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.

A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for over 40 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.

Support the Chronicle  

READ MORE
More Food Reviews
Restaurant Review: LeRoy and Lewis Barbecue
Restaurant Review: LeRoy and Lewis Barbecue
The BBQ trailer-turned-brick and mortar is generally delicious but could use a more streamlined menu

Melanie Haupt, May 17, 2024

Restaurant Review: Redbud Ice House
Restaurant Review: Redbud Ice House
The latest concept from MaieB Hospitality crafts a modern Austin spin on a Texas classic

Taylor Tobin, May 10, 2024

More by Melanie Haupt
Restaurant Review: Poeta
Restaurant Review: Poeta
All-day Italian cafe brings the romance

April 26, 2024

Review: Murray’s Tavern
Review: Murray’s Tavern
A great hangout, maybe not a great restaurant

March 22, 2024

MORE IN THE ARCHIVES
One click gets you all the newsletters listed below

Breaking news, arts coverage, and daily events

Keep up with happenings around town

Kevin Curtin's bimonthly cannabis musings

Austin's queerest news and events

Eric Goodman's Austin FC column, other soccer news

Information is power. Support the free press, so we can support Austin.   Support the Chronicle