Gail Simmons: How 'Chef' Is Different Than Last Season

Plus: The judge reflects on her childhood spent around food.

Gail Simmons is feeling the love for Beantown!

The Top Chef judge recently revealed that the show settled into Boston nicely for the latest season of the Bravo series, which kicks off on October 15. But how is this season different compared to Season 11 in New Orleans? A shift in flavors is one major change.

"Almost everyone in the city of Boston, I think, was really happy to have [Top Chef] there, and we were really excited to give the show a new look and feel," she told the Boston Globe about the show's 12th season, beginning next week. "We went from New Orleans last year, where everything was Cajun and super-Southern, to New England, which couldn’t be more different. It just gave us a whole new set of ingredients to work with. We had a lot of fun there."

A love for all things culinary is in Gail's DNA. Having grown up around food and later studying it at the Institute of Culinary Education and working at restaurants like Le Cirque and Vong, she opened up about her early days in the Big Apple before landing her gig at Top Chef.

"My mother was a food writer and a cooking school teacher," she recalls. "We spent a lot of time watching her cook and eating really great food, interesting food. We were never the household that was allowed to eat mac and cheese and hot dogs for dinner, much to our chagrin. When I first got a glimpse into real professional kitchens, I was sort of hooked. I didn’t fight it. Instead, I moved to New York and went to culinary school and, well, the rest is history."

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[Sources: Boston Globe]

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