Gail Simmons is a Canadian food writer and cookbook author. Since the show’s inception in 2006, she has served 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. Take a look below for 22 more fun and fascinating facts about Gail Simmons.
1. Simmons was born in Toronto, Ontario, Canada to a Jewish family.
2. She 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.
4. She began her food-journalism career writing restaurant reviews for the McGill Tribune before becoming an intern at monthly magazine Toronto Life and later wrote for the daily National Post newspaper.
5. Simmons attended the Peter Kump New York Cooking School in New York City and apprenticed at Le Cirque and Vong.
6. Simmons worked for food critic Jeffrey Steingarten as his assistant for two years at Vogue before becoming the special events manager for chef Daniel Boulud’s restaurant empire for three years.
7. In 2004, she joined Food & Wine as special projects manager.
8. Simmons has been a judge with Top Chef since its March 8, 2006 season one premiere; she also hosted the spin-off show, Top Chef: Just Desserts, which premiered on September 15, 2010, after the seventh-season finale of Top Chef.
9. Gail’s first book, her memoir Talking With My Mouth Full: My Life as a Professional Eater, was published by Hyperion in February 2012.
10. She teaches viewers new ways to cook with familiar and unusual staples, in their kitchens, in the KitchenDaily.com online video series titled The Pantry Project.
11. Her Bravo.com bio reports: “Gail makes frequent television appearances on The Today Show, Good Morning America, Fox & Friends, among others.”
12. 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.
13. Gail is an active supporter of Common Threads, an organization that teaches low-income children to cook wholesome, affordable meals.
14. 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.
15. 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.
16. She was selected for the 2010 Forward 50 by The Jewish Daily Forward.
17. 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.
18. Simmons married Jeremy Abrams in 2008.
19. Their wedding featured a farmers’ market theme, and appeared in Martha Stewart’s Real Weddings magazine.
20. Simmons wore a Carolina Herrera wedding gown and her mother’s veil from 42 years earlier.
21. She said in 2012 she “put a big chunk of savings into his business”, Audiostiles which creates background music programming for the hospitality industry.
22. She gave birth to their daughter Dahlia Rae on 29 December 2013. Simmons gave birth to their second child, a son named Kole Jack, on May 23, 2018.