Gail Simmons

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

on Aug 24, 20110

Amanda and Nelson gave us the most interesting flavors, that’s why they won. Their chocolate sponge cake with pickled cherries was surprising and fresh. The cherries were quickly pickled, which really balanced out the dish. It made everything a little less sweet, it gave a tartness, and it didn’t seem pickle-y. It really added a brightness and a freshness and a little more acid to the dish, which really went well with the chocolate-y cake and the cream.

Bravotv.com: On to the Elimination Challenge, which was inspired by fairytales. They’re a lot darker than maybe people remember.

GS: The versions we gave the chef were Grimm’s versions, very dark versions of the fairytales, darker than the Disney versions I remember as a child. But I think we wanted to give the chefs as much inspiration and as much room to play as we could. For the most part, I thought their inspirations were great: “Goldilocks and the Three Bears,” “Jack and the Beanstalk,” “Little Red Riding Hood,” and “Hansel and Gretel.” There was certainly a lot to draw from each of the stories. The most important part of this challenge was that we asked them to make a showpiece right off the bat. We really wanted them to know we were serious about desserts, and we also wanted to get them using all the skills and techniques that a pastry chef should have in their back pockets, specifically chocolate and sugar work. Most of them did a pretty great job considering this was their first challenge, they had never worked in the Top Chef: Just Desserts kitchen before, which, by the way, looked incredible this season. Our kitchen was just unbelievable.

Most of them did OK. Certainly two were better than the other two. Just talking about the show piece, Little Red Riding Hood did the best job there, although Goldilocks and the Three Bears had a lot to it as well, used a lot of texture and beautiful chocolate and sugar work. Both of them drew some really great inspiration from the story and showed a lot of detail. Jack and the Beanstalk, and Hansel and Gretel, in terms of a show piece, were not that great. Jack and the Beanstalk, at first glance, looked beautiful, but when we started to walk around it, we realized they were very rushed, there was not a 360-view that we had hoped, and it was falling apart at the seams. The Hansel and Gretel team certainly had the most flawed show piece. None of the people on that team had great experience with show pieces, and you could see from the piece that they did work as a team. It was so disjointed, and they made a lot of decisions that didn’t make sense. Also, when you think of Hansel and Gretel, you think of a gingerbread or candy house! But the house they created was a sad-looking affair. If they didn’t want to use gingerbread, they could have at least covered it with candy, they could have done so many things to give it color and texture to make it appealing to the eye, and they just didn’t do that. 

14 comments
4merRose
4merRose

I also have to agree that it wasn't fair for there to be 2 teams with 4 and 2 teams with 3 people in them. They should of had the chefs that won do give their opinion of how each team did or hve the teams with 4 chefs do an extra dessert to make it fair.

kimoutre
kimoutre

I'm so glad to see Gail allowed to be her own attractive and charming self. For the first season, especially in the advertising, it felt like they were trying to force her into the mold of Padma, who is an entirely different person. Go, Gail!

Morgan>Yigit
Morgan>Yigit

The two losing teams had less people and it really affected the outcome of the challenge. I think the two that won the quickfire should have been excused from the elimination challenge and the other twelve should have been split into 3 teams of four. I'm just glad Lina left she was annoying, lacked creativity, and had a weird facial expression.

FanFare57
FanFare57

I find the show piece interesting to a challenge. However, it takes tons of time, thought and energy away from what the judges actually care about: flavor. Therefore, it's more of a hindrance than a help in judging ability.

zinfindo
zinfindo

The two teams that won had four members each. The two teams that lost had only three members each. The two losing teams "ran out of time." So the fairness balance was completely out the window right from the start. The judges, however, got it right! They eliminated the least creative lump of the bunch. Not to put even one candy cane or lolipop on the gingerbreadh house was truly astonishing!

SR02138
SR02138

Don't you think it was unfair that two teams has three chefs, and two teams had four chefs? The teams that won the elimination challenge had four chefs. It seems the other two teams should have had more time, or something to account for their lack of manpower.

efw
efw

I wonder why team Hansel & Gretel didn't compromise and make a gingerbread/candy facade on the front and the evil chocolate cake on the back. Loving the challenges and look forward to stunning and inspiring desserts. Good luck!

Topchefer
Topchefer

Welcome back, Gail! I am looking forward to a great season.

artperk
artperk

There was an inherent unfairness in the fact that with 14 individuals at this stage in the competition there would be 2 teams of 4 and 2 teams of 3. The teams of 3 had the opportunity to create/cook over a maximum of 30 hours while the teams of 4 could create/cook over a maximum of 40 hours, or 44% more. How did this affect results? The 2 four-person teams did the best and the 2 three-person teams the worst. Why didn't you wait until you had 12 chefs left to do this challenge? I blame the producers, which according to the listings includes you, Gail.

Krystlrose
Krystlrose

In a way, I think that the two with immunity should have been allowed to either observe during this challenge, or help any team that needed it any time during execution. It was not at all surprising that the two higher teams had FOUR chefs each. That essentially gave them more man hours to put into their showpieces. This really wasn't fair. The two lower teams could have had completely changed their ideas or had more ability to complete their showpieces with an extra person.

Buddy Q
Buddy Q

Does anyone else think it was unfair for two teams to get an extra team member? Not surprisingly, those two teams were the top two teams. I think team challenges should be kept to a minimum, and then used only when each team competes on equal terms with the other teams. Giving two teams an extra chef was patently unfair to the other teams and represented a HUGE advantage to the two winning teams.

C'mon, people! At least make the challenges fair and balanced!!

Tommy T.
Tommy T.

Great episode and the season looks to be fun and challenging. The only comment I'd have is the two best teams both fielded 4 players (because the Quickfire challengers got to choose their teams) and the worst teams fielded 3 players.

Wasn't that a bit of a competitive disadvantage?

ccjs
ccjs

Yes! Called that one. Just because one wins a cupcake competition in Austin does not make you a chef and then to think you can boss everyone around because you won a cupcake competition is pure foolishness.

Next Craig.

cjcs
cjcs

Lina can go home right now, closely followed by Craig(?).