The Secret Ingredient Richard Blais Swears By For Crispy Fried Fish - Exclusive

Richard Blais is wrapping up Season 2 of the hit cooking show "Next Level Chef." In it, Blais, along with Gordon Ramsay and Nyesha Arrington, helps mentor chefs from all different backgrounds to become the best possible chef. Of course, we all have to start somewhere, and for Blais, that was in the wonderful world of cooking fish at McDonald's. We are not going to knock the Filet-o-Fish sandwich; it absolutely has its place. But we wanted to know just how to make perfectly crispy fried fish, and in an exclusive interview with Mashed, Richard Blais let us in on the secret ingredient he swears by. He explained, "The secret is adding a little vodka to your beer batter."

This trick comes straight from Blais' new restaurant, California English, which is serving up crispy fried fish and chips. While a beer batter may be common, adding in a double helping of booze by way of vodka helps achieve the perfect fried fish.

Why it works

As Richard Blais explained, it is the high alcohol content of vodka that really makes a difference in the fish's coating: "If you've ever put alcohol in a pan, it sort of flambés — it dries out the crust and you get this really crispy texture on it." As many know, fried fish is typically best eaten immediately, as it is prone to sogginess — but not if you add vodka. Blais said that with this addition, fish from California English never loses its crispiness: "You can get a to-go order of it and drive 30, 45 minutes, and it'll still be crispy when you get to where you're going."

For those worrying about the vodka changing the flavor, do not be. "The vodka doesn't have any flavor," Blais said. Adding vodka to add crispness to food is not unheard of. Vodka is also a popular ingredient in pie crust to create a flaky, perfect crust. Who knew adding one little drink could have such a positive impact on cooking?

The Season 2 finale of "Next Level Chef" airs on Fox on May 11.