Gail Simmons

Gail Simmons thinks that Heather H.'s elimination taught the chefs that no one is safe.

on Oct 28, 2010 This week we started with a Top Chef Classic: the relay race. What did you think of that?
It was painful to shoot. I'm not going to lie. There are two things you don’t know as a viewer when watching it. One: I was at the beginning of a bad cold. I wasn't feeling well and it was by far my personal hardest few days on set. Two: When we got to that strudel roll-out, it was excruciating to watch. It took about 17 times longer than you saw on television, but that would have just bored the audience to tears. It really took forever, but in the end, it was exciting to see that it was actually possible.

Team Diva prevailed, good for them. To address the whole Team Diva issue: we didn't know much about the way they were all acting because all the Team Diva stuff only comes out in the kitchen when they're cooking or in their interviews when we're not there. We didn't really know the level of cliquey-ness that was going on. Obviously it's edited, but it's still a surprise to me. It makes me feel like I'm reliving high school, and no one wants to go back to high school. You announce that Dessert Wars will be different than Restaurant Wars, that they have to make their own shop.
Yes, and there's a difference between a dessert shop and a bakery here. They made baked goods, obviously, but they also had to make plated desserts, which is something very different and much more difficult. That's the key to understanding the challenges they had. So not only did they have to run a full shop in terms of front of house and retail, but they also had to run somewhat of a restaurant because they were doing plated, sit-down service. That is a big deal, and incredibly challenging. On top of which, they each had to do three desserts. And on top of that two of the desserts had to be a la minute, which means they had to be plated to order. We were incredibly impressed by the results from both teams. We are getting nit-picky here -- there has to be someone to send home every week. So it was a really tough decision, going required a lot of back and forth. There were great moments and low moments to both teams. Do you want to go through the highlights?
Let's start with Pastry Playland. I think Zac really shined in this challenge. From a pastry perspective I think his wild blueberry doughnut was outstanding, although it didn't even need the milkshake. That doughnut was good on it's own. And it was really beautifully made. That was a highlight.

Yigit's service was incredible and his margarita sorbet was surprisingly refreshing and full of flavor.

Heather did some really beautiful things. I really liked her Key Lime Bar with the chocolate. It was beautiful but it just didn't have the boldness that it needed.

At the end of the day, the biggest mistake of the day, and this just shows you the kind of minutiae that we're down to here, was the pastry tart shell, which was used for both Heather and Yigit's tarts. It was almost impossible to cut. It's especially too bad for Yigit’s tart because the filling was quite amazing.

I just want to say that Heather is a super strong pastry chef. There is no doubt in my mind that she has super solid skills. I'm rooting for her, no matter what she does next, because I ate so many delicious and memorable desserts she produced, and I would be happy to do so again anytime.