Gail Simmons

Apparently everything. On a week off, Gail explains what Eggs Florentine really is and how Ron could have saved his dish.

on Sep 23, 2009

Sadly, it was clear from the start that Ron really didn’t know what he was doing. TO begin with, I don’t think he knew the clear definition of paella. But Toby didn’t either apparently, and that’s another story… his pronunciation? That was ridiculous. Come on, Toby! It’s not an English word. It’s a Spanish word. You’re speaking another language.

So, Ron not knowing how to make a true paella was the first problem. If you don’t know how to make the dish itself, how are you going to deconstruct it? I also don’t think he knew what it meant to deconstruct a dish. It doesn’t mean to change the components. It means to analyze and re-fabricate it in a way that makes sense to the diner when eating it. Kevin’s mole negro was also beautiful. What’s amazing about that dish is that mole is a Mexican sauce that has many ingredients, so to take it apart can be very difficult. The good news is that you have a lot of ingredients to choose from. On the other hand, not cluttering the plate and overwhelming the palate is very tricky. As luck would have it, he had done a similar dish in the challenge before. He was almost given a second chance. That was brilliant as we never have had that happen. It’s best known to have cocoa in it but it usually also has pumpkin seeds, and it’s a very complex sauce.

Michael’s Caesar salad also looked delicious. Both Kevin and Michael are chefs who deconstruct food on a regular basis. That’s their style of cooking, versus Ron who just is in a different league. Unfortunately Ash’s shepherd’s pie also was a mess. I would think it would be an easy dish to take apart as the original is just layers of meat, veg and mashed potatoes. But he chose not to plate his gummy potatoes, which became the problem. It would have been interesting to see if they would have really nailed him for bad potatoes, had he served them. Interestingly enough, the same goes for Laurine. The potato was her problem. She spent way too much time fussing and in the end it did in her fish and chips.

Bravotv.com: What did you think of Bryan replacing the pastrami with the tuna?

I didn’t mind. It’s hard to tell without tasting so I can’t really be the judge. The great thing about tuna is it has a very meaty texture and it’s a very fatty fish. If it was smoked the right way it could have worked. One of my favorite places in NYC, Zabar’s, sells smoked tuna. It’s delicious and it really does have that meaty flavor. I do see how classicists would be disturbed by it though. I just love all Rueben sandwiches!

Bravotv.com: What did you think of Michelle Bernstein as judge?
I thought Michelle Bernstein was radiant. She looks amazing. Something about her was so captivating. She’s a beautiful woman and she knows her stuff backwards and forward. This was a smart challenge for her to judge because her food is not hyper-modern but it is very intelligent and very clean. She doesn’t get caught up in all the fussiness. She was like a stingray, really able to hone in on the focus of each dish. She’s always super-smart!