A Week in the Life of Richard
Early flights, cooking demos, and restaurant check-ins -- oh my!
Context -- it's not the easiest thing to grasp when watching a reality television show. A comment here, a look there, and all of a sudden, you are a jerk, or let's say, your wife is a villain... But as you watch Life After, it might help to know even a little more about the storyline, so here's my attempt to give you even more access into my life, in hopes, well, that some of you can lay off my wife a little bit... Ha!
I woke up super early in New York City where I just spent the last few days cooking and talking about innovation and sustainability with the "Plastics Make it Possible" campaign at New York Food & Wine Festival. I shared a "good morning" text with my wife, and then gobbled down a pancake and put up a pic on Instagram (@richardblais). Then, I filmed some shopping at Chelsea Market and on the Highline. After that, I went for a quick 10K run and checked in on my Trail Blais team who were cooking at the Grand Tasting Hall. Immediately from there, I shot over to the Dream Hotel to cook a brunch sponsored by Whole Foods Market with another part of my travel team. I did a few interviews, said "hey" to my buddy Dale Talde across the street, met with my manager, publicist, literary agent, publisher, and took about 200 pictures with supporters! Then, off to the airport. Oh, and I bought a Yankees cap and had a truly horrific airport dining experience as well. I got back to Atlanta well after the kids went to bed, watched an episode of Homeland, with Jazmin, and went to bed.
Riley woke up five times in the middle of the night. And because I'm a light sleeper, I fielded all five times. She was having a nightmare of some sort about dolphins and witches -- who knows. She pooped, I wiped. And I sang her "Take me out to the ball game" five times. The morning was as chaotic as it usually is, with the kids being kids, planting Cheerios mine fields on the kitchen floor, and that sort of thing. Jazmin and I "discussed" the fact that my next flight left Tuesday at 6:30 a.m. for a gig I had in Cincinnati on Wednesday. Someone (read: me) flubbed the flight time as I don't usually fly that early the day prior to an event. She was upset, and rightfully so. Monday was my only possible defined day off this week, so I intentionally shirked all other professional responsibilities except answering emails, texts, and tweets of course.
I'm off to Cincy before the house wakes up. I spent the transit twittering. I brought the DVD of this week's episode of Life After, but my IPad doesn't do the DVDs. I read Magnus Nilsson's book from Faviken, which inspires me to grow a beard. I checked into Cincinnati and go on a glorious 13-mile run into Kentucky and back into Riverfront Park. Aha! I booked the flight in early because I thought the Reds might still be in the playoffs. Last year, I threw out a first pitch at Great American. But they aren't in it anymore, so my run past their stadium is sad. I get back to the hotel and jam out emails and play MLB12: The Show on my Playstation, that I travel with. Yes -- I'm a dork. I bail on a corporate dinner with clients because honestly, I hate those. They are too long and I go mad waiting for the dessert course as my mind starts to go to all the deliverables I have to complete, like this blog. Instead, I eat Chipotle alone, like Fabio did with In-N-Out, Except, not in a parking lot, or anything as sad as that. I try to fall asleep, as the next day, I have an ideation session with a large snack company. I toggle between the politicos talking election stuff and The Yankees' non-productive bats. I text beautiful things to Jazmin, and fall asleep.
I can't disclose much, except that I shipped an ultrasonic homogenizer to my session. it's a 10,000$ blender. Check it out at Polyscience and ask for it for the holidays. We worked out of a kitchen at Jungle Jim's, which is a fascinating place. I demonstrated alongside food science guru Shirley Corriher, who made her famous biscuits. As a chef, these biscuits make the week. They are amazing. Maybe I'll share the recipe soon.... The next eight hours are all brainstorming and cooking. This side of my work is always educational and fun. I leave after eating seven biscuits and hopefully providing the client some food for thought. On the way back to the airport, I meet a superfan who's a barista at Starbucks. We take pictures. I love meeting fans on the road! Kind of hard for that not to feel good. So take this as permission to say hello, unless I'm pushing two strollers or carrying a screaming child or something. Flight gets in just in time to watch Life After with Jazmin at home. In full disclosure, the birthday cake scene was the lowest energy footage we ever shot. I don't remember why exactly, but knew it was awkward and weird. And it was. To clarify, it was a handbag that could also be a backpack. Yes, I know my wife isn't Dora The Explorer, but she is Latina, ha... And, yes, she returned the bagsack...
The gun range was thrilling. I'm all about life experience, and this was a great one. Jazmin really took to it and was, as documented, quite the shot. She was so happy, and it showed on-screen. All I want to do is make her happy. We watched a few moments of WWHL and went to bed while reading tweets and recaps of the show. Jazmin can't stand that!THURSDAY
I took Riley to school. She goes to an amazing co-op pre-school where they garden, and raise chickens, and today, made a good warm applesauce. I took multiple phone calls with my manager, and agent, and publicist, and chefs. And after I picked Riley back up from school, spent the rest of the day at The Spence. Lee Anne Wong and Eli Kirshtein both came in (Top Chef alums), and we cooked and danced the night away. OK -- there was no dancing. I left after the push of service because, see above, I am spending no time with my wife. I get home and we watch Homeland, which we are all into at the moment. I have another flight early a.m. Friday, so it's tough.
I'm out the door early again. Riley's just waking up, so at least I see her awake for 30 seconds. At the airport in Atlanta, the plane I board has a mechanical problem, so 3.5 hours later I'm on a different plane. At least the delay helps me to start this blog. I spend the toggle between writing and sending texts to my different chefs and, of course, Jazmin. I was planning to get to Austin early enough to run a few hours, but the delay has ruined that. I'm grumpy. I'm in Austin for a gala benefit for LiveWtrong. I was asked to design a course and invite some Top Chef friends to participate. I asked Antonia Lofaso, Angelo Sosa, and Paul Qui. I also asked Carla Hall, but she was unavailable. Besides donating the recipes, I'm speaking for a few seconds about the food and also introducing Stephen Marley, reggae royalty. Yes, son of Bob Marley. when I arrive at the gala, I'm a bit surprised. It is a huge event with 2,000 people attending and many A-list celebrities including Sean Penn, Robin Williams, Matthew McCaunaghey, Ben Stiller, and, of course, Lance Armstrong. Antonia was sick and couldn't make it, so I say a few words for her. As I sit through the powerful night, filled with stories of cancer survivors, it strikes me that I need to do much more philanthropically. I'm a little Z-list celebrity, but I can reach many people and I want to make this a priority in my life. I go on stage after Norah Jones and introduce Stephen Marley. I wing it. There was a script, but I'm not much for it. Hopefully it went well! As I'm watching Robin Williams do his thing from about 15 yards away, I wish Jazmin was here. And I also think about how ridiculously lucky I am. First, because I'm healthy and my family is healthy, but also because I'm just a cook, how did I get to sit at this table...?
After the gala, Angelo and myself head back to the hotel, the hotel San Jose BTW. It's adorable. We are both exhausted. Angelo made the commencement speech at the CIA in Hyde Park New York this morning, and he came all the way here to do this with me. I've said before Angelo is a gifted chef, but he also is a guy I can talk to. I don't have to clown around with Angelo, or engage in endless snark and shenanigans like some of my other Top Chef friends. We can have a burger and a beer and just be two dudes hanging out. And we do that. Kind of. I don't drink, but you get the point.
Back at the hotel I'm still wired from the gala so I take a bath, and eat mini bar tortilla chips and canned salsa... in the bath. I try to sleep, but can't. I just sit in bed in a dark room. My eyeballs hurt, which is weird, and I think that I could really use a full day of sleep...SATURDAY
Up early at 5:30 a.m. to run... NOT. I hit snooze -- I'm exhausted. I somehow wrecked my room, so I have to pack frantically and shower, not to be clean, but to wake up. Back at the airport in Austin and I eat two handmade tacos with brisket andcheese. It's 9 a.m., but it's Texas, and I feel it's appropriate. When I get home, all I want to do is hang out with my family and maybe go for a run, but it's a seemingly rare Saturday that I'm in Atlanta. so I'll be at The Spence for service. I'm also meeting Eli Kirshtein from Top Chef to hear him out on a project he wants to collaborate on possibly. My flight gets in at 2 and after briefly hanging with my fam I'm at the restaurant, I take a few pictures and chat with a few diners before I even get to the kitchen. There's some killer new dishes, a rabbit terrine, a pasta dish where the noodles are made with clam water, and a braised "forever" short rib dish. I spend the night ducking between the pass, the dining room, and the sound system where I've dedicated the night (like most Saturday nights) to an underground assortment of 1990s hip-hop. I sneak away after the rush dies down, so I can hopefully, get one or two breaths from my wife if she's awake. But it's late, and I don't.... Maybe next week? But who am I kidding -- it's back on a plane bright and early Monday morning and the cycle begins anew!