Gail Simmons

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

on Jan 16, 2013

Of course, I am picking everything apart in detail here, but in general, it was a pretty good meal with a lot of high notes. There was nothing inedible, there was nothing bad, it was just missing a few key elements that made it imperfect. Especially because it took like 30 minutes between courses, or more, which is kind of unacceptable. Were you surprised about what was going on in the ladies’ kitchen, now that you’ve seen the episode?
Well, we knew there was something going on in the kitchen while we were there. We absolutely knew there was a problem with Josie’s dish too. You could tell; it was obvious that there was something afoot. We just didn’t know what. Was the issue that Kristen didn’t think the dish through when she explained it to Josie? Was it that they had an idea that didn’t work out? Was it that Josie wasn’t pulling her weight? In the end, we realized that it was all three of these things, which made it a very complicated elimination. Certainly to date, it was the most complicated and controversial elimination this season. It drove us all crazy. We were at Judges' Table arguing for hours. But we could only use the information we had in front of us. We know that everyone is going to watch this episode and be mad at us, because when you watch it, you see Josie not pulling her weight, Josie not following orders, not getting the stock done the day before. The bones should have been roasted on advance so they could have started the stock earlier in the morning. The stock should have been done two or three hours before service, and then they would have been able to use gelatin to thicken it properly, and they would have been able to execute it the way Kristen wanted. Kristen had a very clear vision, but Josie did not step up to the plate for her. And because of that, Kristen couldn’t rely on Josie to execute the dish. Kristen ended up needing to make a quick decision, which was to not add the gelatin, to just add the cream, and to not put a lot of sauce on our plates because she didn’t have confidence in it. But by doing that, we were then able to detect the issue.

So whose fault was it? You can certainly make an argument for both, but I guess Kristen is the chef. She didn’t give Josie the confidence and tools she needed to problem solve when issues came about. She wasn’t able to think on her feet in that moment of crisis, when the dish should have gone out. Because Kristen had so much stock in her idea, she wasn’t able to be flexible and adapt to the problem at hand. Let’s just say that judging does not need to be unanimous in a case like this; it needs to be majority. I was not in the majority.