Gail Simmons

Gail explains why the food this week was uninspired.

on Nov 1, 2006

OK, I get that TGI Friday's may have seemed like a bizarre choice to be part of an Elimination Challenge, but when all was said and done it proved to be quite an education for our contestants. As Padma explained at the start of the challenge, only a very small portion of American diners eat in fine dining restaurants, so knowing how to cook well for the rest of the population is crucial to being a Top Chef. Before I get into the nitty-gritty, I wanted to touch on the brewing feud between Betty and Mr. Molecular Gastronomy.

During Season 1 I learned to have more patience with young, overzealous, at times condescending contestants (who will otherwise go unnamed). It is easy to see how Betty would be unable control her feelings about Marcel's ego, though I am sure in the thick of competition it is difficult for her not to let his antagonizing get in her way. It is interesting to note that in spite of his attitude, Marcel has yet to create anything that has wowed us. Meanwhile, Betty continues to impress, as shown by her back-to-back wins. Betty: stay focused on the prize and remember we all need to deal with big egos, learn to work around it. But I digress.... Spending a day with the Firefighters of South Pasadena was such a thrill! What the edited episode did not show was that twice during our visit the alarm sounded and, in the outrageous heat of that summer afternoon, over half the squad rushed out to do their ever-important job. Thankfully, they all returned safely both times, hungrier than ever! Unfortunately, we served them less impressive food than they deserved.
I was incredibly disappointed with the results of this challenge.