Richard Blais reveals why Next Level Chef is engaging television, interview

NEXT LEVEL CHEF: Mentor Richard Blais. © 2023 FOX Media LLC. CR: Brian Bowen Smith / FOX.
NEXT LEVEL CHEF: Mentor Richard Blais. © 2023 FOX Media LLC. CR: Brian Bowen Smith / FOX. /

Through Next Level Chef Season 2, the competition has had highs and lows. While the additions of the Immunity Pin and Time Token added new twists to the FOX food television program, the reality is that the chefs drive the viewer engagement. Helping to guide their success, Richard Blais has offered the supportive word, culinary insight, and flavor guidance. While he helped many chefs rise from the “Blais Basement,” the celebrated chef, cookbook author, and restaurateur never mixed his words. During a recent interview, Richard Blais revealed why FOX’s Next Level Chef is engaging food television.

In most food competitions, the collective group can fit into a particular category. From well-recognized professional chefs to inexperienced home cooks, the groups tend to stay in their lane. On Next Level Chef, the competing chefs cross roles. Bringing together professional chefs, social media chefs, and home cooks, that diversity makes the show unique.

When asked about the chefs, Blais said, “everyone can find someone to relate to on the show. Many people are home cooks, and they can easily put themselves in the shoes of one of our home cooks. Most people, if they’re not social media creators themselves, are spending hours a day watching someone make lasagna, so they can relate to the social media chefs and their many followers across those platforms. For the food competition purist or the people who love the restaurant world, they can watch the pro chefs go up against them.”

As viewers have come to see on Next Level Chef, the outcome is not always expected. Blais said, “viewers get to see all three different genres collectively compete in these challenges. The social media chefs might be known for the presentation and their ability to perform on camera. The pro cooks might not always be the one to easily win even though they have tend to cook for so many hours a day.”

Blais mentioned that “with the home cook, I’ve always said that they are cooking for the toughest crowd, usually their family. They have to cook delicious food because they want their kids, significant others, family and neighbors to enjoy their food. They tend to have some locked in recipes that are absolute winners.”

Richard Blais on Next Level Chef Season 2 on FOX
NEXT LEVEL CHEF: Mentor Richard Blais. © 2023 FOX Media LLC. CR: Brian Bowen Smith / FOX. /

Even though it can be impossible to predict the success of any of the cooks, the lowest level has become the “Blais Basement” in Next Level Chef Season 2. While Chef Blais has joked about the “good lighting” on that floor, but there is more to it.

Blais said that “the basement might not have the best equipment. But, you do not have to do as much because you do not have to do as much thinking beforehand. In the basement, you’re just going to run to the platform and not think too much beforehand. You just grab whatever is there. It takes away some of the pressure. I think that the basement allows the cooks to have creative freedom. It is just about cooking well.”

For Blais, he thinks that the basement supports the way he would want to approach a food competition. He said, “I’m an improv guy myself. I do better in those environments. Give me five things. Don’t tell me what they are. Let’s just make it happen.”

In some ways, that strength is why the Blais Basement has seen cooks rise from potential elimination. Chef Blais can give them the guidance to think in the moment, cook their best no matter the ingredients, and have the confidence to appreciate that they deserve their spot in the competition.

That willingness to believe in cooking skills applies to the home cook watching Next Level Chef. Blais said, “everyone cook has that one pot meal up their sleeve.” No matter the pan available or the locale, bringing that cooking confidence to the kitchen is vital.

Throughout Next Level Chef Season 2, Richard Blais has found ways to relate to all his cooks. From comments relating to working in fast food to mixing up a little cocktail creativity. Those real moments not only endear the chef to his team but also engage the food television audience. Celebrity chefs are cooks just like everyone else. They just have a bigger visual stage.

That ability to relate to others is vital for Richard Blais. He said, “as a mentor or as a business person, it is part of that initial conversation. Tell me a little bit about where you are from and where you want to go. We will figure out the middle together. Most likely there is going to be something in all of our lives where we can connect the dots. We all have hopes and dreams and we all have rivers and valleys. I’m trying to get them to be their best in the moment.”

As Next Level Chef Season 2 approaches the finale, any chef could win the title. Whether it will be a member from Team Trail-Blaisers remains to be seen. Richard Blais will be cheering all the cooks for their accomplishments both in this moment and in the future.