First up: Traci's warm bread salad with artichokes and burrata, which the judges think is clean, vibrant, and represents the best of California cooking. The reviews aren't so good for Hugh's scallops with grits, leeks, peppers, and pancetta. They notice its humongous size and think it's overwhelmingly salty. Next up, the judges love George's salmon confit with saffron-fennel puree and smoked potato puree, even though he's a scallop-sized ball of stress back in the kitchen. They're equally impressed with Floyd's spiced braised short ribs, but opinions are split on his oat risotto. The meal ends with Mary Sue's signature chocolate cake with lemon puree and Suvir's berry and pear cobbler with a buttermilk biscuit. The judges love the tart spiciness of Suvir's cobbler but think Mary Sue's cupcake-like cake is too moist and dense. Oseland says it might as well have come from the supermarket.
The judges meander over to Leela, where they have to wait to be seated. Naomi defends her plan to seat all the diners at the same time, but Curtis is unconvinced. In the back, stress is high and communication is low.
Naomi serves the judges Alex's celery root, potato, and spinach fricassee, as well as Currence's sweet potato and peanut soup with spicy chicken liver mousse. While Alex's fricassee passes with flying colors, Reichl thinks Currence's soup is too spicy and will blow out the flavors of everything to follow. And then the judges wait... and wait... and wait. They finally have to call over to Naomi to make sure the next course is actually coming. She comes up with a line about how they're timing everything to perfection, but it's obvious they're in the weeds. Sue's Alaskan halibut and scallop with glazed pearl onions, artichokes, and pesto beurre blanc finally arrives, along with Sedlar's rack of lamb with jicama, three-apple, and lime salad. The judges think Sue's plate is beautiful but verges on hotel food. They deem Sedlar's lamb overly rare and are disappointed to find a label on one of the apples in his salad. Finally, Naomi serves her flourless chocolate torte with Grand Marnier and bruléed vanilla meringue, as well as Celina's pistachio cake and honey semifreddo. Everyone is blown away by Naomi's torte, but they find Celina's plating problematic and difficult to eat all together.