Gail Simmons

Gail explains why Carrie's dish didn't land her in the bottom.

on Nov 7, 20130

Bravotv.com: Quickfire  Challenge. We have the creole tomato and the lovely John Besh.
Gail Simmons: I think John Besh is even more lovely than the coveted Creole tomato. He’s fantastic. He has a new book out called Cooking from the Heart, and it’s sitting on my desk right now. It’s so beautiful. I’m very happy for him.

I think this was the perfect Quickfire challenge for our chefs, appropriately at Covey Rise Farms, which is a gorgeous special place. So many restaurants in New Orleans, wherever we ate while we were there, always highlighted the ingredients and the produce that they got at Covey Rise Farms because it really is one of the best local farms. I was thrilled the chefs got to spend some time there.

I actually went to a Creole tomato festival when I was in New Orleans. The dishes for this Quickfire looked colorful and fresh, but some clearly were better than others. Nina’s looked fantastic! I was surprised to hear that so many of them seemed to be stumped by the challenge, that they just had a mental block about it, considering how straight forward it was compared to so many other crazy things we have them do. But I can imagine that happens from time to time just by nature of how the show works. You have such a limited window with which to think through what you’re going to do before you have to act. It was interesting that many of them didn’t do dishes that were very creative or exciting this time around.

Bravotv.com: On to the Elimination Challenge, where they used cream cheese to create three different courses. Nina got to choose what course she did and she chose an appetizer -- did you think that was a smart choice? 
GS: I did think that was a smart choice. I’m sure she did it, one, so she could cook first and get it over with, and two, so that she would have more options to make smaller portions. I find it sometimes easier to cook appetizers than main courses because they don’t have to be as large; they don’t have to be as substantial, and they don’t have to always incorporate that more traditional protein-vegetable-starch ratio that chefs always want to put on a plate.

Bravotv.com: Let’s start with the appetizers. 
GS: The appetizer group was the best of the three groups, probably for all of those same reasons. It’s easier to make more compact, more succinct. The colors were gorgeous using all of those magnificent summer vegetables. This was shot in June, so it was prime time for local produce and we were very happy with this first course dishes overall. They really gave us a breadth of flavors and presentations.

I thought Patty’s crudo was the most simple. It wasn’t dressed enough, it needed olive oil, it needed seasoning, but her vegetables were well conceived and incorporated. Carlos gave us great flavor, very creative. Sara’s lamb chop -- which looked more like a main course than an appetizer -- was truly still raw and stood out as the weakest of the lot for sure. On the other hand, Nina’s clearly was the most successful. Her zucchini blossoms were beautifully fried; they weren’t greasy, the eggplant and cream cheese combo was absolutely fantastic inside of them. And she presented them in a really modern, clever way.

10 comments
shysharon
shysharon

Gail, you look fantastic!!!!! Mazel Tov!

onaadams
onaadams

I used to watch the show.  However, I have lost interest for some reason.  Maybe because your commercials lauded the main gal as a sexpot.  I saw her on Andy Cohen's show, awhile back. She seemed to let me down a bit.  A little TOO party-ISH for me.  Anyway, I do not plan to watch the show any longer.  However, I am sure your show will be a hit, as usual.   

ceander
ceander

Gail I just want to say, that I love this season of Top Chef. New Orleans is one of my favorite cities that I have lived in. My kids went to school and grew up there, so this place is dear to my heart. So seeing some of the places and the chefs literally brings tears to my eyes. I wish I was there. This blog is very honest Gail, and you're right the Creole tomato should not have caused such a huge mental block, you treat it the same, but my, my it has such a great, delicious full flavor. Your dress is adorable, and yes I noticed right off the bat it had some type of food pattern (smiles).  One thing I love about this season is that it doesn't have all that crazy stuff like it did the season you had to shoot for your own food. I didn't like that season at all, or cooking in one of those Tram things; I don't think that makes for a good chef. If you can "hang" in New Orleans which is known for it's people and cuisine that says a lot. Of course I love Emeril, and what he has to say about great cuisine. You guys are just so blessed to have him as part of the show. What I really appreciated was seeing Leah Chase. I have her cookbook "Dooky Chase". She's been around a long time and the challenge you presented with Leah was perfect, because even though she's known for her gumbos and traditional style cooking, Leah is also known for combining untraditional flavors. She's just a gem, I love her.  I believe you guys are doing the city justice. You are truly capturing the New Oleans flaire. Have a great day Gail, I always enjoy seeing you on the show.

gertrude.macbeth
gertrude.macbeth

Gail, I just want you to know that the first thought I had when I saw you this episode was:  "What a cute dress.  Wait! It has RADISHES on it!" Really super cute my favorite outfit on anyone on TC EVER.  Also worth noting:  You looked radiant.  

iamsobz
iamsobz

Gail, I was completely captivated by your radish dress! I kept wondering where in the world you found it.

morgan.l.myers
morgan.l.myers

I saw that sweet radish dress and immediately started looking for where it was from!  Do you know what the label was?

lillian11
lillian11

 @onaadamsthe pee wee hermon episode did it for me! Stupid show now, top chef use to be good. The challanges are silly un-profesional and curtis stone?.....REALY? YOU LOST MY INTEREST.Should have kept it simple.

 

 

callucibrother
callucibrother

 @onaadams Can I ask the staff why the participants stood in the sun and the judges were always in the shade? Summer weather in new orleans, even the north shore of the lake, is enough to make someone sick. Those guys are tough, in more ways than one. Gail, we have been big fans of the show. Fading, now.