Gail Simmons

Gail tries to answer the question, "So, who's fault was it?"

on Jan 16, 2013

Her Beef Bourguignon had a similar flaw, actually. It was much better cooked. The beef itself was beautiful, it was deconstructed using a delicious beef short rib. The mushrooms, the carrot, the garlic -- that all made sense. But there was no sauce! This is probably one of the most famous French dishes to Americans ever, because it’s what Julia Child made famous. We wanted that tartness, that brightness that a rich red wine sauce brings, and which cuts through the fattiness of the beef, but it wasn’t there.

The baked cheese dish that Brooke made was completely fine. I didn’t find it to be very inspired. But Brooke did such a wonderful job with the front-of-house. Despite everything that was happening in the kitchen, all the drama, she kept service going; she was so pleasant, she was so knowledgeable. You would never know that there was any stress in the kitchen. And that’s what you want to see. Because I don’t care what’s going on in the kitchen, I just want the food to be good. We didn’t even realize until afterwards how hard she was working to make sure that happened.

And then there was Kristen’s macaron which was, again, a good idea, but I didn’t think it translated into a great dessert. There were some tasty elements, but I thought the cake was a little dry and the plate was not as refined as everything else we have seen from her that day. It just didn’t seem to fit for me. Traditional French macarons are made out of almond flour but I tasted some sort of almond paste which was much stronger and not sublte at all. That’s where the similarities began and ended. You didn’t get that delicateness, that crumbly crunch, the creaminess. There wasn’t enough of a link in inspiration from the original. Just because it’s made with almond doesn’t mean it’s a macaron. Again, you’re setting us up with a macaron interpretation—we need to at least see that line of thinking.