Who has inspired Richard Blais?
Thomas Keller, Daniel Boulud, being the two big-boy chefs that I’ve worked for and taught me things that I probably didn’t even know where they came from. Not just recipes and how to cook, but Daniel is an amazing manager and personality. Chef Keller is just so organized. He’s taught me how to arrange my life. Those are two chefs that I’ve worked for who have definitely influenced me.
I think both my grandmothers sort of gave me a good balance. I had one French grandmother who was basically Julia Child. She would do everything from scratch — chicken stock, Jell-O, but make it fresh, not out of a packet. When I was a kid, I couldn’t stand it. It really freaked me out because it wasn’t clear. Once I learned how to cook, [I realized] she was a chef. And then my Irish-English grandmother would just boil potatoes, crush them with a fork and put butter and salt on them — she was sort of the other end of the spectrum, just absolute simplicity, and just simple flavors done well. Both of them, without me knowing, certainly influenced my cooking and the way I present food and think about food for sure.