Richard Blais has competed on three different iterations of Top Chef, won one, and now serves as a judge on Top Chef Boston. As such, you'd be hard-pressed to find a better-qualified person to give advice on how to compete on the culinary show.
In fact, the award-winning restaurateur has three major tips for anyone looking to become the next winning cheftestant, and as the competition heats up with Season 12, he's finally sharing his secrets of success.
1. Go shopping.
You may not realize it, but a good portion of success on Top Chef depends on a smart selection of groceries. "Chefs aren't usually spending their days shopping. They're ordering from the artisan pig guy, or whatever it is," Richard says. "Go down to your local market and go shopping. Learn the market."
2. Practice makes perfect.
Richard recommends making good use of that kitchen timer. "Set the clock for 20 minutes, [and then] go to someone else's kitchen where you don't know where things are," he advises. "Then you realize that 30 minutes is really 20 minutes and 20 minutes is really 15, and you have to consolidate your ideas."
3. Fortune favors the bold.
Finally, if you've made it on to the show, it's time to think outside of the box. "Be bold and aggressive with your flavors. It's different than running your local cafe," Richard says. "The stereotypical Northern Californian chef, they struggle in food competitions because they have a great peach that falls off a tree and they drizzle some artisanal olive oil on it. Well, you might not have that peach tree in a challenge on the beach, or shopping at a local supermarket, and you might not have that olive oil, so trying to sell that idea is really tough."
Richard recommends cultivating a wide selection in your mental library when it comes to flavor profiles. "You're against some chefs whose natural genre of cuisine is Mexican or Southeastern Asian, so if your specialty is Italian, you can compete, but don't forget the Calabrian chiles and the anchovy. You've got to bring these things to the game," he says.
[Source: The Tennessean]