Exclusive: The hot foodies talk painful 'Top Chef' eliminations and more on set of Eric's 'On the Table'

on Oct 16, 2012 - The Dish

Eric Ripert and Gail Simmons on 'On the Table'
Gail Simmons and Eric Ripert have built up a great rapport over the years, be it when Eric serves as a guest judge on Top Chef alongside Gail, or at the various food events they frequent thanks to their pretty fabulous lifestyles. But despite working together and running in the same chef circles, can you believe they've never actually cooked together? Well, that is until Gail was the guest on Eric's stellar YouTube cooking show On The Table recently.

We caught up with the duo just moments after Gail stunned Eric with her recipe for Welsh Rarebit -- the gooey, melty, cheesy British open-faced sandwich that Eric had never even heard of until Gail made it. Ripert, who's made his mark on the food world with a precision-like finesse for fish, said that he loved the rib-sticking Rarebit, and proclaimed that it would make for some amazing hangover food (Gail's episode premieres this Thursday on Reserve Channel).



Not good hangover food? Well, really not good food at all according to Eric -- brains. Despite having an adventurous chef's palate, Eric simply can't stand even thinking of the texture of brains, and while Gail agrees, black beans are her culinary nemesis after getting sick from them one time.

As for doing television, while the two are quite good in front of the camera now, it wasn't always the case, and they even shared some stories about their most disastrous live TV demos. Eric's came on Today when a 4-minute holiday feast segment was cut to just 45 seconds ... only nobody told Eric about that part. After some stiff elbows from Al Roker, the handsome chef was left with food still in his hands and a whole lot of things left unprepared. As for Gail, failed electronics did her in once. "I was making smoothies and I had a blender and they hadn't plugged it into the power source ... the dreaded thing happens where you press the button and it doesn't work ... It was so nerve-wracking and you feel so stupid afterwards."

We also spoke with the two about painful eliminations from Top Chef, and it was a subject that Gail seemed especially irked about. Having to be the one crushing someone's dreams comes with a lot of weight, and she specifically remembers Tre's "Restaurant Wars" Season 3 elimination as one that really sticks with her. "At least once a season, a chef goes way too early ... chefs you know are better chefs and are capable of way more and had a bad day." Still, it's not as though she regrets it -- as she said her test is: "Will I wake up tomorrow morning regretting it? And I never have woken up the next morning saying 'We shouldn't have done that.'"

Apparently Eric's a softie, if you couldn't already gather that from his easy demeanor. "It's very emotional. You feel so bad," Eric said of his time at Judges Table sending people to pack their knives. "You hope, you pray that they're not going to cry ... It is tough."

Watch the full interview in the video above, and be sure to hit up Reserve Channel on Thursday to watch Gail dazzle Eric with her cooking prowess.