Gail Simmons

Gail Simmons can not say enough about Paul Qui's Elimination Challenge dish.

on Feb 8, 2012 So the Quickfire Challenge was… interesting. What did you think?
Gail Simmons: I thought it was fascinating. I think we’re so used to using all our senses when we cook, it’s such an interesting lesson when you take one away and realize how much you rely on it. I think we could have been a little nicer though and started them in the pantry. What did you think of the winning dish? It was kind of an interesting combo – corn soup with onions, peaches, and mushrooms.
GS: It’s interesting because we always preach “if it grows together it goes together.” I understand Tom’s comment to Sarah that mushrooms and corn shouldn’t really go together because mushrooms are very fall/winter, and corn is such a prime summer ingredient. They have a different seasonality, and it’s a strange combination of flavors, but it seemed to work. Sarah had it in her head that she was going to do a soup, which was smart in case she picked an ingredient that didn’t make sense. It’s easier to put everything in a blender, if you can get it cooked in time. And if you have really good ingredients, then you have to do very little to them, and a soup lends itself perfectly to that. I loved that she used our wood-burning oven to roast those mushrooms. Corn chowder is delicious. It sounded like a great dish. But so did Ed’s for that matter. That was really smart with the casings.
GS: Ed killed it. I thought he would win just for those pork casings alone. I mean, they are not something that you usually want to eat, unless you’re making sausages or pate. It’s the stomach lining of a pig! So the fact that he had about seven minutes to incorporate it into a dish, and obviously he didn’t have time to make sausage with it, I thought it was genius that he put it in water and used the briny, porky flavor as a stock. That was genius.