She has the perfect answer to the debate of whether parents should bring their kids to restaurants or not.
Is it okay to bring children to restaurants? Well, it is a long-standing debate that doesn't have the right resolution. However, "Top Chef" judge, culinary expert and a mom of two, Gail Simmons, possibly knows the answer to this question. The 47-year-old cookbook author believes it is a "tricky thing," per Yahoo! Life. "I want to eat out with my children. I want to civilize the feral animals that are my children and teach them manners and also how to interact with the world and socialize," she said.
Simmons feels that her kids should understand "how to interact in a restaurant and out in the world and bringing them out to eat helps model their behavior." Simmons and her husband, Jeremy Abrams, share a daughter Dahlia, 10 and a son Kole, 5. The pair often take their kids to eat out at restaurants and they know that certain compromises are involved in this situation. "We try to do it in a way that doesn't disrupt other diners," Simmons said. "We eat early with them. We bring games. We don't bring screens and sometimes that is hugely challenging."
"The anxiety that I'm provoking in myself from my children's behavior because they are, like, being total monsters, is horrendous. But I also just try to ingratiate myself if I'm in those situations," the celebrity cookbook author continues. Moreover, she added that while in the restaurant, one should "be nice to everyone." People should minimize the requests and ordering issues for their children. Also, choose places that make one's children more comfortable, which will make them feel more relaxed. She further added, "I don't bring my children when I eat out at fancy tasting menus—which I actually don't even do that often anymore—but I also do bring them out in the world for sure and I believe that parents have a right to eat well, too."
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Simmons has previously chatted with "Top Chef's" former host Padma Lakshmi on the "best and hardest part of the job," managing kids at a restaurant. However, it's not just limited to bringing kids to the restaurants but also to the filming sets before the school starts. Simmons had to carefully calculate and juggle back and forth between traveling to film the culinary show and as well as handle her kids. "Every season is a different challenge from a parental standpoint," Simmons admitted.
"Every season becomes a bit of a jigsaw puzzle of how and if and when and where the children will come into play. When Padma's daughter Krishna and my Dalia were babies, it was simple. You literally just throw 'em on your back and bring 'em with you for the whole time. We would take breaks on set when I needed to breastfeed," says Simmons, adding that production also built a nursery for her baby when she was 3 months old.
She is glad that "Top Chef" is mostly run by women. Simmons appreciates the supportive environment on sets, which has helped create a culture where women or parents in general can thrive. "The topic of maternity and paternity leave and health care and normalizing what it takes to be a parent and make a living in our industry are very transparent on our set," she adds. Meanwhile, the hit culinary show is currently on a break from shooting its upcoming Wisconsin-based Season 21, its first since host Padma Lakshmi left.