When 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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Praise for Talking with My Mouth Full
"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
"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
"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
"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
"The joy of Ms. Simmons' book is in its passionate love of food, a love that transcended everything that got in its way, like a pole-vaulter leaping over the bar. . . . The other great joy in Talking with My Mouth Full lies in the writing itself. For those who know Ms. Simmons only from her television appearances, the skill that she shows for placing words on the page will come as a pleasant surprise."
—New York Journal of Books
“Throughout her delicious narrative, Simmons ladles out piquant details about the chemistry of food, how restaurants really work and why food-based reality TV has garnered such a following. This one's definitely worth adding to your culinary bookshelf.”