Blais-ing Saddle

Dale Levitski explains his love-hate relationship with Richard Blais.

Blais, I have a bone to pick with you ….
I loved this episode.
For the first time we were given a chance to see that this season can really COOK!
I will even go out on a limb and say that as a whole the group MIGHT be better than Season 3.
I was SO relieved to see what everyone did. With two exceptions … this dinner looked awesome.
But as a blogger now I feel the need to take one thing and run with it.
I hate you.
I love you.
I am going to take a different route. I am going to eat shit and take back what I said about the guys last week.
Except ….
I want to tell you all a story. Richard, I hope you are reading ….
The “dream job” I had was as the executive chef at Trio ... then it closed and that crushed my will to live, let alone cook.
Trio was a national kegend. Rick Tramonto. Gale Gand. Shawn McClain. Grant Achatz. Then ... Dale Levitski. Every chef before me on that list has won the Beard award. We all were chefs at Trio; we all have won awards over and over.
I was recruited by Henry Adaniya, “the star maker” to head the Trio kitchen after Grant “Uber Chef!” left to open Alinea.
It was a suicide mission.
Paul Kahan told me not to do it.
But I did, and kicked ass ….
But when I was at the top of my game … well … Game Over ... we closed ….
What I am getting at is: There are lessons in understanding your own potential.
Tonight I hoped you learned a vital one.
I staged at Trio under Grant for a few days before the flip of my reign ….
And what I saw changed my life.
It was a beef dish.
I stood next to a pole in the kitchen and watched in awe as an army of cooks (most of which I can now call friends) executed a miracle.
20 components on one plate that was nothing short of a symphony.
Beef three ways, ingredients that blew your mind, but made the most basic sense.
In an understatement as a chef: humbling.
One thing stuck out for me. (This was 4 years ago ....) The smoke.
Smoked beef tounge, presented as pristine as could be under a smoke-filled glass. Unveiled by the server at the table.
Unleashing an epiphany for the diner and any witness alike.
What you, Richard, have ATTEMPTED to do, hack a presentation, TWICE!, was bastardize and mock a moving moment for me as a chef.
I understand the drive you have.
The Need you have.
The Skill you have.
The Love you have.
Did you really Think for a MOMENT that filling a Sysco-wrapped plate full of gadget-filled smoke would prove to the world that you are a good chef?
That it would impress?
That ANY diner would say, ”When I peeled the PLASTIC WRAP off my plate I was blown away?!"
You have done it Twice!!!!!!!!!
F*** you, Chef.
I have seen this presentation done to perfection. The only person you are fooling is yourself.
I CHEERED when your “tool” broke, as I watched the panic of your team ….
Serves you right for shitting on MY epiphany ….
The fact that you won should be YOUR epiphany ....
You don’t need the gimmick ….
There is no need to jerk yourself off with gadgets ….
You won.
You deserved it. For the most part …
I hope you learned your lesson.
You are good.
Cut the crap.
Love, Dale. P.S. The hair I will take as a “compliment?” … but also a hack job …. P.P.S!!! On a different note! Sara N. and I have moved in together. She is snoring loudly next to me as I write this. She arrived from NYC a couple days ago and took a cab from the airport to our kitchen design meeting for Town & Country, my new project. Look out -- it f***in' rocks!

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