6/15/2013 02:30:00 PM

Aspen 2013: Richard Blais on Expanding to San Diego and Summer Travel Plans

As evidenced by the photo above, Top Chef All-Stars winner and ATL-based chef Richard Blais is not afraid to get up close and personal with women's clothing. In fact, the toque revealed that he wears a ladies size small chef's coat. (No judgment!) So we weren't surprised to catch up with him in Aspen at women's store Theory where he was signing copies of his book, Try This At Home, yesterday afternoon in the midst of all the F&W Classic craziness. We chatted with him about his plans for expanding to San Diego, his web series and more below.

Zagat: What are you up to while you're here, besides hanging out in a women's clothing store?

Richard: Ha. A lot. We did a seminar earlier. Some book signings. My live show is all the rage, that's what they say.

Zagat: Oh yeah? Is there any hocus pocus?

Richard: Unfortunately a lot of the hocus pocus was eliminated from the presentation but I am going to forage down a river later and grab some wild herbs and stuff. I'm hijacking the Food & Wine Vine account later.

Zagat: Tell me about your California plans, there's been squashed rumors of a Bay Area eatery but confirmation of a San Diego one?

Richard: I'm opening a restaurant in San Diego. But as a chef/restaurateur I love SF, it's one of my favorite cities. I'm an native New Yorker and I say that.

Zagat: How does Aspen compare to the other Food & Wine festivals in your opinion?

Richard: I'll give you a sports analogy. Aspen is like the Rose Bowl. They're all important and very special but this is like the grand daddy of them all. It's like hanging out with your buddies and chefs you haven't seen in awhile. For me this is the first year I feel like everyone likes me so that's always a good thing.

Zagat: What do you mean? Who doesn't like you?

Richard: Ha, well there's just a lot of love this year. I'm still a kid in a candy store. I'm a fan. For me it's hard for me to understand that Marcus Samuelsson and Mario Batali are colleagues and friends, it's still crazy to me.

Zagat: Is there any chef that makes you totally starstruck?

Richard: Those two guys a little bit. Jacques Pepin.

Zagat: What else are you working on?

Richard: Try This At Home is still a big part of what I'm doing. We're in Denver and Boulder at Frasca doing signings and dinners over the next few days.

My YouTube show Burger Lab just got picked up for a second season, it might be something else though ie we might cook food other than burgers. Most people think I'm a super serious chef but I'm not really serious about myself. Burger Lab is a soft parody of a cooking show and it's just really fun to shoot. 

Zagat: You seem like a perfect candidate to do some kind of cooking show with kids. Would you?

Richard: Certainly in the book there's a number of things with kids involved. We just shot an episode of The Chew with my daughter, Riley. We just did an episode of Rachael Ray too. I do like cooking with kids, especially my own. Other people's kids might annoy me, or I might annoy them.

Zagat: Any travel plans this summer?

Richard: I'm going to Peru and Mexico City for the San Diego Restaurant. I just went to Disney World which was epic. Spent three days there to celebrate my 5-year old graduating preschool. I guess I'm setting the bar pretty high - where am I going to take her when she graduates high school? I had so much fun there and I really got into Disney. It's a fascinating business model. I came home and I was like let's go back. 

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