Food & Entertaining - Food Tips

Chef profile: Gail Simmons

Toronto-born chef and Top Chef judge Gail Simmons dishes on her favourite foods, and essentials needed in the kitchen.

Toronto-born chef Gail Simmons has been taking the culinary world by storm. As a steady judge on BRAVO’s Emmy award-winning series Top Chef, she’s become a household name over the past six seasons. The show has become so successful that Gail is now the host of the pastry-filled spin-off called Top Chef: Just Desserts … not a bad gig, if you ask us. Add in a job at Food & Wine as a director of special projects, writing her own cookbook (we can’t get enough of Talking With My Mouth Full, Hyperion, 2012) and countless television and online appearances, and it would be an understatement to say that Gail is one very busy chef. But thankfully, she’s taken a few moments to chat with us about her must-have kitchen gadgets, foods she loves and more. 
1 What tools do you use in your kitchen on a daily basis?
A flexible fish spatula, tongs, a few big tablespoons, a Global chef knife, Wusthof paring knife, Global off-set serrated knife, wooden spoon, All-Clad fine mesh strainer, KitchenAid immersion blender and colander, and a big, wooden Boos cutting board!
2 What tools do you love, but don't use quite as often?

I am obsessed with my raspberry colored KitchenAid Stand mixer but don’t use it as often as I wish I did. I was also given a beautiful All-Clad copper pot a few years back that I don’t put to enough use, as well as my Breville Espresso machine.
3 What is the one kitchen item you can't live without?

Le Creuset enamel cast iron round 9-quart Dutch Oven in bright orange, for all braises, soups and stews.
4 Describe your kitchen style.
Modern and clean lines, with stainless steel appliances, glass cabinets, custom slate grey wooden cupboards, subway tiles and Carrara marble countertops. And lots of sunlight and a big trough sink.
5 What are some of your favourite cookbooks?

I have hundreds of cookbooks. I collect them to the point that I have run out of space at home and my office is starting to close in on me. A few newer picks that I love right now:
  • Sugar Shack Au Pied de Cochon by Martin Picard
  • Plenty: Vibrant Recipes from London's Ottolenghi by Yotam Ottolenghi and Jonathan Lovekin
  • The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook by Deb Perelman
  • Into the Vietnamese Kitchen: Treasured Foodways, Modern Flavors by Andrea Nguyen
  • Salad: Beyond the Bowl by Mindy Fox
  • Fire in my Belly by Kevin Gillespie
  • The Frankies Spuntino Kitchen Companion & Cooking Manual by Frank Castronovo, Frank Meehan, Peter Falcinelli

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