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Richard: I'm a Phillip Sympathizer

Top Chef judge, Richard Blais dishes on episode four...

By Richard Blais
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Small team challenges were my most feared challenge as a competitor on Top Chef for a few reasons... The first is simply that you can get stuck with a partner who is unwilling to collaborate or is just a bad fit chemistry wise. Another is that you can get a good partner, but if things don't pan out as expected you're put in the unenviable position of trying to balance the thin line of being a team player while also protecting your interests. It's almost impossible to not Jerome Bettis your partner at Judges' Table (that was an abstract reference to football legend Jerome Bettis forever known as the Bus).

How to Watch

Watch the Top Chef Season 21 premiere on Wednesday, March 20 at 9/8c on Bravo and next day on Peacock.

Let's be clear. No one wants to go home and everybody knows that only one person wins in the end. Nobility is novel and borderline stupid on Top Chef.

A quick side bar on how I really want one of those solar ovens for Christmas. I want to just get a few of those things mounted on a monster truck’s flatbed with a t-shirt cannon on the roof and drive around California with Guy Fieri giving out sun-fired chimichangas and launching "Blaisian" shirts into the crowd. Okay, you’re right. Selling chimichangas...

Blaisian = fan of Richard Blais. I expect to see this hashtagged on Twitter please. ;)

A quick note on Phillip: without putting myself between a rock and a hard place, I liked his idea. Certainly it would have been better if the oyster stayed in its natural shell, err rock... But it's a very artistic and thoughtful attempt. I'm a Phillip sympathizer.

Also, Jose Andres. On the San Andreas fault? Very clever word play magical elves...

The elimination was fun for me. I got paired with Tom who happens to be a pretty good golfer natch, but probably not quite as good as Jose Andres who I'm pretty sure cell-phoned Sergio Garcia before one of his putts.

One behind the scenes thing you didn't see was actually one of the funniest moments I've had this year. Mary Sue Milliken, hot tamale and self-admitted non-golfer, hit her first shot off the tee smack into our still photographer’s groin. Good times, plus I just got to type the word groin...

Four Course Challenge

The chefs seemed to be enjoying the beautiful backdrop which was insane. There were Anza sheep just hanging out in many of the tee boxes! All of the food was beyond appropriate and well prepared especially considering the circumstance. And being my second tasting with them I could start to see a bit of who they are as cooks. Jeremy likes bright flavors, seems to lean towards seafood and cold food prep which makes sense since he is in Miami. Marjorie cooks with the soul of an Italian grandmother with access to a Middle Eastern bazaar’s bounty of herbs and spices. Isaac knows what he knows and knows what he doesn't, which by the way is a tremendous skill and mindset. Phillip is a misunderstood artist. Carl is head down full speed ahead. Chad has an epic playoff beard. Jason is versed in food anthropology and is incredibly cerebral. Let's pause here...

I feel ya Jason. The Top Chef house or resort villa in this case is an oft forgotten piece of our game. It can be everything Jason describes. A machismo and ego infested cesspool. I as well, did not enjoy all of my time in that environment. Other times, I may have wrapped cellophane around a few toilets...

Tonight's judging was not easy. There are challenges like last week’s where it's very easy to pull out a few really bad dishes. Tonight there were no awful dishes. So the process becomes harder. Making the judging even more of a strain is the fact that the two chefs up for elimination combined in effort without any chef truly taking either creative or operational responsibility at Judges' Table. You can tell how long we deliberated because we lost light, which is a big thing production wise.

These may seem like easy things to figure out and all just simple decisions for the sake of a television show. But the truth is, for the chefs competing, it's their whole life and career on the line. And they deserve and get a proper deliberation.

I have to confess, that my personal vote bounced back and forth and I may have even spearheaded the idea of eliminating both chefs...

In the end, it came down to the corn versus the shrimp and which one was conceived and executed the worst. It was by the silk of corn that Grayson got sent packing...

Next week... Mawwaige, that blessed arrangement... And OMG one of my favorite people ever Chrissy Teigen!!!

Like the blog? Let me know on Twitter and Instagram @RichardBlais and snapchat @Richard_Blais.

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