Gail Simmons

Gail prasies most of this week's dishes and discusses what she really looks for in a perfect bite of food.

on Jan 22

Bravotv.com: So let's talk about what they made. Let's start with the top, with Shirley's Black Drum with Zhenjiang Vinegar Butter Sauce, Braised Celery and Mushrooms.
GS: Shirley wowed us with this dish. She won because it was very simple in its presentation. Shirley is really excellent at translating her emotions onto a plate. She has done it so well in so many instances. Even last episode, when she translated the idea of what she learned from Emeril when they went on the shrimp boat. Again, it's the sauce in Shirley's dish that really gets us every time, and this was no exception. She did black drum, which a very interesting local fish that everybody in New Orleans cooks with. She incorporated her own Chinese sauce into it, this really interesting vinegar and butter sauce that was just unbelievable. The sauce was so delicious and rich, but it had really bright Zhenjiang vinegar. Then mushroom which, again, made it feel really very much about her. You could not help but understand that because she put the butter sauce in, and because she used the drum, that it certainly was inspired by New Orleans and the local ingredients and way of cooking. She just brought together herself and New Orleans in such an organic way -- and it tasted so great. It was playful, it was beautiful, and she fully embraced everything we asked her to do in the Challenge.

Bravotv.com: Nina's dish was very successful because of a mistake that she made. . .
GS: This was really interesting. I didn't know about the ricotta, and I really couldn't have cared. She didn't need to say anything, but because she had showed it to Tom and Emeril, they knew it was missing. It's one of those moments where, against her better judgment, the dish turned out really perfectly. Had she put it on, maybe it would have been better. We'll never know. It was perfect as it was, it didn't need ricotta, because it had this trout and a barbecue sauce. Adding a cheese-based dumpling to it seemed heavy-handed and unnecessary. As it stood alone, we felt it was playful. The vegetables were so carefully cooked, and the barbecue sauce felt like a New Orleans-based sauce that we knew she could have only learned in her time here.

It's interesting, the results of this challenge are the opposite of the Quickfire. In the Quickfire the two girls were eliminated and the two boys were the top, and in the Elimination, the girls were at the top and the two boys were up for elimination.