When she’s not eating crazily on the set, the Top Chef star makes healthy dishes at home.

By Gail Simmons
Updated March 29, 2016
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Courtesy of Hyperion

My new book, Talking with My Mouth Full, is about my life as a professional eater: growing up in a food-obsessed family, working for star chef Daniel Boulud, getting a dream job at Food & Wine—all of it leading to my role as a Top Chef judge and Top Chef Just Desserts host. What I don’t reveal in the book is how I balance all of the extreme eating. (Once, during a Willy Wonka–themed challenge, we literally had to chew the scenery.) At home, I prepare healthy meals—my mother-in-law’s chicken-and-barley stew, say, or a rice bowl with lemony tahini sauce. The recipes here are my favorites.

Gail Simmons’s Cooking Tips

More of Gail Simmons’s Favorite Recipes

James Baigrie
This cake couldn't be more traditional: four layers of rum-brushed yellow cake filled and frosted with a light and airy, coconut-scented meringue-buttercream.
PHOTO © JOHN KERNICK
Bar manager Jennifer Zerboni likes to tinker with the classic mint julep during horse-racing season. She used to flavor this julep with a mint granité, but that proved "too sticky and messy." Now she makes the drink with mint simple syrup. It's light and easy, which is just what you want when you're hot and sweaty.