What the ‘Top Chef’ Judge Eats in a Day

It’s easy to assume that a top chief judge’s daily meals are out of reach and overly fancy, but that’s not really the case with Gail Simmons. When she’s not at work (which admittedly presents some unique dishes), she enjoys a fairly simple but nutritious diet. Below is a sneak peek of what she typically eats in a day.

Breakfast is different every day.

“It depends where in the world I am,” she said in a “What I Eat in a Day” video for Harper’s Bazaar, referring to her diverse work schedule. But before she can think about food, she has to take medication to treat her thyroid gland, which keeps her from eating breakfast for 30 minutes.

To make the time go by, she takes a shower and brushes her teeth, then it’s time to eat. When at work, she tries to have breakfast before filming because if she doesn’t, she tends to feast on the contestants’ meals, which makes her feel less comfortable.

To avoid that, she opts for “something healthy and hearty, but that won’t bother me” like a poached egg and sautéed vegetables with avocado, a salad or oatmeal with fresh fruit.

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Breakfast is very different when she’s at home with her two children. They often make omelets, waffles or fried eggs together, and on the weekends they go for a wholesome brunch spread with shakshuka eggs or a frittata.

No matter what she eats, Simmons always drinks coffee in the morning. “I’m not a snob when it comes to coffee. The morning is more about getting it in your hand and up your esophagus than being super picky, ”she said. But when she has to choose a favorite, it’s an Americano (espresso and hot water) with a little frothed whole milk.

Lunch is often on set.

Simmons said people would always ask how they and their colleagues manage to eat multiple meals from over 12 chefs in a day. The answer is that they don’t finish the dishes, they try to eat “two or three bites” of each in order to properly gauge its taste. The first round of the day often ends around noon. She never really knows what she’s getting, but it’s usually good.

“After 15 years of being a top chef, even the worst food our chefs cook, I’m really excited,” she admitted.

When Simmons is away, especially if she’s worked from home for the last year, she used lunch as an excuse to go out, take a walk, and grab a light bite – usually a salad or sandwich at a local Restaurant.

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Snacks are a big deal.

There’s always a snack table at Top Chef, and Simmons admits she’s the first to run out of his stash of black liquorice and beef jerky – both of her favorites, influenced by her father who grew up in South Africa . She also loves popcorn in oil and furikake (a Japanese mixture of seaweed and sesame), as well as salt and vinegar chips. “I try not to keep her around because I can’t control myself,” she added.

There are three foods she doesn’t like.

Root beer, black beans and veal. She said she loved all other beans and legumes, but had a “very bad reaction” to black beans once and has stayed away from them ever since. As for veal, her aversion is “a texture cause” and also a mental hurdle to overcome while jumping. “I’m an omnivore in every other way, but veal just came under the unnecessary meat category for me,” she said.

Dinner depends on what inspires you right now.

And of course, whether she works or not. She tries to cook in large quantities so that there is leftover leftovers. “I believe in leftovers. Let me just say, if you don’t believe in leftovers, I am suspicious of your eating habits, ”she laughed. A typical batch meal that will be loved by the whole family is a whole roast chicken rubbed with olive oil, herbs, paprika, salt and pepper, and lemon juice and cooked over baby potatoes.

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She has a sweet tooth but doesn’t eat dessert every night.

Their weakness is a good, high quality square of dark chocolate. Only one square – if it is 70% or more – will satisfy their desires.

As a foodie, Simmons obviously loves switching and trying new things. She often documents her food adventures on Instagram, where you can stay up to date with her latest favorites.


Kayla Blanton is a freelance writer covering health and nutrition for men’s health, women’s health, and prevention.

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