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Sandy Talk With Richard Blais, Grayson Schmitz

The 'Top Chef Kitchen' crew talk about their storm experience.


It's been a trying couple of weeks for everyone in the path of Hurricane Sandy, and with the flooding in downtown Manhattan during the devastating storm, our very own Top Chef Kitchen took on more than a foot of water, shuttering the venue for about 2 weeks. This past weekend, it opened back up for the first time since the storm with Grayson Schmitz and Richard Blais at the helm, and The Dish caught up with them to talk about their experience.

Richard was in town to run the New York City Marathon and then for his stint at TCK, but then Sandy hit and everyone knows what happened then. "As native New Yorker, Long Islander, it’s been pretty crazy, especially Top Chef Kitchen," Richard told us during our chat. "One of the things I’m asking everyone who shows up for dinner is just how they fared, and it’s varied, you know? People have lost homes and cars and it’s a crazy situation and I personally decided to donate and match my marathon funds to Red Cross last weekend when the storm hit. Everyone’s gotta do their part and everyone should do something to help out because it’s still going on; there’s still thousands and thousands of people without power and homes."

But now that TCK is back in business, what are the two firing up on the line? Read below and click the photo for a gallery of pics!

Richard Blais' Bone Marrow

"I've been cooking up a storm," Schmitz happily bragged, continuing: "So my first course is a persimmon salad, with pear, arugula -- there’s so much on this salad; goat cheese, pickled shallot, candied pistachio, a warm bacon vinaigrette, and I think that’s it… it’s delicious. It’s been really well received, everybody loves it; I do too. And then my second course is a homemade mushroom ravioli -- and I love making pasta, it’s like my shtick -- it’s with fresh ricotta, some toasted walnuts, a little bit of peach balsamic and micro herbs. And then I’m doing a veal cheek with toasted hazelnuts and some potato puree on the bottom.  Then I have a sticky toffee pudding with sour cream whipped cream and nut streusel, and some vanilla ice-cream." Um, yum!

And Mr. Blais?

"Well, I mean my inspiration was, again, as a native New Yorker, I wanted to have some fun with some ingredients and express myself as an artist.  So, “New York City Pigeon” was a joke, but obviously, it didn’t go over very well. I was NOT going to forage and harvest pigeon downtown or anything like that.  But I was going to serve it with bread crumbs and bring out a park bench. (I wasn’t going to bring out a park bench) [laughs]. But I like my food to be somewhat experiential, but that didn’t work, so we’re doing “Long Island Duck” which is obviously a similar taste to pigeon or squab."

Get in on the last week of Top Chef Kitchen -- try scoring a last-minute reservation on TopChefKitchenNYC.com!

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