Top Chef's Richard Blais' 'Sandwich Theory' Will Change Your Cooking Forever

We'll be using this theory for every meal now.

Richard Blais Sandwich Theory
Photo: Allrecipes

Chef Richard Blais has done many exciting and important things in his career — like winning Top Chef All-Stars, opening multiple restaurants, and working with Gordon Ramsey on Next Level Chef. But according to him, his career highlight doesn't come from any of those accolades. Instead, it's that his daughter says he makes the best sandwiches.

Blais started his culinary career making Filet-O-Fish sandwiches at McDonald's, and has said his sandwich-making technique is part of the reason he won Top Chef All-Stars. In a recent interview on the Allrecipes podcast, Homemade — listen on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, PlayerFM, Amazon Music, and everywhere podcasts are available — Blais told host Sabrina Medora about his "sandwich theory" that helped him on Top Chef.

"The sandwich theory, which is that any dish, any fine dining dish, anything that you make, that you should be able to translate it to a delicious sandwich," he said. "So, I always thought about all of my dishes on Top Chef All-Stars, I said, 'Could I make this braised pork shank with chile verde and grits? Would that be a delicious sandwich?' And if I could, in my mind, figure that out as being a sandwich, it was all green light to go ahead and proceed."

Blais admitted to Medora that "sandwiches are tough." But he said the key to using the sandwich theory is to think about the components of a good sandwich, "all of these things that make food great — that take food to the next level for sure," like acidity, fat, textural contrast, temperature contrast, and salty, sweet, or sour flavors. Then, translate that into your dish. If it will make a good sandwich, it will make a good dish.

Blais gave an example of how he used the sandwich theory to make his fried mayonnaise dish on Top Chef All-Stars.

"We already know mayonnaise works well with sandwiches. And we also know that fried little things on top of sandwiches are great, like potato chips on a ham and cheese sandwich," he told Medora. "So how would it go on a sandwich? I would just have those fried mayonnaise tubes on the sandwich. And now you have these crispy bits of warm, ooey, gooey liquidy mayonnaise with crunchy bread crumbs on it."

There you have it. Next time you want to make a dish just think, could I eat this on a sandwich? And you'll have a delicious meal ready to go.

Listen to the full episode of Homemade for more from Chef Richard Blais!

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