Gail Simmons

Gail explains the challenges with Roy Choi and Jon Favreau were pure serendipity and discusses finding your voice.

on Jan 16 Let's talk about the Quickfire challenge. It was really interesting to see Roy Choi going so hard on the chefs.

Gail Simmons: This whole episode came together in an incredible way. So many things about this episode were serendipity. We had Jon Favreau making a movie about being a chef -- and that he went to Roy Choi to be his mentor for that, and that Roy Choi is a friend of ours (he was with us in Alaska for the finale last year and has such a huge connection to Emeril). Not only that, but in the movie that Jon's making, a big part is going to take place in New Orleans, which was just another reason that Jon being on the episode made so much sense. It was so great to have him there because returning to New Orleans is such a pivotal part of the film. It all was just a perfect collaboration. I thought it was really special.

Having Roy Choi in the Quickfire was really special because the challenge was so personal to him. The whole idea overall of the movie Chef and of our episode was finding your voice and showing us who you are. Using the taco to find his voice through his food truck and then allowing our chefs to be able to do the same thing with the po’boy, I thought was really fun and really smart. I think that Roy took their work really personally, which is why he was really hard on the chefs. None of them made amazing po’boys and that sort of seemed like an easy thing to do, considering where we were and that we gave them all the ingredients to do so.

I think it was a wakeup call for our chefs, as well, because there are only five left. They were all feeling pretty good about themselves right now. But the stakes are high. You want to remember that every challenge counts and this was a good reminder. Did you enjoy the classic NOLA po’boys while you were in Louisiana?

GS: I love po’boys, I ate a lot of them when we were in New Orleans. I was generally a fried shrimp, fried oyster po’boy person. New Orleans has so many great places -- Parkway, Domilise's, there are also some modern po’boy places popping up.