Richard Blais Crushes on Seattle

By Leslie Kelly  |  December 13, 2013
Credit: Leslie Kelly

When celebrity chef Richard Blais tweeted that he was going to be in Seattle this week and was looking for restaurant recommendations, the response was immediate and overwhelming.

Canlis was the big winner,” said Blais, while sipping a celery root soda at Bar Sajor on a drizzly Thursday afternoon.

Blais, a fan favorite from Top Chef Season 4 and winner of Top Chef All Stars, was in the city for a brief visit (“I need to spend more time here”), doing some team building with Dry Soda CEO Sharelle Klaus and her crew. While there were plenty of French fries and Whirly Ball, Blais did not make it to Canlis this time. BTW, Blais said Whirly Ball is like a combination of bumper cars, Jai alai and Quidditch, and that it was a blast, as shown on his Vine video.

The native New Yorker, who’s living in San Diego these days, is Dry Soda’s creative director, collaborating with the enterprising Klaus to come up with new flavors and recipes inspired by the line of low-sugar beverages. He crafted a Jolly Pear - a mix of Pear Dry Soda, orange juice, local honey and Washington state Riesling - on a local TV talk show.

Klaus hired Blais because she admired his ability to develop complex flavors in the kitchen. “He’s got an amazing palate. He’s kind of a nerd,” she said. "More like a dork," Blais chimed in. His nose often informs his mission to find new flavors that evoke an experience, saying “Aroma is flavor.” Some of his olfactory research takes him to places like make-up shops, sniffing perfumes.

The two were mum about their latest brainstorming session, promising delicious new drinks in the future. And that future promises more opportunities for Blais to dine in Seattle, so keep those tweets coming. "I'm really feeling the Northwest these days, from San Francisco to Vancouver," he said.