HomeShoppingWhat’s in your carry-on, Richard Blais? Chef shares 5 travel essentials

What’s in your carry-on, Richard Blais? Chef shares 5 travel essentials


Related stories


Welcome to ‘What’s in Your Travel Bag?’, an ongoing series where we peek inside the suitcases (or fanny packs) of notable travelers to discover their packing tips ahead of a trip. Got recommendations? Email Travel Commerce Editor Kristin Scharkey at 

Chef Richard Blais is known for his culinary prowess both behind the stove at his many restaurants and in front of the camera as a judge for TV shows on the Food Network and FOX. 

After debuting Orlando’s Four Flamingos in 2021, the celebrity chef turned his attention to opening his newest restaurant California English in San Diego, which opened its doors earlier this month. “[California English] is the U.K.’s greatest hits through the lens of California’s people and produce,” Blais says. “Think fish and chips and scones and Scotch eggs and all of the classic U.K. items but with a California focus.”

Besides his growing restaurant empire, Blais is known for his appearances on shows like Top Chef and Next Level Chef. Blais says the latter, in which he stars alongside celebrity chefs Gordon Ramsay and Nyesha Arrington, is going to be more intense during its second season. 

Because he’s constantly traveling around the country shooting TV shows and making appearances at his restaurants, Blais has discovered six must-have items he always needs to pack in his carry-on. “We’re not going to count your phone, you have the phone in your pocket,” says Blais. 

So, what’s actually in his bag? We found out.

Apple AirPods – $249.99

“You gotta have some sort of headphones or your earbuds so that you can, depending on what plane you’re getting on, listen to your favorite podcast or watch a movie,” Blais says. 

The Apple AirPods Pro comes with a small charging case that fits easily into a front pouch of a backpack or suitcase. The noise-canceling headphones have a built-in microphone and are water-resistant. The silicone tips that are included come in four different sizes so you can pick the ones that fit your ears the best. 

Blais says he often toggles between Apple AirPods and larger noise-canceling headphones, depending on where he’s going or what he’s doing. 

Art of Tea English Breakfast Tea – $18 

“I’m a massive Anglophile and I’m on a big tea phase. So, I’m probably packing a couple of bags of high-quality Earl Grey or English breakfast tea with me as well,” Blais says. 

Right now, Blais is into Art of Tea, which sells loose-leaf English breakfast tea. You will need tea filter bags, too; the biodegradable bags come in packages of 100 for $9.

The Book of St. John – $41.58

Blais always has a book that may bring inspiration while he is traveling. “Many times the book never gets opened, but just to be honest, the book just becomes part of [the list] and it has to go [in my bag],” says Blais. 

One book that he’s been known to throw into his carry-on is The Book of St. John, of which Blais has the first edition. In it, Fergus Henderson and Trevor Gulliver show off recipes and cooking styles from their eponymous restaurant. The book mainly covers snout-to-tail cooking, meaning that no part of the animal gets wasted. “It’s just an odd sort of reminder of good cooking. [It’s] a book that’s meant a lot to me,” Blais explains. 

Moleskine Classic Notebook – $22.83

In his line of work as a chef, Blais never knows when inspiration will strike, which is the main reason he always carries a notebook. “There’s always a moleskine and a pen floating around in the carry-on,” he says. 

The classic notebook is small at just 5 x 8.25 inches big. It comes in a variety of colors from basic black to bright yellow. The paper inside the notebook can also be ruled, dotted, plain or squared, which is helpful depending on how you plan to use it. The outside of the notebook has an elastic band to keep everything shut, and there is a ribbon that acts as a bookmark for pages. 

Antique spoons – $23.50

“I love spoons and I’m a spoon collector. You will find me in antique shops, especially when I travel internationally, going to find cool antique spoons,” says Blais. 

- Never miss a story with notifications

- Gain full access to our premium content

- Browse free from up to 5 devices at once

Latest stories



Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here