For eleven seasons, Gail Simmons has brought her passion for food to the judges table of Top Chef to indulge in every delicious morsel of food the talented chefs offer up. This season Top Chef headed to New Orleans to bring a Cajun flavour to the kitchens with chefs and challenges that really embraced the diverse culture and ingredients of the city. We chatted with Gail Simmons, who is at home in New York expecting a baby, about what New Orleans brought to the show and how she stays so fit.
Real Style: Did New Orleans bring a different flavour to filming because the food there is so distinct?
Gail Simmons: Absolutely. This was one of my favourite seasons by far I have to say because of New Orleans itself. We could never have imagined how much we would fall in love with that city. I knew in theory, because I had been there before. we shot our season five finale there many years ago, but I hadn’t been back since. It was such an amazing emotional roller coaster. One because the chefs this season I think are really interesting and really bright and talented, but because that city brought out in them and us so much passion and creativity. The food was so great. The chefs that we worked with as guest judges and the city of New Orleans itself really went out of its way to show us a good time. let’s just saw that I was the only sober person on set because I was pregnant, but everyone else was having way too much fun.
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RS: We are huge fans of the show. So we need to know is head judge Tom Colicchio as nice in person, as he seems on the show?
GS: He is. I have to say. For 11 seasons I have been sitting to his left. He is truly like a big brother and a mentor to me. He takes his job very seriously in terms of making sure that we make the best television that is the most true to our industry. He’s always been the one to be the moral compass of the show. He’s a good friend. He was the first person on set I think who I told that I was pregnant. He’s a cheerleader for the food industry in every way. He has so many years of experience behind him. And so many incredible restaurants that he runs on a day to day basis. He’s just like a fortune of information. He’s a good guy to have on your team.
RS: How do you stay in shape when you are eating all of this food?
GS: All of this food is a misnomer. It’s a combination of a lot of things: good genes, lots of exercise and the fact that I am not eating all of this food all of the time. I am eating a few bites of everything. There are days when I certainly eat more than the average person. For that I have my father to thank for his metabolism I guess. I take care of myself. I exercise a lot. I am an active person. I live in New York. I don’t own a car. I take the stairs. I take the subway to work every day. In general in my daily life exercise and being active is very much a part of it, just as much as food is. I feel like if my job is to eat then my job is also to take care of my health. I don’t really don’t eat a lot of junk food and I don’t eat in quantity. I go for quality over quantity every time.