Richard Blais

Early flights, cooking demos, and restaurant check-ins -- oh my!

on Oct 25, 2012

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.

FRIDAY

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...