Gail Simmons

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Finale, Part 1

This is a great time of year for me in regards to television. I get to watch my Philadelphia Phillies inch closer to a playoff berth every night, and I just love, love, love Top Chef. Yes, that’s it. Two things make this great for me. What can I say, I’m easy to please. It’s 11:12 pm right now as I’m writing this line and I’m just realizing that this is the only night of the work week that I can actually function relatively well at this time. I attribute being awake right now to the exciting first part of the season finale of Top Chef. We begin the finale in Aspen, Colorado, with four competitors left — Brian, Casey, Dale and Hung. We also begin with the weekly rant of Hung claiming he’s much more advanced than the other three chefs. I immediately wondered if there was anyone that could really humble Hung, then of course in the next 10 minutes we see that his father is one of those people and guest judge Eric Ripert is the other. Ripert is one of t... read more

"Manhattan Project"

Tonight was weird for me. There was no drama. There was very little comedy. The only person still left on the show that makes it edgy is Hung. And I even hate to call him "edgy" since it’s really just pure arrogance. And then, of course, there’s my favorite: men with heavy French accents. For some reason, I have many moments where my brain just doesn’t process words right away. I mean, I’ll get them sooner or later, but it might take me a moment or two to figure out what you just said. So add a heavy French accent in and you can imagine how lost I was at points. Probably as lost as those Frenchmen trying to say "Hung." Le Cirque owner, Sirio Maccioni, didn’t even bother trying to say it. (I mean, c’mon — it’s really not that difficult.) My lone comedic moment was at the very beginning when Dale commented that he’s "a big gay chef and I’m going to outcook your ass." Other than that, it wasn’t exactly ginormous excitement.The Quic... read more

"Freezer Burn"

Ah, now this was what I missed so much last week. Forget reunions. I need Joey and Howie opening their big mouths, Sara whining and Hung being a “douche’ as CJ called him. Right from the moment Joey spoke for the first time, you knew it was going to be fun. He said if he had to “throw someone over the bus” he’d do so at this point in the game. I definitely would choose that over the more traditional throwing someone under the bus. I mean, under the bus you really have no shot at making it, but over it just gives you so many more opportunities. You could land on your feet or in a row of bushes. There could be a trampoline on the other side or maybe a river and you could just swim to the bank. If I were those chefs, I’d take that option rather than the second choice of throwing someone “over the balcony.” They probably can’t fly but I’d bet they could walk away from landing on the hood of a 2001 Honda Accord. In all seriousness though,... read more

Watch What Happens

So I know some of you are wondering why a reunion episode is taking place in the middle of a season. I would have asked that myself, except I have to confess that it’s partially my fault. About two weeks ago Bravo and I had a string of text messages going back and forth. Let me show you how it went:Bravo: Wazzup, dog?Dave: Just chillin’.Bravo: So what’s the 25th look like for you, bro?Dave: Out of town. Busy. Thanx for asking. Bravo: You are awesome at this blogging thing. We’re thinking of giving you a break from all your linking for a week. Dave: Word.Bravo: How about a reunion show?Dave: In the middle of a season?Bravo: Dude, don’t question what we do. Dave: lolSo that’s how we got it, folks. And it’s true, I have nothing to link up this week, so I can actually get to bed at a normal time. Nothing wrong with that now and again. The episode itself was pure fluff. We saw a few funny and interesting moments but not a whole lot of important items. P... read more

June 20, 2007: The Upscale BBQ

So last week I told you that I love Top Chef mainly because I love food. But there's also one thing I didn't tell you: I'm on a diet. My wife calls this a "lifestyle change" instead of a diet, but I like "diet" instead. When I talk about a "lifestyle change" to people they immediately think I'm going to start wearing panties (the I Heart Clay Aiken Underoos don't count as panties) and calling myself Davida instead. In the end, I have to explain that I'm on a diet anyway, so it's just easier. OK, so now you're wondering why I told you this. Well, it plays into a hotly contested topic on the string last week — whether the chefs should cook food that's on the lower end of the food scale, aka "stuff we'd eat." My answer to that question is that I like seeing them cook this outrageous stuff. Foods like geoduck that I'd see on a window display menu for $45 a plate and walk right by are the kinds of items I need on Top Chef. There's almost no chance that I'll ever get to try most of t... read more

A Reality Smorgasbord

Top Chef's Padma Lakshmi by Glenn Watson/Bravo Photo

For someone whose kitchen prowess pretty much stops at the microwave and the George Foreman grill (New York-apartment size), I am unusually caught up this year in the hot summer-reality trend of cooking competition shows. Those who can’t do, watch in rapt fascination.Two in particular are among my tastiest guilty pleasures: Bravo’s scintillating Top Chef, which looks better than ever in its third season set in Miami, and Food Network’s more modestly entertaining The Next Food Network Star, also in its third season, though this is the first time I’ve watched. My least favorite of this batch, though also popular in the way that some people can’t seem to avert their gaze from any sort of train wreck, is Fox’s shrill and unceasingly unpleasant Hell’s Kitchen, also in its third go-round. (And this is the second consecutive year I’ve decided to bail after just a few weeks. I need to give my bleeding ears some time to recuperate.)Top Chef and Food Ne... read more

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