Gail Simmons

Gail Simmons explains why the fishing challenge couldn't have come at a better time, and her take on Marcel's almost-rap.

on Jan 13, 2011 For this challenge, this was the first time we actually have the chefs catch their own fish and work for their dinner, so tell us about that part of the challenge.

Gail Simmons: It was perfect! I think after the dim sum challenge, our contestants were feeling really roughed up. They were five episodes in, not feeling so hot, starting to get down on themselves, down on the challenges, and frustrated that they weren’t doing well, and I think this was just what they needed. It got them outside. I’m always a fan of the challenges were we bring them out of their element, and get them out into the open air, like the street cart challenge, and we when had them cook on the beach in Malibu Season 2.

Tom is a big fishermen. Kerry Heffernan who’s one of Tom’s close friends and an incredible chef in his own right, is a great fisherman, so they went out there with them and they caught a lot of fish, which helped make them feel really good about themselves when the day was done. Do you ever fish?

GS: I have fished. I had an uncle growing up, he passed away several years ago, but he took me deep sea fishing at Christmas down in Florida, and I always loved and cherished that time. I hadn’t fished in many years and just this past August I went away with my husband and my parents to Blackberry Farm in Tennessee and we learned how to fly fish. I totally feel in love with it. I’m always hearing about fishing from Tom because Tom talks about fishing so much. You know, in the summer, he fishes every weekend when he can. So for this challenge they were broken up into groups. Obviously Jamie and Tiffani went home, but Antonia did well.

GS: She did do well. Her dish could have been on the top in another circumstance. I mean the name of the game was that you really were with your team, you went down with the sinking ship so to speak, so she was on the bottom because of her teammates. Her dish really was quite exceptional not only because it tasted great, it was crunchy and salty and delicious, but she used a fish that people usually shy away from that takes a lot of work to finesse. It’s very bony and she did a really great job preparing it, in a really smart way. Do you think it was Jamie’s time to go?

GS: Yeah I think we were all clear on the fact that everyone thinks Jamie needed to go, but until now, it wasn’t her time to go. There was always somebody who did worse than Jamie, as bad as Jamie did, or as little as Jamie competed, there was always someone else we really felt strongly about whose time it was to go more than her. But tonight was her night, unfortunately. Her dish, here was a great example of good conception bad execution. Her idea was great. Those light fresh flavors of summer: radish, watermelon, cucumber, but she prepared the dish in a way that just didn’t make sense the way she put them together. And instead of getting the fresh, light flavors, the fish was sort of drowning in very tepid, flavorless water. She didn’t assemble them in a way that made them pop. If there had been a piece of delicious watermelon, if there had been -- dare I say -- a cucumber foam, if there had been some radishes with some salt and some spice or maybe pickled radishes that gave it a little bite, a bit of acid. You got no acid, you got no flavor.  It just tasted washed out, and the fish was a little bit messy, so unfortunately it really was the losing dish of the night. And Tiffani’s wasn’t far behind.