The Tao of Richard Blais: Part II

Schnitzel and pork ribs and ice cream…oh my!

Admittedly, this was not my favorite dish of the day. But I give it big points for originality and plating. Obviously, this is more of a breakfast dish, with a little nod to Wylie Dufresne,  a notorious eggophile. It’s no surprise that, when asked about his favorite restaurants and chefs in New York, Blais mentioned Dufresne and his temple to molecular gastronomy, WD-50.

Anyway, here’s the finished dish. Very pretty, I admit, and also the only dish with a full-on vegetable featured. Again, I liked it, but ham is not necessarily my favorite slice of pig. So while I liked the other components, I would rather have a different kind of schniztel.

No sooner did Blais pipe on the whipped maple (seen to the left of the egg), than it was time for some Q&A. Of course, being a blogger, and not a professional journalist, I did not write down any of the question or answers. But here’s the gist:

  • He’s grateful for all the love he’s received since winning Top Chef. Especially from NYC, where’s he’s spent four of the past ten months.
  • His cooking style has evolved and matured since participating in his first Top Chef competition. While he still enjoys using modern techniques, he also likes to showcase his classical training. He wants to cook real things for real people…although that doesn’t mean he won’t make a foam or two if he feels it’s warranted.
  • He says he makes the normal things for his daughters, including peanut butter & jelly. But his elder daughter is already getting adventurous, asking for and downing some bone marrow recently.
  • Where does he stand on offal? In short, Blais is a fan. Particularly, he pointed to pig cheeks, which he says are as tender and flavorful as pork shoulder. Ears, snout and tail also received mentions.
  • Favorite NYC restaurants: WD-50, The Breslin, The John Dory Oyster Bar
While Richie continued to pontificate on other topics, we were served the last pieces of our pork extravaganza. The final savory dish was Slow-Roasted Pork Ribs. I’m not usually a ribs guy, but these were ridiculously delicious. And I’ve never seen any rib meat that needed less coaxing to fall off the bone. I kid you not, I looked away for a moment while holding a rib and was holding a bone when I gazed again. So goooooooooood!
And would any pig-centric meal be complete without Maple Bacon Ice Cream? Of course not. While I love both bacon and ice cream, this was not completely successful to me. The ice cream itself was bit less creamy that I like and didn’t have a strong bacon flavor. But of course I ate it all.
Following the tasting, we got a little face time with Mr. Blais. And if that wasn’t cool enough, there was some take-home goodness waiting for us:
  • A portion of Malt & Agave Braised Pork Shoulder, which was not ready in time for the tasting. I finally ate mine today, including the sultry grits —  all I have to say is OMG.
  • A pig shaped cutting board
  • A copy of the Top Chef cookbook, signed by the man himself
I don’t think there’s anything left to say except THANK YOU to the National Pork Board and Richard Blais!
And don’t forget…
HELP FIGHT HUNGER!  I highly encourage you to “like” the Pork Be Inspired page at Facebook.com/PorkBeInspired. Through a partnership with Feeding America, the goal is to donate 125,000 servings of fresh pork to families in need.
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