He may be most known for winning Bravo’s Top Chef All-Stars, yet it’s more fun to imagine chef Richard Blais’ daughters eating nitrogen ice cream sundaes and learning how to sous vide their chicken fingers. Among being a wildly successful chef and the mad scientist of the food scene right know, Blais is a family man and resides in San Diego with his wife, two daughters and his newest baby, restaurant Juniper and Ivy.
Aside from his chef’s hat, Blais dons several others through his work as a restaurateur, cookbook author and television personality. When he’s not making life more flavorful and zany, Blais may be found training for his next marathon, making a picnic lunch for his daughters or leaving on a jet plane for his new television series Top Chef Duels, which premieres in August. With all this going on, we couldn’t help but ask him how the heck he keeps his mojo alive and well.
What is a typical workday for you, from start to finish?
I don’t have any days that are typical. I’m usually coming or going somewhere. If I’m more than 5-7 days in one place consecutively, that’s rare. The last three days, I’ve worked and played in three cities. That’s unfortunately, my typical. When I’m on the ground in San Diego, I’m with my kids early AM. Take them to school, camp, etc. Take care of my “officey” stuff while they are out, like responding to a slew of emails. I like to have lunch with my kids, if I can. Also, I try to take on a good trot or blaze through the gym real quick, before heading to the restaurant [Juniper & Ivy]. Being a chef is like being a marathoner, but the more my business grows, the more I have to be capable of running multiple sprints a day, instead.
How do you sustain your energy for that long?
Well… Perspective. It’s not really work, is it? I love cooking, love entertaining and teaching even more, so I never really feel like I’m “clocked” in. Except when I’m flying, which has been year to date 92 segments and over 300k miles this year. That’s getting tough… I’ve spent way, way too many nights sleeping through the time zones. I’ve had more days with red eyes than Bob Costas this year!
Anything edible or drinkable that helps you keep moving?
Hydration is so important, and I’ve struggled keeping it up at times. I don’t feel great about confessing my coffee addiction, or my love of carbonated non-alcoholic beverages, but yeah, those I guess.
What personal practices and exercises do you incorporate into your daily life?
I’m always training for a race. I am going to be running the New York City marathon this year benefitting Grassroot Soccer. I would love some support – you can find out more here. I also need more yoga. My wife is an instructor and I shamefully admit being an almost non-practitioner.
Trail Blaiser Recipe (this is a typical request of mine about halfway through a busy night’s shift)
1 ounce lime juice
4 ounces cucumber soda
3 ounces pineapple juice
A splash of non-alcoholic bitters
This has been presented by our friends at Starbucks.