If you're following along with us on Gail's Day Off, our new digital series that follows Gail Simmons on her seriously epic adventures around Colorado during breaks from Top Chef Season 15 filming, you know that Gail recharged from work with activities like ziplining, biking, horseback riding, and more. And as incredible as her job is — it's no work-a-day cubicle routine, that's for sure — it's still highly intense, demanding long hours and focus.
So above all others, which activity did Gail find the most therapeutic as a counterweight to the show's many demands? Well, that would be standing in a peaceful, idyllic stream and fly fishing.
"A day off fly fishing like this is the perfect antidote to a busy day on set," Gail explains in the latest installment of Gail's Day Off (clip above). "Our days are 16 hours long sometimes, and most of it is spent either at a restaurant or on a soundstage. So being able to just be out, smell the fresh air — that’s what Colorado is all about!"
As well as being a chance to unplug and recharge, Gail calls fly fishing a way to connect the food on our plates with its pre-food state in nature. "I do think it’s important to make that connection between the fish that we eat on our plates at restaurants and the fish that are in this stream," she said. "Those are the same creatures that we cook and eat — you have to respect how beautiful they are."
Fly fishing, she said, is the kind of outdoor activity that feels good after very long nights on set — though those super-long nights don't necessarily help technique, per se. "Truth be told, we were at the judges table last night until 2 in the morning," she said while trying her hand in the North Fork South Platte River tributary in Colorado. "So I’m running on about four hours of sleep — which I’d like to think is affecting my fishing abilities!"
Indeed, it did take a while for Gail to catch anything, but she kept up a positive attitude: "I love fly fishing. That doesn’t necessarily mean I’m good at it… but I’m trying!"
All's well that ends well, however: Wrapping up the experience on a high note, Gail at last made a catch. And then she was all about getting some beers and heading back to Denver.
Watch the video above to catch the full experience — and get a bit of that head-clearing therapy, vicariously.