Richard Blais

Richard Blais vividly remembers the first few days as a cheftestant.

on Aug 19, 2009

It’s a wolf pack. And the strong are going to show their teeth before they even put on a jacket. Whether it’s by discussing their pedigree, boasting of their restaurant’s stars, or clearly defining their style in a sentence. It’s game time, way before the first set of challenges.

I wouldn’t be worried about the guy who gets rip roaring drunk on the first night. He won’t have the stamina for the grind. Nor would I be concerned about the two girls who consistently just say they are “happy to be here.” Thats a tail between the legs. The blond who just started cooking dinner for all of us, she has guts and she’ll do well. That guy’s knives are serious. And homeboy at the other bunk just unpacked an ingredient I’ve never heard of. They’ll be here for a bit. Guy deciding what colored scarf to wear tomorrow ... Adios!

The first episode is always hard to blog without recapping. My first swing through this blog was four pages long. But after rewatching the episode, I found it obvious, the body language, comments, and clues that we were shown, that reveal to the viewer who could go far this season.

So, who do you think will be unpacking their knives for a long stay with this season’s wolf pack in the dessert?

Special note: I know all three Atlanta-based contestants well. And Eli Kirshtein on a personal and professional level (he was the best man at my wedding, and my sous-chef for years) .

Keep up with me at or read about my most recent challenge in my column in Creative Loafing, “Knife’s Edge.” Follow me on Twitter @RichardBlais