Gail Simmons: "Neil Went for Our Bellies"
Gail sounds off on why Neal took the win (and her love of Mindy Kaling).
Bravotv.com: OK -- let's talk about the Quickfire briefly.
Gail Simmons: Mindy was great. My biggest regret about this episode is that Mindy left when I got there, and I'm so bummed cause I'm just a big fan. I wish I could've met her cause I'm a fan of The Office and of course The Mindy Project, and I loved the challenge and thought it was perfect for her.
Bravotv.com: Sang made a comment about Doug's scrambled eggs. I know you you have strong feelings about egg cookery.
GS: The challenge isn't to do as many possible things as you can in 30 minutes; it's to make one great thing in 30 minutes. And it was great, and caviar was a quick, smart delicious idea, and if anyone made that for me at midnight, he'd have my heart. It is a classic, beautiful thing to eat, very sexy.Bravotv.com: On to the Elimination Challenge. What was it like having Yo Gabba Gabba! on set?
GS: I loved everything about this challenge. It was so wacky and bizarre because those characters are so bizarre, but it was a great challenge and forced our chefs to think so differently from how they always do in their restaurants. Some of them have kids and some of them don't, so it's a very real challenge every day for people with children. That's the constant conundrum that books are written about. Every single mother I know complains, "How do you get your kids to eat well?" I think the chefs did well overall. We threw them a lot of curveballs. They had to cook with ingredients that kids don't like, and a few chefs didn't have sous chefs and had to use brussels sprouts. There was a lot for them to juggle, and that was cool.
We spent a lot of time talking to the creator of Yo Gabba Gabba! He wrote that song "There's a Party in my Tummy" for this purpose, so it all fit perfectly. We were all singing for 2 weeks. That song was so on my mind and we were so into it that a week later I was walking in L.A., and I walked into a skateboard shop that sold Yo Gabba Gabba! Vans for children with the words "There's a party in my tummy" on them, so I bought a pair for Hudson, Curtis' son!
GS: Doug's dish was the riskiest dish. The dish was so out there and such a big risk with how it looked and the texture. I don't think if I were four, I would've eaten that dish. It was really savory and yummy. I hate using that word, but it was just cool and crazy. We just had to give Doug points for stretching something completely in outer space for kids.
Bravotv.com: What about Neal and Sang?
GS: Sang just made something really straightforward but really delicious. He knew that kids loved meatballs, so he made delicious chicken meatballs with teriyaki, which is salty and tasty. The kids loved seeing it, and I think that it was fun and smart, and it tasted good. It also got them to eat cauliflower. It didn't have that strong cauliflower taste -- it was just smooth and round and good.
And then there was Neal. He ground up the brussels sprouts and spinach so much that he was disguising them, and that was something even he worried about, but got them in there! There was enough of a taste of brussels sprouts and greenness. That sauce was just a great meat sauce, and the pasta was fun and yummy, and everybody loved it. We were all happy to eat it. He just went for our bellies with that one -- no one would turn down a bowl of pasta with meat sauce. It was a good way to approach the challenge, and he deserved to win that day.Bravotv.com: And the bottom dishes?
GS: Sue and Jennifer were in the bottom. Sue's mac and cheese was a good way to go, but she added the bacon which made it taste fatty, which defeated the healthiness of the challenge. Her use of cottage cheese was great, but her incorporation of brussels sprouts was not. People basically picked them out and put them to the side. They felt like an after thought to the dish, and they weren't very incorporated. The mac and cheese was good, but it could've definitely been better. Between the unnecessary dumping of bacon and the use of the brussels sprouts, it just wasn't as good as the other dishes that day.
And Jennifer too -- she thought about it being healthy, but didn't really think about it being delicious. I didn't realize melon was a fruit that a lot of kids didn't like. But, she used sour frozen yogurt, and it doesn't come across as something I'd want to eat. Sour is a difficult flavor for young people. Bryan's dish looked beautiful, but it did not translate. It was beautiful and smart and great for an adult challenge. It was healthy, all things considered, and the color was fantastic, but it was a smack in the face of beets. You got a lot of the earthiness of the beet and not the sweetness. Byan said a kid would eat that, but the majority of the kids in America aren't Bryan Voltaggio's, so I think it went over their heads. Of the three of them, he would be the one to stay. It was refined and made us think about the vegetables in a new way.
I was really sorry to see both Sue and Jennifer go, but one of them will be back!