The Most Rewarding Part Of Top Chef, According To Gail Simmons - Exclusive

Gail Simmons knows the ins and outs of food like no one else. According to the culinary personality's website, she spent years working at Food & Wine as a projects director before acting as a permanent judge on "Top Chef" as of 2006 and hosting "The Good Dish." In addition to helping define modern culinary television, Simmons has authored a variety of books and cookbooks that explore her relationship with food and traveling.

While many might identify Simmons as an author and general authority on all things food, the star can put her money where her mouth is. According to People, she moved from Toronto to New York City to attend culinary school back in 1999 and worked in the kitchen of Le Cirque. Over the years, Simmons has judged a ton of food on "Top Chef" and developed countless relationships with contestants and fellow judges alike. Out of all of the experiences on the show, however, one particular travel moment deeply resonated with Simmons, as she told Mashed in an exclusive interview.

A very meaningful culinary moment

When it comes to the most meaningful and best meals on "Top Chef," Gail Simmons told Mashed, they have happenedĀ "because the chefs have been pushed to think about a topic in the world of food in a way they've never thought of before, whether it provokes an emotion, or they are cooking from their cultures."

For example, in a recent episode, Simmons was particularly moved when the contestants had to cook for "indigenous local people in Portland." In order to make the meals, the chefs had to use only ingredients that were in season at the time that would have been historically used in the area. While the show participants felt a deep connection to the culture, Simmons noted that the food tasted even better because it traced back to the local history and connected back "to that story, and to those people, and to the land."

Simmons noted a similar experience in Houston when that season's chefs cooked meals for a charity in Freedmen's Town that drew on "the Black community in Houston and the story of Juneteenth." Connecting with that history resonated with everyone involved and marked a very special moment for Simmons, as she shared.

Make sure to catch the latest season of "Top Chef" and keep an eye out for Simmons' next projects on her Instagram page.