Gail Simmons on The Influences Behind Her New Cookbook, ‘Bringing it Home’
In Bringing It Home, debuting on October 24, Gail Simmons (who is perhaps best known as a Top Chef judge but is also a trained chef and special projects manager at Food & Wine) shares her best recipes and food experiences. From her travels, exploring global flavors and keeping detailed diaries, to her “Top Chef” culinary adventures with the world's most notable chefs, she is always asking "How can I bring this dish home to my own kitchen?" Her goal is to make fabulous recipes using accessible ingredients and smart, simple cooking techniques for successful family meals and easy entertaining.
The Daily Meal: You've had such a successful career in food. What prompted you to put these adventures on paper?
Gail Simmons: For the majority of my life, I have been traveling and taking notes on all the delicious food discoveries I make. Especially over the last twenty years of working across so many different parts of the food industry (as a culinary student, line cook, recipe tester, food writer, critic, and judge of professional chefs) I have had the opportunity to work with and learn from so many incredibly talented people. The best part of my job is taking all I have discovered and bringing it home to my own kitchen to cook for my family and friends. After filling so many notebooks with tips and techniques, interesting flavor combinations, and recipe ideas, I finally felt it was time I shared them with a larger audience of cooks and food lovers. I am so thrilled that I could put my most favorite recipes together in one book for others to enjoy. My wish is that it inspires people not just to cook more, but to bring their food adventures back into their own kitchens as well.
Is there any place you've traveled to that has influenced your taste and palate more than others?
Everywhere I travel lends inspiration and influence to the way I cook at home - whether I'm exploring a local market, visiting an acclaimed fine dining restaurant, or eating from a stall at the side of the road. Some of the places I have explored which are reflected through recipes in my new book are South Africa, Quebec, Vietnam, Indonesia, Singapore, Japan, Spain, and the Middle East.
You're hosting Late Night Adventures in Dean & Deluca at this year’s New York City Wine & Food Festival. What will your involvement be in this foodie free-for- all?
It’s so exciting to plan a party with Dean & Deluca at their flagship store. I have such vivid memories of coming to New York as a child and feeling dizzy from all the gorgeous food and cookware that could be found inside. It is truly a trailblazer in the gourmet food space and has had such a strong impact on my life and career. At this late night party, I will not only be welcoming guests and speaking about my love of the store but also will be serving a signature cocktail from my new book called The Gail! It was originally created for me by the bar director at Eleven Madison Park, Leo Robitschek, and I adopted it to make at home because it’s so refreshing and delicious. I also plan on dancing well into the night (while my friend and fellow Canadian Hannah Bronfman DJs).