Time starts and everyone runs to the fridge to look for their proteins. Jamie grabs some scallops (Top Chef disaster, ahoy!) and plans to serve them over a stew. Hosea looks for sausage because he wants to make paella, since he has worked in a Spanish restaurant, but he's nervous that he won't have enough time. Jeff explains the two strategies at play: you can either cook something all together, or cook one item, then dump it out and cook the next. That second way kind of seems like cheating, no? Jeff is making a potato risotto. Ariane decides to make a cauliflower puree with grilled filet mignon, and she claims the puree is great for tricking kids into eating their veggies. She's a regular Jessica Seinfeld, or at least that woman that Jessica Seinfeld ripped off. Jamie and Ariane are BFF, and love to cook next to each other and work together, helping each other. Jamie explains that they have different styles: Ariane is more traditional and classic, while Jamie takes more risk and innovates. That's Jamie's nice way of saying that she thinks Ariane cooks grandma food, while Jamie herself is a true artiste. Fabio tells a little tale about how he was evil as a little boy, so his grandmother used to make him stir the polenta all day to keep him out of trouble, so he decided to make that. Eugene is making a pork stew that his grandmother used to make, but he has to use cornstarch to thicken the stew since he doesn't have the time to let it cook and reduce. Padma calls five minutes and people start running about the kitchen. Melissa interviews that she finished in plenty of time, but is concerned that Martha will be a tough judge.
Martha and Padma survey the dishes. They start by tasting Eugene's spicy Korean stew, served with cilantro sour cream and wonton chips. Were the chips and dip created in the same pot as the stew? Because otherwise that seems like cheating too. I need a rules clarification here. Martha immediately recognizes that Eugene thickened the sauce with cornstarch, and she clearly disapproves. Stefan made veal Celtic goulash with potatoes and chanterelle mushrooms. Martha and Stefan bond over the mushrooms. Hosea made seafood, chicken, and chorizo paella. It looks delicious, and Martha and Padma both like the seasoning. Hosea interviews that Martha's praise made him "the happiest little chef." They move on to Melissa, who was inspired by the apple orchard that she had behind her house growing up to make pork tenderloin with braised cabbage, apple, bacon, orange, and fennel. That's a lot of ingredients for a simple one-pot dish. Martha likes the flavors.