Gail Simmons

Gail reveals the most surprising element of all the potluck dishes.

on Nov 14, 20130

Bravotv.com: Let’s start with the Quickfire.

Gail Simmons: I may not have been there, but I was super psyched that Kermit Ruffins was. He’s such a talented musician, loves food, is a great cook.


Kermit Ruffins' smoker!

It was a difficult Quickfire in that the person who won was the person who finished the dish, but not necessarily the person who really had the vision or worked the most on the dish. But it was just fun to see them all improvise and have to work off of each other so closely. It made you understand how dependent you are as a cook on other people’s work, and I think that’s the important lesson for all cooks. Working in a kitchen, you really do rely on each other so intimately.

Bravotv.com: So the Elimination Challenge -- It was all about creating a cohesive potluck meal. Are you a potlucker?
GS: Yes, I definitely potluck. I’m a firm believer in asking for help at dinner parties. In fact, I went to a potluck last night with some girlfriends before I went to do on Watch What Happens Live. I don’t necessarily call it “potluck” every time; but I have dinner with friends at our houses all the time and we all bring something to contribute.

In the spirit of collaboration, we wanted the chefs to create menus that really worked off of this idea where everybody contributes a dish and makes one cohesive menu, which is the way many of these musicians eat together before they perform, but it’s also how musicians play together in a band. Again, it’s an important lesson on everyone contributing their part to make  greater whole that is all cohesive, tastes great together, and makes sense -- just like a great piece of jazz music.

I was really excited to be judging with Sue Zemanick. We’ve been friends for a long time. She was just on this past season of Top Chef Masters as well. She has always been a great tour guide and advisor, any time I’m in New Orleans, and this season was no different. She is an amazing cook and her restaurant, Gautreau’s, is one the most beautiful restaurants in New Orleans,  just love her. She actually knew a lot of the musicians, which was really cool.

Bravotv.com: Let’s start at the top with the Green Team.

GS: There was a lot that I really liked about the Green Team’s dishes. It all felt like it went together. First of all, everything tasted great. The only major issue we had with this team was that Carrie’s “summer tiramisu” wasn’t really a tiramisu. It was misnamed. It was more of a trifle. It had certain elements of a tiramisu, but because it didn’t have coffee cocoa, it just wasn’t what you think of as a tiramisu at all. It was very beautiful though and felt summery, with the nectarines and pistachios – and great combination. And the dish worked well as a light dessert to the meal, so we certainly weren’t going to penalize it too much.

4 comments
travelinggirl
travelinggirl

The Quick Fire turned me off when it gave immunity to the winner. It was a gamble as to what you'd end up with and should've been treats as such with a cash reward instead of immunity. With his lackluster performance in the middle of the quick fire which had a negative impact on other's final dishes, I'd have been very ticked off if he'd had a poor dish in the elimination challenge and hasn't been sent home due to his immunity.

kcbennett0414
kcbennett0414

I agree that it was Patty's time to go. This is a competition and all the chefs need to be on their "A" game. Sometimes minor things separate the winners from the losers and the tomatoes were just the nail in the coffin. I hope that Patty continues and works at becoming a stronger chef.

nobule
nobule

This really didn't seem like a potluck to me since the chefs had a kitchen on site.  Potluck to me means cook hours in advance and have little to no time to prep.  Top Chef has done tougher challenges like this before, I would've liked to see one.

Also it's always really rough when contestants are allowed to pick their own teams mid-season.  The people who have been in the bottom get clumped together.  How could they possibly not end up in the bottom?  In this case they were almost one person short as well.  They really should've drawn knifes for this one.  

PaulainVA
PaulainVA

You know, I have seen several renowned chefs talk about the importance of tomato quality, and if that was a major component in your dish, that should have been a major concern.  I really like Patty, and I think she has a ways to go in her development as a chef.  She has all the instincts, just has to learn to take control and take her vision to completion.  Go girl!