Richard Blais joins the cast of Top Chef season 12 in Boston as a judge, though he’s been a contestant several times in the past. With his history on the show, his experience will surely help him as a judge. Blais was a contestant on the 4th season of the show and was runner-up to Stephanie Izard. Then, in August 2009, Blais appeared on Bravo’s spin off, Top Chef Masters, to assist winner Rick Bayless. The next year, he competed in Top Chef: All-Stars and won. In 2012, Blais was one of the featured chefs on the show Life After Top Chef, which gave us a look into his life as he tries to juggle business and family. In 2014, Blais competed on Top Chef Duels against Marcel Vigneron, winning that battle, and now he’s a judge.
He’s been in each one of the contestant’s shoes, which gives him a whole different perspective, unlike the other judges. Read on for all the info on Blais, his family, and the other projects he has in the works.
1. His Wife Was a Chef As Well
Fortunately, Blais married a woman in the culinary industry, so she understands the dedication and long hours it takes. Jazmin Blais told MarriedToAChef.com:
I was already in the restaurant world when we met. I bartended my way through graduate school and happened to apply at the restaurant where he was the chef. Being a part of it already, I understood the hours and commitment it took to be successful.
When it comes to making their relationship work, Jazmin said communication is huge and trying to find a balance is a struggle that they take on every day. The couple has two daughters together.
2. McDonald’s Was Where He Got Started
Blais is known for making insane burgers and even has a restaurant dedicated to the hamburger. When he appeared on Top Chef Duels, he even used the hamburger as the subject of his challenge against fellow Top Chef cast-off Marcel Vigneron. Blais’ hamburger skills go all the way back to … McDonald’s. That’s right. The amazing Chef Blais started out his culinary career at McDonald’s. Bravo TV writes:
He began his career, as so many young aspiring chefs do, as the “poissonier” at McDonald’s. It was here where he first dabbled in deconstruction in cuisine, serving “filet-o-fish” sandwiches sans top bun.
3. He Owns Several Popular Restaurants
Blais owns several delicious eateries. First, was the establishment of Trail Blais, “a forward-thinking culinary company that has consulted on, designed, and operated some of Atlanta’s most popular eateries including multiple outposts of FLIP Burger Boutique.” He later launched The Spence, a restaurant in Midtown Atlanta, and in early 2014, he opened his first West Coast restaurant, Juniper & Ivy, in San Diego. FLIP Burger Boutique features creative burgers with amazing sides like homemade potato chips with Abita rootbeer onion dip, sweet potato tots with coffee BBQ spice, and vodka-battered onion rings with beer mustard. Some of the delicious options at Juniper & Ivy include sweet potato ravioli with charred pork belly, New York strip with bone marrow bread pudding, and apple tart with bacon streusel and cheddar ice cream.
4. The Hungry Games Is His Newest Venture
The Hungry Games is a new show on the Food Network that premieres on October 20, 2014, with a sneak preview episode on the 19th. Blais is the host on the show and Food Network describes the plot as this:
Throughout the season, Richard will investigate the psychology and science behind our decisions and cravings when it comes to food. He’ll show how expectations play a role in tasting new foods, and how the psychological connection between rooting for your favorite sports team ties into the amount of food you consume during a game. He’ll explore how creative language can stimulate cravings for a slice of pizza, and he’ll discover the X-factor of juicy burgers and the appeal of other greasy, salty foods. Richard also gets to the bottom of why comfort foods are actually so comforting, and why Mom’s cooking always tastes the best.
5. He Hosted Cook Your Ass Off
Blais has been a part of so many TV shows. One of his gigs was as the host of Cook Your Ass Off, which aired on the HLN network. It was a transformational culinary contest that focused on the health struggles with everyday people. Blais has also appeared many times on the Rachael Ray show, plus he appeared several times as a sous chef on Iron Chef America.