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06B | april 09-16, 2008 | » sevendaysvt.com OF VERMONT

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2/5/08 12:21:03 PM

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Chef Claude Blais has built a mainstay eatery in Killington



Noelle C. Thabault, MD, LLC

LASER THERAPY OF VERMONT

CHEF CLAUDE BLAIS

RISTORANTE 126 COLLEGE ST., BURLINGTON

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We will be closed for vacation Monday, April 7 thru Wednesday, April 16. We will Reopen Thursday, April 17.

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3/31/08 9:46:55 AM

Dinner For

BY KIRK KARDASHIAN

T

he way he tells it, Claude Blais has never had trouble finding a job in a kitchen. Since opening Choices Restaurant in 1986, he hasn’t had trouble finding customers, either. For all the seasonal fluctuations of a resort town, and the shifting demographics of downhill skiing, Choices has been a culinary rock in Killington’s turbid economic waters. Yes, the throngs of

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Los Cardos, Malbec Pistachio Encrusted Pork Tenderloin Pavao, Vino Verde Vegetable Risotto Grilled Salmon in a Saffron Sauce Chef’s Selection APPETIZER Soup of the Day FINALE Caesar Salad Espresso • Coffee • Tea Field Greens

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after two years to the New York campus of the Culinary Institute of America (CIA), from which he graduated in 1975. The CIA served him well. “It was a quick stepping stone into the industry,” he says. With the ink still drying on his Associate’s degree in occupational sciences, Blais and a few friends set out for California, where, he recalls, “I found out right away that I was the first one that was employable.” He cooked at Hyatt Regency

whenever he had time off. One fall in the early 1980s, he found himself in his home state and decided to stay the year. So, starting at Jay Peak and working his way down Route 100, he submitted applications at every ski resort until he got to Killington. Though he got plenty of job offers, Blais liked Killington for its mix of development and opportunity: Well-known, the resort still had potential for growth. He took a chef

For all the seasonal fluctuations of a resort town, and the shifting demographics of downhill skiing, Choices has been a culinary rock in Killington’s turbid economic waters. weekenders keep Blais’ place humming during the winter, but it’s the locals that keep him in business all year long, and that’s the way he likes it. Blais, 55, has a head of gray hair, slightly droopy eyes and a gentle, almost phlegmatic demeanor as he chops vegetables on a sunny Thursday afternoon. He’s from Derby Line — one of the few people, he jokes, who had to move south to get to Killington. Blais studied at the University of Vermont but transferred

hotels, spending a few years in San Diego and six more in San Francisco, where he decided he preferred working at independent restaurants. Being on the coast, Blais racked up plenty of experience at seafood joints. To this day, he most enjoys preparing fish, “only because it requires a little more of a delicate touch to do it right,” he says. Though he was thriving in San Francisco, Blais must have left his heart in Vermont, because he hightailed it back

position at the now-defunct Alpine Inn and fell in love with the place. “After my first year here,” he says, “I thought, ‘Why would you want to go back to California?’” After a couple of years at the Alpine Inn, Blais heard about the Glazebrook condominium development being built by longtime Killington resident Horace “Red” Glaze. The first phase had already been constructed when Blais met the developer at an open house. “I saw his plans for all

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Seven Days, April 9, 2008  

Why Natalie Garza Won’t Give Up the Seach for Her Son; Breaking Down the Compost Saga; Youngest House Representative Faces an Old Battle; Ea...

Seven Days, April 9, 2008  

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