Get your DVRs ready for Saturday afternoon. Long before he graced our screen as the darling of Top Chef, Atlanta’s own Richard Blais showed up TV sets across the states on an episode of the Food Network’s Iron Chef America. The challenge, which took place back in ‘06, featured chickpeas as the ingredient du jour and a battle of fisticuffs between Blais and the well-regarded Mario Batali.
Keen eyes will notice the One Midtown Kitchen logo across Blais’ breastplate. At the time of filming, he was the executive chef at 1MK. Appropriately, Blais brought his sous chef at the time, one Eli Kirshtein, along for the ride.
For those unfamiliar with the show, a challenger will enter a 1-hr cook-off against one of a stable of cook masters, appropriately named “Iron Chefs.” The trick is that a single ingredient is used as the basis for the meal. Though I much prefer the Japanese version, complete with kitschy voice dubbings, the US version comes with Alton Brown’s quick witted commentary. I won’t spoil it for those of you who haven’t seen it yet.
And speaking of Blais, you’ll be able to get your fill of him on Saturday. In what is probably a coincidence, Richard and his funktastic hairdo will be on the main stage of Taste of Atlanta 2009 from 12pm-12:45pm. So head out in the early afternoon to see him live, then check him out on the tube just before dinner time.
Battle Chickpeas: Batali vs. Blais
Re-airs on the Food Network on Saturday October 10th, 2009.
5pm-6pm, 11pm-12am, 2am-3am (on Sunday)
Comcast channel 57 or 857 for HD