Chef Richard Blais to helm new restaurant at Park Hyatt Aviara

Chef Richard Blais
Chef Richard Blais
(Eduardo Contreras / The San Diego Union-Tribune)

The Del Mar celebrity chef plans a vintage country club-style eatery with seafood and aged steaks

Richard Blais, the Del Mar celebrity chef who helped launch Juniper & Ivy and the Crack Shack eateries in Little Italy before moving on a few years ago, is about to put his stamp on another new local restaurant.

Blais is the signature chef for a yet-to-be-named surf-and-turf-style restaurant slated to open next March at the Park Hyatt Aviara Resort in Carlsbad.

The new restaurant — which will replace the Argyle Steakhouse overlooking the Batiquitos Lagoon — is part of a $50 million renovation project that added new room upgrades and suites, 83,000 square feet of new meeting and event space, an updated lobby, a new family pool and new restaurant and bar concepts.

Blais, 48, said he’s excited to be creating a new restaurant concept that’s so close to home. Since 2014, he has lived in Del Mar with his wife, Jazmin, and their daughters, Riley and Embry.

The newly renovated lobby of the Park Hyatt Aviara resort in Carlsbad.
(Courtesy photo)

Over the past couple of years, Blais has traveled extensively for work on television shows, hosting cooking events and appearances at food festivals. Winner of Bravo’s “Top Chef: All Stars” in 2010, Blais just flew home from Portland, Ore., where he spent two months as one of the rotating alumni judges on the series’ 18th season. It will air next spring.

Last year, Blais estimates he took 300 flights and spent one of every three days on a plane. As a result, he stays in a lot of high-end hotels around the country and said he has grown to love full-service resorts like Park Hyatt Aviara with nice restaurants, spas and golf courses. So when Aviara officials approached him last year about developing a new restaurant project, he was hooked.

“I always had a dream of having a restaurant that was associated with a world-class property. It’s a world that I really love,” he said on Wednesday. “When this came along, it was certainly something I was excited about and it’s in my backyard. I spend most of my time in North County, so it made a lot of sense.”

Details on the restaurant’s name and menu are still mostly under wraps, but Blais said the new restaurant — which anchors the Aviara Golf Club — will have a vintage Southern California country club vibe. Arnold Palmer designed the Aviara golf course, so Blais said the restaurant will honor that history, but it will mix in modern concepts.

  Aviara Golf Club at the Park Hyatt Aviara resort in Carlsbad.
The new Richard Blais-helmed restaurant will open in March 2021 at the Aviara Golf Club at the Park Hyatt Aviara resort in Carlsbad.
(Courtesy photo)

The restaurant’s menu will feature locally caught seafood and aged steaks and will aim to source a good share of its ingredients from West Coast purveyors and farms, he said.

The arrival of the pandemic in March has kept Blais mostly at home these days, where he said he’s been very busy hosting online cooking classes at the outdoor kitchen in his backyard for corporate and private customers. Cooking more at home this year has whetted his appetite to be back working in a restaurant again at the Park Hyatt Aviara.

“I’m so hungry to just be in the kitchen cooking and creating this,” he said. “This will be a home base for me for the upcoming future, for sure. One thing we’re worried about is a chef who just puts their name on something and is never a part of it. But this will be a place for people to see me.”