Mary Nolan Bio

With a fun-loving personality and an insatiable passion for all things culinary, Mary Nolan shares her sophisticated yet simple meal ideas and crowd-pleasing tips for memorable occasions on Food Network's Chic & Easy. Mary's unique, stylish and inspiring solutions make entertaining success surprisingly attainable.

Growing up in Davenport, Iowa, Mary spent a great deal of time on her grandparents' rural farms providing an unmistakable appreciation for the origin of food. From casual weeknights to holiday extravaganzas, all meals were a creative outlet for the Nolan family. Mary's mother, Patricia, continually fostered her daughter's epicurean interests through hands-on experience in her own kitchen, as well as culinary-focused vacations and excursions.

While obtaining a journalism degree from The University of Wisconsin-Madison, Mary enrolled in nutrition and food science courses and worked at a local Italian restaurant - all of which continued to kindle her culinary flame. Word spread about her love of cooking and knack for entertaining, and Mary soon began catering bridal showers and parties for friends.

Mary also spent a semester living in the Tuscan countryside just outside of Florence, Italy - an experience that fed (literally) her obsession with all things epicurean. She relished the Italian culture and cuisine. The markets full of incredible ingredients and the unwavering Italian traditions remain a source of inspiration in Mary's cooking.

After graduating from college, Mary landed a job in New York City that combined her love of words and food, as an assistant at the premier culinary magazine, Gourmet, where she eventually became an advertising copywriter. She is currently attending The Institute of Culinary Education. Mary's desire to share her fresh perspective and her dedication to accessibly chic entertaining now take center stage with her new Food Network series.

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Richard Blais Bio

Most recognizable as the winner of Bravo's Top Chef All-Stars, Richard Blais has played an influential role in hospitality for the last 15 years. He began his career, as so many young aspiring chefs do, as the "poissonnier" at McDonald's. It was here that he first dabbled in deconstruction in cuisine, serving Filet-O-Fish sandwiches sans top bun. His developing passion for food and the service industry led Richard to The Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, N.Y. As an ambitious student, he spent time between semesters studying at the French Laundry in Yountville, Calif., under renowned Chef Thomas Keller and alongside then-rising stars Grant Achatz and Eric Ziebold. Upon graduating from the CIA in 1998, Richard ventured to New York for the opportunity to work with Chef Daniel Boulud at his famous flagship, Restaurant Daniel. Richard then followed his professional compass to Roses, Spain, where he completed a brief stage at El Bulli with culinary wizard Ferran Adrià. In 2000 Richard relocated to Atlanta to oversee a local seafood concept. His wildly creative approach to cooking and cuisine led to the establishment of Trail Blais, a forward-thinking culinary company that has consulted on, designed and operated some of Atlanta's most-popular eateries, including multiple outposts of Flip Burger Boutique and HD-1. He recently launched The Spence, a restaurant concept in midtown Atlanta, and opened Juniper & Ivy, in San Diego, where he offers a refined approach to American cuisine and showcases the seasonal and local ingredients of California. In Richard's debut cookbook, Try This at Home: Recipes from My Head to Your Plate, he reveals a simplified approach to adventurous cooking by sharing new flavor combinations and textures to reinvent home cooks' classic dishes. Each of the 125 recipes is straightforward enough to make at home, but for those who want to try using liquid nitrogen or a sous-vide machine, Richard offers fun variations on his recipes that add another level of excitement in the kitchen. Try This at Home was nominated for a James Beard Foundation Award in 2014 in the Cookbook: General Cooking category. In December 2013 Richard appeared as the host of a brand-new television program entitled Cook Your Ass Off. The show, which aired on the HLN network, is a transformational culinary contest that focuses on the health struggles of everyday people. Talented chef contestants are pitted against each other in a three-round competition to transform daily indulgences into healthy and delicious meals. Richard has also appeared on the Today Show, Good Morning America, Live! with Kelly and Michael, and Late Night with Jimmy Fallon, as well as in numerous publications, including The New York Times, InStyle and Food & Wine magazine.

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