‘Top Chef’ Alum Richard Blais Talks Importance of Seasoning Food, Shares ‘Must Have’ Tacos al Pastor Recipe

Richard Blais
Richard Blais Todd Williamson/Getty Images

Chef Richard Blais knows how to properly season food, and now he wants to make sure everyone else does, too! That’s why the Top Chef: All-Stars winner has teamed up with Morton Salt to help launch the Morton Salting Sous Chef – a new skill for Amazon Alexa that offers answers to common questions about salting.

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The new skill allows Alexa users to ask about a range of advice, from brining to marinating to baking, and users will also get hundreds of tips, tricks and suggestions on the exact type of salt to use and when to use it.

What’s more? Alex’s new trick also comes equipped with four recipes from Blais, including the tacos al pastor dish below. “Cooking is all about flavor. Using the right salt is one of the most important and easiest steps when cooking to elevate flavors in the dish. But, not all salt’s the same and most people don’t know when to use each kind,” Blais explains to Us Weekly. “I wanted to make it easier for home cooks to add flavor, so I teamed up with Morton Salt to create the Morton Salting Sous Chef — a how-to guide on all things salt: when to salt, how to salt, and even what type of salt to use to get the most flavor out of your meal.”

Even though Blais is a whiz in the kitchen and owns and operates restaurants all over the country, including Juniper & Ivy in San Diego, the chef, 46, was sure to create recipes suited for cooks of all skill levels. “I’ve learned in my career to make sure we are developing easy-to-make, delicious recipes, and within the catalog we created for Morton, they are all the type of foods you want to eat every day, like tacos,” he says.

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Speaking of tacos, the So Good author has come up with a recipe he claims everyone will love. ”Living so close to the border has made me, well, an aficionado,” he tells Us. “I’m a savory, sweet and spicy kind of cook and eater, and the sea salt just takes the pineapple, onion and charred chicken flavor to ‘must have’ every taco Tuesday.”

For this recipe, Blais recommends hydrating guajillo chiles in Morton coarse kosher salted water because it dissolves quickly and will “draw out more volatile flavors.” He also suggests salting the pineapple with Morton coarse sea salt to add texture and “bring out sweetness.”

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Take a look at the complete recipe below!

Tacos al Pastor

Makes 10 servings


• 2 chiles de árbol
• 10 dried guajillo chiles, seeded and torn to pieces (1 per taco)
• 2 cloves garlic peeled, chopped
• 1 tsp achiote paste
• 1/2 tsp ground cumin
• 1/3 cup white vinegar
• 1 tbsp Morton coarse kosher salt, to taste
• 1 tbsp canola oil
• 4 lbs chicken breast
• 1 cup pineapple, small diced
• 10 3 to 4-inch corn tortillas
• 1 cup pickled red pearl onion petals
• 1 cup picked fresh cilantro, shocked in ice water
• 1 pinch Morton coarse sea salt to taste


  1. Boil one quart of water and Morton coarse kosher salt. Soak chiles in a bowl with salted boiling hot water until chiles are softened, about 10 minutes; drain, but reserve some liquid, about 1 cup.
  2. Blend chiles, garlic, achiote paste, and cumin; add some reserved water back into mixture if needed to form a paste like texture.
  3. Pour vinegar and chile mixture into sauce pan and bring to a boil; cook and stir until mixture becomes a thick paste. Season with Morton coarse sea salt.
  4. Rub chicken liberally with chile paste and place in an airtight bag under refrigeration for at least one hour.
  5. Heat grill to 400 degrees. Grill chicken on both sides until an internal temperature reaches a minimum of 165 degrees.
  6. Remove from heat and let rest 3-5 minutes before slicing.
  7. When ready to serve, grill tortillas lightly on both sides.
  8. Slice chicken into thin slices. Divide chicken onto corn tortillas and serve with onion, cilantro and pineapple.

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