Each finalist was given a journal to use during his or her run in the competition, and Arnold filled his with challenge reflections and recipe ideas. Here he jotted down his reaction to the premiere episode's food festival. "My dish totally represents me. Careful, whimsical, fresh. I can see myself teaching this on my show," he wrote of his tuna-topped salad, which Bobby found to be "very pretty."
After an uncharacteristically "sloppy" showing in the Mentor Challenge, according to Giada, Arnold was set on redeeming himself with a showstopping presentation come the Episode 2 baking assignment. He presented his cupcake-inspired meatloaves, which Bobby called "a really cool concept," in an over-the-top table setting complete with layered tiers and decorative butterflies.
It was up to Arnold to create an incendiary dessert for the guys' dinner party for special guests Geoffrey Zakarian and Sunny Anderson, and he landed on a Mexican hot chocolate, something that Giada could hardly get enough of. "I'd bathe in this it's so good," she admitted. His presentation, however, was less successful, as Bobby noted, "He didn't use the word 'incendiary' at all."
Let's call this page of notes the "before" plan. Arnold had jotted down his team's menu for the July 4th cookout, only to learn later that they'd have to sacrifice their carefully purchased ingredients and accept those from another team. Instead of getting to serve his "steak lettuce wraps" as he'd hoped, Arnold settled on shrimp skewers, which proved to be disappointingly undercooked.
In a challenge aimed at culinary fusion and team partnerships, Arnold and Rue proved that working together isn't always better. They settled on a Thai-African surf and turf to sell their individual points of view, but their presentations and plates were simply misses. "The plate is beautiful, and then it has no flavor," Bobby explained. "It's just almost unreal."
Umeboshi, smoked turkey leg, breakfast and the color white were the mandatory ingredients and stipulations Arnold had to follow in Episode 6, when he cooked for the comedy club. He managed to plate turkey hash with an umeboshi-spiked ketchup that Bobby deemed "really smart." Arnold received accolades for his on-stage demo, too, in which he involved the audience.
Below his notes on his quinoa wrap, Arnold sketched a design of his food truck offerings with Jay. Together the guys made up the "Asian Cajun Burger Boys," and the curly top and bottom of Arnold's burger you see here is his ramen bun. "I really, really like Arnold's bun. It has a nice crunch on the outside, and then [it's] nice and soft on the inside," Giada said.
Come Episode 8, it was the bro show, as only five guys remained. They were tasked with developing their personal brands, something that Arnold was excited for, as he admitted to having envisioned his would-be "global brand." Despite his best intentions, though, he didn't successfully sell his "party in a box" concept.
In furthering the idea of lifestyle brands, Arnold made the Valentine's Day holiday his own in a special taped episode. Though Arnold charmed the Committee with what Bob called a "golden warmth," the judges wished Arnold had explained some of the potentially new words he used, like "ganache" and "framboise," for the audience.
Together the final four had to contend with their first-ever live production — and their first ensemble taping at the same time — as they came together for Summer Live. The guys brainstormed their individual segments, which Arnold took notes on here. He had grand plans for his part, though they didn't include engaging his fellow finalists. "I just have a lot to say," Arnold admitted.
"It seemed like a train wreck all the way through," Bobby said simply of Arnold's Summer Live performance, after Arnold talked for the whole of his segment and failed to interact with the other guys. The presentation left Katie Lee exhausted, she said, and she noted that even after watching his demo she wasn't sure what exactly his food offering was.
In what would ultimately be his last challenge of the competition, Arnold chose Rue to be his sous chef as he presented one final dish to the Committee and attempted to earn the right to make a pilot. With Rue's help, he worked on a Mediterranean-style lamb with quinoa. "I'm known for plating things beautifully, so all I want to do is make a beautiful, beautiful dish," he said.
After an impressive 10-week journey to Stardom, Arnold ultimately said goodbye to the competition; Dom, Eddie and Jay earned the three available finale spots. "Today his light was dimmed," Bob said after watching Arnold's video. Looking back on his performances, Arnold said, "This has been such a magical experience."