Talking with My Mouth Full: My Life as a Professional Eater

Talking with My Mouth Full: My Life as a Professional Eater

3.6 12
by Gail Simmons
     
 

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When Top Chef judge Gail Simmons first graduated from college, she felt hopelessly lost. All her friends were going to graduate school, business school, law school . . . but what was she going to do? Fortunately, a family friend gave her some invaluable advice-make a list of what you love to do, and let that be your guide. Gail wrote down fourSee more details below

Overview

When Top Chef judge Gail Simmons first graduated from college, she felt hopelessly lost. All her friends were going to graduate school, business school, law school . . . but what was she going to do? Fortunately, a family friend gave her some invaluable advice-make a list of what you love to do, and let that be your guide. Gail wrote down four words:

Eat. Write. Travel. Cook.

Little did she know, those four words would become the basis for a career as a professional eater, cook, food critic, magazine editor, and television star. Today, she's the host of Top Chef: Just Desserts, permanent judge on Top Chef, and Special Projects Director at Food&Wine magazine. She travels all over the world, eats extraordinary food, and meets fascinating people. She's living the dream that so many of us who love to cook and eat can only imagine. But how did she get there?

Talking with My Mouth Full follows her unusual and inspiring path to success, step-by-step and bite-by-bite. It takes the reader from her early years, growing up in a household where her mother ran a small cooking school, her father made his own wine, and family vacation destinations included Africa, Latin America, and the Middle East; through her adventures at culinary school in New York City and training as an apprentice in two of New York's most acclaimed kitchens; and on to her time spent assisting Vogue's legendary food critic Jeffrey Steingarten, working for renowned chef Daniel Boulud, and ultimately landing her current jobs at Food&Wine and on Top Chef. The book is a tribute to the incredible meals and mentors she's had along the way, examining the somewhat unconventional but always satisfying journey she has taken in order to create a career that didn't even exist when she first started working toward it.

With memorable stories about the greatest (and worst) dishes she's eaten, childhood and behind-the-scenes photos, and recipes from Gail's family and her own kitchen, Talking with My Mouth Full is a true treat.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
In this entertaining memoir, Simmons, a judge on the reality television series Top Chef chronicles her early love of eating and how her passion became a professional calling, landing her in the center of America’s obsession with all things food. Following graduation from Montreal’s McGill University and unsure about her future, Simmons headed home to Toronto. Securing a newspaper job, she pushed to write food stories. Her editor offered her important advice. “You need a point of view, a way to differentiate yourself. Forget about writing for a while. Go learn how to cook and how to eat.” She attended culinary school, then worked at Le Cirque. Moving on, she landed a job as assistant to Vogue’s food editor, a glamorous and messy position: “To this day, I’m sure I’m the only person ever to attend a Vogue meeting with Anna Wintour with goose fat running down my Old Navy T-shirt and onto my Levi’s.” Simmons reveals the complex backstage choreography unfolding nightly in top flight restaurants and rewards readers with glimpses of the eye-popping Aspen Food & Wine Classic. The author candidly deconstructs the world of reality television and the phenomenon of Top Chef. (Mar.)
Giada de Laurentiis
"Reading Gail's Simmons's memoir was like having a cappuccino and biscotti with one of my close girlfriends. What a treat!"
Jacques Pepin
"In Talking with My Mouth Full, Gail Simmons takes us through her culinary voyage from her gentle upbringing in a food-obsessed family in Toronto to her present culinary star status. In a clear, firm, and concise style, she leads us through her journey from an apprentice and trainee at culinary school to Le Cirque to Vogue and Food & Wine magazine and, ultimately, to her leading role on food television. Her remembrances are a tasty, delightful treat to savor."
David Chang
"Gail's book impressively mixes memoir with recent culinary history, and has great recipes, too. Above all, she makes it abundantly clear that passion for food - and hard work - always wins out."
Eric Ripert
"Gail Simmons is fearless, passionate and driven, yet she is humble, generous and stays true to the good values that she embraces. This book is inspiring for anyone who dreams about living their passion and finding fulfillment in their work. Talking with My Mouth Full is a joyful account of Gail's journey from her start as a line cook to her work at Food & Wine magazine and of course her role on Top Chef."
From the Publisher
"Reading Gail's Simmons's memoir was like having a cappuccino and biscotti with one of my close girlfriends. What a treat!"—Giada de Laurentiis, author of Giada at Home"

In Talking with My Mouth Full, Gail Simmons takes us through her culinary voyage from her gentle upbringing in a food-obsessed family in Toronto to her present culinary star status. In a clear, firm, and concise style, she leads us through her journey from an apprentice and trainee at culinary school to Le Cirque to Vogue and Food & Wine magazine and, ultimately, to her leading role on food television. Her remembrances are a tasty, delightful treat to savor."—Jacques Pepin, author of Essential Pepin"

Gail's book impressively mixes memoir with recent culinary history, and has great recipes, too. Above all, she makes it abundantly clear that passion for food - and hard work - always wins out."—David Chang, Chef/Owner of Momofuku"

Gail Simmons is fearless, passionate and driven, yet she is humble, generous and stays true to the good values that she embraces. This book is inspiring for anyone who dreams about living their passion and finding fulfillment in their work. Talking with My Mouth Full is a joyful account of Gail's journey from her start as a line cook to her work at Food & Wine magazine and of course her role on Top Chef."—Eric Ripert, Executive Chef/Co-Owner, Le Bernardin

Kirkus Reviews
From the popular judge and host of Top Chef, a memoir of a life devoted to the romance of food and the business of restaurants. To her credit, Simmons notes that she has led a fortunate life, in which her career "coincided, serendipitously, with a widespread boom in enthusiasm about the culinary world." The author grew up as the child of South African and Canadian Jewish parents in Montreal, circumstances which instilled in her a cultural curiosity and desire to travel. Uncertain how to build a career as a food writer, Simmons began with local lifestyle magazines, and soon moved to New York, where she took the unusual step of attending cooking school, then worked briefly on the lines at renowned restaurants Le Cirque 2000 and Vong (which gave her authority later in the media world). She received fortuitous boosts from luminaries like Daniel Boulud and Jeffrey Steingarten, culminating in positions at Food & Wine, which led to her selection by Bravo for Top Chef. The show quickly became popular, as did the spin-off Just Desserts, which she hosts (an experience she describes as surprising in its challenges and 14-hour days). Simmons describes the shows in terms that are specific about the complexities and stress of their production, but not hugely revelatory otherwise--e.g., "On Top Chef, we typically only see chefs on their best behavior." Although each chapter opens with an evocative description of food or a meal, her writing is straightforward and relaxed. Many famous chefs make appearances, but readers looking for dirt or sensuous flights of foodie detail will be disappointed, and the chapters that focus on Simmons recent personal life are less engaging. The book is most appealing as a professional overview of the dining industry's explosive growth and public profile during the last decade, even during the recession. Some readers may wish the prose had a little more grit or character, but the book will surely appeal to Simmons' many fans.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781401304157
Publisher:
Hachette Books
Publication date:
02/21/2012
Sold by:
Hachette Digital, Inc.
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
320
Sales rank:
576,781
File size:
15 MB
Note:
This product may take a few minutes to download.
Age Range:
18 Years

What People are saying about this

David Chang
Gail's book impressively mixes memoir with recent culinary history, and has great recipes, too. Above all, she makes it abundantly clear that passion for food—and hard work—always wins out. (David Chang, Chef/Owner, Momofuku)
Giada De Laurentiis
Reading Gail Simmons's memoir was like having a cappuccino and biscotti with one of my close girlfriends. What a treat! (Giada De Laurentiis, author of Giada at Home)
Eric Ripert
Gail Simmons is fearless, passionate, and driven, yet she is humble, generous, and stays true to the good values that she embraces. This book is inspiring for anyone who dreams about living their passion and finding fulfillment in their work. Talking with My Mouth Full is a joyful, account of Gail's journey from her start as a line cook to her work at Food & Wine magazine and of course her role on Top Chef. (Eric Ripert, Executive Chef/Co- Owner, Le Bernardin)
Jacques Pepin
In Talking with My Mouth Full, Gail Simmons takes us through her culinary voyage from her gentle upbringing in a food- obsessed family in Toronto to her present culinary star status. In a clear, firm, and concise style, she leads us through her journey from an apprentice and trainee at culinary school to Le Cirque to Vogue and Food & Wine magazine and, ultimately, to her leading role on food television. Her remembrances are a tasty, delightful treat to savor. (Jacques Pépin, author of Essential Pépin)

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