Gail Simmons

Gail Simmons makes the case for canned food.

on Jan 15, 2009 What did you think of the dishes that each team prepared?
With Team Chicken, the soup seemed like a strange idea because it was the middle of August and very warm. The truth is if it tastes good it doesn't really matter. If it tastes good and if it was made well, which it seems to have been, then that's that. I'd rather have a good hot soup on a warm day then a bad cold something else. There's no rules and yes, it did seem out of place especially when the idea of this was supposed to be seasonal, but it was made with seasonal ingredients. There are no rules saying you can't make a soup. The cutlet also seemed great and so did the roast chicken. Pure and simple. The chicken team just really kept it simple and of course they did panic when they thought it was too simple and it's so easy to get in that mindset when everyone around you is doing more complicated things. You have to remember that simple can be good. The judges are never going to criticize you if it is prepared well, executed well, and tastes as it should. That was the actual point and I'm so glad they didn't let themselves get carried away. Carla made the best dessert and it seemed delicious. What did you think about Team Pork?
Their problem seemed to be that the pork got lost. I have a feeling about what happened having been at enough Judges' Tables, although I might just be projecting: The pork dishes were probably just OK, neither good nor bad, but there can only be one winner and one loser. That team just went a little heavy on that pesto so it got lost. I don't know about the loin specifically. Radhika could also have made more effort. Jeff is used to cooking for health-conscious diners so he might be accustomed to trimming the fat and removing skin. Could that have been an issue for them?
That goes back to a big problem, which is butchering the meat. You don't need to do a million things to the meat. If you know enough about how to butcher properly you should know how to keep that flavor in. People get very scared of fat because to them it signifies a horrible and dangerous thing, but the truth is that the fat in moderation is going to make your food worth eating. You need it there for flavor and for moisture and that's an easy trap to fall into in this day and age.