The judges arrive: Tom, Padma, Gail, Tony, and a tennis player named Taylor Dent. Padma calls for the first dish. Fabio has previously volunteered to go first for Team Orange, probably because his gnocchi are better the fresher they are, and he's ready. Team Yellow is thrown for a loop, since they were expecting Blais, but Tiffani urges them to stick to their strategy. I think another flaw in their strategy is that they didn't decide ahead of time how they would determine the worst dish. Did they think it would be easy to come to a consensus as a team? Did they assume that someone would volunteer? This was a horrible idea. As they all stand there and stare at each other, Spike asks for a volunteer and Tiffany volunteers Jamie (I don't think that's what he meant). Jamie firmly shakes her head no and says that her chickpeas aren't done. I don't really blame her at this point if she honestly believes that they are almost there and will be done in time for a future round. But this is where having a more fully-formed strategy ahead of time would have helped, because there would be less wiggle room. So then Casey can't take it any more and offers to go first. Spike interviews that he didn't know how that happened. I guess his strategy was for everyone to just refuse to go until Jamie was forced to go? I don't think that would work. Jamie is pretty stubborn. What a fiasco.
Team Orange sends out Fabio, who serves whole wheat gnocchi (using only egg whites, not the yolk) with pork loin ragout, caramelized fennel and zucchini. He's up against Team Yellow's Casey, who serves grilled pork tenderloin with farro, cherries, sugar snap peas, and vinaigrette. Taylor likes Fabio's gnocchi, and Padma says that Casey's plate is heavier, which wouldn't be great for an athlete. Tom admires that Fabio's gnocchi has flavor, so Fabio wins, and Fabio leaps over the net and cheers for himself to let his team (who are way at the end of the court) know that he won. Spike is disappointed because, while they planned to lose the first round, they planned to lose it with their worst dish. Although from what Padma said, it didn't sound like Casey's dish would have won any round.
Team Orange originally planned to send Marcel up second (so I guess they did have a predetermined order, though it was never mentioned), but Dale says that his food isn't going to last another round, and he needs to serve immediately. Marcel is all pissy about it, since he had already started plating, but no one cares, because it's Marcel and he's pissy about 85% of the time. Team Yellow is in disarray, and Angelo suggests that they send up a strong dish to try to build momentum. Had they ever discussed whom to send second? Anyway, Tiffani says that she'll go, and since no one else appears to have a plan, she goes. Dale serves edamame dumpling with carrot froth and crispy soy nuts, and Tiffani serves sashimi of black bass, avocado, and ponzu vinaigrette. Tom comments that they are two strong dishes again, so I guess Casey's food was better than we heard. Gail likes the lightness of Tiffani's food, and gives her the win. Padma chooses Dale's food, although we don't know why, but Tom and Tony give it to Tiffani and they win. The score is now tied 15-15 (they are doing tennis-style scoring).