In Week 4, the home cooks are given the challenge of taking on the nation's latest food obsession, as Ted explains: "These days it's not dinner that has food lovers lined up around the block. It's brunch." The cooks will have to make modern and innovative dishes, elevating brunch to new heights. "It takes a skilled chef to turn the humble brunch into a truly memorable meal," says Ted.
Stephanie gets started on her shakshuka, a Middle Eastern dish of eggs poached in spicy tomato sauce. She and Michael have differing opinions on the type of vessel to cook it in. "This is something that I've cooked a lot, and I'm not sure if Michael Symon's ever cooked this dish before," says Stephanie, "and I'm not listening to a word he's saying." So she cooks the dish her own way until Michael intervenes.
Because he considers brunch a Northern specialty, Michael is expecting a lot from his cooks. He uses his SOS button to correct Stephanie's dish: "She has this great raw talent," he says, "but in order for me to mold the talent, she needs to trust me." But helping Stephanie leaves Michael with almost no time to assist Marc, who's making a complicated dish of creamy grits with lobster, poached eggs and bearnaise sauce.
Sheri's cooking with full force and she's determined to win: "I want to bring this home not only for me, but I want to bring it home for [Tyler] too. I want him to be proud." She's making toad-in-the-hole French toast with chorizo maple syrup and roasted strawberries. "Watching Sheri work is getting more inspiring as the weeks go by," says Tyler. "She's gaining confidence."
Ben is making a Mediterranean crostini with herbed hummus and a poached egg. He's not only dealing with the stress of the competition but also with his injury: "It is tough, though, because my finger does still hurt," he says. "I have limited mobility." Cat's proud of Ben's determination, but she's worried his eggs aren't working out, so she presses her SOS button and shows him a new poaching technique.
Everyone is excited and nervous to find out that Geoffrey Zakarian will be the guest judge for the brunch challenge. "If you've seen me on Chopped, you know that I'm very honest," Geoffrey tells the home cooks, "and I take no prisoners, because I just tell it like it is." Stephanie's especially worried: "My heart sinks. Geoffrey's eaten shakshuka a million times before, and he is no nonsense."
Unfortunately, Marc ran out of time to make his bearnaise, so he's nervous. Geoffrey finds Marc's dish disjointed with components that "don't marry as well as they should." On the other hand, he gives Stephanie a high compliment: "These are my flavors," he tells her. "This is Middle Eastern to me, and I'm Middle Eastern." She is safe, but Marc will go to the Pressure Cooker. "I will never question Michael Symon ever again," says Stephanie.
Down to just one home cook, Team East is fighting hard to stay in the competition. Alex was really impressed with Christina's work, telling her, "After this, I want to hire you." Christina presents her Girl Scout eggs, which she's made with Mornay sauce, shiitakes and lump crabmeat. "The actual dish is very well put together," says Geoffrey, but he finds there's too much bread. In the end, she is safe.
Team West is in a similar situation as Team East. "If I go home, Tyler goes home," worries Sheri, so the pressure is on. Even though Geoffrey would have preferred fresh strawberries on top of the French toast, he loves this version of the recipe and says, "I can't find much wrong here." Sheri is safe, and she and Tyler celebrate. "Watching her work today, I was so proud of her," says Tyler.
Team South presents last and unfortunately the cooks' dishes do not impress Geoffrey, who sends both Ben and Nikki to the Pressure Cooker. He found Ben's hummus out of place in the dish and Nikki's quiche overcooked. The competition gets real for Nikki: "Someone's going home, and the feeling becomes more intense, because it could be me."
To test their versatility and range as home cooks, Ted challenges Marc, Nikki and Ben to make a dinner dish out of the breakfast staple eggs. "If we give Geoffrey Zakarian something with just an egg on it," worries Ben, "he may even throw it at us." So Ben decides to make pasta from scratch for his carbonara. But he'll have some competition from Marc, who is also cooking carbonara.
Geoffrey finds Marc's carbonara "technically" well prepared but wishes it had a touch more oil. On tasting Ben's carbonara, he finds it impressive. "I just love the texture of the pasta," Geoffrey says. His one criticism is that it could have been thinner. Still, he chooses Ben's dish as his favorite, saying it's "just a dish that I would love to eat at home."
Nikki was the only cook not to make pasta, which Geoffrey is thankful for; he liked the inventiveness of her Scotch egg, but he wished the salad had more acid. Geoffrey declares Nikki's dish his least favorite, which means Marc is safe, and she must leave the competition. "I will always remember that I cooked with an Iron Chef," says Nikki. "She should be nothing but proud," says Cat.