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12 Martha Stewart wannabes from the corners of the country try to outstyle each other. The prize - a contract from CBS, guaranteed television appearances and the chance at stardom.
Recaps by Julie Suchard, GSNN
Host: Joan Lunden
Judges: Candace Bushnell, David Evangelista, Bobby Flay
Creator: Larry Bleidner, Eric Schotz, Bill Paolantonio,
EP: Eric Schotz, Bill Paolantonio,
Packager: LMNO Productions
Airs: Saturdays at 8:00pm ET on CBS
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"Perfectly Poached Eggs"
- February 5
Day 13 at The Asylum:
Our show opens with Heather unpacking her stuff from a
personalized duffel bag and reminiscing about Tim after
the latest Rock Garden ceremonial heave-ho. [Somebody
has got to tell this girl to get rid of the Aunt
Jemima-like headscarves she seems so fond of wearing. Is
this stylish? You bet
if you are living in the 1920s,
Margo drives Team Artisan on little road-trip and is
very excited about seeing the changing Fall foliage.
Darlene then admits that she is also excited about
making it to the 5th challenge [apparently, she figured
she didn't have what it takes, and would have been
eliminated by now]. She gushes about how her team has
"gelled" and how she wants them to stay together as a
team. [Ironic foreshadowing?]
They arrive at their destination, the Roger Sherman Inn
located in New Canaan, Connecticut. Both teams assemble
outside, and Joan Lunden appears wearing a pink "Snow
Bunny" jacket with matching plaid scarf. She explains
that the teams will be working as innkeepers at this
picturesque bed-and-breakfast (B&B). They will have to
prepare rooms, man the telephones 24 hours a day, and
serve welcome snacks as the guests arrive. They will
also need to prepare and serve a formal brunch for the
guests the next day. They will be judged on guest
satisfaction with the rooms, the food, and the overall
service. The individual projects will be wreaths made of
fruit, to be presented to the judges.
"One last thing," Joan adds, "We are going to even up
these teams." [The Crafty Beavers are currently at 3
members, while Team Artisan has 5.] In an unexpected
Falcon Twist', the Beavers get to choose which member
of the opposing team they want; whereas, with the
previous team-even-up switch, Denise was chosen by the
producers for sacrifice. [However, it is interesting to
note that whichever team Denise has been on has never
lost a team competition to date.] The Beavers grin
smugly, while the Artisans preen for the camera. Denise
gives a look as if she is confident they will take her
back. After a brief conference, Mitch announces that
they are taking
Darlene. WTF! For once, Darlene does not
seem nearly as surprised as I am.
Dawn tells the camera that Team Artisan won't be as
"crazy and fun" anymore with Darlene gone. [But believe
me, Dawn, you are crazy enough on your own.] Mitch adds
that the choice was strategic, in that Darlene seemed to
be the only leveling influence on Team Artisan, and
without her the fighting between Margo and Kimberly
should escalate. [Very sneaky and smart, you Beavers.]
It's 11:00 am when Joan tells the teams that Check-In
will occur after 3:00 pm. So they get crackin'.
Joan explains to the camera that what the teams don't
know is that the celebrity judges will be the guests.
[<sarcasm on> Wow! I never saw that one coming, did you?
<sarcasm off> I gotta say that the recent team
competition from The Apprentice where they had to
renovate and run some motels in Jersey was much more
interesting, because they had to cater to non-celebrity
guests.] The judge-guests "may" be a bit more demanding
than usual. Bobby Flay will be checking in after-hours;
David Evangelista will be coming with a "friend" and
will want two rooms; and Candace Bushnell is coming with
her husband and her dog. The teams will be rotating
control of the front desk every 30 minutes. The kitchen
is "divided along the middle" with both teams getting an
equal stock of groceries. And each team has 3 rooms to
clean and prepare for occupancy.
The rooms are disgustingly filthy; obviously prepared
this way by the producers to maximize the "yuck" factor.
In one room, the bathtub appears to be stained with
feces. Dawn cleans the toilet, her "favorite part",
while Denise tackles the "Tub-o-Poo" with all-purpose
cleaner. [Strangely, no one gets out the Wood's lamp to
detect semen stains.] Dawn freaks out when she picks up
the sheets and there are wet spots on them. "I hope it's
not something grody." [I guess it's too late for the
Wood's lamp now.]
Meanwhile in the kitchen, Beaver Darlene starts baking
cookies and making other appetizers. Mitch and Heather
decide to just let her "do her thing". Darlene says, "It
was a lot of pressure. They put me in there not knowing
whether I could make an hors d'oeuvres." Heather finds
huge wads of hair behind the couch in another guest
room. [David's hair, perhaps, since he is much too young
to actually be bald?] Amy then complained that there was
not enough time to clean the rooms, since they were so
Dawn takes the first phone call, and just makes stuff up
when she doesn't know the proper answers. Margo finally
realizes that no one on her team is cooking anything, so
she pops down to the kitchen to look. Darlene is
literally running around the kitchen getting her team's
snacks prepared. Denise says that she was nervous about
Margo's cooking, because she hasn't been impressed with
her food choices so far. In addition, the editing makes
it appear as if Margo has no clue about how a kitchen
even works (e.g., she keeps dropping stuff). Darlene
continues as the poster child for ADD, by running
frantically everywhere. But even so, her snacks look
really good. She made artichoke, goat cheese, and
mozzarella-covered bruschetta, apricot compote, a feta
dip, a cheese and salami platter, smoked salmon-wrapped
asparagus spears, and sausage-stuffed mushrooms. The
only problem is that she made enough to feed at least
eight, if not twelve, people.
Denise and Kimberly arrive in the kitchen to try to help
out Margo, and they ultimately decide to make some soup.
To the camera, Kimberly continues to bitch about what a
control-freak Margo is, while Margo complains that no
one is listening to her. They even argue about what
color plates to use for serving. Dawn proposes a "turn
down service", Margo irons the sheets (on the bed!), and
Heather folds under the ends of the toilet paper during
the last few moments before guests arrive.
Candace and Charles Bushnell arrive first, with their
Black Labrador Betsy, and will be hosted by the Crafty
Beavers. Heather escorts them to their room, where
Candace starts the obvious buffoonery by claiming that
she can only sleep on her own sheets. Yet the sheets she
hands to Heather are still in their original packaging
from "Bitch, Bath, and Beyond". [C'mon producers! This
is so fake!] Heather invites them outside for their
welcome snack. Charles, sporting the latest fluorescent
orange Euro-trash Members Only' jacket, holds the dog
leash, or is it his leash?
Back to the kitchen, where Darlene breathlessly asks
Mitch, "What are we doing?" And he responds, "Not
freaking out." Darlene barely manages to get her
enormous platter of goodies out the door. Candace's
second ridiculous "finicky guest" request is for boiled
vegetables and some meat for the dog. Mitch takes one
for team, and agrees to prepare some food the Bushnells'
dog; since he is used to making roadkill possum, this
should not be too much of a stretch. [I wonder whether
this is really their dog, or if it was rented for the
show.] Mitch retreats to the kitchen and muses about the
real reason he has to cook for the dog. He thinks
Candace hates his guts, and he refuses to kiss anybody's
ass. [Excuse me? Isn't that exactly what you are doing
in preparing this meal?] Candace and her husband like
the food, but then complain that there is too much.
[C'mon Candace. You know what to do. Eat, purge,
Kimberly announces that they had to change guest rooms,
because the sheets they brought were queen-sized and
they were in a king-sized bedroom. Charles makes a face
and shakes his head, as if this were tantamount to
saying that the dog would have to be euthanized. Proving
that whole sheet thing was contrived, they ask to keep
the king-sized bedroom over using the special sheets.
Candace mentions sotto voce that she feels like she is
in Fawlty Towers'.
David and Angie (the Fag-Hag) arrive and are greeted by
Dawn and Denise at the front desk. Dawn, somehow
forgetting that David is gay, offers a choice of two
rooms with king-sized beds, or one room with a queen.
David then asks for some ginger ale (no ice) to ease his
tummyache. [Another obvious suggested request from the
producers.] Dawn guides the guests upstairs and makes up
some history details to make it seem like she knows what
she's talking about. [I kept waiting for her to say that
the inn was built on an Indian graveyard.] Margo
finishes up the soup, so that the guests will get a hot
snack. Margo claims that her home-made chicken noodle
soup is "Fantastic" and hands the bowls to the guests as
they sit in sidechairs. [Margo, you idiot! Don't serve
soup unless the guests are at a table.] Immediately
after Margo says the soup is warm, David complains that
it is too cold, and makes a face. The soup is heated up,
but the guests now complain that it is too bland. [Hey!
I've read this story before. Try the third bowl; it will
be "just right".] All the while, Denise tells the camera
that Margo has a lot of confidence, but just can't cook
worth a darn. Both guests put their soup bowls aside,
preferring to remain hungry.
Bobby Flay arrives at 11:30 pm, when Amy is manning the
front-desk. Bobby claims that he is starving, and he
also asks for bourbon and ginger ale. Mitch and Darlene
run to the kitchen to prepare a plate of food. Darlene
waxes philosophical, and states that restaurants
"re-plate" food all the time, to make it look more
appealing. During this flurry of activity, however, the
front-desk is left unmanned. [Cue the ominous music.]
Bobby makes his way downstairs to wait for the food,
while the phone rings on and on in the background.
Candace is shown on the phone, waiting for someone to
pick it up so she can make her next ridiculous request.
Apparently the phone rings for 14 minutes before she
gives up. On the other hand, Bobby really liked the food
that Darlene cooked up; she impressed all of her
team-mates as well.
In the middle of the night, most of the competitors are
making their individual fruit wreath projects. Denise is
shown bringing something to a guest room at 2:00 am, so
the stupid requests appear to continue. Kimberly and
Dawn giggle uncontrollably while Denise is trying to
work. Denise says she just wants to be on a team that
cares about what they do. Dawn tells Kimberly, "Remember
you were talking about who you thought the weakest link
was?" while making a head motion indicating she means
Denise. Margo is making a wreath with citrus fruit (so
that it smells good) and complains about how it hurts
her hands, which are all cut up from working in the
kitchen. The whole process is summed up by Dawn, who
say, "After having my head in a toilet and my ass in the
air all day, it's kinda hard to be inspired about making
a fruit wreath." So she falls asleep next to her lime
and tropical flower disaster. About 6:00, the phone
rings again while Team Artisan in on-call. Dawn was
sleeping again, so Denise takes the next guest request
for coffee, a toothbrush and toothpaste.
The guest judges then inspect the rooms for cleanliness.
Of course, they bring their white gloves to check for
dust. [Doesn't everyone when they visit a B&B?] Team
Artisan did a better job, since some hair and dust were
found in the Beaver rooms. Then the race to create
Heather wanted to make her classic Chicken Pot Pie, but
didn't have any chicken broth or her usual vegetables.
She had to use asparagus, broccoli, and potatoes. Team
Artisan is making Sirloin Steaks with Eggs,
Country-style Potatoes, Apple French Toast, and Mimosas
made with bottled orange juice [Gasp! Not fresh, even
with all that fruit around]. Mitch is making home-made
Cinnamon Rolls from his grandmother's recipe, except
"when she made them the fat jiggled beneath her arms."
Kimberly wipes the plates saying, "When you remove the
fingerprints you give a false sense of security that the
plates are actually clean." Then the food begins.
The judges like the Beavers' breakfast drink, with
freshly squeezed orange juice, as Darlene beams. They
also enjoy Mitch's Cinnamon Rolls. However, Heather's
Chicken Pot Pie is next. She says, "As long as it tastes
as good as it looks, we're OK." [It did taste as good as
it looks. Unfortunately, it didn't look that good.]
Candace takes a few bites and says, "I can't do this
.It doesn't look like food to me." David complains
there isn't enough seasoning.
The Artisan brunch starts with Margo singing "Good
Morning". Kimberly shows up in sweats and a baseball cap
and hoped that no one would notice. Dawn then brings out
the Mimosas, which look a tad weak. David asks if they
have freshly squeezed orange juice, and before Dawn can
lie about it, Kimberly says that it does not. [Cue
ominous music] None of the judges like it. Denise says
that her Caramel Apple French Toast doesn't need any
extra syrup, because there is plenty on the bottom.
David immediately says it needs more syrup, and the
others agree. The judges look for someone to ask for
service, but no one is there. Bobby heads to the kitchen
to get some syrup, and takes another of Mitch's Cinnamon
Rolls while he is there.
Margo is working on the Steak and Eggs. When offered
help, she says that she's got it handled. Bobby wanted
his egg poached, Candace friend, and David scrambled.
Once again, Margo is confident, but incompetent in the
kitchen. Kimberly suggests adding a little vinegar to
the water for poaching, but Margo says she has never
used it before. [I assume because she has never poached
an egg before.] Kimberly allows Margo to self-destruct
rather than waste any more time on the issue. The fried
egg has problems too, with Margo going through eight
attempts before Denise finally finishes the fried egg
off in the microwave. [WTF!] Candace takes one bite and
says, "My egg is inedible." Bobby asks Margo how she
poached his egg. She starts to answer, but then says
that she is a nervous wreck. Bobby then suggests they
all go the kitchen where he will show them how to make
poached eggs. Kimberly smiles smugly the whole way.
The Flay method of poaching eggs:
1) Crack an egg into a ramekin, so you can throw it out
if you happen to break the yolk
2) Add a little vinegar to your hot water
3) Slowly add your egg to the water
4) Remove your denatured aborted chicken fetus with a
slotted spoon [Oops, I guess I was confusing Bobby with
the freaky city girl from "Amish in the City".]
Margo gets teary-eyed in the hallway, and blames her
faults on being a single mother doing the best she can.
[The world's smallest violin is playing in the
Judging Time Again: Candace walks in wearing spotted
pants from the skins of two different dead animals. Joan
is even more hideous, channeling Krystal Carrington in a
black taffeta skirt and patterned boots. Candace
compliments Dawn's hostess skills, not knowing that she
probably invented most of what she told them about the
history of the inn. Bobby back-handedly compliments
Margo on her high spirits, even if she is a cry-baby.
David is upset that Kimberly wore sweats when serving
brunch. Bobby mentions that the lack of service was a
problem for him, and Denise stupidly tries to defend the
team's inaccessibility as trying to avoid being in their
faces. Candace reminds them about the fried egg
disaster, and Margo claims it must have been the pan.
Bobby appreciated that Amy was able to find him some
bourbon. Candace tries to shame the Beavers about the
sheet incident, apparently suggesting that they had to
ask the guests beforehand about possibly changing rooms
[talk about a "damned if you do, damned if you don't"
situation]. Heather logically retorts that the guests
seemed so intent on using their own sheets, that she had
to make the assumption that a change of rooms would be
alright; and if not, then they could always change
things back. Candace then asks about the unanswered
phone in the middle of the night, and none of the
Beavers knew this had even happened. David mentioned
that the Chicken Pot Pie wasn't tasty. Heather suggested
that she didn't have her normal ingredients. Bobby
reminded them all to flavor their foods rather than risk
blandness. When the teams briefly leave, the judges make
several inane comments that we have heard already.
David announces that the Crafty Beavers won. Darlene
holds her hand over her chest as if she is having
trouble breathing. So now to judge the individual
Candace thinks Denise's wreath looks like it should be
surrounding a smoked salmon. David likes Dawn's square
wreath with limes and tropical spiky flowers. Candace
thinks Margo's citrus wreath looks like a lei, but is so
heavy that you would fall over if you wore it.
[Actually, Candace couldn't come up with the word "lei",
nor the word "hula", and had to act them out.]
Kimberly's frame-like wreath was dubbed "unwieldy".
Candace tells the team that the judges were disappointed
with all of the individual projects. They chose Denise's
and Margo's as the worst of the lot.
Margo cries again for the camera. She says that she has
shown the most passion and enthusiasm among the
contestants. She complains that she put several things
"on hold" so that she could compete. [Newsflash: the
other contestants did too, Margo] Denise also bitches
that either Kimberly or Dawn should go next. She worked
hard on the team project, and her individual project
probably suffered because of that. Dawn mentions that
she and Kimberly think a lot alike. [If this is true,
Kimberly, please see a psychiatrist immediately.]
The Rock Garden: [Do we really need to do this? Isn't it
obvious that Margo is getting booted?] Denise is very
upbeat in her speech, and asks if she can stay. Margo
says that she wants to stay and wants to win. Kimberly
says it's all about character, and she is voting the
person who has lost her trust: Margo. Dawn votes for
Margo, because she can be hard to work with.
As the credits roll, Margo concludes with, "I was true
to myself. I showed myself to be an articulate,
creative, respectable woman. I'm able to admit I wasn't
able to poach an egg today
.I lost nothing." [Well, I
guess that's true up until the last sentence.]
Here's a link to Margo's instructions for making
poached eggs (inspired by Bobby Flay). Next week: It's
remodeling time! Mitch steals the Beaver spotlight
again. Bad choices leave Team Artisan in a time-crunch.