Gail Simmons

Gail Simmons elaborates on the judges' final decision.

on Nov 18, 2010 Yigit wins.
GS: In the end, when we looked at his menu as a whole, we found it the most cohesive, and it’s progression made the most sense to us on a macro level. On the micro level, the range he showed us as well as the attention to detail he showed in each dessert really stood out and was so memorable. The diversity and scope of all his desserts was so memorable, to go from that refreshing cucumber dill yogurt soup, through that beautifully bright, strawberry, deconstructed vacharin with meringue kisses, into the deeply caramelized pineapple and muscovado dessert and finally into milk jam, caramel, and chocolate -- it was divine! There was so much experience that carried through, and there really were few flaws overall. His menu truly satisfied us, from beginning to end. This is the first time you actually got to tell someone that they are Top Chef!
GS: It was great to finally be the one to say it, although it was also terrifying because you know that this is the end, and although you’re celebrating one person, the other two will be disappointed. So it took a little bit of willpower to kind of control my voice, and not give too much away. But it was very exciting to see the look on Yigit’s face.... I’ll just never forget it. What was the best dessert you ate all night?
GS: I would say Yigit’s strawberry course overall, but I’ll tell you one component from each person that I’ll never forget: I’ll never forget the milk jam that Yigit made. I will never forget the balance created by Danielle’s first course, that cheese course, and it’s simplicity. And I will never forget Morgan’s Baumkuchen. It’s a dessert I only discovered in the last few years, and it’s one of my favorite things. He executed it perfectly. And I just want to say that although he didn’t stretch himself by making a macaron, I hope Morgan never stops making them. He really has a knack for combining flavors and making this very classic dessert feel fresh every time. Do you have advice for Morgan, Danielle, and Yigit?
GS: I think this is where the fun begins. I know they worked so hard to get there, all of them. I say this to all of our Top Chefs in general but, of course, this group of 12 chefs I feel particularly attached to, and certainly, the final three: From here on out, it’s up to you. Take from it, learn from it, and I know they all did. I know they all discovered a lot about themselves and about each other, and they all found out their own strengths and their own weaknesses. Now, it’s sort of like we’re setting them free. You no longer have to be at our mercy, but your future depends on taking this experience and using it to your own advantage and capitalizing on it in a way that will make you proud of yourself. And if you do so, we will be proud of you too. Because we will be watching every step of the way! I already am so proud to know these three pastry chefs, and I know that if they find a way to take the focus they showed us in this final episode and move forward with it, they are all going to have massive careers.