Category Archives: Interviews

Gail Simmons on Finding Your Voice

From, an interview with Gail Simmons. This resonates with me because I am in the middle of the search for my own “culinary voice”. Let’s talk about the Quickfire challenge. It was really interesting to see Roy Choi going so hard on the chefs.

Gail Simmons: This whole episode came together in an incredible way. So many things about this episode were serendipity. We had Jon Favreau making a movie about being a chef — and that he went to Roy Choi to be his mentor for that, and that Roy Choi is a friend of ours (he was with us in Alaska for the finale last year and has such a huge connection to Emeril). Not only that, but in the movie that Jon’s making, a big part is going to take place in New Orleans, which was just another reason that Jon being on the episode made so much sense. It was so great to have him there because returning to New Orleans is such a pivotal part of the film. It all was just a perfect collaboration. I thought it was really special.

Hmmm, becoming a chef, New Orleans, food trucks…

This was a way to do that which connected them to the idea of the food truck and finding your voice. The food truck theme is an impetus for change and for starting fresh, which is what Jon’s movie is all about and also what Roy Choi’s journey is all about. But it’s also what we’re going to ask them to do in this Elimination Challenge.

I am not a big fan of Carlos, but he did make a great dish and what Gail had to say here really hits home: Let’s dive right in to the dishes that day. What did you think of Carlos’ Braised Pork Belly With Sweet Potato Puree and Chipotle Tamarind Glaze?

GS: Most of the dishes we ate that day were excellent. Carlos’ was a dish that he had in his back pocket from his restaurant that he’d clearly been waiting for an opportunity to pull out and this was the perfect time. It was delicious. It was balanced. It was cooked well, it was thoughtful, it was very concise. We’ve seen some good food from Carlos but it had been a while since he’d shown us something that tasted like we expected from him without having to fit his style into a challenge. It was just him being himself and that was really great to see. And we did really get a window into who he is as a chef, how he cooks, what flavors he likes. [emphasis mine, SPS.] It was bold and beautiful.

Read the whole interview here: Gail on Favreau, Choi, and Finding Yourself