Gail Simmons

Gail Simmons breaks down the early competition, and gives the scoop on some of her premiere fashions.

on Aug 24, 2011 What makes the new season different?

Gail Simmons: Johnny and I were raring to get started with the new season, and right off the bat you’ll notice a number of differences: One, Johnny lost the pompadour. By choice. He looks fantastic -- although he always looks fantastic. And, the other thing you’re going to notice is that we demand a lot more of our chefs this year. The M.O. for this season is make it bigger, make it better, make it sweeter, make it taller. Although the first Quickfire might seem deceptively easy, the results weren’t that impressive. And the Elimination Challenge really turned our pastry chefs upside-down and made them realize this season is not just going to be about plated desserts. It’s about showing all your skills at a really high-level. And the talent this season is up for the task. Well, let’s start with that disappointing Quickfire Challenge. The chefs had to recreate or make soda shop desserts.

GS: We met them on the pier in Santa Monica early in the morning. I had a bad cold and was wondering whether I may not sound like myself. And it was colder than I expected, which is why I’m wearing a jacket. We loved that jacket!

GS: It was one of our producer’s! I was wearing a silk blue shirt underneath and we kind of got out there and it was freezing cold, so, I literally took that leather jacket off of Casey Kriley’s, our executive producer's, body, and wore it on the show! But we digress…

GS: So, we thought this would be a fun way to start off. We put them in a very traditional soda shop atmosphere and asked them to create a dessert based on a classic soda shop treat, but using all of their creative skills, and their imaginations. What we didn’t want was seven banana splits. And what we got was five banana splits and two other desserts. A bit disappointing. We were so surprised that the chefs we know are so capable of blowing our minds, gave us pedestrian food. The first challenge, especially when they’re in this very cramped little space, is always very difficult. But we had a few desserts that we liked. 

Carlos and Rebecca’s cereal bowl milkshake was fun. It had great texture, and it was different because they made a shake, so, it was just refreshing to see something in another format other than just on a plate or in a sundae bowl.