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Summertime is finally here! And beyond sunshine and pool parties, we have picnics on deck—so who better to consult with than Richard Blais? He’s revealing some tricks to really make your menus pop.
First off, get crunchy and old school. “I’m going to go way back to when I was in high school,” the Top Chef alum says to Bustle. “The first thing I learned, before I was a professional chef, was texture.” His advice? Add some chips into the mix. “Whatever your favorite chip is, just get that texture.”
Surprising advice from the chef who frequently utilizes liquid nitrogen in his recipes? You don’t have to get fancy to make something delicious. “Because I spent some time in the South and I’m opening up a chicken restaurant in Southern California, what’s wrong with leftover chicken?” he says. “Cold fried chicken and a little honey mustard, some white bread—I keep it simple. People think that I’m ultra-creative, but sometimes keeping it simple is best.”
Also—pickle everything! “[Try] onions, just marinated in some vinegar. Or a Banh Mi sandwich—you have a cold cuts and then all these pickled radishes, carrots, and jalapeños,” he says.
And of course, keep it healthy by laying off the mayo—even on popular picnic side dishes. “One of the things I’m doing now—and maybe it’s California that’s done it to me—but I’m doing a version called kale slaw,” he reveals. “You can use a dressing that’s more like ginger and a little soy and olive oil—it doesn’t have to be creamy. You still get the acidity and the funk.”