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Richard Blais: It's All About Him

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If I'd never seen Richard Blais before in my life I would have liked his new show just fine. But, it's Richard looking like Poindexter and sounding like the Bravo announcer guy.  I think it will be a good enough series for people who are interested in food and not so much in competitions.  Also I think it's on a good level for kids.

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I caught one episode of Hungry Games (ice cream).  It seemed like an after school special for elementary age kids. Not a bad show, just not for adult foodies.  

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I agree, he's talking to the audience like they are kids. Unless that's how he sees us.

I'm usually ready to pile onto Blaise but let's be fair, it's Food Network and he's reading a script.  I doubt he has much say in it.

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I caught one episode of Hungry Games (ice cream).  It seemed like an after school special for elementary age kids.

 

It did and it also reminded me somehow of Unwrapped with Marc Summers (whom I like).  I enjoyed it though.  I kept wondering why Richard Blais doesn't notice how awful his hair always looks but otherwise I thought he did a good job.  He had a cheerful, upbeat note in his voice throughout which made all the difference.  I felt like he himself was enjoying the show.

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It did and it also reminded me somehow of Unwrapped with Marc Summers (whom I like).  I enjoyed it though.  I kept wondering why Richard Blais doesn't notice how awful his hair always looks but otherwise I thought he did a good job.  He had a cheerful, upbeat note in his voice throughout which made all the difference.  I felt like he himself was enjoying the show.

 

 

He would look better in a more conservative hair style, not because I favor those but his hair does not lend itself to the current styles he is trying.  He is not handsome enough either.  Nothing wrong with his looks, just saying he needs a hair style where the hair itself looks good.  

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I'd like to sue the FN for running his ads so often.  He's driving me to distraction.  Richard is such a dork.  I thought he won Top Chef because of his love of cooking, but maybe it was for a ticket to fame.  He already has enough facial ticks (possibly caused by stress), so I wish he'd just settle down at one of his restaurants of choice, and cook.

 

I don't know about his hair styles.  Maybe braids?

Edited by Lura
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In his defense and all other chefs who strive to work on TV, exposure is what brings people to your restaurants.  Fame whore is often used but I see ambition and a thirst for success.  I would never have known about Craft restaurants had I not seen Tom on TV.  Many of the top chef contestants, who have gotten far, are experiencing success because they are known and people/tourists seek their restaurants.  We feel we know them.  I say go for it!  Pimp yourself to the hilt!  

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On Hungry Games, I noticed he introduces himself as, "Richard Blais, award winning chef".

 

 

He is, why not boast that?  It may bring business to his restaurants.  I will go there!

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I tried to watch Hungry Games but turned it off after ten minutes.  Just could not stand the theme of "Hey,why does pizza taste good?"  followed by attempts to fleece rubes into paying more for mediocre pizza.  Ugggh.

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I do understand why a lot of people don't like Blais (his obsession with 'choking' and 'giving' Stephanie Izzard the win in their season was in very bad taste), but I generally love him. He is the first molecular gastronomy cheftestant - one of the only ones, really - who made food that I not only craved, but believed that he used those techniques in the service of the real priority - to make great food. It also brings out his playful side, which tends to come out less on TC and more in his other tv appearances. (He and Fabio did "The Chew" together and played off each other so perfectly that the hosts, the studio audience and I were all in stitches). 

 

Here I think he's a discerning judge with real empathy for what the chefs are going through and some of his advice at the Food Festival was spot-on.

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It's funny, the first episode of Blais' new show, The Hungry Games (which was actually surprisingly good) was about Ice Cream, and a part of it was about Vanilla. Apparently the theory is that Vanilla Ice Cream is the most popular because it's actually the most complex flavor (even if most people think of it as simple).  There's also a huge part of the episode where he does an experiment where he gives away samples of ice cream in a savory flavor--salmon--that people hate... until he changes the label from ice cream to "salmon spread" and puts it on bread.  Then people LOVE it. It leads into this whole idea that people have a mental dividing line in their mind about how certain things should taste.  Ice Cream should be sweet.  If it doesn't taste sweet, the brain is trained to think it might be poisonous, which is why we're repulsed by it.  The moment it's presented as something that shouldn't be sweet.... our brain no longer is convinced it might be poison, and we're open to liking it.  Although Vanilla isn't sweet per-se, I think the logic with people hating it in savory foods is similar.  You're trained to not believe it belongs there.  The only way a lot of people are going to overcome that is if they weren't raised to believe Vanilla belongs in things like Ice Cream or Cream Soda or Sweet Creamer for your Coffee.

 

EDIT - Adding (since this got moved and the original context for the post is no longer as obvious), this was in relation to how in S12.E02: Boston's Bravest And Finest, the Vanilla in the meat went down so badly with the judges.  

Edited by Kromm
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It's funny, the first episode of Blais' new show, The Hungry Games (which was actually surprisingly good) was about Ice Cream, and a part of it was about Vanilla. Apparently the theory is that Vanilla Ice Cream is the most popular because it's actually the most complex flavor (even if most people think of it as simple).  There's also a huge part of the episode where he does an experiment where he gives away samples of ice cream in a savory flavor--salmon--that people hate... until he changes the label from ice cream to "salmon spread" and puts it on bread.  Then people LOVE it. It leads into this whole idea that people have a mental dividing line in their mind about how certain things should taste.  Ice Cream should be sweet.  If it doesn't taste sweet, the brain is trained to think it might be poisonous, which is why we're repulsed by it.  The moment it's presented as something that shouldn't be sweet.... our brain no longer is convinced it might be poison, and we're open to liking it.  Although Vanilla isn't sweet per-se, I think the logic with people hating it in savory foods is similar.  You're trained to not believe it belongs there.  The only way a lot of people are going to overcome that is if they weren't raised to believe Vanilla belongs in things like Ice Cream or Cream Soda or Sweet Creamer for your Coffee.

 

Interesting. I only caught the tail end of that episode, unfortunately. Regarding the salmon ice cream, wouldn't it be too hard and cold to spread on bread? Otherwise, that bread would be soggy and not at all appetizing.

Edited by turbogirlnyc

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Vanilla is the most popular flavor because it used in sundaes, not because many eat it alone.  This has been a known fact for decades.  

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Interesting. I only caught the tail end of that episode, unfortunately. Regarding the salmon ice cream, wouldn't it be too hard and cold to spread on bread? Otherwise, that bread would be soggy and not at all appetizing.

I'm forgetting. It might have been some kind of cracker instead.

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The salmon ice cream was intended to be eaten alone, just like chocolate or any other flavor.  

But that wasn't the point of Blais' experiment.  It was about how people's perception of the role of a foodstuff affected their reactions.  As a "cold salmon spread" (or whatever he actually called it), then people didn't object to the fishy notes and lack of sweetness.  As Salmon Ice Cream, for most, it tasted wrong because of what he argued was a survival instinct using a combination of taste and expectations to discover something bad for you.

This IS very individual though. I remember the first time I had Olive Oil Ice Cream was in a Mario Batali restaurant.  So I expected to like it.  And so I did.  But I wonder if I'd had it somewhere else, where I didn't have high expectations, if that would have turned me around the other way on what actually probably IS a somewhat bizarre flavor for ice cream. 

Edited by Kromm
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But that wasn't the point of Blais' experiment.  It was about how people's perception of the role of a foodstuff affected their reactions.  As a "cold salmon spread" (or whatever he actually called it), then people didn't object to the fishy notes and lack of sweetness.  As Salmon Ice Cream, for most, it tasted wrong because of what he argued was a survival instinct using a combination of taste and expectations to discover something bad for you.

This IS very individual though. I remember the first time I had Olive Oil Ice Cream was in a Mario Batali restaurant.  So I expected to like it.  And so I did.  But I wonder if I'd had it somewhere else, where I didn't have high expectations, if that would have turned me around the other way on what actually probably IS a somewhat bizarre flavor for ice cream. 

 

Oh riiiiiiiiiight.  I forgot.  I watched and thankfully dumped the details.  

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I was extremely disappointed to see that Richard Blais would be a judge on this competition.  He seems to have gotten his agent working overtime because he's popping up all over the place on the FN and on Bravo.

 

Richard was never one of my favorites on "Top Chef," but I didn't dislike him.  There were merely others I liked more.  This go-around, though, is showing either a new side of Richard or a side he didn't show on "Top Chef."  He seems hell driven to talk about his own accomplishments.  At times, he talks down to the contestants in irritating ways.  For instance, his reply to Keriann's food about molecular something or other was just plain haughty in my book.  He treated his wife with the same disregard on Top Chefs: Where Are They Now?

 

I don't like this new Richard AT ALL.  I think he badly needs a lesson in humility.  Like Wolfgang Puck, he wants fame too badly and  seems to care more about himself than his audience.  He's amassing restaurants like Emeril.  One of these days, he may stop long enough to see his children in young adulthood and gasp, "When did you grow up?"  He's missing some important things in life.

Edited by Lura
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I'm glad Richard is not a full time judge. He was annoying during the eating so I did not miss him at judge's table.

Did one of the guests say he doesn't like pretzels? Who doesn't like pretzels?!? I can't think of a much more innocuous food.

They need to stop trying to make Richard happen. He is such an asshat that he is singlehandedly ruining this season for me. And with him onboard we know no woman stands a chance of winning this season.

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They need to stop trying to make Richard happen. He is such an asshat that he is singlehandedly ruining this season for me. And with him onboard we know no woman stands a chance of winning this season.

Your second statement is an opinion, so I can't really argue with that (though I don't know how he's an asshat), but how on earth do you get that he's 1) sexist 2) somehow holds enough power to swing the competition the way of his sexist whims.

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Your second statement is an opinion, so I can't really argue with that (though I don't know how he's an asshat), but how on earth do you get that he's 1) sexist 2) somehow holds enough power to swing the competition the way of his sexist whims.

Worst case he only holds 25% of the vote, so I doubt he could singlehanded do anything.

 

I certainly recall him being an ass, but I'm trying to remember if he was MORE of an ass to female chefs than he was to any other kind of chef. 

 

Whatever he once was, I think he's projecting a very different (if occasionally still annoying) energy these days. That doesn't necessarily make him a better judge, or that if he's some kind of monster misogynist that it won't shine through, but I personally found his Hungry Games show fairly watchable.  As a Top Chef judge so far?  I don't suppose he's any worse than Padma, but that's not a high recommendation.

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As far as I remember, he hasn't shown any signs of behaving differently to women or men. He obviously didn't like Lisa from S4, but I think that was more a Lisa thing than a women thing.

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I don't really care about Blaise as a judge, but his hair is creeping me out. It's awefulness makes it impossible for me to take anything he says seriously. It makes him look like he's trying too hard to be cool/edgy/famous.

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His hair gets exponentially worse as time passes. The fauxhawk was weird, but at least that's a hair style. Right now it looks like he ran out of time trying to slick his hair back.

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Let's send the boy a case of shampoo with a nicely worded note that he start using it and lay off the mousse or gel. Unless he wants to do a DA and then I might be interested in seeing that.

 

For those who are too young to know what a DA is...think James Dean or Elvis.

 

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A Duck's Ass, yes!   LOL  The idea staggers the imagination!  Still, I'm getting out my curling iron.  I think he'd be awfully cute with a Shirley Temple.

 

Richard is a Dick.

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Let's send the boy a case of shampoo with a nicely worded note that he start using it and lay off the mousse or gel.

 

Exactly.  It's not the style so much that bothers me, it's the fact that you can see comb tracks which makes me wonder if he found an old stash of Brylcreem somewhere.  Tonight on his new show, he combined the hair with stubble and ended up looking like a refugee from a homeless shelter being all perky - a shame really because he's doing a nice job with the show.

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Richard has no way to go, as a judge, other than being the "pompous" one.  He is not well liked so best to work it.  In time viewers may come around.  Many didn't like Hugh when he first came on the scene and I was one of them. Now he is one of my favorites.  

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I was hoping he'd take the mentor role as a judge. He's been in their shoes, etc. But even when he tries to verbalize something like that, it comes out as if he's bragging and not being helpful.

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Oh, I know that too, but I meant in the tone he uses. He could slip in a phrase now and then, "I know how hard it is to do XYZ, but why didn't you try ABC?" sort of thing. Tom has done that in the past and it sounds so much nicer than "You're not a chef because you don't know how to do this" type of comment.

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You have a point.  And, yes, I see Tom help them in that way often.  He has an edge when he says it but the wisdom and caring behind it comes through.  He has earned respect and Richard is too green to have enough under his belt to speak with that kind of authority. 

Edited by wings707

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Richard has the unique perspective of being the only judge who was a contestant on the show. Twice.  He could use that experience in his judging process in a fair way, in an insightful way, but whether it's him or editing, he just comes off as trying too hard and being a jerk. He comes across so inauthentic, like he wrote down pithy critiques ahead of time and takes them out one at a time when he feels they fit the situation.

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Richard has the unique perspective of being the only judge who was a contestant on the show. Twice.  He could use that experience in his judging process in a fair way, in an insightful way, but whether it's him or editing, he just comes off as trying too hard and being a jerk. He comes across so inauthentic, like he wrote down pithy critiques ahead of time and takes them out one at a time when he feels they fit the situation.

 

 

I see that, too.  It isn't editing; it is his personality.  I do not dislike him.  I barely notice him but go back when people post about him here.  

Edited by wings707

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Richard has the unique perspective of being the only judge who was a contestant on the show. Twice.  He could use that experience in his judging process in a fair way, in an insightful way, but whether it's him or editing, he just comes off as trying too hard and being a jerk. He comes across so inauthentic, like he wrote down pithy critiques ahead of time and takes them out one at a time when he feels they fit the situation.

 

One of the things I loved about Harold in his season was that he seemed to be sincerely disgusted by Stephen Asprinio's abusive brand of snobbery, because (he said) as chefs it's part of the job to teach staff how to do things the way you want them done. That's really hard to do when your staff doesn't want to admit what they don't know because they're afraid you're going to humiliate them publicly.

Edited by Julia
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I like Tom, but I don't understand him.  I wish that I could ask him which he's more interested in:  Having Richard Blais insulting the contestants (and thereby the audience), or inviting someone as a judge who is much more liked by the audience.  There is no doubt in my mind that Richard is knowledgeable and somewhat experienced, but for as long as his personality remains the same (boasting), I doubt that the viewers will be very happy.

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There are people who like him, probably more people than that who dislike him, and a whole lot of people who don't care about him one way or the other.  I'm in the second group, but I don't think there's any real risk to the producers in having him on the show.   

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While he's an inspiring, talented chef, I mute the show whenever Blais talks. It was so nice to have an episode without him (especially with the dreamboat Hugh! If only they had Hugh and Gail on the same panel. I would eat lots of ice cream and stare at the screen with my best Stephanie Cmar expression.)

Somebody put it so nicely: whenever Blais talks, it's about him. "had a salmon moment once." "This is one of my least favourite techniques."

He's not really giving away any information. (Why is it one of our least favourite techniques?) 
The other judges really cut to the chase: "This wasn't good." "I really liked his dish." And then go to the technical stuff: "The meat was seasoned perfectly." etc. 
Blais goes "Oh and a motorbike racing something something. . ."

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You know Richard and how innovative he has to be.  The next time someone marvels over one of his dishes and he looks like the cat who swallowed the fish, we'll know that Fancy Feast has become Richard's latest secret ingredient.  And doggone him, he'll probably start a trend!

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I like Tom, but I don't understand him.  I wish that I could ask him which he's more interested in:  Having Richard Blais insulting the contestants (and thereby the audience), or inviting someone as a judge who is much more liked by the audience.  There is no doubt in my mind that Richard is knowledgeable and somewhat experienced, but for as long as his personality remains the same (boasting), I doubt that the viewers will be very happy.

 

 

I love Tom and have the utmost respect for him.  He is interested in quality food and running his 12+ restaurants.  He doesn't care about other judges behavior nor should he.  Each judge gives their perspective and that is valuable to the cheftants.  They can take the advice or dismiss it.   

 

He pays little, if any, attention to feedback on social media because it is primarily negative.  Bourdain, Toby, Huge and many others have made cutting remarks about their food over the years.  I don't see this as a big deal.  

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Tom may not pay attention to social media, but his brother does. I'm friends with someone who is friends with his brother, and he is a pit bull if anyone says anything bad about Tom.

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For the record, I love Tom Colicchio!  I think he's a dedicated, talented, intelligent man who stands up for what he believes in.  I could go on and on about him.  On Twitter, he's been nice enough to reply to several questions I've had.  I don't care for Richard Blais, and if Tom disagrees, that's his right.  I surely hope that disagreeing with his decision on Richard is not a condemnation of everything Tom does.  He's a good man.

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I just finished watching Season 8, the first all stars run, and I was surprised that Richard came off as a decent human being especially being compared to Mike Isabella.

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