May 15, 2015 10:00 AM

Parenting has been a fun time for Top Chef judge Gail Simmons.

The 38-year-old mother told PEOPLE at the NBCUniversal Upfront event on Thursday that her daughter Dahlia Rae, 16 months, “rules” her and husband Jeremy Abrams‘ home.

“Everything she says lately is so funny,” Simmons says. “Everything that comes out of her mouth is like half communication. She just absorbs everything — it’s amazing.”

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Her daughter also picks up on her reprimanding.

“She mimics people and makes fun of us,” Simmons shares. “She was trying to climb out of the tub the other day and I kept saying, ‘No, no, no.’ Then she’ll look at me and wag her finger and say, ‘No, no,no!’ But she has a little wink in her eye. She knows it’s funny.”

Simmons is a big fan of her daughter’s sassy side and admits she’s fallen in love with the toddler stage.

“She’s just delicious,” Simmons says of her baby girl. “It’s the most amazing age. I think I say this every time I talk to anyone about every age but I want to freeze her right now because she’s so sweet.”

— Jessica Fecteau

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