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What every smart at-home cook should stock up on, according to top chef Richard Blais


richard blais
Photo: Richard Blais/Art by Julia Wu for Well+Good
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Richard Blais doesn’t usually have much downtime. As a professional chef with a multiple-restaurant empire, James Beard Award-nominated cookbook, an ambassadorship for the new Naked cold pressed juices, and several culinary TV show credits to his name (Top Chef might ring a bell), he’s constantly on the go. But he still makes time for doing something else he loves: cooking for his family.

“I’m in the middle of making individual rhubarb-strawberry-beet juice pies,” Blais explains, the morning he let us peak into his fridge. The sweet treats might seem out of place for someone who likes to run marathons, as Blais does, but he says his at-home approach to cooking is actually quite simple and healthy—and that his two daughters, ages five and seven, inform his habits even more than running does.

“You want to feed your kids something better than what you eat, so you start to focus more on health and nutrition [when you’re a parent]. It’s changed how I eat at home and how I cook,” he says.

Want to know how a top chef stocks his home fridge? Here, Blais offers a look. 
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richard blais
Photo: Richard Blais/Art by Julia Wu for Well+Good

Despite having opened The Crack Shack, a restaurant that features award-winning fried chicken as its staple, you seem to have all veggies in your fridge. Are you vegetarian? 

That’s a good point! I’m not, but we don’t eat a lot of meat at home. We eat fish and meat all the time when we’re out, and usually there’s half a roasted chicken in the fridge. I always joke that my wife is a full moon away from being a vegetarian. But for us, fresh vegetables are the backbone of every great nutrition plan. And here in California, it’s not hard to find a great farmers’ market.

Speaking of veggies, you have a solid stock of pressed juices in there. Do you primarily drink them, or have you found other interesting ways to use them in cooking?

I love afternoon coffee but I’ve replaced it with cold pressed juices for a little pick-me-up. And they’re great for the kids because they get five to six different veggies in a bottle. I also cook with them. I add them to pie fillings, like I did today. I like to swirl some into a vinaigrette. Cold pressed juices are a step away from sauce. Anything that combines multiple ingredients is going to save you time, whether you’re a contestant on a show or cooking at home.

Great tip! I spy some mason jars…What are in those?

I’ve been enamored with the idea of the pantry, but I can’t take full credit for what’s in the mason jars. My wife is a yoga teacher and hipster and so there are jars of beet juice, pickled cherries, peaches, onions, and green garlic. She’s really into fermentation right now. We also have a lot of condiments in the side door, like Green Garlic Goddess dressing that we made. I also use regular yellow mustard and hot dog ketchup, which people are always blown away by, but we get inventive too, making a cherry or pomegranate ketchup, for example. There’s also some sun-dried tomato mole in there. I’m a chef so I bring home sauces regularly. We also use a lot of fish sauce.

Confession: I’ve been eyeing that lump of yummy fresh pasta on the third shelf…

The kids love making pasta, and that’s a little work station from when they were making some fettuccine. It’s like arts and crafts for them. There are some fresh wild morel mushrooms for the pasta, but one of my daughters is a pasta-with-butter lover and the other is a red sauce girl, so we’ll see if they like the morels.

Is that cheese on the top shelf?

Yes, that is a wedge of blue cheese. We go through cheese phases. There’s a bottle of wine open in the kitchen because we recently had friends over for some wine and cheese.

Besides the pasta and cheese, your fridge seems pretty darn healthy. Do you have any hidden indulgences, perhaps tucked away in a drawer somewhere where we can’t see them?

You don’t see our freezer here, but we stock a lot of ice cream and desserts. We try to monitor sugar intake for the kids, but we love chocolate so we’ll whip up some chocolate avocado mousse. That’s our biggest indulgence. And we don’t have anything against making the occasional fro-yo run. For me personally, French fries are my nemesis! But maybe that’s another conversation, for when I’m lying on my couch.

If the avocado mousse has piqued your interest, try making it yourself! (This avocado cocktail might be right up your alley, too.) And if you’re feeling nosy and want to peak inside someone else’s fridge—no judgement!—meal prep master and Daily Harvest founder Rachel Drori’s will amaze you.