Newspaper article Sarasota Herald Tribune

'Top Chef' Judge and Author Gail Simmons

Newspaper article Sarasota Herald Tribune

'Top Chef' Judge and Author Gail Simmons

Article excerpt

New York City celebrity Gail Simmons (gailsimmons.com) is a chef, author and TV personality who has been a judge on Bravo's "Top Chef" since the show appeared in 2006. She is the head critic on "Top Chef Masters," was the host of "Top Chef: Just Desserts," currently directs special projects for Food & Wine Magazine, and recently wrote Talking With My Mouth Full: My Life as a Professional Eater (Hyperion, February 2012). She is also a wife, mother and supporter of Common Threads--an organization that teaches children from low- income families how to cook healthy meals.

Q:What was your life like before TV?

A:I'm from Toronto, Canada, and moved to New York City in 1999 for culinary school (the Institute of Culinary Education). I trained at Le Cirque and Vong restaurants, and worked for food critic Jeffrey Steingarten at Vogue. When I first graduated from college and felt lost, a family friend gave me some advice: to make a list of what I love to do and let that be my guide. I wrote down "eat, write, travel, cook" and that became the basis for my career.

Q:Your daughter, Dahlia Rae, was born earlier this year. How do you balance family life with work and staying healthy?

A:It's always difficult to achieve balance and make time for exercise, family and healthy eating on the go, so I plan ways to incorporate them all. I try to make time for outdoor fun with loved ones at least once a week: a hike, a family baseball game or even a walk in the park after dinner. Then we'll reward ourselves with a healthy treat.

Q:What do you look forward to after a long, busy week?

A:Catching up with girlfriends over dinner or a weekend lunch and a bottle of wine is something I look forward to all week long. Taking time to be together, talking and laughing over a leisurely, delicious meal always leaves me feeling rejuvenated and inspired.

Q:What is your go-to dish for spring entertaining, and how do you manage to play hostess while still enjoying your company?

A:I like to prepare easy dishes like fresh tacos so that my guests can join in on the fun and creativity of cooking. For example, I'll lie out an abundant display of toppings and allow guests to assemble their own tacos. …

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