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Top Chef's Richard Blais Waves Goodbye

Top Chef's Richard Blais Waves Goodbye

I've been rooting for Top Chef's Richard Blais ever since we interviewed him back in March. Of course, I was psyched that Stephanie won, but Richard definitely wowed me this season with his clever and cheeky approach to cooking.

Watching Wednesday's season finale, I was shocked when Richard told the judges he "choked" in the last challenge. Thankfully, I had the honor of interviewing him again yesterday and got to hear all about what was going through his head. To read what he had to say about the finale, his fauxhawk, and his next restaurant,


YumSugar: Was being on Top Chef what you expected?
Richard Blais: I had watched the show, but I’m not as passionate as I’ve found most of Top Chef nation to be. And it’s a tough experience for sure. I don’t think I was prepared for the social aspect of it and living in a house with strangers. To me, it would be really nice at the end of the day to go lay down in a quiet room and think, instead of having to go back and live with a bunch of people under the microscope so to speak. If you’ve never done a reality show, it definitely takes time to get used to.

YS: Were you happy with how you came off on camera?
RB: No. I see myself on the camera in the first episode, and I’m like, Wow, how did I get through casting? I’ve got be the weirdest-looking person. I have friends and family; why did no one tell me about my haircut, that maybe it was a little bit too long?
It was a shock to see that my hair’s that pointy. I got used to it eventually, and I’m sure it took the viewers time to get used to.

YS: Do you regret telling the judges that you choked in the final challenge?
RB: It’s tough to get a gauge on what happens at judges' table just watching the show. There’s a tremendous amount of dialogue that goes into it. I don’t think it was different from how I approached the judges' table throughout the competition. I’m very hard on my craft, and if it’s not perfect, I’m not afraid to admit it. I think using the term “choked” might have been a little rough on my part. But it’s important to represent yourself as being self-aware. That’s all I was doing. I’m not conceding the race or saying, “Hey listen, I suck. Give it to someone else.” I’m letting Tom and the judges know that it’s not the best meal I’ve ever cooked in my life, but I’ll probably never walk away from a meal and say that.

YS: How do you feel about your missteps in the final challenge?
RB:I think it was pretty obvious, for me as a viewer that I didn’t achieve what I’d been achieving throughout the season. Lisa, she overachieved — I don’t think there were many times the judges had so many nice things to say about her — and Stephanie stayed par for the course. I don’t think that anyone really knocked it out of the park. I hope that I don’t sound like I’m being defensive, but it was a lot closer in reality than it looked on TV. Usually at that point in the competition, Tom knows where it’s gonna go, and when we all walked away, he said wasn’t sure.

YS: What's next for you?
RB: The reason I went on the show was not to win $100,000 or to wear a crown that says Top Chef on it. The reason I went on Top Chef was for the personal challenge and to expose myself to people who might want to get behind a creative spirit and who want to back a restaurant driven by that passion. Right now, I'm running a restaurant called Home, and [my consulting company] Trail Blais will be opening a restaurant called Flip that’s a modern hamburger place here in Atlanta, very casual. I think we’ll have the world’s first liquid nitrogen milkshake bar.

YS: Will you have bacon milkshakes?
RB:I think there has to be. We’ll probably have fois gras and bacon and Krispy Kreme donut ice cream.

Photos courtesy of Bravo

Join The Conversation
SugarFreak SugarFreak 9 years
I really like him. Can't wait until he opens up a place! But it will probably be in Atlanta huh?
clickmichelle clickmichelle 9 years
I'm moving to Atlanta in 15 days. The first fine restaurant we'll visit will be Home. I've heard Flip will be in midtown, and my office is in midtown... I see lunch!
caligirl101 caligirl101 9 years
I'm glad that a female won, but I think that Richard was the best chef there.
sfbutterfly24 sfbutterfly24 9 years
I loved Richard and he is so right that Lisa overachieved!!!
theplaiddress theplaiddress 9 years
Wow. Krispy Kreme donut ice cream. If that had been the only phrase to come out of his mouth, I would have rooted for him anyway.
foxie foxie 9 years
Yes, I have a heart, so I guess I should only advertise that fact on Nice rationale! Very forward thinking!
lula29 lula29 9 years
Oh wait! Stephanie won. GREAT!!!!!! I loved her too. I'm glad she did. I was getting pissed off watching the show thinking it was going to go to Lisa I just couldn't wait for the results. Well Thank God for that!
lula29 lula29 9 years
Richard has been a rising star in Atlanta for years. I was so surprised to see him on the show! He's such an amazing talent and can do no wrong in my book. I personally wonder if he and the other girl lost on purpose. Maybe the benefit of wining isn't that great. Just a theory. He's just too talented to me to lose to someone as subpar as Lisa.
shoneyjoe shoneyjoe 9 years
foie doesn't have to be cruel. It often is, but there are an increasing number of producers that use humane methods if you care to look.
Brandi13jrm Brandi13jrm 9 years
Foie gras... if there's an issue with it then yumsugar may not be the right website for you... maybe
luxington luxington 9 years
Mmmm... fois gras ice cream....
bluesarahlou bluesarahlou 9 years
I'm confusing myself...:rotfl:
bluesarahlou bluesarahlou 9 years
Wait, I meant good for him that he was man enough to admit when he didn't perform the best, not "good for him even though he lost" :)
bluesarahlou bluesarahlou 9 years
I think it was very brave of him to admit he didn't perform his best on the final challenge. Not many people would do that. Good for him!
CaterpillarGirl CaterpillarGirl 9 years
congrats to richard on his baby girl Riley maddox
asdaffodil asdaffodil 9 years
I live near Atlanta. I can't wait to visit Richard's new restaurant. I'm glad Stephanie won, but I do love Richard!!
WineUnleashed WineUnleashed 9 years
I would fly to Atlanta just to eat there. I am a huge fan.
aspiuqwer aspiuqwer 9 years
Jake's ice cream in Atlanta has been making a coffee ice cream with Krispy Kreme doughnuts in it for years.
foxie foxie 9 years
Foie gras is so extremely cruel and painful to ducks that it's illegal in some parts of the United States. Blais needs to get a clue.
Xandara Xandara 9 years
I was rooting for Richard!!! You can just SEE his talent. I can't even explain it. I hope someday I can eat in one of his restaurants!
lawchick lawchick 9 years
Thanks for this interview! Richard seems like such a nice guy, and his food concepts are fascinating to me.
mswender mswender 9 years
I guess I am going to have to go to Atlanta now! I love Richard! I think he is an amazing chef and person!
jJuliet jJuliet 9 years
Yes, I need that Krispy Kreme donut ice cream!
Gabriela14815884 Gabriela14815884 9 years
"Krispy Kreme donut ice cream" If he makes that I am SO going there!!! I think Richard really did a great job, even though I am glad Stephanie won - he brought a whole new experience to Top Chef this year, IMO.
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