by Subaru. He even added black pepper and clove, and was cutting his vegetables like a Matignon, just like Sōma was. However, Subaru began to deviate from Sōma's cooking as he suspended his meat with a meat hook. Subaru revealed that the slab of meat is a mesquite smoked pork that he will use to make bacon for his stew's garnish. Once again, it seemed that Subaru completely took control of the match away from Sōma with the knowledge he had managed to acquire after Mitsuru had wrote his preliminary article draft. Seeing Subaru initially have a lead, everyone assumed that Sōma was on the verge of defeat.
…Or so it seemed. Despite the fact that Subaru had managed to unearth Sōma's base for his stew, Sōma calmly took out his secret weapon, a cooler of other various beef parts including beef cheek, tongue, tripe, and fillet. As he began to cook his beef parts, Sōma announced to the judges that he'd be taking them to the "Beef Amusement Park", an announcement that surprised everyone, including Subaru. Sōma revealed that he decided to buy his meat earlier that morning, meaning that all of his actions from then on would be completely ad-libbed. Sōma quickly set to work cooking the tongue and fillet. As he brought out his steak skirt, Sōma suddenly left the arena to fetch a shichirin.
Despite this, Subaru stated that Sōma was still under his scope. Unlike Takumi, who had no knowledge of Subaru stalking him, Sōma knew what he was doing. Subaru stated that since Sōma knew that he was stalking him, he would either try to trick him through a bluff or ad-lib his dish on the spot while not allowing any secrets to be known to Subaru. Though it had seemed that Sōma's dish was completely unknown to Subaru, Subaru revealed that he knew about Sōma's beef purchase that morning and that he even knew about Sōma's visit to the Aldini brothers after that. Subaru personally thanked Mitsuru for his article, which he managed to access to acquire information about Sōma's dish, which would all come together to dig Sōma's grave.
Beef and Pork Cross ImpactEdit
With his dish done, Subaru presented his dish first, a Beef Stew with Bacon Garnish. Subaru even took time to utter Sōma's catchphrase, much to his annoyance. Sonoka was impressed by the garniture choices and began to flaunt her knowledge of the glacé, but Taki quickly silenced her and made her eat the dish. According to Sonoka, the dish had a sort of mellowness to it but, according to Taki, the mesquite's aroma was sharp enough to almost produce tears. Subaru explained that his bacon was cured and pickled for 5 days, followed by a day to dry, and 5 hours to smoke. Gin noted that the bacon has powerful qualities, yet it does not overpower the beef and actually enhances it, a testament to Subaru's careful and well spent labor.
Now more than ever, it had seemed that Sōma could not escape Subaru's grasp. Subaru viciously taunted Sōma by calling his sudden improvisation a "deliberate resignation". Additionally, Subaru affirmed that by following his creed, Sōma should enjoy his final moments as a chef. As the judges finished the dish, they felt as if they were in a wrestling match, being double teamed by the beef and pork. The audience noticed that the judges loved it and all of Sōma's supporters looked crestfallen, even a defeated looking Takumi, who had decided to come and watch Sōma's match.
Sōma, with quite a bit of sweat on his face, remained confident as he told Subaru that he too spent the past week thinking about what Subaru would have done in the match. Sōma then cracked open his shichirin which released thick smoke into the arena. As the smoke enveloped him, Subaru broke out into cold sweat. As he wiped it off, Subaru could not comprehend what he was so afraid of, despite anticipating everything Sōma had done so far. Sōma calmly served his Beef Stew: Autumn Election Special for judging. The dish initially appeared to be nothing more than a chaotic mess of various beef parts, resembling yakiniku rather than a stew. Sōma assured them that, like Subaru's bacon, all the extraneous meat was garnish.
The judges finally decided to take their first bite. Taki herself felt that she was riding a roller coaster, each successive piece of meat sending her on a flavor thrill ride. Subaru could not understand why such a random arrangement could have so much cohesiveness. Sōma explained that he too considered adding a strong garniture like bacon, but he felt that it did not reflect the kind of chef he was. He explained that he used a Chikuzenni as the basis for the stew's arrangement, cooking each part of the dish separately while paying attention to the construction and harmony of the stew. Subaru wondered how Sōma could have created a dish just out of pure ad lib. Sōma informed him that he had assumed that he had emptied his mind and relied on ad-libbing, but in reality, Sōma never stopped thinking, constantly thinking about ways to improve his dish throughout the week, and even during the match itself. The judges were impressed by his tenacity and creativity and were so immersed in the dish, they all got out of their seats and held hands in front of the judging table. Taki was so engrossed that she even held Hinako's hand, but she quickly withdrew her hand once she realized.
The judges returned to their seats, and in a decisive victory, Sōma was declared the victor of the match.
Judges Votes Edit
|Judges||Vote of Choice||Notes|
Immediately after the duel results were recorded, Hisanao Kageura entered the arena holding two pieces of paper: one being a notice of expulsion for Sōma, the other being a contract to quit cooking. He promptly tore up the contracts, causing disbelief in Subaru who still could not understand how Sōma managed to escape his Perfect Trace. As usual, Sōma handed him his stew to taste. With a single bite, Subaru was reminded of how he eventually came to Tōtsuki and why he became the man he is now. As he recovered from his memories, a large metal container was brought in, containing all 100 knives Subaru had collected over the years. Immediately a large wave of students stormed onto the cooking floor to reclaim their knives, one girl in particular thanked Sōma for returning a knife that was a memento from her deceased mother.
As each of the students shot malicious glares at him, Subaru accepted his defeat and decided to leave Tōtsuki and quit being a chef. However, Sōma immediately chopped him on the head, telling him that doing so would go against what the Shokugeki was for. Sōma called out to Takumi in the stands who had not come down to reclaim his Mezzaluna. Takumi refused to reclaim his knife and told Sōma to hold onto the knife until he could win it in their own Shokugeki. Takumi then told Subaru that he will never lose to him again as he left the arena.
Sōma told Subaru that all cooks are a bunch of sore losers and even when they are faced with a situation that destroys their confidence, a chef will always be ready to open their shop the next day. Subaru smiled and realized that he did not have to end his career just because he lost. Sōma finally decided to talk to Erina, reminding her that there is only one match left for him to win in order to be able to challenge her.
(To be added)