Gail Simmons

Gail discusses Critics' Table and what it's like judging Bryan Voltaggio again.

on Jul 29, 2013 What about the other well-received dishes?
GS: Every dish had so many components, and were a bit overwhelming. But Neil's was subtle. He gave us a dish that was really straightforward, but was just made well, and that's what we wanted. We want to taste the ingredients in your food, but we also don't want to feel like you're throwing a circus on our plate, like David did, like Richard did. So it was sort of a brilliant skill that Neil was able to make all his ingredients feel very edited, very carefully prepared.

And then there was Odette's. I can't help but love her. Her dish was by far the most interesting dish we ate, in many ways. I loved that she cooked the lamb but then served it cold, which is smart because there were so many uncontrollable variables that day, in the middle of that tumbleweed field. It was just so authentic to her, which made us so happy. It was classic Italian, the cauliflower was full of flavor and the anchovy that she added made everything sing. It was quite remarkable. I've never had lamb in that preparation. It told us so much about her, not just because it's Italian but because she was so thoughtful in preparing it. It was beautiful and absolutely delicious. What can we expect from the rest of the season?
GS: It's all uphill from here. The food just gets better and better. The Masters are totally fun and hilarious. And there's some pretty unbelievable curveballs for them coming up. I hope people also tune in to our Battle of the Sous Chefs and follow along.