As we bid farewell to season 7 of Top Chef this week, we welcome the latest franchise in the TC series, Top Chef: Just Desserts. We got to chat with host and judge Gail Simmons on what to expect from the show.
How did Top Chef prepare you for hosting your own show, Top Chef: Just Desserts?
I have to say my job as host is completely different on Just Desserts especially because — and I’m the first to admit it — my role on TC until now has been pretty easy. I’m not saying it hasn’t been exciting and challenging and interesting. But my job really until now has just been to sort of show up, eat, talk about it and leave. On Just Desserts, the hours are double the time, so now I’m in every single day shooting. And then also, being the host really forces you to make a different role because you are the person who needs to deliver the business, you’re the one who makes the plot go forward.
Can you tell us about the new judges?
Hubert Keller — is it not enough that he’s a total dreamboat? Not only did he start in the pastry kitchen but he actually grew up in a bakery. His family is from Alsace and his father was a baker, so he grew up above a bakery and watching bakers his whole life. It’s sort of bred in him, in his blood. Johnny Iuzzini is head judge, and I think without a doubt one of the greatest most talented young pastry chefs in this country right now. Johnny is a sort of wonder kid, he really is so talented and has such an amazing understanding of the processes of pastry, sugar, chocolate and butter. And he happens to be super attractive and stylish. And then there is Dannielle Kyrillos, who brings a totally fresh perspective through being the editor-at-large for DailyCandy. Dannille brings a brightness, a knowledge as a real diner, as a real person who’s passionate about pastry, who loves it.