What does Richard Blais think about the evolution of fine dining?
After working at El Bulli and working at The French Laundry and Daniel, and then coming to Atlanta and starting to run smaller restaurants, I’ve seen it change a lot. I hesitate to say that there isn’t really much of that luxurious fine dining left in Atlanta at all. Bacchanalia maybe, and I think even Bacchanalia has loosened up a little bit. Those restaurants survive in New York City, but the population’s bigger and it’s an international city, but now it’s about young talent. You don’t need pictures on the wall, you just need to cook good food. There are restaurants now that exist without walls. There are pop-up restaurants. Everything has changed. I like it because it fits my personality. I’m a jeans-and-a-T-shirt kind of guy. You can still get the same quality of food, you’re just not getting the luxury. I’d be interested to see if there will be a return to this opulent sort of luxury dining. I think that there might be a brief resurgence soon, based on the economy. But I don’t think it will ever be what it was.