The final four enter the MasterChef kitchen to find just two Mystery Boxes. Judges Gordon Ramsay, Joe Bastianich and Graham Elliot inform them that they will take on this challenge in two teams of two. And they won't be making just one dish, but a restaurant-quality three-course meal.
The members of the winning team will go on to compete in the Top 3, while the losing team will face each other in the dreaded Pressure Test. In the end, one of them will be eliminated.
Because Luca has won the most Mystery Box Challenges in the game so far, he gets to pick his teammate. He chooses Natasha, leaving Jessie paired with Krissi.
The teams uncover the contents of their crates: Colorado lamb, Maine lobster, trout from the Catskills, Montana parsnips, Oregon beets, Napa Valley wine, Washington apples, Florida mangos and Hawaiian macadamia nuts. In all, they have 50 ingredients - one from each state. They will have 90 minutes to prepare three outstanding dishes with food from around the country.
The Blue Team, Luca and Natasha, will be preparing a seafood salad, a rack of lamb and a strawberry tart. The Red Team, Krissi and Jessie, are making a cold lobster salad, rack of lamb and an apple tart. Gordon is very disturbed that the two women are barely talking to each other. When their dessert plans fall apart, Krissi storms out of the kitchen fearing she will physically hurt her teammate.
When time runs out, the Blue Team presents their three dishes first. For their appetizer, they serve a seafood trio with avocado puree. Joe calls it unusually weird but is surprised at the pleasant taste. Their entrée is a rack of lamb with parsnip puree. Gordon says the lamb is delicious. For dessert, they make a strawberry tart with vanilla pastry cream, which also gets good reviews.
Krissi and Jessie bring up the Red Team's dishes. For their appetizer, they present a lobster salad with citrus vinaigrette. Joe is just as surprised as Krissi to learn that Jessie remade the vinaigrette before plating the dish, although he is impressed by the flavors. Gordon thinks their entrée, a rack of lamb with Swiss chard, looks bad but tastes very nice. Graham samples their apple tart with Chantilly cream and says it is a good effort but not restaurant-quality.
The judges award the win to the Blue Team - meaning Luca and Natasha are included in the Top 3. Krissi and Jessie must now face each other in the Pressure Test. After the judges leave the kitchen, Krissi overhears the other three home cooks talking trash about her, and she throws down the gauntlet for tomorrow's battle.
The following day, the two cooks arrive in the MasterChef kitchen. They will need to perfect three world-class chocolate desserts - mousse, molten lava cake and soufflé. They will have 75 minutes to prepare these three delectable treats, delivered at exactly the same time.
With 15 minutes to go, Krissi doesn't have her soufflé in the oven. The judges say this pretty much ensures it will not cook in time. But with just two minutes on the clock, she takes it out of the oven to everyone's surprise.
When time is up, both cooks present their three dishes to the judges. Gordon tastes both soufflés and awards the point to Jessie. Graham steps up to judge the chocolate mousse round and selects Krissi's dish as the better of the two. Finally Joe tries both molten chocolate cakes, the deciding factor. Both dishes have fallen, meaning this could be anybody's game.
The judges step into the pantry for one final discussion. Joe chooses Jessie's cake as his favorite, and she becomes the third home cook to enter the semifinal round of the MasterChef competition. A tearful Krissi is asked to turn in her apron.
The remaining three home cooks - Natasha, Luca and Jessie - enter the MasterChef kitchen to face their final Mystery Box Challenge. Judges Gordon Ramsay, Joe Bastianich and Graham Elliot each have a crate in front of them. Joe's contains $250,000; Graham's holds an example of the potential winner's own cookbook; and Gordon's houses the coveted MasterChef trophy.
As with every Mystery Box Challenge, the contestants have to prepare, cook and present one incredible dish using all or some of the ingredients inside the box. For this task, each of the competitors must remake the dish that started their culinary journey at MasterChef. However, it must be an elevated version that shows how far each and every one of them has traveled.
Natasha must re-create her empanadas with skirt steak. Luca must update his broccoli rabe ravioli. And Jessie must put a twist on her sea bass en croute. After 60 minutes, the judges will rank the dishes first, second and third. The winner will get a life-changing advantage.
This time around, Jessie has decided to do a thinner wrap on her pastry. Natasha is going to try to enhance all of her flavors and is infusing saffron into the dish. With just ten minutes to go, Gordon tells Luca that his sauce tastes weird and tells him to start it again.
When time is up, the judges sample Natasha's empanandas. Gordon says he loves the vibrancy. Joe tells her he thinks she has the grit and the skill to win the competition.
Next up is Luca. Graham finds every component in his dish other than the sauce to be perfect. Gordon doesn't like this cheese sauce either, but he hopes that Luca will bounce back in the next challenge.
Finally, Jessie serves her sea bass en croute. Joe tells her it is gorgeous and he loves the mushrooms that she's added to the updated dish.
Luca is undaunted by the fact that he came in third and vows to fight his way to the finale. Jessie is declared the winner, putting Natasha in second place.
For her advantage in the final Elimination Challenge, Jessie will get the first pick from three of the world's finest ingredients. Natasha will get to choose from the remaining two options, leaving Luca without the ability to decide his fate.
Hoping to leave Luca with the most difficult ingredient, Jessie selects Kobe beef from Japan. Ignoring Jessie's strategy, Natasha chooses the Alaskan king crab. That leaves Luca to work with his dream ingredient - Grana Padano cheese from Italy.
With 60 minutes on the clock, Jessie decides to go with Asian flavors for her beef. Natasha takes a risk by making a cold soba noodle salad. Luca is making a veal cutlet stuffed with Grana Padano along with frico - a cheese, potato and onion tart.
Luca is the first to present his dish to the judges. Joe says the veal is perfectly cooked and the frico is exactly what it should be. But he tells Luca that the dish overall is a little too rich and could have used some bright acidity to cut through the fat.
Next up is Natasha with her cold king crab yakisoba salad. Gordon calls it phenomenal. Although Joe thinks it's too heavy with peppers, he feels it showcases the crab in an intelligent way.
Finally, Jessie presents her Kobe beef. Graham compliments her flavors, and Gordon says the meat is beautifully seared.
In the end, Natasha and Luca move on to the MasterChef finale, and Jessie is sent home. But in a happy twist, Joe tells Jessie that she is welcome to come work at any of his restaurants.