He's already shown himself the best from a group of previous Top Chef contestants when he came out victorious on Bravo's Top Chef All Stars competition, but we'll soon see how he fares compared to San Diego's Top Chef Alums when Richard Blais joins the likes of Rich Sweeney, Amanda Baumgarten and Brian Malarkey as a chef in America's Finest City. Juniper & Ivy, a modernist American restaurant from acclaimed Chef Richard Blais, will open its doors in Little Italy, San Diego, on Monday, March 3.
Though he's most recognizable as the winner of Bravo's Top Chef All-Stars, Blais is a successful chef, restaurateur, cookbook author and television personality. Chef Blais is currently the host of HLN's new show Cook Your Ass Off. After graduating from the Culinary Institute of America, Blais went on to train at The French Laundry, Daniel, Chez Panisse, and el Bulli. Blais’ first “left coast cookery” will feature some of the nation's top culinary talent showcased in a space that will be refined, yet casual - serious, yet playful.
Located in a 1920s sawtooth warehouse on the outskirts of San Diego’s historically rich Little Italy neighborhood, Juniper & Ivy’s dinner menu will highlight California ingredients, artisans and local inspiration and will be complemented by a strong and innovative beverage program. Expect an entire open kitchen, available al fresco dining - perfect for enjoying the enviable San Diego weather - and an ever-changing menu inspired by the moment. Juniper & Ivy is owned by Mike Rosen, a La Jolla-based investment manager of 27 years, who also happens to have trained at Le Cordon Bleu in London. The restaurant is the result of a unique partnership between Rosen’s Juniper Hospitality, now San Diego resident Richard Blais and Concentrics Restaurants, based in Atlanta, Georgia.
Juniper & Ivy is designed by Atlanta, Georgia-based The Johnson Studio, an award-winning international restaurant architecture firm known for its unique designs. The 90+ year-old warehouse space that is the setting for Juniper & Ivy used to house a former roofing company. The intent was to preserve the integrity of the rustic raw shell while introducing modern elements. Key design features include exposed sawtooth redwood ceiling, beams & trusses, sealed in natural patina; completely open Expo kitchen, designed to highlight the talent and energy of the culinary team, and dining areas featuring natural hickory-stained tabletops, elevated grey leather booth spaces, and white lacquered tables to contrast with the warm hickory, to name a few.
For the menu, expect left coast cuisine focusing on locally curated products cooked and presented in a radical way. Based on what we've seen from Chef Blais, the diner can anticipate conversation starters with refined simplicity. The menu will feature a snacks category with an emphasis on vegetables & seafood, a traditional a la carte category as well as a 4 course tasting menu that will change daily, perhaps even hourly.
For more information on Juniper & Ivy, visit juniperandivy.com and follow on Facebook & Twitter.