Richard Blais' Culinary Picks for the Holiday...

Last year I had the privilege of working with Richard Blais as his producer for Life After Top Chef. Myself and two camera crews followed him around for a couple months as he opened up The Spence in Atlanta. I've done many tv shows in my day, but this one was definitely in my top three. I just had the best time working with Richard and hanging out with his adorable family. I recently asked Richard to share his top 5 culinary gift picks with Sweet Peach and he graciously sent 18 instead, adding the message 'pick and choose.' I think I'll just share them all. Enjoy...

1) Cheese from Star Provisions  2) The Whole Beast: Nose to Tail Eating by Fergus Henderson  3) Maximum Flavor by Aki Kamozawa   4) Blis Maple Syrup   5) Vitamix  6) Vintage spoons (I've yet to see Richard without a spoon in his back pocket. He finds many of his favorites at Paris on Ponce in Atlanta)  7)  Sous Vide Supreme  8) Ras el hanout spice via Terra Spice Co.  9) JB Prince surgical tweezers  10) Njuda and Lardo from Boccalone 11) Cook Your Ass Off, Season 1  12) Apron from Hedley & Bennett  13) Tavern Vinegar  14) A Work in Progress by Rene Redzepi 15) Lucky Peach Magazine  16) Seafood Watch App (free!)  17) Minus 8 Vinegar  18) Fruit from Frog Hollow Farm 

Finely Crafted

Great shop owners have a photographer's eye. When displaying their wares, they're good at spacial relationships, color and composition...like Jeanee Ledoux who curates her lovely shop, Finely Crafted (inside Paris on Ponce) in Atlanta. 

I particularly love all the beautiful textures and colors mix and matched in her space. As Jeanee shared, she looks for items that are "modern, joyful and bright." There is great natural light in the building that she shares with over 30 other artisans, which makes her little slice of prettiness all the more cozy and inviting. I appreciate that even though there's so much to look at, her space doesn't feel packed to the gills. 

Jeanee started to become more serious with design when she started a blog years ago, but craving something more, she opened Finely Crafed in October, 2012. It's just about 100 square feet of space but it's packed with wonderful home decor items like pillows, tea towels, artwork and dishware. She calculates 75% of the items are handcrafted and they come from all over the map, including Australia. 

I'm loving these animal pillows by Laure Designs of Atlanta...

Jeanee had the idea to collaborate on a project with one of my favorite artists, Leah Duncan of Austin, Texas. Jeanee, "Her botanicals have a joyful nature, like they're dancing. Plus, they're not too scientific." Leah and Jeanee went back and forth on new botanical designs and ended up with these bold and graphically pleasing prints...so lovely. Find them at Jeanee's shop or through Leah's site.  

Jeanee just celebrated her one year anniversary in business. Her hunch was right to try something new and exciting, albeit challenging. Jeanee, "I love that this space constantly changes. I get bored easily and it gives me structure for my creativity that I was lacking before." Her online shop goes live at noon today, so even if you're not in Atlanta, you can still check out her favorite picks. Each and every one is thoughtful and enticing...much like a pretty picture. 

 

Photos: Sweet Peach; Leah Duncan     Content: Sweet Peach