Gail Simmons

Gail Simmons makes the case for canned food.

on Jan 15, 2009

Bravotv.com: Well, they're even making Turkey Spam now.
Yup. They're making way for canned food. It makes sense because you can get clams and oysters in a can. There are actually some really good products in a can, especially outside of America. In Europe, farmers can really well because they can in really high quality oil and you can get amazing canned tuna or sardines in oil or even smoked oysters. It can be really delicious and there are tons of great quality products because it is a good way to preserve food. My husband's uncle is a recreational fisherman and he smokes and cans his own oysters and wild salmon and ships it to us and it's the most delicious thing. We keep it in our pantry and it's our special treat that we break out.

Bravotv.com: In the elimination challenge the teams get split up into teams by protein. What did you think of the teams?
I felt bad for Ariane. I really did. Hosea and Leah are clearly very close and I can imagine that three people can be an awkward number if you're not working well together. Stefan, Jamie, and Carla were also in that three-is-a-crowd situation. Stefan and Jamie have this strange thing going. It seems that Jamie doesn't like Stefan and Jamie absolutely loves Jamie and Stefan can be a little condescending and controlling. Then there's Carla who is just stuck in the middle. She's the odd man out there. Jeff, Radhika, and Fabio all have very different personalities but they seemed to be OK together.

Bravotv.com: The chefs set up their menus and headed up to Dan Barber's Blue Hill restaurant at Stone Barns. Tell us a little about this location.

I thought it was a great challenge and was simple and straightforward, as it should be. Even though they changed the venue on them I thought it was a good twist. Blue Hill, the actual restaurant, has a location in Manhattan and one up at Stone Barns and Dan Barber is certainly one of the pioneers and trailblazers in NYC that is really connecting farmers and chefs. He's a big advocate for sustainability, for locally grown and sustainable farming practices, and he's deeply connected to the farmers he works with. I've been to Blue Hill, his restaurant, several times since it's opened and I've known Dan for a long time. What he's created at Stone Barns is really a chef's dream. The farm is really self-sustainable meaning they recycle and they have very little waste. Every piece of every vegetable, animal, and mineral is used and then recycled. At the same time, he has created this unbelievable bounty around him that they have access to and they use some of it and then they also sell some of it. They also create revenue that way, I believe. He has a three-acre greenhouse, amazing gardens, sheep, and pigs, and chickens. It's also surrounded by an amazing piece of wildlife, on a huge piece of land surrounded by woods. It's just a really special place. The restaurant and the quality of ingredients are obviously magnificent. It's great because it all tastes delicious and fresh as fresh can be. It's a great road trip from New York and you can take a tour. They have a docent program where kids from the local high school are the guides. It's amazing, beautiful, and the food is fantastic. It's a great experience and I think urban chefs have very little connection to the food they're cooking. It comes on a truck and they cut it down, do a million things to it, and then serve it at night. It's great to allow young chefs to get back to the farm and have a relationship with what they're cooking and have a connection so it's not just a slab of meat. You don't really know how much work goes into raising and farming meat. I thought it was a great challenge.