In the Bag: Gail Simmons

The Top Chef judge tells us her tips for delicious travel
Tasting Table
Find out what Gail packs

Gail Simmons, of Top Chef and Food & Wine fame, has made an art out of eating on the road.

She has reason: Between her filming schedule, book tours, food festivals and wanderlust, Simmons estimates that she travels about four months of the year.

Her key to keeping her wits? Preparation. "I make Excel charts of what I need to pack for every trip," she admits. "My husband laughed at me at first, but it keeps me sane and so now he appreciates it--I'm nicer to travel with because I don't forget anything I need."

She always makes sure to have snacks on hand for the frequent unanticipated delays. "I'm also known to head out of the airport for a good meal during a layover; if I have more than an hour, I'll risk it and go hunt down a good meal," she says.

Next week, Simmons is heading out to sea on the first-ever Top Chef cruise; she'll be joined by Tom Colicchio and several cast members from past seasons on a four-day trip through the Caribbean.

We asked Simmons for a peek inside her bag (a gorgeous Phillip Lim satchel). See the slide show of her travel essentials here

  • iPad ($500) and the Narita iPad Case by WANT Les Essentiels de la Vie ($350): "I love this beautiful case, made by a Canadian company (I'm from Toronto!), which holds my iPad (to read, watch movies, check email) and all of my travel documents. It keeps me totally organized."

  • Warby Parker Glasses, Zagg in Striped Chestnut ($95): "I hate wearing contacts when I fly, so I always have these handy."

  • Diptyque Philosykos Perfume Oil Roll-On, Fig Scent ($55): "I like to smell good because airplanes often don't."

  • La Prairie, Quiet Fig or Marabou Glace ($40 each): "I always keep lip gloss on hand for moisture, so I don't look like I stepped off a six-hour flight when I stepped off a six-hour flight. This one is not sticky and has the right amount of shimmer. It brings out my girly side."

  • LemLem Samson Wrap ($125): "I am always cold on the plane, no matter the season, so I pack an oversize scarf and wrap it around me like a security blanket."

  • The Good Bean Chickpea Snacks ($19 for 6 bags): "Protein! Salt! Spice!"

  • Theo Chocolate, Partners Bars for Charity in Dark Chocolate or Sea Salt ($5 a bar): "I adore Theo Chocolate. We worked with the company on Top Chef: Seattle and I quickly became addicted. It's a responsible, smart company that makes its chocolate, from bean to bar, in Fremont, Washington. Plus, I believe eating a little dark chocolate every day is very important, especially when it's for such vital causes."

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