Richard Blais: Thank you. It's nice to hear a friendly voice.
BR: So, Tongue and Cheek. When does it open?
RB: Ha! I mean it's a name that I would love to use, but maybe I played that card and I wont be able to use it. I think that the restaurant, whatever it's called, opens sometime within the next year or two.
BR: Here in Atlanta?
RB: Well that’s a question that depends on whoever else wants to get involved with it and sign a check for it, or help sign a check for it. I’d love it to be in Atlanta, or any big city for that matter.
BR: You said something that really struck me on the show last night - “It’s not about me, it’s about the guest.” I wonder if that’s something that has changed for you in the last couple of years.
RB: Yeah I think for sure. You know my well-documented history in Atlanta, and then going on my first run of Top Chef...I think at a certain point over the last couple of years I realized that some of the things I was doing might have been to show people I could cook or show people that I know technique or that I know how to use a gadget. At the time none of it was ever my intention to get away from food or flavor, but at this point in my career I’m just as happy roasting a chicken as I am dipping horseradish ice cream into liquid nitrogen. It's been something I have struggled with over the last year in particular and something I very much wanted to express in this run of the show.
BR: Let's talk about Mike Isabella. I was just floored that he was still talking trash and at the very last minute in the stew room. But I couldn't tell how much of it was editing, because it did seem like there was a lot of editing done to make it look like you had lost a lot of your confidence once you got to the finale.
RB: I always think that what you see is actually what's happening. You know, I think you can emphasize certain feels or actions, but yeah that’s Mike, he is confident, he does have that swagger. He had it last night even after the fact. That's his personality and it's something that quite honestly I admire. But I’ve also been that guy, and again it goes back to the “It’s not about me it’s about the food.” Someone just asked me, “I mean you were such a nice guy in the first season and in this season you were so neurotic,” and I think really I’m just being a little more honest. So I do think you get a good gauge of people’s true personality.
BR: Are you still doing the Science Channel show?
RB: We shot those two episodes and right now we’re kind of in the process of finding a home for it or a home for a version of it. So as I speak to you right now there aren't going to be any more episodes on Science Channel. That being said, many people are looking at it or versions of it to move forward.
BR: Did Marcel totally bite your show?
RB: I haven’t seen Marcel’s show. And honestly I don’t know who was approached first or how that happened, but again I haven’t seen it. You know me, I’m not a hater.
BR: I know you’re not. I can do the hating for you.
BR: They got in touch with me and they were like “Is there a way you can promote Marcel's show on your blog?” and i was like, “Have you read my blog? You don’t want me talking about Marcel.”
Do you feel redeemed? Do you feel like this is a redemption?
RB: I do feel redeemed. When you don’t win the first time...I thought I was the best chef the first time around. And then you start think, well, you know I don’t even know if I can win. This was about the drive to actually win, and I think that at the end of the show when I was melting down or whatever I was doing, having an emotional breakdown, it was because I didn’t know if I could do it. It was probably one of the first times in my life that I set out and said, 'this is what I’m going to try to do, and I’m going to do everything I can to win,' and it worked.
BR: There are not many second chances like that in life.
RB: There aren't.
BR: It’s like being able to go back and replay high school or something, it’s really bizarre.
RB: That would be interesting. We all want to do that.
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