Gail Simmons’s Mortal Enemy Is Chef Boyardee

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Photo: Patrick McMullan

Name: Gail Simmons
Age: 33
Neighborhood: Chelsea/West Village
Occupation: "Culinary Media Specialist" is what it says on my O-1 visa (I'm Canadian). Officially: Food & Wine magazine special projects director, judge on Bravo's Top Chef, and Top Chef Masters , host of upcoming Top Chef: Just Desserts.

Who's your favorite New Yorker, living or dead, real or fictional?
It's a toss-up between Cookie Monster and the Beastie Boys.

What's the best meal you've eaten in New York?
Where to begin? It changes daily. But the first time I ate at Honmura An was pretty memorable (R.I.P.).

In one sentence, what do you actually do all day in your job?
I eat, cook, and write and talk about it; often all at the same time.

Would you live here on a $35,000 salary?
Absolutely! I've done it before, and rents were probably higher back then ...

What's the last thing you saw on Broadway?
It was way too long ago: 33 Variations with Jane Fonda and Colin Hanks, very moving.

Do you give money to panhandlers?
On occasion, but I prefer to donate to hunger organizations directly, and as often as I can.

What's your drink?
Lately, a Negroni. Followed by lots of wine.

How often do you prepare your own meals?
When I am not traveling, about two to three times a week, which is a lot considering my job and schedule!

What's your favorite medication?
Ambien.

What's hanging above your sofa?
The most beautiful oil painting on canvas, created by my husband's grandmother's best friend, Gladys Axler. I see something haunting and new every time I look at it.

How much is too much to spend on a haircut?
I guess $150? I only get my hair cut three times a year. I have had the same hairstyle since I was 5, which is to say none at all really ...

When's bedtime?
1 a.m.

Which do you prefer, the old Times Square or the new Times Square?
Because my office is one block away, I have to say the new Times Square. It has moderately better lunch options than its predecessor.

What do you think of Donald Trump?
I think the Donald is the Madonna of real estate. It is incredibly impressive how he keeps reinventing himself. You have to respect that.

What do you hate most about living in New York?
4 p.m. taxi changeover, on a rainy weekday when I am late for a meeting.

Who is your mortal enemy?
Chef Boyardee.

When's the last time you drove a car?
Yesterday. I am working on the West Coast for a few weeks and driving a mint-green Prius rental.

How has the Wall Street crash affected you?
Besides the fact that my banker friends now take much more interest in my job, it has taught me that there is no such thing as absolute certainty.

Times , Post, or Daily News?
Times.

Where do you go to be alone?
Canada.

What makes someone a New Yorker?
The inability to conceive of living anywhere else.