Gail Simmons

Gail Simmons gives a behind-the-scenes explanation for the overwhelming use of banana in the chefs' Quickfire dishes.  

on Sep 22, 2011 For the Elimination Challenge, the chefs had to break up into groups to create desserts at a water park. Let's start with the group people may have thought would win -- Chris, Matthew, and Orlando. What were their fatal flaws?
GS: They were a really strong team, and they're all really great pastry chefs, but I think they may have become a little too arrogant about their capabilities and they didn't think outside of the kitchen. They didn't create desserts that were easy to eat; they didn't create desserts that were appropriate for their environment. They made summer desserts, which I would be happy to eat in a restaurant. It's not that their desserts were bad, but they certainly weren't perfect. Chris' dessert was a little sticky, Orlando's wasn't root beer float-y enough, it was sort of dry, and Matthew's was piping hot. If we were sitting in an air-conditioned fine dining establishment rather than a water park, they'd be great. But we were in a water park -- I wanted to pick it up and go, I didn't want a plate and a spoon with different components. I just wanted something fun, easy, and refreshing to eat before I went down the slide. Unfortunately they didn't really do that.

Then we had Amanda, Sally, and Carlos. They each had problems with their desserts individually. Their issues were very different than Matthew, Chris, and Orlando's. The problem with this team's dessert was their execution rather than their concept. Their desserts were perfectly appropriate for the venue -- funnel cake, ice cream pop, a smoothie. These were all things that seemed great in theory, but they failed in the details. Carlos' ice cream bar, which looked beautiful, had no counterpoint. It was completely sweet and fatty. There was white chocolate with thick, rich ice cream, and Fruity Pebbles. Great idea, and kids would like it because it was so sweet, but there was nothing sophisticated about its flavor at all. If he had done raspberry sorbet or really any kind of fruit sorbet in the center, it would have been absolutely perfect. But because it was so dense and rich with no balance, it wasn't refreshing at all. Sally's smoothie: I mean I can make a berry smoothie in three minutes flat, and it wasn't as if hers was so exceptional. She froze Cap’n Crunch with liquid nitrogen and blended it with a bunch of berries and yogurt. I make that for breakfast every day, minus the nitrogen. That's hardly six hours of work. I know she did it so she could help the rest of her team, but it seemed as if there was very little effort. Which is fine in a way, because that's how the game is played, its her choice if she has immunity. She could have tried to win again though, but I guess that's not her M.O. She literally decided that she was not even going to try to win, which is unfortunate.