Eric Ripert

Chef

New York

Eric Ripert is the chef and co-owner of the New York restaurant Le Bernardin. In addition, Ripert has partnered with The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company to open restaurants at various destinations, including Blue in Grand Cayman. He is chair of City Harvest’s Food Council, a New York-based food rescue organization, as well as a recipient of the Légion d’Honneur, France’s highest honor. He has served as a guest judge on Bravo’s Top Chef and is the host of his own PBS TV series Avec Eric, which has won Emmy and James Beard awards. Ripert is the author of four cookbooks, including Avec Eric (2010), On the Line (2008), A Return to Cooking (2002) and Le Bernardin Cookbook (1998).

  • On August 22, 2012
    Eric Ripert answered the question: Eric Ripert

    Has having a TV show influenced Eric Ripert's cooking?

    Television doesn’t influence my cooking. Although, when I do the show Avec Eric and that I interact with beekeepers, fishermen and growers, and so on, I am inspired. But as a general rule, being on Top Chef or being on The Today Show, the latter one, doesn’t necessarily inspire me for the kitchen. However, I like television a lot. I like the media because I can share, which I like very much, and I can express myself. And the more I express myself, the more I understand the process of what we are doing. So, I like television a lot, also, because of the benefits of reaching out — people in their living room, in their kitchen, and even in their bedroom. And then, you create awareness to what we do here, and obviously, we have benefits of having people being curious to come see the restaurant.
  • On August 22, 2012
    Eric Ripert answered the question: Eric Ripert

    Has having a TV show influenced Eric Ripert's cooking?

    Television doesn’t influence my cooking. Although, when I do the show Avec Eric and that I interact with beekeepers, fishermen and growers, and so on, I am inspired. But as a general rule, being on Top Chef or being on The Today Show, the latter one, doesn’t necessarily inspire me for the kitchen. However, I like television a lot. I like the media because I can share, which I like very much, and I can express myself. And the more I express myself, the more I understand the process of what we are doing. So, I like television a lot, also, because of the benefits of reaching out — people in their living room, in their kitchen, and even in their bedroom. And then, you create awareness to what we do here, and obviously, we have benefits of having people being curious to come see the restaurant.
  • On August 22, 2012
    Eric Ripert answered the question: Eric Ripert

    What kind of dining experience is Eric Ripert trying to present?

    Well, we have a very loyal New York clientele that support us for many, many years. We have, also, a very young clientele — New York clientele — as well. So, it’s a nice mix at night. We have a lot of tourists and a lot of businesspeople, and I think, in the restaurant it would be naive to think that everybody is seeking the same experience. Some people come here to have a great meal, and we call them “foodies.” Some people come here because they’re celebrating something. Some people are here because they’re visiting New York; they want to see what’s going on in the restaurants in New York. Some people are doing business and they’re trying to — either way — impress their client, or potentially, sign a deal. So, it’s a variety of people who are passing by here, and it’s the job of the waiter to read the clients, and to see what they are seeking, and then deliver the experience that they expect.
  • On August 22, 2012
    Eric Ripert answered the question: Eric Ripert

    What kind of dining experience is Eric Ripert trying to present?

    Well, we have a very loyal New York clientele that support us for many, many years. We have, also, a very young clientele — New York clientele — as well. So, it’s a nice mix at night. We have a lot of tourists and a lot of businesspeople, and I think, in the restaurant it would be naive to think that everybody is seeking the same experience. Some people come here to have a great meal, and we call them “foodies.” Some people come here because they’re celebrating something. Some people are here because they’re visiting New York; they want to see what’s going on in the restaurants in New York. Some people are doing business and they’re trying to — either way — impress their client, or potentially, sign a deal. So, it’s a variety of people who are passing by here, and it’s the job of the waiter to read the clients, and to see what they are seeking, and then deliver the experience that they expect.
  • On August 22, 2012
    Eric Ripert answered the question: Eric Ripert

    Does Eric Ripert think it takes creativity to be a chef?

    So, creativity is something that you don’t control. You cannot say, “I’m going to be creative in one minute and I will stop in five minutes,” or push a button and turn it off when you’re done. Creativity comes whenever it wants, at least for me. I cannot domesticate that kind of experience. So, I have the habit of taking notes on papers when I have an idea, and so that way, I don’t forget. And then, I put my notes back into a file, well-written, and then, from those ideas, I look at them again, and they give me other ideas. Like, I mix idea #3 with idea #10 sometimes, and I come with another list. And then, I narrow down, narrow down, and I have at the end, from 100 notes that I took, maybe 10 that I try. Out of the 10, five are good. But it’s an endless process, and now, I mentor my sous chefs and I have also someone on staff who’s dedicated all day long to create and to find new ingredients and study techniques. So, we work together on that. So, that’s the creative side.
  • On August 22, 2012
    Eric Ripert answered the question: Eric Ripert

    Does Eric Ripert think it takes creativity to be a chef?

    So, creativity is something that you don’t control. You cannot say, “I’m going to be creative in one minute and I will stop in five minutes,” or push a button and turn it off when you’re done. Creativity comes whenever it wants, at least for me. I cannot domesticate that kind of experience. So, I have the habit of taking notes on papers when I have an idea, and so that way, I don’t forget. And then, I put my notes back into a file, well-written, and then, from those ideas, I look at them again, and they give me other ideas. Like, I mix idea #3 with idea #10 sometimes, and I come with another list. And then, I narrow down, narrow down, and I have at the end, from 100 notes that I took, maybe 10 that I try. Out of the 10, five are good. But it’s an endless process, and now, I mentor my sous chefs and I have also someone on staff who’s dedicated all day long to create and to find new ingredients and study techniques. So, we work together on that. So, that’s the creative side.
  • On August 22, 2012
    Eric Ripert answered the question: Eric Ripert

    How has Eric Ripert's cooking changed over the decades?

    I think you develop cooking wisdom by making a lot of mistakes. You become more confident. You understand much more, “What is your style?” And then we evolve, but we evolve in a very subtle way, making sure that always we keep the mantra in mind, which is, again, “The fish is the star of the plate.”

    Twenty years ago, I was very influenced by my roots, by the Mediterranean. So, whatever I was cooking at Le Bernardin was under very strong influence from the Mediterranean. And then, New York actually excited my curiosity, and I went to a lot of restaurants. I went to markets. I talked to a lot of people in the industry, ate a lot — a lot of pleasure, of course — and that changed a little bit my way of cooking, and it’s when I integrated some ingredients from different cultures.
  • On August 22, 2012
    Eric Ripert answered the question: Eric Ripert

    How has Eric Ripert's cooking changed over the decades?

    I think you develop cooking wisdom by making a lot of mistakes. You become more confident. You understand much more, “What is your style?” And then we evolve, but we evolve in a very subtle way, making sure that always we keep the mantra in mind, which is, again, “The fish is the star of the plate.”

    Twenty years ago, I was very influenced by my roots, by the Mediterranean. So, whatever I was cooking at Le Bernardin was under very strong influence from the Mediterranean. And then, New York actually excited my curiosity, and I went to a lot of restaurants. I went to markets. I talked to a lot of people in the industry, ate a lot — a lot of pleasure, of course — and that changed a little bit my way of cooking, and it’s when I integrated some ingredients from different cultures.
  • On August 22, 2012
    Eric Ripert answered the question: Eric Ripert

    Why does Eric Ripert focus on seafood dishes?

    I think it’s destiny. I worked in few restaurants before Le Bernardin and I always ended up in a fish station, although I know how to cook meat pretty well. And the only thing I don’t know how to do well is pastry, because it’s too scientific, and I’m more instinctive as a cook. But I always, after doing the round of the kitchen, ended up in a fish station and developed, obviously, expertise and a certain passion for it. And then, in 1991, I came to Le Bernardin. Suddenly, I realized that Le Bernardin is a seafood restaurant, and for me, it’s basically a gigantic fish station. So, I’m very comfortable with taking the position of a chef, and it’s why I’m still here 20 years later.
  • On August 22, 2012
    Eric Ripert answered the question: Eric Ripert

    Why does Eric Ripert focus on seafood dishes?

    I think it’s destiny. I worked in few restaurants before Le Bernardin and I always ended up in a fish station, although I know how to cook meat pretty well. And the only thing I don’t know how to do well is pastry, because it’s too scientific, and I’m more instinctive as a cook. But I always, after doing the round of the kitchen, ended up in a fish station and developed, obviously, expertise and a certain passion for it. And then, in 1991, I came to Le Bernardin. Suddenly, I realized that Le Bernardin is a seafood restaurant, and for me, it’s basically a gigantic fish station. So, I’m very comfortable with taking the position of a chef, and it’s why I’m still here 20 years later.
  • On August 22, 2012
    Eric Ripert answered the question: Eric Ripert

    What are Eric Ripert's favorite places to dine with his son in New York City?

    He thinks the table we always sit at while at Balthazar is his table. He doesn’t know that people can potentially eat at that table. We go everywhere with him, but we like to go to places with a lot of energy, which are, in concept, close to what Balthazar is — modern brasseries or cafes or pizzerias. I love Serafina Pizzeria. They have the best pizza.
  • On August 22, 2012
    Eric Ripert answered the question: Eric Ripert

    What are Eric Ripert's favorite places to dine with his son in New York City?

    He thinks the table we always sit at while at Balthazar is his table. He doesn’t know that people can potentially eat at that table. We go everywhere with him, but we like to go to places with a lot of energy, which are, in concept, close to what Balthazar is — modern brasseries or cafes or pizzerias. I love Serafina Pizzeria. They have the best pizza.
  • On August 22, 2012
    Eric Ripert answered the question: Eric Ripert

    What's the best trip that Eric Ripert ever took?

    It’s hard to choose one, but I have some very fond memories of going to Greece and doing the islands. It was in 1994 — I went to Greece, spent a little bit of time inland, and then went to Crete and then to Santorini, to Mykonos. That was really a great trip — the simplicity of the food, how friendly the people were, the beauty. I’ve never seen a better sunset than in Santorini.
  • On August 22, 2012
    Eric Ripert answered the question: Eric Ripert

    What's the best trip that Eric Ripert ever took?

    It’s hard to choose one, but I have some very fond memories of going to Greece and doing the islands. It was in 1994 — I went to Greece, spent a little bit of time inland, and then went to Crete and then to Santorini, to Mykonos. That was really a great trip — the simplicity of the food, how friendly the people were, the beauty. I’ve never seen a better sunset than in Santorini.
  • On August 22, 2012
    Eric Ripert answered the question: Eric Ripert

    If Eric Ripert were cooking dinner for his closest friends, what would he serve?

    It depends. In the summer, I usually entertain on the weekend. I have a country house, and I have a grill. I love to grill everything, from vegetables to meat to fish — everything goes on the grill. Then, in the winter, I like to do some stews, like a coq au vin, or meat stews with lamb, or beef or something like that. The dessert? I buy them. I am a lousy pastry chef — very lousy. So, the dessert, it’s absolutely not coming from me.