Top Chef judge and food celeb to help student entrepreneurs shape beneficial food enterprises
Babson College has named Food & Wine Special Projects Director and Top Chef Judge Gail Simmons – accomplished culinary expert, food writer, and dynamic TV personality – entrepreneur-in-residence.
Her appointment is co-sponsored by Babson’s Center for Women’s Entrepreneurial Leadership (CWEL), which provides opportunities for women to act entrepreneurially, transform their aspirations into reality, and create social and economic value for themselves and others; and the Lewis Institute for Social Innovation at Babson College, where entrepreneurs obtain the resources they need to build new businesses based on sound social, environmental, and financial values.
Simmons will work directly with CWEL and the Lewis Institute to mentor and guide Babson entrepreneurs, especially in designing strategic marketing and communications approaches to their enterprises.
“As an inspirational food communications entrepreneur, Gail Simmons will share her rich and diverse experiences with students and help them shape ventures that will impact and add value to the world,” said CWEL Director Susan Duffy.
Simmons is an active supporter of Common Threads, an organization that teaches low-income children to cook wholesome and affordable meals. She was a founding member of Food & Wine’s Grow for Good Campaign to raise funds and awareness for sustainable agriculture programs in the United States. She also sits on the boards of City Harvest, Hot Bread Kitchen, the Institute of Culinary Education’s Alumni Committee, and the Women at NBCU Advisory Board.
“Gail Simmons will be a tremendous resource for our students and faculty interested in virtually any aspect of food,” said Cheryl Kiser, executive director of the Lewis Institute for Social Innovation at Babson College. “She can bring opportunities to student entrepreneurs, offer the latest insights and thinking on food issues, and provide a wealth of knowledge to get people ready to develop food-related initiatives.”
About Gail Simmons
Gail Simmons is a trained culinary expert, food writer, and dynamic television personality. Since the show’s inception in 2006, she has lent her extensive expertise as a permanent judge on BRAVO’s Emmy-winning series Top Chef. Now in its tenth successful season, Top Chef is rated the #1 food show on cable television. Gail is also host of Top Chef: Just Desserts, Bravo’s pastry-focused spin-off of the Top Chef franchise, which aired its second season in the fall of 2011.
Gail joined Food & Wine in 2004 and directs special projects for the magazine, acting as liaison between the marketing and editorial teams on magazine events and chef-related initiatives, working closely with the country’s top culinary talent. During her tenure, she has been responsible for overseeing the annual Food & Wine Classic in Aspen, America’s premier culinary event. Prior to joining Food & Wine, Gail was the special events manager for Chef Daniel Boulud’s restaurant empire.
Born and raised in Toronto, Canada, Gail moved to New York City in 1999 to attend culinary school at what is now the Institute of Culinary Education. She then trained in the kitchens of legendary Le Cirque 2000 and groundbreaking Vong restaurants, and worked for esteemed food critic Jeffrey Steingarten at Vogue. Throughout her career, Gail has contributed to several cookbooks, including It Must’ve Been Something I Ate by Steingarten, Chef Daniel Boulud: Cooking in New York City and The New American Chef, by Andrew Dornenburg and Karen Page. Gail’s first book, her very own memoir titled Talking With My Mouth Full, was published by Hyperion in February 2012.
In addition to her work on Top Chef, Gail makes frequent television appearances on TODAY on NBC, ABC’s Good Morning America, and Fox & Friends, among others. She has been featured in such publications as New York magazine, Travel + Leisure, GQ, People, TV Guide, US Weekly, Entertainment Weekly, Los Angeles Times, and was named the #1 Reality TV Judge in America by The New York Post. She also appears at the nation’s foremost culinary festivals, including the South Beach Wine & Food Festival, New York City Wine & Food Festival and many more. Gail can be seen in the online video series The Pantry Project on www.kitchendaily.com, where she teaches viewers new ways to cook with the staples, both familiar and unusual, in their kitchens.