In a recent conversation, Top Cheffer and new San Diego restaurateur Richard Blais told Eater that he was "over being known as the liquid nitrogen and molecular gastronomy chef".
And yet, during a cooking class held at a local Macy's, there he was, wielding an enormous canister of liquid nitrogen like a culinary mad scientist. The audience loved it.
Blais was using the liquid nitrogen to freeze a mixer full of margarita into an instant slushy, and hinted that table-side nitrogen cocktails may show up on Juniper & Ivy's menu.
The chef doesn't want to be known as "the weird nitrogen guy" but says that fans of the food he cooked while on Top Chef will be happy with the dishes he's creating for the new Little Italy restaurant, though he emphasized that he only uses molecular techniques to "make the food better". He also loves to make handmade pasta, so count on seeing that reflected in Juniper & Ivy's menu.
Blais, who now calls Del Mar home, has been inspired by the local ingredients he's found in his backyard and on his frequent runs. The chef, whose new show, Cook Your Ass Off debuted this month, says Juniper & Ivy's food will be lighter than his menu at The Spence in Atlanta, but at least one dish may transfer over; his "oysters and pearls", his version of a signature Thomas Keller plate, tops raw oysters with frozen spheres of horseradish cream.
He and his Juniper & Ivy partners are still assessing just where their Kettner Boulevard space will fit into the local dining landscape, but the concept will be something between a gastropub and a fine dining destination.
· Juniper & Ivy [Official Site]
· All Richard Blais Coverage [~ESD~]