The anticipation is building for Top Chef All-Star Richard Blais's newest venture, The Spence, set to open May 26. An American brasserie and bistro, The Spence refers to "a place families would sit and eat together." It will be located in the old Globe space, designed by The Johnson Studio, and focus on approachable food with quality ingredients. With Blais back in the kitchen, we know it'll be good. Here, he shares his excitement, inspirations and more.
What are you most excited about regarding The Spence?
I am just most excited about returning to the stove and cooking in that type of setting. I have really found my groove in Atlanta and it’s a return of sorts to a certain style of cooking. Simply put, I am excited to show people I can cook good, tasty food. And, then there is the rush of an opening, of course.
What should we most look forward to on the menu?
Not to give a cop out answer, but it’s all exciting. You will be able to get new items all the time. That’s the neat thing about it. We will showcase a pantry list of ingredients. I have been on a huge vegetable kick lately and the quality of our veggies will be apparent.
Where did you get your inspiration for the food?
Everywhere. It’s about what’s in market, what’s in season. I travel often and I am lucky enough to see what restaurants and vendors are doing all over the country and this inspires me a great deal. I was just in San Francisco for “Reinventing the Meal” for The Cooking Channel and had the amazing opportunity to meet with farmers, home cooks and more. That kind of trip can get my mind spinning for weeks. I am excited to bring this inspiration back to The Spence and make it a national destination here in Atlanta.
What will surprise Atlantans about The Spence?
It is going to be super approachable and accessible.
The concept behind The Spence is pretty different from your FLIP and HD1 days. What gives?
Both HD1 and FLIP are intentionally themed restaurants. You can really see Richard Blais, the restaurateur, within these concepts. The Spence will showcase Richard Blais, the Chef.
How will you balance your time among your various restaurants, your personal life and your other culinary endeavors?
In general, I am always trying to figure out how to balance. We keep busy, we love what we do, it’s always a tremendous juggle.