Chef Richard Blais Will Help Reinvent Chipotle's Tasty Made
In case you hadn't heard, Chipotle is in the burger business. It opened its first burger joint, Tasty Made, last year in Lancaster, Ohio, and the new venture received resoundingly meh reviews: customers have complained the patties are thin and overpriced, and the sides are kind of lackluster.
So perhaps it's no surprise that Chipotle announced this week it's bringing on chef Richard Blais, a Top Chef: All Stars winner and James Beard-nominated cookbook author, to revamp its Tasty Made concept, "working to perfect the existing menu and expanding options," according to a statement announcing the partnership. Right now, the menu offers only four items: burgers, fries, sodas, and milkshakes. It's unclear what Blais, who launched the Atlanta-based Flip Burger Boutique, may bring to the menu, but Tasty Made will unveil changes or enhancements to the concept stemming from the relationship with Blais as they are made," the announcement states.
"Richard is an extraordinary chef and an exceptionally capable restaurateur," Steve Ells, founder and CEO of Chipotle, said in the announcement. "I have long believed that there was an opportunity to make the fast food burger a great burger using better quality ingredients. Richard's expertise is perfect to help us do that. He can apply his compelling vision and entrepreneurial spirit to our work in progress and oversee operations, allowing me to remain focused on continuing to grow and strengthen the Chipotle brand."
Tasty Made at one time offered "responsibly raised" beef. But after customers complained about the prices, Chipotle switched to cheaper, conventionally-raised beef so that it could lower those prices. Chipotle has said it will revisit the idea of better beef products in the future, and it may be that Blais ushers in some of those changes. In the announcement, the chef said, "there is no more iconic fast food than burgers, and I have always thought that there is a way to do them on a really big scale without compromising the quality of the food or the overall restaurant experience."