Richard Blais

Richard Blais admits he's no good at catering-type events. But, he's willing to critique this season's chefs anyway.

on Dec 18, 2008

Fabio, for example is all over the board at this point. He was heading down the creative route. That didn't work for a few challenges, so he ditched it and fell into his Italian comfort zone. That's not working now, so what's next? Jeff really hasn't had the opportunity to get his rhythm at all. What I see in Jeff is a really good chef who just hasn't gotten comfortable with the competition yet. In one of my first executive chef roles I did a dish of potato risotto with clams. It was a riff on one of my favorite comfort foods, clam chowder. It was tasty. I loved it. The guests didn't. They did exactly what Martha did. They expected rice. Sometimes, especially before a chef has become known for a style, it's better to write a menu in an under-promise and over-deliver way.

Try and pick these trends up; it's interesting stuff. Who do you see that's changed their approach to the game?

Also, Stefan and Jamie will always be confident. It doesn't matter what happens. They will go down with their ship, if need be, with the pride of any captain. It's an attitude that comes across a touch rough on the screen, but rings clear as a bell in a professional kitchen.

Ariane wins. She's ready to go to the finals. I know this feeling and I'm sure others can attest. I knew I would be in the finals.

The elimination is a tough one. Three hours sounds like a ton of time to some of you. It's not. An event like this would usually require a cook prepping the night before for a few hours. The next day, two or three chefs would finish the prep and head to the function. Here, it's one chef, a few hundred canapes. Vanilla Ice. Pressure.

I'm, admittedly, not good at these kinds of events. I want to do things that blow people away. I bring toys and gadgets, robots, and storm troopers. I plan labor intensive dishes. Or I used to. Now I just show up with a 600 pound nitrogen tank, and it's a wrap.