Sarah is plating her dish in the kitchen. She informs the wait staff that they need to make sure that people are eating the pasta and the mousse in one bite, because the mousse is the sauce. I feel like if you have to give people instructions on how to eat your dish, it's not totally successful no matter how good it tastes. five greens filled pasta with garlic, chili, and spiced sformato (like a denser soufflé). Her cocktail is an "Agrumi": gin, kumquats, and mango. The sformato is just sitting on top of the pasta like a granola bar; it's not melting at all. Gail asks if it's supposed to be so frozen, and Tom says that it was supposed to melt, but the flavors are great. Gail likes the cocktail but doesn't think it goes well with the dish. Tom agrees that it was really meant for a summer day, not a freezing cold winter day.
Lindsay is really trying to show off tomatoes in her dish. However, she has concerns that her dish doesn't fit the "Fire and Ice" theme so she adds a spoonful of tomato ice on the side. Yet another element that doesn't seem to go with the rest of the food. She hopes that the judges see that she pushed herself but stayed true to her style at the same time. The judges are served her dish: halibut with fiery celery root salad and tomato ice. The cocktail is "Encendido": vodka, tomato, and horseradish. It's really just a Bloody Mary. Gail thinks the salad is really fiery but Tom doesn't think so. Tom also hates the raw kale in the dish, because it's bitter. Gail can't say enough good things about the tomato ice but at the end of the day, it's flavored ice, right? Emeril thinks the cocktail is good with the dish, but on it's own, it's kind of boring. The guest judge thinks the halibut is perfectly cooked and well seasoned.
Now that they're done, the cheftestants talk about how worried they were that they wouldn't finish. Meanwhile, the guests talk about how all of the dishes were really good and heartfelt. The judges discuss how difficult the challenge was and Tom says he doesn't know right now which way he's going to vote.
The cheftestants sit in the makeshift Stew Room and dissect the challenge. Lindsay notes that it's the first time that they weren't allowed to explain their dishes to the judges. Paul just keeps running over the many ways in which his dish could have gone wrong. Before he can worry himself into an anxiety attack, Padma shows up and asks to see all of them in front of the judges.
Judges' Table. The cheftestants walk in to face Padma, Tom, Gail, and Emeril. Paul starts by saying that he wanted to hit the required concept while also giving a lot of shellfish flavor. He hoped that his ice and Pernod looked like snow. Emeril says that he hit the concept spot on, and his cocktail was good too. Padma thinks it could have been a bit more spicy. Tom liked the idea and the broth but had issues with the arugula. Paul says it was supposed to add fresh greens and peppery flavor. Tom felt it was an afterthought, and should have been better incorporated. Padma asks why he belongs in the finale. Paul says that he wants to cook the best meal that he can for the judges, and he also jokes that he can't go back to Texas if he loses Top Chef: Texas.