Gail Simmons was born in Toronto, Canada in 1976. The daughter of a food-writing mother, Simmons began to write about food in college. In 1999, she moved to New York to attend culinary school, then worked for New York legends like Jeffrey Steingarten (at Vogue magazine) and chef Daniel Boulud, before landing a job with Food & Wine. This led to become a judge on Bravo's Top Chef and a host of the show Top Chef: Just Desserts.
Gail Simmons was born in Toronto, Canada on May 19, 1976, the third of three children in a Jewish family with a rich culinary tradition. Her mother, Renee, was a food columnist for Globe and Mail, and conducted cooking classes in their home. Though Simmons's father, Ivor, rarely cooked, he made a few specialty items that were revered by his brood, including pink applesauce and sour pickles.
After high school, Simmons went to McGill University in Montreal, where she majored in anthropology and Spanish, and spent a post-graduate semester in Spain. She began writing about food for the McGill Tribune during her last year in college, and then returned to Toronto after graduation to write for Toronto Life and the National Post. She then decided that she wanted a more in-depth culinary education, and in 1999, moved to New York City to attend culinary school at what is now the Institute of Culinary Education.
In 2008, Simmons married Jeremy Abrams. The couple had met through mutual friends and their wedding, which featured a farmer's market theme, appeared in Martha Stewart's Real Weddings magazine. Simmons wore her mother's wedding veil from 42 years earlier and a Carolina Herrera gown.
Philanthropy is important to Simmons, and she is an active supporter of Common Threads, a nonprofit organization that works to teach children how to cook healthy, inexpensive meals. She also helped found of the Wine's Grow for Good Campaign, which works to raise money to fund sustainable agriculture programs; and she sits on the boards of charities such as City Harvest, Hot Bread Kitchen, the American Institute of Wine & Food, the Institute of Culinary Education's Alumni Committee, and the Women at NBCU Advisory Board.
Although a broad palate is necessary for her work, Simmons has her favorite—and least favorite—foods: She doesn't eat black beans because they upset her stomach, or veal because she thinks it tastes bland, but she loves butterscotch pudding, ice cream and dark chocolate.
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