Atlanta-based chef Richard Blais trained in the kitchens at French Laundry, Daniel, Chez Panisse, and El Bulli, so it wasn’t surprising when he also triumphed as winner of Bravo’s Top Chef All-Stars eighth season.
But Blais had more than just incredible culinary experience serving him during the heat of the competition. He had his health, which he reclaimed slowly by making major changes to his daily habits and losing more than 60 pounds over a decade.
Now, he’s opening up about his transformation to inspire his fans, (and working with GSK, the maker of weight-loss supplement Alli on a 60-Day Kickstart campaign).
We caught up with Blais to find out more about how he made the changes and how the changes made him a better, happier chef.
You lost 60 pounds—that’s a huge transformation. What were the major changes you made to your lifestyle? I started running obsessively and eating at appropriate times. Chefs tend to eat late at night because that’s when their schedules free up, and it’s definitely not the healthiest lifestyle!
I’ve definitely heard that. I know you’re a big marathon runner now, but how did you initially get started? I was courting my wife and literally ran after her. I finally caught her! We would go on runs together on dates. I was an athlete in high school, but I wouldn’t say I loved running initially. The better I got at it, however, the more I loved it.
Are you currently training for a marathon, and if so, how do you fit in the training considering the restaurants you own and all of your other projects? Not currently, but I run 5K daily and recently have been hitting some strength training and dipping my toes into yoga. It’s definitely a challenge [fitting it in], but wherever I am, I just make a point to go on a run. Get off the airplane, head to the hotel, and put on sneakers.
If someone (who is not as skilled in the kitchen as you) has time to learn to cook just one healthy dish, what would you want it to be? One of my favorite recipes that I’ve created for the 60-Day Kickstart program is this simple raw beet salad. It’s a sweet, juicy, and crispy side dish with tossed kale, apples, beets, cilantro and jicama with flavorful mustard vinaigrette. —Lisa Elaine Held
Download Blais’ Raw Beets with Jicama, Apple, & Mustard Dressing, created for Alli, here.