Fabio interviews that none of them have Ripert's thirty years of experience, so this is tough. Fabio notes that his Italian cooking may not match Ripert's French cooking, though the two countries do share a border. Thanks for the geography lesson! Leah struggles with how to incorporate the miso into her dish. Stefan tastes it and advises her to add more miso, but she doesn't want it to be too strong, so she mixes it with butter.
Ripert arrives to taste the dishes. His only note for Stefan is that the asparagus isn't supposed to be cooked. So they serve raw asparagus? They don't even steam it? Maybe the heat of the fish and the sauce cooks it a little? Who knows? Actually I do know - I just watched Leann's recreation of Stefan's recreation of Ripert's recipe on the official site, and she did poach the asparagus for two minutes. I guess Ripert meant that the asparagus are not baked with the rest of the dish, maybe? I have officially spent too much time thinking about this. Moving on. Ripert tastes Leah's broth and tells her that it's too intense.
Ripert tastes Carla's dish and tells her she needs more acidity in the sauce but her fish is fine. Carla interviews that she went to a French cooking school, so she knows the techniques she needs for this dish. That's interesting, because thus far Carla has been presented as the home-y soul food with love type. I didn't know she was trained in classic techniques. Meanwhile, Hosea, who I thought had good technique, has no formal training? It's like left is right and up is down! Ripert tells Hosea that he's used too much za'atar spice, so Hosea has to figure out how to change his dish. Ripert leaves the kitchen without tasting Jamie's dish, which seems odd, but shortly Jamie explains that she was in a time crunch and she didn't have time to let Ripert taste her dish. That seems like a terrible idea; you have all this expertise right there, and you don't use it? Even to have him try your sauce or whatever, if you couldn't get a plated dish put together? Maybe there were rules about what he would or would not taste.
Padma, Colicchio, and Toby arrive in the dining room, and the cheftestants head upstairs to the main kitchen. They will each have fifteen minutes to fire and plate their dishes for judging. The judges chitchat while waiting for service. Colicchio thinks this will change some of the cheftestants' careers, because working with great chefs changes the way you think about food. Ripert may be nodding a little too enthusiastically as the "great chef" being discussed. Colicchio notes that it's intimidating to just be in Ripert's kitchen, cooking.