A Seasoned Search! (Japanese: マジィ！？マオのお料理大作戦！Really!? Mao's Great Cooking Operation!) is the 18th episode of the Sun & Moon series, and the 957th episode of the Pokémon anime. It first aired in Japan on March 16, 2017 and in the United States on July 1, 2017, as part of a three-hour special.
Ash and friends are visiting Mallow’s family restaurant to try her legendary Alolan stew! But the key ingredient is missing, and substituting Pikachu’s Thunderbolt for the rare Yellow Nectar doesn’t work out so well.
So Ash and Mallow go out to find some! The nectar is Oricorio’s favorite food, so Bounsweet lures one in with its Sweet Scent, and it leads them to a hidden meadow. But Team Rocket is waiting to scoop everyone up in a net—everyone except Bounsweet, who evolves into Steenee and sends them blasting off again.
The new recipe is a big hit, and Mallow decides to offer it as a seasonal special!
Ash and his classmates are at the Aina's Kitchen owned by Mallow's father Abe. Ash, Kiawe, Mallow, Sophocles, Lana and Lillie are sat at a table looking forward to eating. Bounsweet is helping out and brings Ash a glass of water. A smell comes through from the kitchen which Pikachu follows. Mallow picks him up and asks him to help her out. Everyone is still in the cafe waiting for their food when Pikachu lets off a Thunderbolt leaving Ash to wonder what is going on in the kitchen. Soon a burnt Mallow exits the kitchen and presents their food which is her legendary Alolan Stew. As she puts their bowls of stew on the table, Kiawe notices it looks a bit burnt.
Mallow gives all their Pokémon a bowl of food. They all take a bite of their food only to feel the effect's of Pikachu's Thunderbolt. Mallow asks if they liked it before explaining that she used a pinch of Thunderbolt but may have used a bigger pinch. Mallow's father Abe comes in and Lana asks him why it is legendary. Abe explains its history but sadly, the recipe had been forgotten. Lillie asks Mallow how she got the recipe if it had been forgotten and she shows them a cookbook that her brother sent to her. Her brother went on a journey to learn about cooking and found the recipe was in an old manuscript and made a copy for her. Mallow says the magic ingredient is Yellow Nectar which leaves a real shocking after taste. It is currently out of season which Mallow explains is why she used Thunderbolt as a substitute. Mallow wanted to perfect it and make it the signature dish at Aina's Kitchen and tells Bounsweet they should keep trying until they perfect it. Abe offers to cook something up and it will be on the house so he can live up to his reputation.
After eating, the others head home as Mallow thanks Ash for coming. Abe explains that Yellow Nectar can only be found at a certain time during the year with one exception. Abe isn't certain that is what Grandpa said leaving Mallow annoyed. Ash suggests that they go and look forand he'll help her out. At Bewear's den, Team Rocket have finished building their new base as they recite their motto in delight. They decide to leave any action for tomorrow. The next day in the forest, Ash asks Mallow where they start looking, Mallow checks he is OK with this as her father wasn't clear with his explanation and they could be walking all day and find nothing. Rotom says to leave it to him as he begins a search for Yellow Nectar and brings up an image of a Pom-Pom StyleOricorio and Yellow Nectar is Oricorio's favorite so they should find a Oricorio and follow it but predicts their chances of finding one is at 8% but Ash and Mallow decide to take the chance.
The search begins with no luck, Rowlet visits its old nest to ask Toucannon with no success. As time passes, Rotom notes that their chances of finding Oricorio are even smaller but Mallow is determined not to give up and explains her dream is to make the Aina's Kitchen the number one restaurant in Alola. Team Rocket have overheard their conversation as James calls it a big dream and they change their plans to steal the Yellow Nectar themselves and sell it for lots of money. Bounsweet unleashes is Sweet Scent which attracts Rowlet gives Ash an idea. He says they can use Bounsweeet's Sweet Scent as it might attract Oricorio to come after Bounsweet like Rowlet. With Bounsweet on top of a large rock, Bounsweet unleashes its Sweet Scent, numerous flying types are attracted and soon an Oricorio lands on the rock. Ash and Mallow set off after Oricorio and follow it as it flies through a cave.
The emerge into a meadow where they spot Oricorio near the flowers and see the Yellow Nectar as a Baile Style Oricorio arrives and drinks the nectar, changing into Pom-Pom Style. Rotom explains that if Oricorio drinks a certain nectar, it can change its form. Ash and Mallow run forward, only to be captured in a net along with Pikachu and Rowlet. Team Rocket say their motto and announce their intentions to steal the yellow nectar. Meowth reveals a vacuum and using a jet pack, begins to suck up all the Yellow Nectar. Bounsweet tries to stop Jessie and James, but James throws it away which causes Bounsweet. Meowth becomes attracted to Bounsweet when it releases its Sweet Scent. Bounsweet becomes furious and jumps into the air and evolves into Steenee. Steenee attacks Meowth before freeing Ash and Mallow from the net. Ash has Rowlet destroy Meowth's machine which releases the Yellow Nectar. Steenee continues to attack Team Rocket but as they start to retreat, Ash isn't letting them get away. Pikachu goes to attack them, only for Bewear to appear and shield them from the attack before taking them back to her den. Once they're gone, Mallow starts collecting the Yellow Nectar.
Back at the Aina's Kitchen, Mallow and Steenee present the legendary Alolan Stew to her friends. Mallow tells her friends to dig in. They all take a bite and find it delicious and asks for more as they notes that it is a big difference from before. Mallow thanks them for their compliments and thanks Ash, Rotom, Rowlet, and Steenee for helping to track down the Yellow Nectar. Mallow explains it isn't easy to get Yellow Nectar when it isn't in season but not to worry as it will be on the menu as their seasonal dish.