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 series judge on the Emmy Award-winning Food Network series Top Chef. Gail joins season five of Top Chef Masters as the new head critic, and was previously host of Top Chef Just Desserts, the pastry-focused spin-off of the Top Chef franchise. Gail also appeared as a special guest on season one of Food Network Canada’s Top Chef Canada.
Gail joined Food & Wine in 2004 and directs special projects for the magazine, acting as liaison between the marketing and editorial teams on magazine events and chef-related initiatives, working closely with some of America’s top culinary talent. During her tenure, she has been responsible for overseeing the annual Food & Wine Classic in Aspen, America’s premier culinary event. Prior to 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 for esteemed food critic Jeffrey Steingarten at Vogue. Throughout her career, Gail has contributed to several cookbooks, including “It Must’ve Been Something I Ate” by Steingarten, “Chef Daniel Boulud: Cooking in New York City” by Daniel Boulud, and “The New American Chef” by Andrew Dornenburg and Karen Page. Gail’s first book, a own memoir titled “Talking With My Mouth Full,” was published by Hyperion in February 2012.
In addition to her work on Top Chef, Gail makes frequent television appearances on TODAY on NBC, ABC’s Good Morning America, and Fox & Friends, among others. She has been featured in such publications as New York Magazine, Travel + Leisure, GQ, People, TV Guide, US Weekly, Entertainment Weekly, Los Angeles Times, and was named the #1 Reality TV Judge in America by The New York Post. She also has appeared at America’s foremost culinary festivals, including the South Beach Wine & Food Festival and the New York City Wine & Food Festival, among others.
In February 2013, Gail was appointed Entrepreneur-in-Residence at Babson College, a mentoring role where works with student entrepreneurs to help develop their own enterprises through strategic marketing and communications. She is an active supporter of Common Threads, an organization that teaches low-income children to cook wholesome and affordable meals. She was also a founding member of Food & Wine’s Grow for Good Campaign and sits on the boards of City Harvest, Hot Bread Kitchen, the Institute of Culinary Education, and the Women at NBCU Advisory Board.
Gail currently lives in New York City with her husband, Jeremy.