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

In our opinion, Amanda's dessert had the greatest flaws. Her coconut sorbet was fantastic, her pineapple jam was delicious -- it all worked together really well. The idea of a funnel cake is so fantastic especially in terms of an amusement park, a carnival, a fair, a water park – it all works. But she just didn't make a good funnel cake, in fact, she made a terrible funnel cake. It was over-fried and sat too long, so it was cold, which made it hard. Because the funnel cake drizzles were so thin when she poured them in, they crisped up too quickly. You want them crisp on the outside but, with a doughy center. It wasn't like that at all, and because she gave it to us in a bowl with ice cream and jam with only a spoon, you couldn't cut it, you couldn't pick it up with your fingers and eat it. When I tried to cut into it, it flew out of my bowl. That was a risk she took when she chose to fry something on site, but it could have been handled differently. If you're going to take that risk, you need to follow through with it. All she had to say was, "I'm going first. My stuff is ready first, and you need to eat it right now," when we walked up to their table and it may have been a different experience. If she was worried, she didn't speak up so we didn't know it. I think Amanda is extremely talented, and she's a gifted pastry chef. She has an amazing attitude and an amazing understanding and knowledge of what she does. She was just being too much of a team player and not asserting herself, which is too bad because I do think she went prematurely. It just goes to show, if you make one mistake you go home, it doesn't matter who you are. All it takes is one challenge for you to be out of the game. Last but not least, we have the winning team.
GS: What Carlos, Sally, and Amanda lacked, Katzie, Rebecca, and Megan really excelled at. They created desserts that were completely appropriate for where we were and executed them very well with their own professional pastry chef spin. Like Johnny said, they all would have worked perfectly on an ice cream truck. Katzie had something on a stick, it had crunch, it had flavor, it had acidity from the cherry ice cream, it was rich, but it was fun to eat, and she bruleed that meringue right there, which everyone loved. Rebecca created an ice cream sandwich, which was perfect, simple, straightforward, with good ingredients. She made perfectly chewy snickerdoodle cookies, lemon ice cream, which gave it a tang but was still rich, also it was wrapped in paper so you could take it on the go. Megan made that strawberry float which was a little too sweet for me, but all in all, still very sophisticated and very fun. In addition to all of this, they also made lemonade and essential oil spritzers of cold water that everyone could spray on themselves to cool down. They really thought about the whole experience and it felt very organic to where we were. Plus, everything tasted good. Period.

Next week brace yourselves for the Beastie Boys. It's time to get ill...