Austin Tidbits: Cocktails With… Gail Simmons

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For their most recent installment of their popular weekly “Cocktails With” feature, Austin Tidbits caught up with Gail Simmons, FOOD & WINE Special Projects Director and author of Talking With My Mouth Full to talk cocktails, cooking, a special kind of cougar and of course, Paul Qui…

TIDBITS: Since this is a Cocktails With segment, what cocktail is best served while reading your book? GAIL A dry martini, lots of olives!


TIDBITS: You’ve conquered the kitchen, what inspired you to write a book? GAIL: At first I thought about writing a cookbook, but came to understand that when people ask me food questions, they’re not really about what to cook for dinner, but more on educating yourself about food, how to eat well, judge food, explore great cuisines, and most of all, how I got my start. I hope it inspires people to get into the kitchen or explore new restaurants, follow their passions and get the most out of life, no matter what they choose to do.


TIDBITS: What food do you crave that you’re ashamed to admit? GAIL: Well, I try not to feel too guilty about my favorite snacks. I love spicy chicken wings, salt & vinegar chips, and once in a while, a late night of bowl of mac ‘n’ cheese (yes, from the box).


TIDBITS: What’s one item every girl should have in her kitchen? GAIL: Every girl should know how to use a proper wine key, not a fancy one with a huge top and levers everywhere, but a good old-fashioned corkscrew.


TIDBITS: What do you think is the most overrated cooking ingredient? GAIL: Truffle Oil. Dried herbs.


TIDBITS: Finish this sentence: Real women eat…? GAIL: Beef jerky!


TIDBITS: What would we find in your fridge right now? GAIL: I’ve been on book tour for the past several weeks so at the moment, there’s very little in my fridge. What’s there consists of a bottle of Dom Perignon, a hunk of parmesan, about 4 different hot sauces (Sriacha, sambal olek, harrissa and Cholula hot sauce), a bottle of Red Boat Fish Sauce, and a can (yes, a can) of Cougar Gold, a fantastic, aged cheese produced by the University of Washington Creamy in Seattle, a gift from my father.


TIDBITS: Will you be visiting Top Chef Texas winner, Paul Qui, in his kitchen while you’re in Austin? GAIL: I probably will not join him in the kitchen per se, but there is no doubt we will get together for a cocktail while I am there! Now that he has won and we are able to talk, I am so excited to be his friend, with no judgments.


TIDBITS: Aprons: old-fashioned or fashionable? GAIL: Fashionable!


TIDBITS: We all know food is the way to a man’s heart. What meal should every girl know how to cook to impress her man? GAIL: A char-grilled, rare, bone-n rib eye and a foolproof but sinfully decadent pie. My current favorite to make for my man is Bannoffee (banana toffee cream pie). It gets him every time…


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