One of the reasons I don't love covering events at fancy places like the Fontainebleau in Miami Beach is because I hate valet parking. It's that simple. Besides waiting for my car, I just feel paying 24 dollars for parking is a bit excessive. Plus, hello, that's the cost of a cocktail. But when I actually read the media invite to celebrate Gail Simmons' new book, Talking With My Mouth Full, I thought twice. Not only was parking complimentary, but I really, really like Simmons. At least, on television where she is host of Top Chef: Just Desserts. I liked her even better in person.
"I do not know what those girls have to do with anything," she said referring to part of the evenings entertainment -- three girls dressed in really short shorts, red S&M-like vinyl corsets and sequined hats. I immediately liked her more as I too thought the girls were tacky with a capital "T."
And so we sat down to do an "interview," but I had nothing to really ask because I'm not a foodie. I know. Here I was, sitting with an idol in the culinary world, and all that comes to mind is that I like her dress and she's a lot skinnier in person.
So I left the interviewing questions to my Facebook friends and Gail and I read them together. "This one is from some guy I use to have sex with," I told her. "OMG -- I know him," she says. "I'm cooking for him tomorrow." Yes, she was baking that yummy tart she's known for at the South Beach Wine And Food Festival; and to answer his question, instead of using plums it's just as delicious to whip it up with some pears.
The next question came from Angie Barnes, my first television producer, who told me to think of the camera as something I really love. After that I always thought of it as a big penis and I was never again scared of the lens. But, I digress. She wanted to know what celebrity Gail would be scared of to eat their food. "Well, if you consider the cast of Jersey Shore to be celebrities, it would be theirs." I couldn't agree more. I could see Snooki using hairspray as a glaze.
The questions kept on coming. Of course, someone wanted to know which past contestant on Top Chef should have won and her answer was season six finalist Kevin Gillespie. If you have ever been to his restaurant Woodfire Grill in Atlanta I think you would agree.
Another friend wanted to know what Gail's last supper would be and I was full just thinking about it. It was some sort of seared spaghetti, a really, really juicy côte de boeuf steak and a rich dulce de leche tart. Way to go out, right?
Speaking of getting out, I was ready for my dine and dash. I drank some Casa Dragones Tequila, which was pretty good, and at 65 dollars a shot thank god it was complimentary.
I interviewed Gail, met her agent Kevin Slotnick from WME Entertainment, who made fun of my t-shirt, and then there was Bobby Flay. Mr. Flay was tired. Earlier that morning, at 8am, he had a meeting with Food Network to discuss his new show. He worked all day prepping for his event Flavors of Flay that celebrates the dishes from his many restaurants, and later he met with his new publisher about a book. That doesn't sound so bad to me only because it sounds like the kind of day he laughed all the way to the bank.
Nonetheless, he told me he doesn't think he's a funny guy but, hello, have you watched his show Worst Cooks In America? I'm sorry that show is funnier to me than any cooking show, unless of course when Gail provides her witty commentary on her show, which is really what inspired me to write this column in the first place.