Gail Simmons

Gail Simmons explains why Carlos' dessert was ultimately less successful than Orlando's.

on Oct 12, 20110

Bravotv.com: Then, you had a carnival, with your good friend Dana Cowin.

GS: It was so much fun that she came and hosted this beautiful event. It really was a spectacular setting. And, I thought the idea of elevating carnival food was excellent. It was certainly not a carnival atmosphere in terms of it being upscale -- it was in this beautiful garden. And for the most part, they all had fantastic ideas -- caramel corn, funnel cake, candy apples. It was a difficult challenge because, as with so many things, these are flavors that so many people have very strong memories of. You’re not just cooking something that has to taste good, you’re evoking a sense memory for people. And that can get very personal -- people expect certain things when you tell them that it’s based on a caramel apple. You are setting yourself up because it’s something that those people are not only familiar with, but they’re attached to. That’s exactly of what happened with the people who are on the bottom.


Bravotv.com: Sally was on top for this one.

GS: I love caramel corn, and this is an exact example of what we were talking about, done right: she used caramel corn in a really smart way and elevated it. She started with enough of the flavor and texture we expect from caramel corn  (i.e. the caramel, the crunch, the peanuts, the butteriness), but then she took it so much farther above and beyond your typical carnival caramel corn. She made a pudding. She made a corn cake. It was all very subtle, but it had a ton of fresh corn flavor. It was just a really creative way to reintroduce us to the idea of caramel corn.


Bravotv.com: And then Matthew won. . .

GS: And then Matthew won with his fried apple pie. A fried pie is awesome. It evokes, of course, not just the caramel apple, but also the funnel cake, and the idea of any kind of a fried treat at a carnival. It was just made perfectly. He didn’t try to stretch himself. He made a really great version, which was appropriate for the party and used a lot of skill that made it really, well, delicious. He showed that he could do more than just whip together a pie. It certainly showed a lot of professional pastry craft.  He added an accent of fresh apples, he made the cream, the cinnamon sable. There were so many elements that elevated it, yet it also was simply a great pie. It looked simple. It tasted simple. It tasted as you’d expect it to taste, only better, and that’s what you want. It’s exactly what we were looking for.


Bravotv.com: And he had a raffle.

GS: Two of my friends won, Miri and Caroline! So shout out to Miri and Caroline. They were both so embarrassed, and we all couldn’t stop laughing. But it made their day.

8 comments
Craig B
Craig B

I'm lost with regards to the purpose of your "Challenges" when a contestant can simply choose not to participate and make whatever they want. Then have judges argue that what they made was good so they should stay.

This has been on going through both seasons.

kathieViewer
kathieViewer

Orlandos dish just didn't look pretty. I don't know how it tasted, but he should have gone home.

SH1954
SH1954

Now i know i will never watch this show again, how can a chef who did not make his own pastry go on, and a chef that made all of his desserts go home. store made pastry not go home. SAD SAD SAD.

DarrenB
DarrenB

Gail's explanation falls short of justifying the elimination of Carlos vs. Orlando. If you read between the lines, it's clear that Johnny wanted to keep Carlos and Gail did not.

Carlos has consistently shown far more talent than Orlando, and that episode was no exception. It just sounds like Gail was mad because she got a stain on her dress from Carlos's dessert and that was the end of him.

Andrew
Andrew

I'm surprised that Orlando didn't go home as well but on a more general note, I'm finding this entire season is leaving me just "blah".

Don't get me wrong - I like the cheftestants - I like the comraderie and don't miss the "drama" brought by Team Diva last season - but the challenges this season aren't as exciting as last year.

It's certainly been getting better in recent episodes (Sabotage for one)- but by now, the "pudding has already set" (if you pardon the pun).

Why were the majority of challenges team challenges? With the exception of Willie Wonka (which is obviously a sentimental challenge), most of them didn't seem that "top chef worthy". I know if I look back at each episode, one could argue that each person had to do an individual item but they don't feel that way.

My wife and I weren't sure if we would like Just Desserts because we aren't "dessert" people - but the first season had us hooked. Top Chef creates our "TV dinner" night. The second season of Just Desserts just isn't doing it.

To Mordaki987 's point, Gail is the "host", not the head judge. You don't see Padma overtaking Tom during the regular show. Now Gail has far more experience and "judging" than Padma has, but her role on the show is as Host.

isightmight
isightmight

Carlos should have stayed, it was a true injustice.

Mordaki987
Mordaki987

If I may say this Gail without getting anyone overly upset here but Top Chef Just Desserts was supposed to be your show. Meaning your baby, you were head just ect. But to be honest after watching one season and over half of a second season it seems to me that this is more Johnny Iuzzini's show then it is Gails, I don't know i just feel that Johnny has more say and clout with the chefs and at the judges table then you do Gail. I kinda feel maybe Johnny should step back and let you run the show the way you would want it and let you be more then head jusdge but that is just how i feel at any rate if I have overstepped my bounds on what I have said here I apologize.

swati
swati

I still think Orlando should have gone home. If they could disqualify Matthew in the quick fire round for touching the pastry with his second hand - then Orlando should have been eliminated for missing the whole point of the challenge. Bring the taste of the carnival on a plate- and all the judges admitted that his dessert fell far short of the mark.