Gail Talks 'Top Chef' Parents Club: I've Gotten Great Hand-Me-Downs

The judge reveals how Padma and Co. are models for raising her newborn.

Top Chef's Gail Simmons and husband Jeremy Abrams welcomed their first child, daughter Dahlia, last year. But for the food critic, balancing work with homelife has been relatively easy thanks to her fellow judges.

"I was the last one to join the club, so to speak," Gail tells New York Family in a new interview, referring to the fact that Tom Colicchio, Padma Lakshmi and Hugh Acheson all have young children.

So does she seek parenting tips from her colleagues? "I turn to Tom and Padma and Hugh, for sure," she says. "As parents, they've given me great advice."

Guidance isn't the only thing her coworkers have given her. Gail says she's also received, "amazing hand-me-downs. My baby’s favorite play mat is from Hugh, my baby’s highchair is Padma's daughter’s highchair."

My baby's favorite play mat is from Hugh, my baby's highchair is Padma's daughter's highchair.

Gail Simmons

For Gail, having other parents who understand her life has been invaluable. "They've also just been great role models for me, especially because our job is so unique—none of us have 9-5 jobs, none of us have two days that are the same."

Padma bringing her now-four-year-old daughter to set as an infant blazed a few trails for Gail. "It has been amazing for me," she says. "The precedent was set. They knew what it was like to have an infant on-set with us at all times...everyone on the crew knew exactly what it was going to be like—the breaks for me to breastfeed or setting up a nursery wherever we were so that my baby was comfortable—because they’d done it already with Padma."

Even with such great role models, Gail admits she's still learning that balance of work and family. But in the end, she wouldn't have it any other way. Parenting, she says, is "at once harder and better than I ever thought."

[Source: New York Family]

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Top ChefGail SimmonsPadma Lakshmi

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