Gail Simmons

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Gail Simmons
Born May 19, 1976
Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Alma mater McGill University
Occupation Culinary expert, food writer, television personality
Spouse(s) Jeremy Abrams (2008-present)

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. Simmons was previously the 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. 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, Los Angeles Times, and more.

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".[1]

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.[1]

Early life[edit]

Simmons was born May 19, 1976 in Toronto,[2] and graduated from McGill University in Montreal, where she majored in anthropology and Spanish.[3] 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.[2]


Early career[edit]

She began her food-journalism career writing restaurant reviews for the McGill Tribune[3] before becoming an intern at monthly magazine Toronto Life and later wrote for the daily National Post newspaper.[4]

Simmons attended the The Peter Kump New York Cooking School[4] in New York City and apprenticed at Le Cirque and Vong.[5][6][7]

Simmons worked for food critic Jeffrey Steingarten as his assistant for two years at Vogue[4] before becoming the special events manager for chef Daniel Boulud's restaurant empire for three years.[4]

In 2004, she joined Food & Wine as special projects manager.[4]

Top Chef franchise[edit]

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.[7]


Gail’s first book, her memoir Talking With My Mouth Full: My Life as a Professional Eater, was published by Hyperion in February 2012.[citation needed]

Video series[edit]

She teaches viewers new ways to cook with familiar and unusual staples, in their kitchens, in the online video series titledThe Pantry Project.[7]

Other media[edit]

Her bio reports: "Gail makes frequent television appearances on The Today Show, Good Morning America, Fox & Friends, among others."[7]


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.[7]

Community service and board memberships[edit]

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.[8]

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?].[7]

Personal life[edit]

Simmons married Jeremy Abrams in 2008.[2] Their wedding featured a farmer's market theme, and appeared in Martha Stewart's Real Weddings magazine. Simmons wore a Carolina Herrera wedding gown and her mother's veil from 42 years earlier.[2] She said in 2012 she "put a big chunk of savings into his business", Audiostiles[9] which creates background music programming for the hospitality industry.[10]

Published works[edit]

  • Simmons, Gail (2011). Talking with My Mouth Full: My Life as a Professional Eater. Hyperion. ISBN 1401324509. 


  1. ^ a b "Gail Simmons:'Working - and talking - with my mouth full'". 2012-10-16. Retrieved 2012-10-16. 
  2. ^ a b c d "Gail Simmons". Retrieved 14 November 2012. 
  3. ^ a b "Confessions of a picky eater : McGill News". Retrieved 2012-10-20. 
  4. ^ a b c d e Gernstetter, Blake (November 17, 2010). "SO WHAT DO YOU DO, GAIL SIMMONS, HOST OF TOP CHEF: JUST DESSERTS?". Mediabistro. Retrieved October 18, 2014. 
  5. ^ "One On One With Gail Simmons - Part 1". 2007-08-30. Retrieved 2010-09-21. 
  6. ^ "One On One With Gail Simmons - Part 2". 2007-09-07. Retrieved 2010-09-21. 
  7. ^ a b c d e f "Bio: Gail Simmons". Retrieved 14 November 2012. 
  8. ^ "Forward 50 –". Retrieved 2012-10-20. 
  9. ^ Fusaro, Kim (February 22, 2012). "A Proposal Story: This Glamourous Girl Got a Low-Key Proposal—And Loved It! (Plus, the Book You MUST Put On the Top of Your Reading List!)". Glamour. 
  10. ^ Karol, Gabrielle (August 29, 2012). "10 Things You Don’t Know About My Finances: Gail Simmons". 

External links[edit]