'Top Chef' Winner Richard Blais: 5 Things You Don't Know

Virginia Sherwood/Bravo

The married father-of-two was inspired to be a chef after working at McDonald’s — and he thinks everyone should have “duck fat” in their pantry.

Richard Blais won Wednesday's Top Chef All-Stars finale on Bravo, and here are five things you might not know about him:

1. He uses liquid nitrogen when he cooks.
The Atlanta-based chef once told Parade he uses it “the way a lot of chefs use frying oil. It’s the second coldest substance on Earth and great for super-quick cooking.”
2. McDonald’s inspired him to be a chef.
The Uniondale, N.Y.-native, who worked at the fast food joint as a teen, has said the camaraderie in the kitchen made him want to take up cooking professionally. “When I got into a kitchen I thought, ‘Wow, this is like being on a team!’” he has said. Blais, who now owns the Flip Burger Boutique in Atlanta, has studied under the world’s greatest chefs, including Thomas Keller, Daniel Boulud, and Ferran Adria.
3. He thinks everyone should have “duck fat” in their pantry.
Asked for his list of cooking must-haves, he told Food and Wine: “Duck fat, gellan gum and liquid nitrogen. Anything cooked in duck fat has a flavor that you can't get from oil or clarified butter. We'll sometimes strain the fat after we've roasted a duck, but we also buy it by the pail. Many of our pastas are made with gellan gum. We call them Impastas. We mix a liquid [like butternut-squash soup] with gellan gum to make a sheet of pasta without eggs or flour. Liquid nitrogen allows you to freeze anything immediately. We use it to chill stocks.”
4. He has two kids.
He and his wife Jazmin, who welcomed daughter Riley in 2008, expanded their brood this past February, with the arrival of their second daughter, Embry, according to People.com.
5. If he could be any food, he’d be an “artichoke.”
"It's tough, difficult to work with, even dangerous at its core,” he once said in an interview on BravoTV.com. “But when you come down to it, it's simple, beautiful and delicious.”