Talking With My Mouth Full
When Gail Simmons first graduated from college, she felt hopelessly lost. All her friends were going to graduate school, business school, law school . . . but what was she going to do? Fortunately, a family friend gave her some invaluable advice-make a list of what you love to do, and let that be your guide. Gail wrote down four words: Eat. Write. Travel. Cook.
Little did she know, those four words would become the basis for a career as a professional eater, cook, food critic, magazine editor, and television star. Today, she's the host of Top Chef: Just Desserts, permanent judge on Top Chef and Special Projects Director at Food & Wine Magazine. She travels all over the world, eats extraordinary food, and meets fascinating people. She's living the dream that so many of us who love to cook and eat can only imagine. But how did she get there?
Based on her bestselling book, Talking with My Mouth Full, Gail shares follows her unusual and inspiring path to success, step-by-step and bite-by-bite. It takes the reader from her early years, growing up in a household where her mother ran a small cooking school, her father made his own wine, and family vacation destinations included Africa, Latin America, and the Middle East; through her adventures at culinary school in New York City and training as an apprentice in two of New York's most acclaimed kitchens; and on to her time spent assisting Vogue's legendary food critic, working for renowned chef Daniel Boulud, and ultimately landing her current jobs at Food & Wine and on Top Chef. She created a career that didn't even exist when she first started working toward it. With memorable stories and insights about the greatest (and worst) dishes she's eaten, foodie trends and beyond, Gail's presentations are a true feast.
Gail Simmons is a trained culinary expert, food writer, 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 Just 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.
Her first cookbook, Bringing It Home: Favorite Recipes from a Life of Adventurous Eating, was released by Grand Central Publishing in October 2017. Nominated for an IACP award for Best General Cookbook, it features recipes inspired by Gail’s world travels—all made with accessible ingredients and with smart, simple techniques for successful family meals and easy entertaining. Gail’s first book, a memoir titled Talking With My Mouth Full, was published by Hyperion in February 2012.
Gail joined Food & Wine magazine in 2004, where she directs special projects, writing a monthly column and working closely with the country’s top culinary talent on events and chef-related initiatives. During her tenure, she has been responsible for overseeing the annual Classic in Aspen, America’s premier culinary event. Prior to working at Food & Wine, Gail was the special events manager for Chef Daniel Boulud’s restaurant empire.
Born and raised in Toronto, Canada, Gail moved to New York City in 1999 to attend culinary school at what is now the Institute of Culinary Education. She then trained in the kitchens of legendary Le Cirque 2000 and groundbreaking Vong restaurants, and worked as the assistant to Vogue magazine’s esteemed food critic, Jeffrey Steingarten. Throughout her career, Gail has contributed to several books, including It Must’ve Been Something I Ate by Steingarten, Chef Daniel Boulud: Cooking in New York City and The New American Chef, by Andrew Dornenburg and Karen Page.
In 2014, Gail and her business partner Samantha Hanks, founded Bumble Pie Productions, an original content company dedicated to discovering and promoting new female voices in the food and lifestyle space. Their first series, “Star Plates”—a collaboration with Drew Barrymore’s Flower Films and Authentic Entertainment—premiered in Fall 2016 on the Food Network.
In addition, Gail makes frequent television appearances on NBC’s TODAY, ABC’s Good Morning America, and The Rachel Ray Show, among others. She has been featured in publications such as People, New York magazine, Travel + Leisure, GQ, Entertainment Weekly, US Weekly, Los Angeles Times, and was named the #1 Reality TV Judge in America by the New York Post. Along with her annual appearance at the Food & Wine Classic in Aspen, she makes regular appearances at the nation’s foremost culinary festivals, including the Austin Food & Wine Festival and Charleston Wine & Food Festival.
In February 2013, Gail was appointed Entrepreneur-in-Residence at Babson College, a mentoring role where she works with student entrepreneurs, helping them develop food-related social enterprises. In April 2016, she received the Award of Excellence by Spoons Across America, a non-profit organization dedicated to educating children about the benefits of healthy eating. She is an active board member and supporter of City Harvest, Hot Bread Kitchen, Common Threads, and the Institute of Culinary Education.
Gail currently lives in New York City with her husband, Jeremy and their two children, Dahlia and Kole.