Gail Simmons

Photo: Kelsey McNeal

When she's not busy critiquing some of the country's best cuisine on Bravo's Top Chef, food critic Gail Simmons is creating her own tasty creations in the kitchen. Gail says it's important that her food taste good, but she also tries to make it environmentally friendly too.

There are many ways to be eco-conscious in the kitchen, Gail says. She shares three ways to be more earth-friendly when making meals.
Fruits and vegetables

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Eat Locally Grown, Seasonal Food
The most obvious thing to do when trying to be eco-friendly in the kitchen is to eat seasonally. Right now, my fridge is full of products that I can get as locally as possible. I try to shop at the farmer's market near my house as often as I can. When I can't, because that's not always realistic, I just pay attention to where the food is coming from. Usually, you can find out when you're at the supermarket—it usually says on the label or on the display if it's from Argentina, Africa or New Jersey. Eating as locally as you can also will support farmers in your neighborhood, and that always will reduce your carbon footprint.
Woman washing fruit with towel

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Reduce Paper Waste
I make a point—and my husband is really good at helping me with this—of not using paper as much as I can in the kitchen. When I wash my fruits and vegetables, I started drying them with cloth towels because the towels can always go in the wash. Obviously, you're going to use water in your wash, but you're going to do your wash anyway. So we don't have as much waste.

I also use cloth napkins every day—it's not a luxury. Buy eight cloth napkins, use them every day and just wash them instead of using paper napkins. You can buy really inexpensive cloth napkins and use them as towels and for every meal. I find that really cuts down on waste.
Family cooking together

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Make More Than You Need
Recycle as much as you can and make as many leftovers as you can. Use up your food and try to waste as little as possible. It's something I'm really conscious of in the kitchen. I try to make more than I need, that way I have a meal for the next day. That also cuts down on energy in your kitchen. I only need to cook every other day. Ideally, you can cook less but still have home-cooked food. Cook a few things, save things—that will go a long way.