Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Savannah: My Beautiful Whrilwind, Final Entry

RWOP Finalists on WOTC Savannah's Morning Show
The News
I finally got some good rest the night before, and it was a good thing because our calls were getting earlier and earlier.  Thursday was a 9am call, and a prompt one because we were scheduled to appear on WOTC's morning news show with Paula Deen.  I was looking forward to today, as I was finally feeling like myself once again, and we were also getting pampered at the spa before the live event.

We left for the news station, and we were greeted by one of the evening newscasters who had been friends with Paula Deen for over 30 years.  We instantly felt welcomed and loved and the production crew wasted no time getting us right on the air.

Paula showed up right before the show started and when we went on the air, they got right down to business.   The format of the show was great, a quick chat with Paula about the event and then a few minutes with the four finalists from each category.  When it came time for desserts, I felt comfortable and excited, exactly the way I wanted to feel all WEEK!  Why couldn't this have come sooner?  I was finally able to look Paula Deen in the eye and speak to her live on camera without breaking down.  We each had a few words to say on the show, and before we knew it, we were done.

Appetizer finalists on WOTC with Paula Deen
The Spa
The Savannah Day Spa greeted us with open arms and eager hands.  We all received manicures and pedicures and a one hour massage.  This was such an unexpected and much needed treat, and a couple of us finalists got a little more than we bargained for.

Paula Todora, who would later go on to win the Appetizer category later that night, was walking down the hallway of the third floor of the spa, when she noticed three apparitions floating down the hallway.  The first, a grey tinted cloud, appeared to be a man, and the other two, not quite as clear, looked like younger women.  You see, Savannah, Georgia is one of the country's most haunted cities and many of the remodeled vintage buildings still carry spirits of the former dwellers/owners that once walked the hallways of the homes.  Apparently, the Savannah Day Spa is no different.  Paula T. had seen three ghosts!

Kirsten Shabaz, or SHABAM! as I like to call her, who would later go on to win the Entree category later that night, didn't have the privilege of making an ancient acquaintance, but she did give us the best laugh of the entire trip.  Many of the stairwells in Savannah go STRAIGHT down, so we really had to watch our step on our descents.  Kirsten was sauntering down the stairs following her wonderful massage, relaxed, calm and refreshed...or so she thought.  As she stepped down to the first floor, her heel slipped on one of the stairs, instantly fell onto her bottom, and bounced down the last 5 or 6 stairs.  We were all immediately shocked and concerned, but the shock soon switched to uncontrollable laughter as she confirmed that she was okay.  Appetizer finalist, Sharon Sorensen then came downstairs commenting on how the thunderstorms were coming back with a vengeance outside.  There was no thunder.  It was Kirsten's bottom bouncing down the stairs!

Waiting for the show to start
The Live Event
We had several hours to get ready for the live event.  I should have been feeling more nervous, but at this point, I was really removed from the final outcome.  Of course, I'd be lying if I didn't say that I wanted to win, but it was out of my hands at this point, and it was really anyone's game.  We all had great stories, we all did well in the cook-off (aside from my little oven mishap) and we all had a fantastic time in Savannah.

The show started just a little late, but once Paula Deen took the stage, the lights were shining and the laughter was rolling!  Paula could very easily be a stand up comedian and it felt as if we were all attending her live performance. 

We all had a chance to say our names and talk just a little about our dishes.  When it came time to announce the winner, I felt free and open, without being attached to hearing my name.  It was Amy Williams' time.  Paula Deen LOVED her recipe.  When Amy was in front of the judges for the cook-off, Paula commented on how she wanted to take some home for her husband.  Judge Danielle Carter instantly exclaimed that this recipe was "a winner" ... and so she was.

RWOP dessert finalists waiting for winner announcement
I was thrilled that this competition went to the person who actually had the best RECIPE.  This is what Real Women of Philadelphia is truly about, the food.  I know that Amy will do a fantastic job as dessert host.  She's got a great story, a beautiful face and voice, and let's face it...when Paula Deen is stashing your food in her purse to take home and share with her family, that's a recipe worth $25,000!

I'm back home and back in the kitchen already. My head is on straight for the next round of competition and I'm working on some ideas for an online show that will be airing in the fall.  I'll be just fine.  I just need to work on my idiotic blubbering when it comes to speaking about emotional issues.  Toastmasters anyone?!


  1. loved both your articles! You really have a gift for writing! I'd love to print this off and staple it into my journal you summed it up so beautifully!

  2. It would be my honor beautiful Carmell!