If you’re even the slightest bit of a foodie, you’re probably already on a first-name basis with Gail Simmons. Gail is the culinary expert, food writer, and woman to watch when it comes to all things cooking related. We’ve been inviting Gail into our homes for years as one of the first judges on BRAVO’s Top Chef (check out our In The Kitchen with her pal, Tom Colicchio here!) and as host of Top Chef Just Desserts. Tonight, Gail’s brand new venture hits the air waves for the first time, a hilarious, informative talk-show-slash-culinary-adventure called The Feed. Set your DVRs, folks – just like the Top Chef series, this show is majorly addictive.
Join us for a peek inside Gail’s kitchen to learn how she handles her own holiday kitchen – maple whiskey and all! Then take your holiday prep up a notch by tuning into The Feed’s Christmas special tonight on FYI!
If you're cooking for more people than normal...
Organization is the key to a clear mind and a well-cooked meal.
Busy kitchen day mantra?
Clean as you go! Clean as you go!
3 key tips for holiday-cooking chefs:
1) Make more than you need: Leftovers taste better and freeze well, plus you never can anticipate who shows up to eat. 2) Classics are important: I am all for reinvention, but I also believe that traditional holiday food provides comfort and ritual that you carry with you your whole life. 3) Delegate: Holiday cooking can be overwhelming, so enlist friends and family and don’t be shy to dole out the work. Sharing in the cooking process is part of the fun and provides a great opportunity for quality bonding time.
The key to a perfect turkey:
Knowing when to take it out of the oven (before it’s 100% cooked) and allowing it to rest for a substantial amount of time so it’s cooked through, but not dry and all those beautiful juices have been properly absorbed.
Personal fave holiday side dish:
Pie! Any flavor. And potatoes! Any preparation.
Any weird dishes on your family table?
Not really, but there is always a healthy amount of strong horseradish. It’s my Eastern European roots and tastes great with turkey, stuffing and all vegetables.
Fave moment during the holidays:
All the cooking! It’s an excuse to stop working and spend a rare day in the kitchen, making food for people you love.
Fave holiday drink:
I am Canadian, so this is an adopted holiday for me. We keep maple whisky on hand as an after-meal treat. It’s delicious and helps me digest all that great food.
Must-have tool in the kitchen:
A citrus juicer/press and a flexible fish spatula, plus lots of oversized spoons for tasting and stirring.
Keeping holiday kitchen craziness under control:
Be organized and do as much in advance as you possibly can.
Simplest way to lighten up a recipe:
Include more fruits/vegetables than meat/dairy/sugar. Portion control is vital!
Healthiest habit for week of the holiday?
Make time to get outside and do something active.
Unusual recipe that actually works:
Potato and cheese soufflé – sounds intimidating, but it’s very stable and looks impressive.
Most helpful feature in your own kitchen:
I built a secret sliding drawer under my kitchen sink that, when tapped with your foot, rolls out to uncover a step stool that allows me to reach all the high cupboards.
Dream kitchen feature:
Unlimited fridge, freezer, oven and storage space.
Fave time of day to cook:
I love cooking dinner in the early evening, if I am able to get home with time to do so. I turn on music and find it really therapeutic to cook while I process my day. The rhythmic action of cooking is very relaxing to me and helps me unwind, work through anything on my mind and gather my thoughts. It also allows me to use the creative side of my brain and improvise, depending on what I happen to be inspired by in the moment.