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Written By: Jordan Ligons
Photographed By: Damien Noble Andrews

 

As I was waiting to meet Richard Blais for our interview at The Crack Shack’s Encinitas location, the Friday vibes were real. The restaurant was alive with families kicking off the weekend with corn hole and co-workers taking a lunch break at the bar. Dogs were barking and the automated sound of cockadoodledooing added to the background noise of what seems like the neighborhood spot. SD March 2018 Issue

When Richard arrived, he was over apologetic for his very slight tardiness, but was quick to rave and brag about his entire staff, especially his General Manager Gino Azurmendi. We talked about how he’s so over the traffic, about how he’s Coach Richard these days and how he’s choosing to take on the role of a mentor in 2018.

But then he abruptly interrupts the conversation, “Do you smell In-N-Out?” It was like his American cuisine spidey-senses were tingling. This location is directly across the street from the beloved fast-food chain and sometimes during the day, the smells seep over into the open-air layout of the eatery causing a real battle of the scents. “It’s great for so many reasons for our guests…Sorry, what was the question? I got distracted.”

We also chatted about how much fun he had on the cover shoot set with our team a few days prior and how honored he felt to be on the front page. “I’m on a magazine cover of your magazine. Luke Skywalker was on your last magazine cover and Tony Hawk was on a previous cover,” he joked, “I don’t deserve that shit!”

Photographer Damen Noble Andrews adds, “I wanted to make sure we captured his personality, his energy and his style. Not to mention his innovation in the kitchen. The cover was shot using a Canon 5D Mark IV, Interfit Photographic lighting, and a 60” Octabox.” SD March 2018 Issue

Richard takes his food seriously without taking himself too seriously. He’s a self-titled introvert and a real down-to-earth guy. Read his story to get to know someone that’s often referred to as a “mad scientist” due to his quirky methods of using liquid nitrogen in his science lab—I mean, kitchen—as he cracks open what it means to live life for the journey, not the destination.