It's the middle of the night, and the remaining 14 home cooks are sound asleep at a Los Angeles hotel. But the MasterChef judges - Gordon Ramsay, Graham Elliot, and Joe Bastianich - change that with a loud knock on each competitor's door. The contestants are about to get a taste of the life of a professional breakfast chef, which means a very early start.
They arrive in the hotel's kitchen at 4:15 a.m. for their latest team challenge. There the home cooks learn that they will be cooking all the breakfast room service orders at the huge Radisson hotel. The breakfast rush is the hardest service of the day because people are hungry and in a hurry.
The guests will be allowed to order from a set menu of oatmeal, fresh fruit salad, handmade pancakes, egg white omelets, eggs Benedict, or two eggs any style. Christine and Josh had the best dishes in the previous challenge so they will be team leaders for this one.
Since she had the winning dish, Christine is allowed to go first. She picks Felix, Scott, Tanya, Mike, Stacey, and Ryan for the Red Team. Josh chooses Becky, Frank, Anna, Monti, and David for his Blue Team. When all the other cooks have been selected for a group, Tali rounds out the Blue Team.
Christine gets one more advantage for having won the last challenge: she is allowed to swap out one member of her team for someone in Josh's group. She trades Ryan for Josh's first pick, Becky.
Both teams are given 90 minutes to prep and an additional 90 minutes to serve. Each team must next assign one expediter to oversee every cart before it leaves the kitchen. Christine chooses Felix, who is a food runner in real life. Josh gives the task to Monti.
The hotel guests have preordered their breakfasts and specified a delivery time. Satisfied customers will hang a tag with the team's color on their door. Each team has 130 orders to fill. The group with the least number of tags will face a Pressure Test.
Josh assigns jobs to his team without asking people what they're passionate about cooking. Over on the Red Team they are working out stations democratically, assessing strengths and weaknesses.
Both Monti and Felix create white boards that they believe will help organize their teams and move orders out of the kitchen in the most efficient manner. As time ticks down, Monti becomes extremely vocal in her expediting duties.
Christine grows concerned by Felix's silence, and the Red Team spirals into total chaos as the result of their communication breakdown. At the same time, the Blue Team gets into a groove pushing orders out to the hotel guests. Felix realizes that her head is on the breakfast platter if her group loses.
Despite the Red Team's initial problems, the judges are impressed with Christine's take-charge attitude, and Felix ultimately finds her voice. Meanwhile, the Blue Team falters after their strong start and begins to spiral out of control.
After service is completed, the home cooks' fate is in the hands of the hotel guests. When the judges tally the votes, the Red Team is named the winner, with 60 percent of the vote. The Blue Team must go to the Pressure Test.
Back in the MasterChef kitchen, each member of the Blue Team will compete as an individual. However, the judges get to select their three best performers - David, Frank, and Monti - to join the Red Team in the safe zone.
That leaves Ryan, Tali, Anna, and Josh in the competition to make the challenging dessert that Chef Ramsay says terrifies chefs around the world: a molten lava cake. The cooks are given identical ingredients and will each get four attempts to create the perfect cake. They must carefully choose one cake to present to the judges.
According to Chef Ramsay, the strategy is to make the batter, split it into four, bake one cake, and use it to adjust the cooking time. The first cake should simply be used as a trial.
After 15 minutes pass, none of the competitors have put their desserts in the oven. This means that it is too late for them to make adjustments to their next batch.
Tali is the first to present a finished cake. When the judges cut into it, the cake initially appears to meet the requirements, but on further inspection it seems that it might be a bit undercooked. He will have to wait to hear his fate.
Anna is up next. This time when they slice into the cake, the judges seem pleased. Josh's dessert also looks like it might pass the Pressure Test.
With 60 seconds to go, Ryan still has not finished cooking his cake. He finally plates his dessert and places it on the judges' table at the very last second. Unfortunately for him, it's a soupy mess.
The judges deliberate on all four cakes. They tell Josh and Anna to step forward. They both produced cakes of "pure perfection," according to Chef Ramsay. Joe tells Anna that she took a Pressure Test and turned it into a lesson for the other contestants.
Buddies Ryan and Tali are the bottom two. While Tali's cake stood up, the judges didn't like the flavor. Even though Ryan's cake collapsed, it had good flavor. In a twist, the judges ask the chef who knows he didn't cook a good cake to act with integrity and turn in his apron. Ryan steps forward, and the judges send Tali upstairs with the other safe competitors.