There will be no crying from Virginia after the most recent elimination. Wait...no...there will be some more crying. Virginia's a little confused about how she feels, although she's positive that she's happy Sara is gone. As she says it, "This whole situation's given me a new skin on life." Keith and Heather, meanwhile, are fairly positive that they'll be in the finals since Virginia is their only remaining competition.
In the morning, when the cooks return to the kitchen, they find Chef Ramsay doing a little cooking. He presents them with his signature dish, asks them to have a smell and a taste and then gives them twenty minutes to recreate it. This is their next challenge. All three are quite intimidated by the task. They rush around the kitchen, searching for the proper ingredients. Keith chooses Chilean sea bass, while Virginia and Heather go for wild striped sea bass. Right off the bat, somebody's gone the wrong direction.
Fish selected, the cooks try to recreate the puree the fish is resting on. Keith and Heather start preparing mashed potatoes. But Virginia, who has spotted Tuscan white beans on a rack in the back, thinks that's the base of the puree. When it comes to the sauce, Keith figures out that it contains Israeli couscous. Not wanting to girls to copy his discovery, he tries to sneak some out of the storeroom. But Virginia sees him and claims she was looking for the couscous as well. The two cooks split on the sauce seasoning, with Keith using cilantro and Virginia selecting basil and grapefruit.
The last seconds tick away and the cooks plate their recreations. Now Chef Ramsay will taste each dish and determine who came the closest. After a taste, Chef Ramsay lauds each dish for being quite tasty and artfully produced. But, he notes, they're also quite different even though they were all based on the same dish. And only one faithfully recreated Chef Ramsay's signature dish. Virginia's. She correctly used the striped bass, white bean puree and grapefruit from the original plate. Chef Ramsay compliments her palate. For her reward, Virginia will get to spend time with Chef Ramsay, and he will divulge as many of his secrets and as much information about the intimacy of cooking as possible to help her become a top chef.
On the other hand, Jean Phillippe has some punishment assignments for Keith and Heather. Out back, Heather rains on Virginia's parade by pointing out that the challenge dish is featured in Chef Ramsay's cookbook. The very same cookbook Virginia purchased the other day after winning the construction challenge shopping spree. Keith and Heather vow to not let Virginia win.
Virginia enters the kitchen for her personal training session. At the same time, Keith and Heather set out to polish all of the glassware and silverware. After showing Virginia some cooking tips, Chef Ramsay moves on and teaches Virginia how to expedite and run the line. His main piece of advice is to scare the chefs, because when you scare them, they remember. The lesson takes, as Virginia says she formerly didn't believe such a hard attitude was necessary. But now she sees how effective it can be.
The next morning, it's back to the kitchen to prep for service. And back to shutting out Virginia for Heather and Keith. Chef Ramsay enters the kitchen with another twist. During tonight's service, each cook will take a turn at the hot plate running the entire service. He wants to see their leadership in action. The doors open and the dining room starts to fill. Including the six new tables Chef Ramsay has added to the floor.
Virginia starts off the service by burning two salmon. But she's not alone, as Heather has burned some chicken after giving it a flash roast. Then the time comes for Keith to run the hot plate. Little does he know that Chef Ramsay just asked sous chef Scott to sabotage a spaghetti appetizer. Scott presents the pan and when Keith takes a taste, he rejects the pasta for being overcooked. Chef Ramsay compliments Keith for the catch, but then gently chides him for being too passive at the hot plate. He needs to be more forceful when throwing out orders and instructions to maintain control of his team.
Keith then calls out a ticket with a salmon and a bass, but Virginia doesn't get the orders. When Keith repeats them, Virginia gets lost and begs for more time. Keith just stands by, dumbfounded by her struggles, but not seizing control of the kitchen. With that, Chef Ramsay sends Keith back to the line. In private, Keith says he simply can't rail at his cooks like Chef Ramsay does. At this point, only 25 out of 124 diners have been served.
It's Heather's turn to run the kitchen. She jumps into the task with both feet, actually going too intensely for her own good. Chef Ramsay advises her to slow down just a bit and breathe. Then he turns his attention to Keith, who has undercooked two risottos. Although he had a good, humble stretch, the constant compliments from Chef Ramsay seem to have brought Keith's attitude back to the surface. Chef Ramsay asks him to cut the attitude and as Keith walks away, he responds with a few choice curse words. Chef Ramsay orders Keith back to again explain the virtues of humility.
Heather's leadership has stabilized the kitchen, so Chef Ramsay pulls Mary Ann to orchestrate a little sabotage. He asks her to muck up the potatoes, so she adds some lumps. Heather sees the lumps, asks for them to be cut out in the future and sends the plate. That is not what Chef Ramsay wanted to see. He orders Heather to taste her food for quality control, then sends her back to her section. The kitchen has now served over half of the diners as Virginia takes over the hot plate.
Virginia calls out her first ticket, a long order, and Heather asks her to repeat it. Chef Ramsay then asks Scott to substitute sea bass for the ordered salmon. Virginia successfully spots the mix up and asks Scott for the correct fish. Realizing that she's close to completing a successful turn at the hot plate, Virginia takes total control of her cooks. With only three tables remaining, Chef Ramsay retakes control of the hot plate and asks the cooks to come together as a team. It's a bit rough in patches, but they do come together and complete the final tickets.
After the service, Chef Ramsay asks each cook to pick one competitor for elimination. In the dorms, Virginia is well aware that she'll be nominated by Keith and Heather. However, Heather is now a little iffy on Keith after the evening's performance. His attitude and lack of leadership at the hot plate has put some doubt in her mind. The cooks return to the dining room for the elimination process.
Chef Ramsay asks Keith for his pick, and he submits Virginia. Virginia, in turn, nominates Keith because of his struggles at the hot plate. That leaves Heather, who also picks Virginia. Keith and Virginia are called forward by Chef Ramsay to defend themselves. Keith says this is his dream and he wants it more than anything. Virginia says that, because she's so raw, with the proper teaching and guidance, she can become a great chef. Chef Ramsay laments how difficult this decision is, then decides to eliminate...Keith. Chef Ramsay explains that he wants a leader and doesn't think Keith is ready.
Working up his courage, Keith asks Chef Ramsay if he truly thinks that Virginia is a better leader than he is, especially considering that Keith has been running his kitchen all along. Chef Ramsay reiterates that he personally doesn't think Keith is ready to lead. Keith succinctly replies that he thinks Chef Ramsay has a... well... let's just say affinity for Virginia. Although Keith's actual words were much more forceful. Much more... hard on Chef Ramsay. Chef Ramsay is now positive that he made the right decision.