Sarah Simmons is Food & Wine's Home Cook Superstar, a professional cook and a fresh food advocate. The daughter of a caterer, Simmons spent her childhood in the kitchen, taking every opportunity to cook and learn basic skills. When she won the Food & Wine award in 2010, she set out to pursue a new mission: to develop programs and tools for teaching as many people as possible how to prepare fresh food for themselves and their families.
Meet Sarah Simmons
Location: New York City
Interests: Cooking, eating, laughing, friends, fall Saturdays, long runs, skiing, cashmere.
Background: Retail strategist, Food & Wine magazine's Home Cook Superstar, professional cook.
Why did you curate the Victorinox professional knife set? This cutlery kit is a chef's dream come true! With state-of-the-art knives and tools, tucked away in a sleek attaché case, it's an affordable luxury package that includes everything but the kitchen sink!
Why did you curate Elizabeth W's hostess aprons and what do you love about them? After ruining countless expensive dresses in my kitchen, I decided there had to be a better way to look cute with as little damage to my wardrobe as possible. And so my hunt for a collection of dinner party appropriate aprons began. I wasn't looking for "my mother's apron" but wanted one that looks as fancy with a pair of nice jeans and heels as a cocktail dress. ElizabethW aprons make the perfect outfit for my supper club dinners - they're almost too pretty to wear.
Why did you curate the Domestic Fables Biscuits and what do you love about them? Lior's biscuits are as appealing to the eye as they are to the palate. He uses a combination of his custom spices to create these beautiful and delicious treats that represent personal memories, moments in time, or even day dreams. I love that he captures such personal inspirations in the flavors of the biscuit. I also love that he collaborates with artists who interpret his creation in illustrations and engravings found within the packaging.
Favorite meal: Shrimp and grits. One bite and I'm taken back to my childhood.
Recent purchase: A 10-inch wide Wüstof Classic Chef's Knife. It's as sexy as any pair of Louboutins.
Hidden talent: If I told you it would no longer be a hidden talent...
Book/film recommendation: The Romantic Movement by Alain de Botton.
Restaurant recommendation: Blue Hill at Stone Barns. The food is spectacular and the setting breathtaking.
If I had $20, I'd... : Spend it all on one ingredient at the farmer's market I've never tried. Lug it all home and cook it ten different ways to figure out how to best prepare it.
Transformative travel experience: This summer I was fortunate enough to travel to South Africa for the 2010 FIFA World Cup. It was over two weeks of soccer, food, country drives, wineries, food, safari adventures, more food and life lessons that will stick with me forever. I can't remember going to a country where every person I met wasn't overly welcoming. From the rural farm stand attendants to the agents from South African Airways to the street vendors to the FIFA volunteers at the soccer games, everyone I met was even more gracious than the one before. They were so proud of their country, even though until recently the rules of their country were oppressive to their people. Though I'm sure it exists, I didn't notice anyone hanging onto their oppressive past. They were solely focused on their future. Though I lugged an extra suitcase of food, cookbooks, vuvuzelas, and a layer of winter weight through customs, a renewal of inner-grace and kindness and the lesson of forgetting the past and pressing forward were the two priceless and most memorable gifts I brought home from the South African people.
Favorite neighborhood: The East Village in NYC.
Dream holiday: I would give up my shoes and handbags for an entire summer eating and cooking my way around France. And I've never told anyone but I am dying to take a long trip on the Queen Mary 2.
If I could solve one problem, it would be: The malnutrition issue we face in America is one large problem stemming from two huge challenges. We live in a country where over 49 million people are food deprived and over 72 million are obese. It's a problem that directly impacts 40 percent of the total US population and indirectly impacts all of us on some level. One in four children lives on the brink of hunger and one in three is diabetic due to obesity. These children are our future.
I wish people cared more about: Other people.
Recent big aha!: Realizing that even my best dishes could be even more delicious with the addition of that perfect spice or marmalade or sauce or product I didn't even know existed-leaving me constantly on the hunt for my next favorite thing!
The world would be a better place if: People smiled more often. Or better yet, if people made a greater effort to do things to make others smile more often.