Richard Blais Gives Us Permission To Play With Our Food

If you’re a fan of Top Chef, you know Richard Blais as a season four contestant and winner of the 2011 All-Stars season. But did you realize the chef-owner of Flip Burger Boutique, The Spence and HD1 began his cooking career at a Long Island McDonald’s? “Growing up in a lower-middle-class family made me humble,” Blais said. “I didn’t have a strong sense of belonging in the world, but I found that in the kitchen.”

And this is why we love Blais, not just because his dishes are inventive and he isn’t afraid to bust out a tank of liquid nitrogen, but for the fact he believes the most thrilling aspect of cooking is making people happy. So it’s plain to see why his first book, Try This At Home: Recipes From My Head To Your Plate [Clarkson Potter], is about having fun with cooking by being adventurous, and, in a sense, playing with your food.

Not only does Try This At Home have your usual cookbook sections for breakfast, pastas, poultry etc, but the chapter New Classics + Old-School Favorites remixes some of our nearest and dearest dishes like Burgers with Candied Onions, Braised Bacon + Cheddar and a Pâté Melt. But what makes the book truly special is Blais’ 2.0 variations, recipe twists like a Swiss cheese foam that allow you to be creative and experimental in your kitchen, where playing with your food becomes a wonderful learning experience and not something to be scolded.

Filled with 125 interesting and, most of all, delicious recipes, Try This At Home will coax you out of your culinary comfort zone with imagination, whimsy and wit. And as Anthony Bourdain says, “…the fast, accessible route to looking like a genius at your next dinner.” Get your copy at

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