Jeff and Fabio are up to serve their Latin cuisine. Fabio has to read his dish description because his English is not good. He cooked a mango and jalapeno demi-glace pork chop with mushroom and avocado salad. The salad is inside the avocado, and the mushrooms are on top. He added the mushrooms for an "Italian twist." I don't think of mushrooms as particularly Italian, but he's the one from Italy, so I guess I should take his word for it. Jeff seared pork tenderloin in Cuban coffee, and served it with smoked plantain with saffron, sherry vinegar, black beans, and rice. Tom points out that the side dish wasn't plated well, and Jeff admits that he ran out of time. Jean-Georges thought Fabio's dish needed more salt, and Tom adds that he did a great job with his knife work on the avocado, but then covered it with the mushrooms. Everyone but Tom prefers Jeff's dish.
Hosea and Carla serve their Russian food. Hosea did a smoked fish trio: smoked salmon with caviar, smoked trout with apple chutney, and smoked turbot. Carla created a smoked trout and salmon cake served with potato latkes, sour cream and caviar. There's a salad on the plate that she doesn't mention, which looks like a slaw of some sort. Jean-Georges and Gail aren't crazy about the salad. Everyone agrees that Hosea's dish is more elegant while managing to give a sense of his style. Pretty impressive considering that he was unfamiliar with Russian food. Hosea wins.
Leah and Melissa present their Italian food. Leah admits that she knows the area well. She created a farro risotto with seared snapper and mushrooms. Note that her risotto is the same that Ariane attempted, so it's not impossible to do in the time they had. Melissa cooked a seared rib eye steak, with an arugula salad, fried mushrooms, and tomato sauce. I find Melissa's dish to be very unappealing on the plate -- it looks like a slab of meat with some greasy fried stuff on top. Tom likes that Leah married fish and more earthy ingredients, and all the judges think that Melissa needed a little more seasoning for it to be a big hit. Leah wins.
Daniel and Patrick went to Chinatown. Daniel made a poached chicken salad with bok choy, shitake mushrooms, and fried wontons. He also brought back my old friend, foam. I do not get foam. I understand that it would be kind of cool to study molecular gastronomy, and it's kind of cool that you can make foam. I just don't want to eat it. It reminds me of frog's eggs that you see floating on top of a pond. Anyway, Patrick made seared salmon, bok choy, and black rice noodles. Okay, first of all, I could totally make this dish and I am not a culinary student. In fact, I do make this dish all the time, minus the bok choy and plus something more appetizing than black noodles. Anyway, setting aside the simplicity of the dish, the presentation is terrible. He has a lump of noodles (maybe he's trying to hide them) beneath a chunk of bok choy, and then a giant slab of salmon balanced on top. As soon as I saw this one, I knew Patrick was in trouble. Patrick interviews that Jean-Georges will call him out because Asian is his specialty. Patrick admits to the judges that didn't know what he was doing with the noodles. Tom thinks the flavor is "one-note," and not sophisticated enough. Moving on to Daniel, the judges think his salad is too wet, and Tom points out that Wolfgang Puck's been making the same salad for many years, so it wasn't innovative and it wasn't well-executed. Gail wasn't inspired by either dish, but the judges can agree that Daniel's dish had more flavor, so Daniel wins.