Gail Simmons Jeremy Abrams

How this Iron Chef Canada host met her husband of 11 years

The Stanley Cup brought Gail Simmons and Jeremy Abrams together

Gail Simmons is one of the biggest foodies to come out of Toronto. She was a judge on Top Chef, authored two books, has a monthly column in Food & Wine magazine and is now hosting Iron Chef Canada, which airs Wednesdays at 10 p.m. on Food Network Canada. Two decades ago, she left Toronto to pursue culinary school in New York City, and that’s where she met her husband Jeremy Abrams. Here is their story.

How they met

We’re both Canadian, and when I first moved to New York, we were  both part of this group of expats who all moved here for different reasons. In this big group of friends, everyone had different connections, but Jeremy was in this group because he had gone to Western University with my N.Y.C. roommate and summer camp with my high school friend. At the time, we were both dating other people, but we formed a great friendship and were friends for about one year. Eventually we started looking at each other differently, realized that we were attracted to each other and started dating.

The first date

I was invited to the opening party for a very big, trendy New York restaurant, and I invited Jeremy to come with me. We were about to leave, but the Stanley Cup finals just happened that night, and the New Jersey Devils had won that year. We heard the team was upstairs at the bar celebrating their win, so we went to scope it out. Not only were all the New Jersey Devils there, but the Stanley Cup itself was sitting in the middle of the room. We started talking to all of them, and they poured champagne in the Stanley Cup. They passed it around, and we were all holding it and cheering for them as they drank from the cup. I remember thinking, “I am Canadian and the Stanley Cup is in front of me. I will drink from it!” It is the holy grail of Canada — how could I not? Even to this day, Jeremy and I talk about that night all the time. The Stanley Cup brought us together.

The proposal

It was August of 2007, and I had been filming Top Chef and travelling for Food & Wine magazine. I was in California for a food festival for a week, and when I returned home, I was so exhausted and jet-lagged, I went to bed without even washing my face. I woke up the next morning, and Jeremy was already awake with his eyes wide open, just waiting for me to wake up. He looked at me and started talking, and I was so tired I couldn’t register exactly what he was saying. Somehow through my fog I heard him say, “Will you marry me?” and the ring was under the pillow. I said “Of course!” and started crying, mascara running down my face. There was a knock on the door, and a florist appeared with vases full of beautiful dahlias. They were in season and my favourite flower. There was also a delivery from one of our favourite restaurants. A chef from our neighbourhood sent us brunch with all these dishes that my husband knew I loved. We laid them on the floor and had a huge picnic.

The wedding

We got married on Aug. 17, 2008, at a place called the Foundry in Long Island City, just over the Queensboro Bridge in N.Y.C. It was the perfect August day with the sun shining. We got married outside in a gorgeous landscaped garden, and all the flowers at the wedding were dahlias. It was a beautiful, communal, fun and casual wedding with so many beloved family members and friends. The week after, we spent some time in Montauk, on the east end of Long Island, to decompress. In November, we went on a three-week honeymoon to Vietnam and Japan.

Balancing careers and marriage

It’s hard work, especially with two children in the mix! It’s just about making each other laugh, knowing that we have built a really great life together and finding humour in everything. We are each other’s home no matter where we are in the world, and our family unit is the most important thing. I work and travel a lot and so does my husband. He built a company over the last 12 years, and I am proud of what he’s done. We take every challenge as an adventure.

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