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Blais Off!

Nothing on the Science Channel gets much promotion, but I think lovers of food shows might want to check out this new show featuring Richard Blais, one of the most popular and talented Top Chef contestants (who is currently competing in Top Chef All-Stars). The format is simple. Every week, Blais goes to a top specialist in one food item (th first two shows features pizza/Patsy's in East Harlem and bacon cheeseburger at Royale in the Lower East Side in NYC). Blais studies how their specialties are made and then tries to outdo them using techniques from molecular gastronomy. There is then a half-hearted competiion/taste-off between the traditional and new-fangled versions.

It's not an accident that this is on the Science Channel rather than the Food Network. The emphasis is on the science not only of MG, but of traditional cooking methods. It's a decent show, straightforward and not too gimmicky.

Reruns of the first two episodes:

12/19 5-6 a.m.
12/21 8-9 p.m.
12/21 11-12 p.m.
12/23 3-4 a.m.

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  1. watched the burger episode last night.. I thought it was good a show.. I like the information he gives and it's a easy show to watch.. I look forward to seeing how it develops..

    1. im outta town visiting family this weeken but i set my DVR to record it. i'm pretty excited to watch it when i get home!

        1. Blaise is easy to watch. He's a natural on camera so even if this show doesn't last he will likely get another opportunity.

          The weakest part of the show is the end where they have a Food Wars kind of competition. I realize those kinds of shows are popular right now, but I'm not a fan.

          1 Reply
          1. re: John E.

            Agreed on all counts (when I called the competitive part "half-hearted," that was meant as a compliment, not only to Blais, but to the producers, who clearly realize that the heart of the show is in the experiments. The format is reminiscent of Food Wars and Throwdown. I liked how it was tweaked to fit the mission of the Science Channel, but it could easily appear on the Food Network.

          2. I like the show but I really have a problem with Blais not giving credit to others who originated some of "his" ideas. Also, the show is really a watered down version of Heston Bs In Search of Perfection both book and tv show. Both of which are a few years old. I suspect he is going to get some flack from those in the food community whoare alot more competent at this then he is. He seems like a nice guy , but shd give credit where credit is due. Ill leave it at this , as I think many reading this will come to the same conclusion.

            3 Replies
            1. re: celeryroot

              I love Heston Blumenthal and ISOP, but I doubt Blais is going to take that much flak for ripping him off. There's a HUGE amount of precedent in television for one show to reuse the ideas and formats of another, especially on opposite sides of the Atlantic. It's just the way that industry seems to work.

              In fact, I'd go so far as to wager that it's easier to sell a new show to network execs as "a cross between 'In Search of Perfection' and 'Food Feuds'" than it is to sell an original concept.

              1. re: celeryroot

                Out of curiosity, how would you iike him to give credit to others on his show? Who determines to whom he should give credit? At what point should others give him credit? He's been doing MG for at least 4 or 5 years himself.

                1. re: celeryroot

                  Didn't you read the credits in the footnotes of the show? And the note of thanks on the front page? :)