Gail Simmons

Gail Simmons explains why Jen's undercooked lamb didn't send her home.

on Sep 19, 2013

Bravotv.com: Sang is back!
Gail Simmons: Hello, Sang. Welcome back! I thought Sang was in an excellent mood. I'm sure he felt great being on the other side of the judging situation. And I loved how different the burgers were. A lobster burger, a shrimp burger, beef burgers. Doug's burger seemed to be a bit of a catastrophe, surprisingly. Bryan's wasn't that interesting. David did his usual thing where he piled on like seven extra ingredients that I never want to eat together. But sometimes his magic works. Quail egg and burrata and lobster?! Whoah, dude, slow down. But Sang said it was good, and I believe him because Sang is very particular about his burgers. Ultimately, Jen's looked the best, so I'm glad she won. She's en fuego!

Bravotv.com: Which leads us to the Elimination Challenge. What was it like being around all the teachers? They were all surprised to be there.
GS: The whole day was really emotional, actually. We all felt so great speaking with these teachers and spending some time with them. John Deasy, the head of the L.A. Unified School Board, was a fascinating and wonderful man. We actually spent several hours with him and ate with him that day. It was amazing to learn how school boards that large run. And he's the boss of it all! The statistics of the teachers and students he oversees are staggering. I think it also got us all out of our own heads, and out of the food world, which we needed. It was really quite special.

Bravotv.com: Let's start with the top two. Douglas' dish was so rich.
GS: His dish was completely over-the-top and beautiful. I mean he piled on every luxurious ingredient you could think of --from the salmon to the caviar to the sea urchin. I guarantee that 95% of the people in that room had never eaten half of those things before, at least not all together. I worried it would come across as insincere, but it didn't. Sometimes just piling on luxury doesn't make a dish good, and it's not why his dish was good. There needs to be purpose to each component beyond just a "wow factor." I think everyone really appreciated that. It was so touching that he drew inspiration from this fairytale wedding that Emily had created for Camille, her student. That Camille could be there with her family was also just lovely. And they all loved the dish. We loved it, too -- the textures were so silky and smooth and rich, truly of the sea. It was pretty unforgettable.

Doug laid it on thick with those roses too. He's a smooth operator.  Ha!

Bravotv.com: And there's Bryan who finally won something -- finally.
GS: This is Bryan's episode, and I couldn't be happier. Not only did he get immunity, but this dish was all Bryan, in perfect form. Squid ink Bolognese with miso cavetelli -- who even knows where he came up with that? But, it made perfect sense for him, it made perfect sense for his teacher. The idea that Mr. Lauchu taught math and science and Bryan's cooking is so science-based, so intellectual, but it's also really satisfying and approachable to eat, made so much sense. I think it's what this teacher aims to do with this very complicated subjects. It was so savory and so unique; I've never eaten anything like it, but it also had so much familiarity because it was a Bolognese. It was the perfect way to use all of those techniques that Bryan uses, that are at times are a little overthought and cerebral. It was beautifully balanced dish both in flavor and texture, and in the fact that it was recognizable, but also pushed you with its uniqueness. It was really one of the best things I ate all season. I feel like I say that all the time. Truthfully every season I'm asked, "What's your favorite dish you've ever eaten on Top Chef?" and I can never answer the question. But there are always two or three dishes per season that I will never forget. This is one of them, absolutely.