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Gail Simmons (born May 19, 1976) is a Canadian trained culinary expert, food writer and television personality, and is the Special Projects Director with Food & Wine magazine. In addition to her role with Food & Wine, she is a regular judge on the television show Top Chef and hosts its spin-off, Top Chef: Just Desserts.
She offers advice for anyone who's new to the food world and wants to break into the culinary limelight: you should "love what you’re doing and you’ll manage to do it - no matter how hard it is".
The good taste necessary to be a food critic is not just something she was born with, but, as she explains, it is a natural balance that can easily be found through understanding flavor and a passion to learn.
She was born May 19, 1976 in Toronto, and graduated from McGill University in Montreal, where she majored in anthropology and Spanish. She is the youngest of three siblings in a Jewish family, which includes her mother Renee, formerly a food columnist for Globe and Mail who conducted cooking classes in their home, and her father, Ivor.
She began her food journalism career writing restaurant reviews for the McGill Tribune before moving on to the monthly magazine Toronto Life and later to the daily National Post newspaper.
Simmons attended culinary school in New York City at the Institute of Culinary Education and apprenticed at Le Cirque and Vong.
Prior to joining Food & Wine, Gail was the special events manager for chef Daniel Boulud’s restaurant empire and worked for food critic Jeffrey Steingarten at Vogue.
Top Chef franchise
Simmons has been a judge with Top Chef since its March 8, 2006 season one premiere; she also hosted the spinoff show, Top Chef: Just Desserts, which premiered on September 15, 2010, after the seventh season finale of Top Chef.
Gail’s first book, her memoir Talking With My Mouth Full: My Life as a Professional Eater, was published by Hyperion in February 2012.
She teaches viewers new ways to cook with familiar and unusual staples, in their kitchens, in the KitchenDaily.com online video series titledThe Pantry Project.
Her Bravo.com bio reports: "Gail makes frequent television appearances on The Today Show, Good Morning America, Fox & Friends, among others."
She has made appearances at prominent culinary festivals; examples in the U.S. include the South Beach Wine & Food Festival, New York City Wine & Food Festival, Pebble Beach Food & Wine, Kohler Food & Wine Experience and the Cayman Cookout.
Community service and board memberships
Gail is an active supporter of Common Threads, an organization that teaches low-income children to cook wholesome, affordable meals. She was a founding member of Food & Wine’s Grow for Good Campaign to raise funds and awareness for sustainable agriculture programs in the United States. She sits on the boards of the American Institute of Wine & Food, Hot Bread Kitchen, the Institute of Culinary Education’s Alumni Committee, the Women at NBCU Advisory Board, and the food rescue organization City Harvest.
She was selected for the 2010 Forward 50 by The Jewish Daily Forward.
She has been featured in such media outlets as New York Magazine, Travel + Leisure, GQ, People, TV Guide, Entertainment Weekly, and Los Angeles Times, and was named the #1 Reality TV Judge in America by The New York Post[when?].
Simmons married Jeremy Abrams in 2008; they live in New York City and own an apartment in Brooklyn. Their wedding featured a farmer's market theme, and appeared in Martha Stewart's Real Weddings magazine. Simmons wore her mother's Carolina Herrera wedding gown from 42 years earlier. In an August 29, 2012 interview with Food & Drink, she shared that she "put a big chunk of savings into his business", Audiostiles which creates music programming for places like restaurants and hotels (such as the music one might hear in a lobby).
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Toronto, Ontario, Canada
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Gail Simmons (born May 19, 1976) is a Canadian trained culinary expert, food writer, cookbook author, and dynamic television personality. Since the show’s inception in 2006, she has lent her extensive expertise as a permanent judge on BRAVO’s Emmy-winning series “Top Chef.” Now entering its thirteenth successful season, “Top Chef” is rated the #1 food show on cable television. Gail was previously head critic on “Top Chef Duels” and host of “Top Chef Desserts,” Bravo’s pastry-focused spin-off of the “Top Chef” franchise. She was also co-host of “The Feed,” which aired in 2014 on FYI, A+E’s new lifestyle network. In addition to her work on “Top Chef,” Gail makes frequent television appearances on NBC’s “TODAY,” and ABC’s “Good Morning America,” among others. She has been featured in such publications as New York magazine, Travel + Leisure, GQ, People, the Los Angeles Times, and more.
McGill University (Montreal, Canada)
Claim to Fame
Top Chef: Just Desserts
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