Gail Simmons

Gail explains how the chefs' failures were not in concept.

on Oct 11, 2013 Jason didn’t seem thrilled with Bret’s revelations at Judges’ Table.
GS: Jason showed his own cards. I think he knew halfway through the challenge that his salmon rolls were getting soggy and really weren't holding up; in the humidity number one, but also having been rolled out two hours in advance. I can't stress enough how unpleasant they were to eat. Mostly, it was a textural thing. You want your nori to be crispy. When nori gets soggy, it's like eating wet paper. And the ingredients weren't that tasty either – the salmon wasn't seasoned, it wasn't flavorful, and when you ate the roll, it all became sort of stringy and sticky. This was a stark contrast from the really delicious, light fresh things that we ate that day. So he called himself out. It's not as if we wouldn't have seen it if Brett, or anyone else, hadn't mentioned it. We pick up on all of it; that's our job. It seemed like Bene took on more of a sous chef role on his team, the Red Team.
GS: But did a lot of other prep. He didn't own one specific dish, and if he had been on the bottom that would have been a big issue and he could have gone home for it for sure. But he was on the Red Team, and the Red Team didn’t end up on the bottom. Most of the dishes from that team were good – Nina's jerk chicken sandwich was actually excellent, so because Bene happened to hitch himself to that sandwich, there were no flaws to what he did.

Back to the Blue Team,  Jason wasn't the only flaw. There was Bret's weird temperature ceviche. Patty's slider was pretty mediocre. I didn't take as much of an issue with it as Tom did, but I definitely understand his point, and I felt it was just not very flavorful and not very interesting. It was a tuna slider with tomato and lettuce. Sara also made a tuna burger, which was basically a tuna slider, and we had that one right before we had Patty's, so we had a direct comparison. Sara's, even though they were very similar, had a lot more personality. I thought Sara's slider was amazing, so to have two in a row and one be so lackluster, you couldn't help but pay attention. Like Tom said, if you're going to do something really simple and really classic, it needs to be perfect because we're going to dissect it that much more. And then there was Carrie and the Yellow Team.
GS: Everything that came off of their Mexican taco truck was excellent. There wasn't one item that I took issue with, but I will say that the two standouts were definitely the empanada, which was made with some of the best flakey empanada dough I've ever had. And that pork and curry filling was so flavorful and spicy. You could just pick it up with your hand -- really easy and smart.

Carlos' tilapia tacos also were excellent. Crispy, juicy, moist... and they were huge! In fact, I couldn't finish them. I ended up sharing mine with one of the volunteers. The Yellow Team did a really great job, and Carlos was a great team leader. He took on that role of expediting. He managed to give us a dish that was fried to order, that they were making with his direction and make everyone feel really welcome and really appreciated for all their hardwork. Final thoughts?
GS: Overall, I thought the food was excellent. I was really excited that this was the first challenge I was on because it was a really positive day. I left that challenge thinking not only did we do something good for people who work really hard to help the city grow, but that we ate amazing food from a super talented group of chefs who I think will be really interesting to watch all season long.