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Listen to ‘MUNCHIES: The Podcast’ with ‘Top Chef’ Judge Gail Simmons

On the latest episode of the MUNCHIES Podcast, we talk to Top Chef judge Gail Simmons about her thoughts on the contemporary food world that the reality TV show helped to create.

In our current era of the food-obsessed, it's nearly impossible to walk into a restaurant without overhearing the table beside you discuss the "balance of flavor" in the chef's dish. In a way, we've all become critics, but this is newer than you'd expect.

One of the driving forces behind this national trend is the award-winning reality TV show, Top Chef, which has played a critical role in shaping our contemporary food world, one television set at a time.

When the show's first season launched in 2006, it made a revolutionary effort in TV by placing chefs—who had previously been relegated to anonymity in the back of the kitchen—front and center onto millions of television screens across the United States. And in doing so, it transformed them into pop culture stars, all the while democratizing the national discourse around food to the millions who were watching: educating people about technique, flavor, and what defines a great dish.

In a way, Top Chef and its judges: Tom Colicchio, Padma Lakshmi, and Gail Simmons birthed a generation of food monsters—giving diners across the US the both confidence and a language for describing what it takes to create a quality dish.

So on the latest episode of MUNCHIES: The Podcast, I sat down with Gail to get her perspective on the culinary world that Top Chef helped to create and discussed why experience is key in culinary criticism.

Download the podcast and tell your friends to do the same. And if you haven't done so already, subscribe to MUNCHIES: The Podcast on iTunes and Soundcloud. Our next episode drops in two weeks, so visit MUNCHIES to feast on our delicious content to tide you over.