Gail Simmons

What's a judge gotta do to taste some berry?

on Dec 19, 20120

Bravotv.com: Did you think the Quickfire Challenge was a little cruel?
Gail Simmons: It was cruel, but really creative!  I love that Kristen made that little cake. I thought a lot of the dishes were really smart—Danyele’s bean soup, Sheldon’s lemongrass smoked scallops… People used their ingenuity and that’s what TC is all about.

Bravotv.com: You’ve said that this was one of your favorite Elimination Challenges.
GS: It was. I always love the challenges where we can be outdoors in the sunshine and the chefs are cooking on their own. I thought of this as a super-seasonal, beautiful challenge; this berry farm was magnificent, as you saw. And the berries were at their peak, I’ve never eaten so many berries in my life—my fingers were stained for days! It was a great day out on the farm. It was a really fun, creative challenge, the chefs did really well overall. Even the food that was in the bottom was nowhere near as bad, for example, as the Pike Place challenge. There will always be losing dishes, but that doesn’t have to mean they are bad. This was just a head-to-head challenge, so it was the nature of the competition.

Bravotv.com: While the chefs were cooking, there was a little sauciness in the kitchen.
GS: Everyone’s getting to know each other a little more, so they’re getting more comfortable with each other, but they also are starting to get annoyed by each other. They’re living together, they’re working together, they’re competing against each other; things tend to get a little itchy at this point in the season, and it shows. You saw Josie and Stefan go at each other, Bart getting sassy. Everyone is getting a little tense and intense. They are starting to hit their limit in terms of personal space.

Bravotv.com: What did you think about John telling Tom that Stefan bought frozen tuna?
GS: I thought it was ridiculous—it had nothing to do with anything. If it was really bad quality, we would have berated him—but the truth is, and most people don’t know this, that most tuna in America comes flash-frozen. It is fished, it is flash-frozen, and sent to auction, shipped, and distributed. We have all eaten frozen tuna, even at some very nice, expensive restaurants. When it’s handled properly and when it’s good quality, when it’s served after it’s been thawed properly, there really shouldn’t be an issue with it. Sometimes it is bad quality; they can thaw it improperly and the texture’s disgusting. But, I think it was underhanded of John to point it out, because it had nothing to do with Stefan’s cooking technique—he chose what was available. And when we ate it, it was actually delicious. The texture was perfectly good, the fish tasted fresh, it was in good enough condition, and we had no problem with it. It was about how Stefan handled the product, and I thought he handled it very, very well.

11 comments
msdovenow
msdovenow

Gayle, I think that Stefan is very good at manipulating the other contestants and the judges.  He fawns over all the women except Josie, who would probably pop him in the chops if he did, but the other women are too polite or to aware of how making him mad can cause him to undermine you.  The statement about John's talking about the tuna being frozen was "ridiculous--it had nothing to do with anything" I believe was a case of you along, with everyone except Tom and the people who were around him in the tent, buying his explanation of him saying it as soon as Tom entered the tent, as if he ran to Tom, without any reason, "tattling" on his choice of the frozen tuna.  John DID mention at the market that he thought using frozen fish on Top Chef was giving less than the best for Top Chef standards.  That was his opinion, and he didn't hide it.  By the same token, he did not run tattling to Tom.  After askin Stefan why he chose to compete against John, Stefan said it was because he was the oldest chef (the same thing he said when he chose John.  Then Tom went to John and said something jokingly about what Stefan said, and then he asked Tom why he thought he would win (asking, I assume for his opinion), and John said, "because he is using frozen fish", laughing as he said it.  When they went back to the room, Stefan loudly told the group that John threw him under the bus, repeating his version of the episode.  One of the women who had seen what happened quietly said, "That's not exactly how it happened," but Stefan ignored her and started loudly and aggressively asking each chef if he or she had ever used frozen fish in their restaurants.  Stefan is the one who turned this into an incident.

dvullings
dvullings

What is up with all of the curssing this season? Volgar cussing? Sure is a turn off. There is no reason for it. I watched all of the seasons of Top Chef. But this season I will fill the Top Chef air time with another show on a different network.

Richard1950
Richard1950

Gail, this goes back to the episode with Tom Douglas at the Space Needle. Tom Douglas asked you what you would like to do while in Seattle and you said you wanted to go fishing. Did you get to go fishing? The last summer was one of our best in the Puget Sound for Chinook and fishing was great during the filming of the show.

TondalayoSchwartz
TondalayoSchwartz

Gayle, I love watching you, and hope your "dessert show" will be back.  I know you were there when Kristen won, and Stefan kissed her.  I hope that someone (camera crew, etc.) alerted the producers that he was letching after her a lot. And I hope the producers are decent enough to think that this doesn't make good tv if someone is being made uncomfortable. In a kitchen, that would be sexual harassment.  I think she's too nice (and doesn't want to make an ugly enemy)  to tell him to back off.  

BobbiNJ
BobbiNJ

Absolutely delighted to see so many female chefs doing so well. Really hoping that at the end of this season, Stephanie won't still be the only female winner of Top Chef! 

NaNaRhonda
NaNaRhonda

when, oh when is josie going away? she is obnoxious, combative and a complete moron, not to mention how many times has she been on the bottom?

shysharon
shysharon

I wish I was a judge....or at least an attendee on this episode!!

TChefAddict2012
TChefAddict2012

I was salivating at the sight of all those BEAUTIFUL berries!!  I'm with you, Gail-I would've been eating them by the handfuls.  Especially raspberries, blackberries, blueberries & strawberries!  It's interesting to me that "raspberries" in certain regions means RED raspberries.  We have black and red and gold raspberries here; they all have different flavors.  I would love to see what they could do with all three.

Vic2012
Vic2012

Josie should have gone home imo, I think she literally failed in all areas of execution, when  the camera zoomed out and we got to see that line, it was just like wow, Lizzie has served all of her food and what exactly is Josie doing. It looks like she is really about to explode too, against Stefan, probably the worst person to rage on because he will just not care, and that will make a person even madder. Can't wait!.

 

P.S. Danyele's must have been really, really, terrible.

 

hdwb
hdwb

so great to see Stephanie on the show tonight.  i think she is amazing.  in the "all stars" season Richard Blaise constantly whined that he lost his season because he "choked".  how completely disrespectful of Stephanie and her talent.  Richard, you lost because you were out-cooked.  Stephanie is a rock star!!

TondalayoSchwartz
TondalayoSchwartz

 @hdwb  What a great observation. We all did think Blaise would win that season, but you're right, no excuses.  Stephanie was the star.  As much as I love Richard, I do buy into his angst and self-torture.