Blais-y Eights: Reasons We Can't Root For Richard Blais

Categories: Complaint Desk

This probably won't be a very popular sentiment in the Top Chef blogosphere, but we aren't exactly all aboard the Richard Blais bandwagon. Sure, Blais is a true Jedi in the kitchen, and he has an affable personality that shines through both on his happier Top Chef days and his thoroughly entertaining culinary science show, Blais Off.

Competition mode Richard Blais, however, comes off as awfully petulant and crazy neurotic. After all, if Angelo's hubris and bizarre "fashion" sense are open to critique, and Marcel's foams and overall jackass-ness are fair territory for lambasting, is it not only fair that we point out some cracks in the Blais veneer?

1. The Smirk

KY: It covers a universal range of his emotions. Is he confused? Is he disappointed? Is he incredulous? All of the above.

MM: I addressed his crazy sad judges panel face very briefly last week, but yes. NUMBER ONE on the list. Number effing one. To quote Dazed and Confused, "Wipe that face off your head," Blais. It's creepy. It's tragic. And it makes me irritated that he can't take a freakin' compliment when it's given because he's so stupidly stressed out about losing. HE'S GOT HIS OWN FUCKING TV SHOW! This show is a bonus, Hoss, loosen up.

2. Pet Status

KY: And he stressed his poor wife out too! Dude, she's carrying your child. She doesn't need your neuroses right now. It's made even worse because every single week, his neurosis is rewarded. He's like the judge's pet. I think they even joke about him being the "teacher's pet" on the Top Chef website.

MM: I'm over the chef's pet BS. He's established that he's good. He's also established that his personal life can either jack him up or inspire him. It's human nature. Just because he's the mad scientist doesn't make everything he prepares exciting and adventurous, or forgive little mistakes that would get other people axed. Frankly, I wonder if they're just scared he'll make the creepy sad face and they aim to pacify.

3. Enough With the Liquid Nitrogen

KY: Even on a ferry with no liquid nitrogen tanks in sight, he busts out
the freeze-dried food. Oh, the humanity.

MM: Man, I loved how he outsmarted that vending machine in Real Genius (just kidding, though Blais does have some Val Kilmer hair going on), but the novelty is wearing off. It's like Marcel and all the foams, except people told Marcel they were sick of foam and to stop doing it (see also: Jamie's scallops). Why is no one but us tired of the liquid nitrogen shtick?

4. Framing Him for the Win

KY: Are we the only ones who notice that? Maybe the judges feel bad for when he choked his original season, but this season, some of his dishes, i.e. the deconstructed hot dog, looked downright unappetizing. The judges, however, reacted like it was something out of the Per Se kitchen.

With the elimination of Dale and Angelo, it feels like they've cleared the path for his "rightful" coronation. It's a shame. The show started off with so much prospective excitement. It's like the Oscars, now. Predictable. Our best hope for any action is a possible Carla-upset.

MM: I agree that it seems as if the path was completely cleared as if to redeem him from his nervous-dad-to-be breakdown in his original final. But we still have the Black Hammer of Antonia, and the love food of Carla to freeze him out if he stumbles. (Get it? Liquid nitrogen reference, thanks.) Of course, there is the creepy sad face and that could scare them all off. Fortunately, if there is to be a Blais coronation, he already has a hair crown.

KY: Ha. Hair crown.

5. He Looks Better Than Before?! That's Not Fair! (Officially a joke.)

MM:I do like his hair better than the old fauxhawk, for sure. Now, I'm not aiming to be superficial here, but with regard to cheffery, tasting, eating, etc, he's one of the few older (meaning from seasons further back) contestants who got fit since we'd seen them last. It makes me wonder if he eats his own food anymore, since he runs a burger joint?

KY: It's the liquid nitrogen diet.

6. Sore Losing

MM: And, speaking of losing, he's a terrible loser. Terrible loser. Terrible loser. I don't know which is worse, that he's such a terrible, bitter loser ("She won with sliced oranges?!" [exasperated face] Yes, because it tasted better than your hot dog sandwich.) or that he is such a sheepish, untrusting winner.

KY: If Richard loses, he's like, "Whaa?! How did I NOT win? The judges are stupid!" [Disbelief smirk.] He predicts his imminent loss before every judge's table, but if he comes in second, he CAN'T BELIEVE HE DIDN'T WIN.

7. Lack of Confidence...Or Is It?

MM: Speaking of his prejudging terrors, I really want to hope that he has some sort of short-term memory loss that renders him incapable of remembering that he has never been actually gunned down by a judges' firing squad, and that for the most part his ass has been coddled and kissed. If last week's sea bean love fest wasn't enough proof that he needs to do something to quell the self-indulgent -- because that's totally what it is -- self-doubt, I don't know what is.

KY: Is it self-doubt? Because at times it comes off as false insecurity and modesty. Blais is the kid in class who always freaks out and says they didn't study enough, but then would get their test back with a big fat "A" on it.

MM: Or, conversely, acts as though he's terribly put-out until he gets the positive feedback. When Paula Deen was a Quickfire judge his first reaction to her seemed to smack of irritation. He doesn't cook fried, waaaah. Then he won her praise and lit up like a cookie-getting toddler. In the end he talked about how cooking for her was a huge honor. It reeked of TV posturing and self-branding awareness. Sort of like, oops, I acted like a shit toward the beloved butter maven...I better make sure to overdo the compliments later so no one remembers the first round.

8. We'd Love to Hate Him...But We Can't

KY: The worst part is it's impossible to openly hate him throughout a full episode. Unlike a Marcel or a past season Angelo (who both made it really easy to hate them), Richard will redeem himself with something endearing, like a witty quip during talking heads, his BFF status with the lovable Fabio, or the damned fried bone marrow. He has an adorable pregnant wife (albeit, whom he badgers), and his mom just passed away. It is very sad and even more reason for us to root for him. Was it inevitable gospel that we were supposed to root for Blais, after all?  He's probably a really great guy who makes darned tasty food, but as viewers who don't ever get to taste the food, the blatant favoritism takes away any intrigue and allure the Top Chef All Stars season initially promised.

MM: What she a creepy sad face added in for good measure, because I just realized that much of his attitude might stem from being called Dick Blais as a child.

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This may be blasphemy, but I really liked the fat and happy Blais from before. This skinny, crabby, neurotic, insecure Richard is really getting on my nerves. I was really rooting for him in the beginning to claim the title he perhaps should have won in his own season, but now I'm just waiting for him to have an anxiety attack, and them blame it on someone else.


Richard Blais has always reminded me of this emoticon:

Such a wonderful image since it conveys all or no emotion simultaneously.

Plus, everyone can easily gain some feeling of ... familiarity upon seeing it, sorta like what I felt upon seeing this post!

Trail Blaisin
Trail Blaisin

Richard just showed me this article, he found it amusing. He is an incredible man and has a great sense of humor. I am his assistant I was born and raised in Texas and went to TCU. So there is one reason to root for Richard, he surrounds himself with great people! Also his wife is SUPER hot and incredible as well...... good writing Kristy and Merritt! Thanks for the press!


Mike Isabella is by far the least likeable chef left. Agree that Richard needs to ditch the liquid nitrogen and the "please don't whack me" look. I'm hoping for Richard, Antonia and Tiffany in the finale. Got this feeling Antonia is going to win it all.

Merritt Martin
Merritt Martin

Absolutely agree on the Mike Isabella comment, save the last episode where he lost some of his tough-guy act.

Elizabeth Bair
Elizabeth Bair

Am I the only one who thinks it may be time for Tiffany to go? I don't want to say it because she's our only Dallas contestant left (which she'd probably challenge- "I'm from Beaumont!"), but her food's been less than stellar. She better pull out a win this week or I'm going to jump off the Tiffany bandwagon.

Kristy yang
Kristy yang

I concur. Yes, in an ideal world, the finals would be Richard, Antonia, Carla. Although, mike's gnocchi looked like something I could destroy.

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