Bravotv.com: So this week we start at Pike Place Market—do you want to tell us a little about the market?
Gail Simmons Pike Place is sort of the most iconic, food-related place in Seattle. The Pike Place Market is the first place I go every time I’m in Seattle, for lunch, for snacks – there are so many great products. It’s just a really unique, historic market, that’s unlike anything else. Right on the water, beautiful views. There are some sort of hokey touristy things there, but there’s also some really great food, really amazing vendors that have been there for years and year. The very first Sur la Table, which we featured in the episode… that’s the original store. There are so many lunch counters: everything from Chinese strong cheese to Greek food stalls, and obviously, amazing fruits and vegetables, fresh fish, and seafood.
You spend all this time living in a hotel, and you have a little kitchen, and I would go there every few days to get beautiful flowers to make my hotel feel more like a home. The flowers there are so cheap! I couldn’t believe it, coming from New York. You can get an incredibly bouquet of peonies and dahlias for like ten bucks! And they last forever -- they’re just beautiful. And of course fresh cherries and peaches and berries and vegetables and meats. It’s just a really unique place. I went there for lunch all the time.
Bravotv.com Do you have any favorite vendors that people should check out?
GS: Yes, I love Chukar Cherries, actually, you can see them in the background, in the episode. They’re a cherry farm. They do all these beautiful things with cherry and berry products. They have amazing chocolate-covered berries and fried cherries, all natural, really delicious. I don’t know the names of a lot of the farmers’ stalls, and fish and vegetable stalls. There’s a great restaurant called Matt’s on the Market; there’s a great lunch place where I went to for a sandwich a few times, which was this old-school lunch counter called Three Girls Bakery. There’s a great crumpet shop that unfortunately our losers used for a really mediocre pork burger, but otherwise the crumpets are really great.
Bravotv.com: For the Quickfire Challenge, the chefs are tasked with making breakfast for these vendors, but it has to be on a stick. What did you think of that?
GS: It makes it a little bit harder, make it more of a challenge. Or then, it would just be kind of, too obvious. So, putting it on a stick makes it easy to eat because there was nowhere to sit, and you want it to be fast for all of the vendors who are working in the market. I actually thought that they did a really creative job -- some of them. You know, Lizzie and Danyele’s QF was lame, but I thought that there were a couple successful ones—that Green Forest breakfast that Bart and Sheldon made looked great. I thought that Eliza and Josie’s looked good… the Croque Monsieur -- they were all really good ideas. So I was impressed from afar.