In between a crazy travel schedule and preparation for her new Bravo series Top Chef Just Desserts, Gail Simmons, who is hosting the Daniel Boulud Tribute Dinner at the Loews tonight, took a few minutes to yap with Eater about a few things—and not just desserts.
Eater: Weirdest combo of ingredients you've ever seen or tasted in a dessert?
Gail Simmons: Season 2 of Top Chef, winner Ilan Hall once made a chocolate truffle filled with chicken liver! Thankfully I didn’t have to eat it.
E: Is your sweet tooth always on? What if it's off and you just want to grab a bag of salty potato chips?
GS: I can turn my sweet tooth on for any situation! I never turn down dark chocolate, caramel and sugar. But I’m equally a fan of the salty side too. I love a good cheeseburger, full sour pickles and my favorite guilty snack is probably salt & vinegar chips; I crave them just as much as I crave desserts.
E: Dessert you're best known for making?
GS: My husband LOVES the combination of banana, peanut butter and chocolate, so I am always trying new desserts in that combination. I make a mean banana soufflé with chocolate ice cream and peanut butter sauce! I have pretty much tried to make almost every dessert in the book with those 3 ingredients. I also love making lemon tarts and a favorite treat my friends call "Gail's Peach Pizza", which is simply sliced peaches over ground almonds, cinnamon and sugar on golden puff pastry. It's a simple summer recipe for when I’m entertaining friends.”
E: Favorite sweet spots in Miami?
GS: I love Ice Box Cafe in South Beach, it’s a great place to have lunch and they have delicious sweets. I also never get tired of Joe’s Stone Crab key lime pie.
E: Favorite restaurants in Miami?
GS: Michy’s of course! And definitely Michael's Genuine. I also love Miami's amazing, authentic Cuban food.
E: Events you are most looking forward to at the festival this weekend?
GS: Looking most forward to the Tribute dinner honoring Daniel Boulud, which I am hosting. He is a great mentor of mine and my old boss. The dinner itself will be an incredible experience, cooked by the best chefs from France and the US!
E: Favorite non-festival related place to hang out while in Miami?
GS: I love going to the Design District, checking out the new shops and art galleries. I’m always finding new places to explore there.