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Richard Blais on The Spence and New Plans For TV

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Continuing Eater Lounge coverage from the Cayman Cookout in Grand Cayman. Top Chef All-Stars winner and Atlanta chef Richard Blais.


So what are you up to at the Cayman Cookout?
I have two dinners, a demo, and I have an MC thing. I'm the new guy so they're putting me to work. Can't complain. Sunshine. It's snowing in Atlanta today. 26 degrees.

What's up with your new restaurant, The Spence? The opening got pushed back to the Spring?
Well you know how these things work. It's building a restuarant there's no specific strategy. Looking at the first week of April. Round about 100 or so seats. It's not gigantic, not a megarestaurant. I like the word eatery. It's a place where people can eat. That's so basic, but that's what it's about. More of a brasserie.

So no tasting menus?
I don't think so. I think people are expecting this molecular gastronomy tasting palace. I don't want it to be. There might be elements but I really just want people to eat good food.

And the type of cuisine?>
It's going to be American. Brasserie describes the restaurant but it's going to be American. Like the Salisbury Steak I made on Jimmy Fallon. You know, food you wanna eat. I'm over the precious swooshes of sauce on a plate. I want to be a place where people can eat good food. I'm gonna sound like a donkey saying that, but it's true.

And your upcoming cookbook?
The book is going to be published next Spring, they're doing the photos right now. All last week in the studio space. It's my first cookbook, and I've learned a lot about how it happens. I wanted to be there for the photos of my food. I've been looking through a lot of cookbooks lately, and I'm like, wow that guy never showed up for that stuff, great chef but never showed up.

It's a book for the creative home cook. So many people have sous vide equipment in their houses now, not just professional chefs. It's stuff you can do at home. It's bits of pieces of the last five restaurants I've done. It's neat to look at food from that time.

So like a memoir of sorts?
Well not the text, but the recipes are. You can see it in the food like yeah that's totally dated. That was 2006.

Yeah foam. Foam's almost retro now! There are also a lot of recipes. Like for hair gel. Foie-haux. As opposed to faux. So a little rendered duck fat, liquid nitrogen. Or go flavored! A little peanut butter, a little ras el hanout. Recipes for how to clean your copper pot, not just food.

How's Atlanta?
Well I think it's snowing right now, so what a jerk look at Richard Blais at Cayman! But it's an amazing culinary city, I don't think it gets enough props. Did I just use the word props? I did. There are a bunch of young, independent chefs opening up smaller stuff to do their own thing. I love Bachanallia, classic fine dining. I've got my head kind of buried in projects but it's a fun city.

Any plans for TV?
We're doing something for Cooking Channel. We're hopefully doing a series. It's a special episode airing in the next few months. I want it to inspire people, so we're going to the source and taking it back to the kitchen and messing around with it. It's not how Skittles are made, not that type of show.

If we're going to feature chicken, I'm going to the best known chicken place. But it's fun. I talked to Tony Bourdain yesterday and he said, "You know what's not easy? Walking and talking on camera." I think I am gonna fall all over. Tony Bourdain, man I'm a fan boy. I was at dinner last night for four hours sitting next to Tony, and I thought he's gonna say something that would make me lose my fan boy for him, but no! After four hours, still a fan boy.

· All Richard Blais Coverage on Eater [-E-]
· All Cayman 2012 Coverage on Eater [-E-]

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