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

Food for Thought: Summer Reading

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

By Gail Simmons (Hyperion, $26.99, 270 pp)

Gail Simmons would probably be the first to acknowledge that she is the least famous of the three judges on Bravo's Top Chef. While people have gushed over Padma Lakshmi's voluptuous good looks and Tom Colicchio's lovable crankiness, Simmons has confidently asserted her expertise on the show without garnering much chatter, apart from gossipy speculations about whether she's pregnant, or simply gained weight. Talking With My Mouth Full, then, enacts a correction to that relative silence, recounting the career trajectory that landed her at Judges' Table for nine seasons of Top Chef and as host of Top Chef: Just Desserts.

Simmons' voice is approachable and eminently readable; she seems like a very likable person, someone who'd be fun to share a bottle of wine and a leisurely meal with. That said, the audience for this memoir is probably quite narrow, limited to Top Chef fans, or Food & Wine magazine fans, or food writers looking for a role model. (Simmons went to culinary school to lay the groundwork for her food journalism career.) Simmons' chatty reflections swing from engrossing, including her thoughts on the online sniping about her weight, to eye-roll-worthy, such as when she declares that she and her fellow Top Chef judges "don't take the responsibility lightly." It's a reality show, for crying out loud, not the search for a cure for cancer. That said, this memoir would make for a breezy companion in the car or airplane en route to some fabulous vacation destination, one that, it goes without saying, will feature exquisite food.

READ MORE
More Food Reviews
Review: Kemuri Tatsu-ya
Review: Kemuri Tatsu-ya
Eastside izakaya rediscovers spirit of Austin

Brandon Watson, April 21, 2017

Review: Kuneho
Review: Kuneho
Does Paul Qui’s new concept offer redemption?

Melody Fury, April 14, 2017

More by Melanie Haupt
The Difficulties of Dining With Kids
The Difficulties of Dining With Kids
Is the restaurant industry making a bad situation worse?

March 3, 2017

How Austin Restaurants Are Leading the Trump Era Resistance
How Austin Restaurants Are Leading the Trump Era Resistance
Economically culture-jamming the new administration

Feb. 10, 2017

MORE IN THE ARCHIVES
NEWSLETTERS
AC Daily, Events and Promotions, Luvdoc Answers

Breaking news, recommended events, and more

Official Chronicle events, promotions, and giveaways

Updates for SXSW 2017

All questions answered (satisfaction not guaranteed)