Gail Simmons

Gail reflects on the neck-and-neck competition between Nina and Nick and why after an arduous Judges Table, Nick came out on top.

on Feb 5

Nina, looking back, was one of the strongest competitors we’ve ever had. She is so articulate and the food she cooks is so completely from the heart. She’s so talented. She’s got such an amazing philosophy and insight into herself. She’s such a great chef and such a great leader to. I admire her so, so much, and I love eating her food. I hope that I get to eat more of her food again -- Italian, Caribbean, whatever she wants to cook I’ll take it. And it’s rare that a chef really at her level, just coming into her own has such an amazing grasp on so many different cuisines. She really is talented and I adore her. I truly adore her.

And Nick I feel really amazing about too as the winner this year. I’m so proud of him. I think of all the chefs that were on this season he grew the most in a lot of ways. He came back fighting for his life. He won every challenge in the finale -- he won the Quickfire and the Elimination last episode and then he won overall. We did not take this decision lightly. He is so capable, so strong, so technically sound, and that’s really what impressed us the most. He also, I think, is really trying to push himself, in a way that we were really blown away by -- and i think it showed in his final meal.

So I’m excited to see what Nick and Nina do next. I’m excited to have Nick with us at the Food and Wine Classic in Aspen this year and to get to know him even more now that we can actually have a conversation.