Reinventing the Meal


Go from source to table with Chef Richard Blais on Reinventing the Meal. He seeks out unique purveyors, off-the-beaten-path ethnic kitchens and "wild card" foodie spots in California, collecting ingredients and insight as he goes.


Ingredient One: Oysters

Chef Richard Blais begins his journey of culinary discovery by seeking out fresh oysters from Tomales Bay in Marin County, Calif. He likes his oysters raw and as fresh as can be, and it doesn't get fresher than eating one straight out of the bay.

Soul Food Farms

Next, he visits Soul Food Farms in Vacaville, Calif., to get farm-fresh chickens and eggs.

Ingredient Two: Pastured Chicken

The chickens are "pastured," or allowed to roam outdoors on the farm. Because they move around, there's more muscle texture in the meat.

Ingredient Three: Farm-Fresh Eggs

The egg yolks of the Soul Food Farms' eggs are deep yellow thanks to the healthy diet of the chickens on the farm.

Ingredient Four: Creme de Ricotta

Richard visits The Epicurean Connection in Sonoma, Calif., to learn the secrets of artisanal cheese making and to see how curds and whey becomes ricotta.

Ingredient Five: Smoked Paneer

Richard smokes the paneer using applewood chips and serves the final dish with apple chutney for flavors that combine well.

Ingredient Six: Fresh Farm Produce

His next stop is Little City Gardens, which offers some of the freshest produce in San Francisco.

The Tiffin Lady

Richard pays a visit to the home of Veena N.K., a "Tiffin Lady" who caters authentic Southern Indian meals.

Ingredient Seven: Spices

Together they prepare the traditional Indian favorites vegetable tandoori, roti and raita. Veena instructs Richard on the secrets of Indian spices.

Richard Heads Into the Kitchen

Inspired by the farm-fresh ingredients and what he learned in Veena's kitchen, Richard "reinvents" a traditional Indian menu by hosting a dinner party for the organizers of the 3rd I South Asian Film Festival.

The Final Menu

Richard's guests dig into his menu, which includes oysters with pickled Asian pear mignonette, roti crepes, tandoori chicken, raita ice cream and more.