Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Blais on Ice

Top chef tour

So in a few days I head out to Phoenix for my second stop on the top chef tour. The tour brings top chef contestants from different seasons together for a day of demonstrations on a 48 foot bus equipped with a kitchen of course.

My first stop was Columbus Ohio, where I teamed up with Hung from season 3. And although I was a bit apprehensive of the tour in the beginning ( feeling like it had a bit of muppets on ice aspect to it ) now I’m pretty damn excited about it. See I’m a pretty big college football fan, and I like traveling in general, so visiting Columbus, a city I’ve never been to, and a college football Mecca, was pretty special. Unfortunately, I only glimpsed the Horseshoe as we flew over it on my why back to Atlanta.

I loved Columbus for a few reasons besides the football tradition. It was a really clean city, and when I checked in I immediately went for a run down what I think was actually “Main Street”. The air was fresh, that sounds silly maybe, but it just had a kind of happy quality to the place.

And the people were just amazing. A ton of fans showed up, waving banners, and cheering, and well, if you’re not a rock star, and I’m not, this was a small taste of what it must feel like. It’s pretty damn cool for sure.

Hung was a trip, we have met before, when out of no where he and Casey ( season 3) showed up in my restaurant, but we didn’t get a chance to hang out that night. I remember Hung got a lot of junk for being a jerk during his season, but his personality is pretty common in a professional kitchen. He’s just a confident guy, for good reason , and I’m glad I got a chance to work with him. I really think he’ll be someone I’ll stay in touch with. Hung, a few days later in NYC, returned volley on the meal I prepared for him in ATL, and it was excellent.

So, next on the tour is Phoenix, Arizona. Another place I’ve never been and another chef to work with that I don’t know much about. I’ll be working with Betty Fraser ( season 2) and I’ll be bringing some very cold ingredients to combat the desert heat!


Ray said...

Hi Richard,

I was at the Top Chef tour in Phoenix, and you did an awesome job hosting. I'm a big fan of the Ras El Hanout lamb you made as well as the watermelon salad. Any chance you can post a recipe for that?


-Ray Huang

John said...

Thanks again for coming to C-Bus, we don't get much attention around these parts. (Hence the rock star reception!) It was great meeting you guys.

Columbus is probably like Atlanta in that our food scene isn't nearly as creative as it should be given the size. We have a few people on the cutting edge (Rosendale's and Jeni's Splendid Ice Cream come to mind). But then we also have the unending march of overpriced steak & seafood places :-\ To really get a WOW experience here one must dive into the world of poorly-advertised mom-and-pop ethnic cuisine, and there you'll find myriad restaurants serving Thai, Indian, and even Ethiopian.