Weird interstitial. Everyone tastes one another's food, and all of the food is good. Antonia admits that she and Blais are always nervous while Carla and Tiffany take a more "whatever happens, happens" approach. Blais interviews that all of the big fish are gone and he's the only one left. That's kind of true, but it's not the kind of thing he should say out loud, on camera, because it makes him look like an asshole.
Carla is last to serve, and she explains that her family is primarily from Tennessee, but also from many other Southern states, so she made braised pork shoulder, fried grits, corn and sweet potato hash and cheddar biscuits. Mike's mom had never had grits before, and she liked them. Mrs. Blais loved that Carla passed the biscuits family style, because it really brought the Southern-ness out in the meal. Gail loves the grits, which are seared on one side and it adds a lot of texture. Dan doesn't think there is a dry bite in any part of the meat. Carla's husband explains that she's big on making food memories, either recalling past ones or making new ones, and he is incredibly proud of how she did. He really is bursting with delight, you can tell.
Both Colicchio and Gail point out that this is going to be a hugely difficult task to judge, because all of the food was so good. The cheftestants come back out en masse to applause. They get a few minutes to say goodbye to their loved ones. Mike's mom tells him that his was the best. Aw. Moms. Antonia's mom told the judges that there should be a final five so no one is eliminated. Mrs. Blais has to reassure her husband that everyone liked his food and he's safe. I'm sure he doesn't believe her because he's a freak like that. I wonder if she would be honest with him if she thought he were in trouble, though.
Stew Room. Everyone toasts with champagne. Tiffany tells the others that her mom said everyone's food was good, and her mom would be honest about it. Antonia points out that the judges probably weren't going to say anything too negative about the cheftestants in front of their family members, so Judges' Table is really where they will find out the truth. Padma enters with a smile and asks to see all of them at Judges' Table. They all grab hands before walking out, like the toys on Toy Story 3. Aw.
Once they get in front of the judges, Padma thanks them for a wonderful meal, but only four of them can move ahead. Carla says it was amazing to go to Ellis Island, and inspirational to find out about her roots. Gail compliments her broth and her cheddar biscuits. Dan says that her pork was excellent, and Tom says that her broth was "round," but her corn was a bit tough. He asks if she fried the grits, and Carla says that she used liquid nitrogen to freeze them before frying, so they would stay together. Gail is like, "You did what?" and Carla laughs. Even Blais the sourpuss cracks a smile. Tom tells her that it all worked together.
Blais says it was very emotional having his wife there, and it was tough for him, because he's such a mutt and he didn't want to turn his dish into "Epcot Center." Dan tells him that the dish was thoughtful from start to finish. Tom thinks it was "well thought out" and "made perfect sense" and the flavors worked together.