Rising Star Chef Richard Blais of Juniper and Ivy - Biography

San Diego, CA

September 2015

Most chefs begin their cooking careers at humble establishments. Richard Blais is no exception. His first position in the kitchen was in the fish station at McDonald’s. Instead of holding him back, his fast food beginnings fast-forwarded him full-blast into a highly successful path as a chef. Blais studied at the Culinary Institute of America and worked between semesters at none other than The French Laundry, where he absorbed the meticulousness of a veritable culinary temple, alongside guys like Grant Achatz and Eric Ziebold. Graduating from the CIA in 1998, Blais went to work for the master of refined, modernized tradition, Daniel Boulud, at his flagship Daniel.

Seasoned with tradition and technique, Blais went to Spain for a stage under Ferran Adrià at El Bulli. The technique-fueled fantasia of El Bulli bolstered Blais’s hunger for something different, and ideally something his own. Heading to Atlanta in 2000, Blais briefly oversaw a local seafood concept before opening restaurant BLAIS and, eventually, restaurant consultancy group Trail Blais, the culinary think tank behind some of the city’s most exciting concepts. Appearances on Bravo’s “Top Chef”—and a victory on “Top Chef: All Stars”—as well as regular stops on the Food Network, and the recently published creativity-bear-hug Try This At Home cookbook, have kept Blais, and his off-kilter imagination, very much in the public eye. Currently, his restaurant repertoire includes multiple outposts of Flip Burger Boutique, The Spence—both in Atlanta—and Juniper & Ivy on the opposite coast in San Diego, California.