In an effort to help kickstart its Tasty Made burger concept, Chipotle has brought in a culinary heavy-hitter. The company has announced that it is partnering with Richard Blais, Chef, Restaurateur, and James Beard-nominated cookbook author.
“Richard is an extraordinary chef and an exceptionally capable restaurateur. While talking about the possibility of joining forces to do something that would have a positive, meaningful impact on food culture in America, we quickly landed on the notion of his joining Tasty Made,” said Steve Ells, Founder, Chairman, and CEO of Chipotle. “I have long believed that there was an opportunity to make the fast food burger a great burger using better quality ingredients. Richard’s expertise is perfect to help us do that. He can apply his compelling vision and entrepreneurial spirit to our work in progress and oversee operations, allowing me to remain focused on continuing to grow and strengthen the Chipotle brand.”
Chipotle hopes that Blais can employ his fine dining expertise to grow and further develop the fledgling concept, which thus far has just one location in Lancaster, Ohio. According to a company press release, Blais will start his work with Tasty Made by perfecting the concept’s existing menu—which only features four items: burgers, fries, shakes, and sodas—and later by creating new options.
“Steve and Chipotle have had such a significant impact on reinventing fast food,” Blais noted in a statement. “There is no more iconic fast food than burgers, and I have always thought that there is a way to do them on a really big scale without compromising the quality of the food or the overall restaurant experience. Joining forces with Chipotle and Tasty Made is a truly unique opportunity to do that.”
Blais is perhaps best known for winning Bravo television’s “Top Chef All-Stars” competition, but he also has his hands in several ventures across the food industry. He owns and operates Trail Blais, a culinary consulting business, has several multiple cookbooks, and is a frequent contributor and host of various food-focused television programs. Blais whas also cooked for a number of renowned restaurants, including The French Laundry, Daniel, Chez Panisse, and el Bulli. He and Ells both are both graduates of the Culinary Institute of America.
Will Blais’ involvement enliven Chipotle’s classic American cuisine concept? Only time will tell. Deli Market News will continue to report.