Does Eric Ripert make changes to his dishes?
When the menu is done, whatever has been decided for the dish — the profile of the dish — that is unchangeable. Now, if the patron says, “I don’t like squid ink. Can you remove it from my plate?” Yes, we will accommodate, for sure, but what we try to do — except if we have a specific request — we try to be consistent day and night with the same flavor profile, the same presentation, the same everything, because it takes hours — it takes days, weeks, sometimes years for us to create a dish exactly the way we want. And then, when we have achieved that, it’s, we believe, the most harmonious combination or more harmonious work that we have put on the plate. Soon as you change a little bit of the proportions, the dish is unbalanced.
If your sauce is slightly more concentrated, it’s not the same dish. We keep a very tight control on the sauce. Sauce is very volatile. Flavors, as you know, cannot be calculated in anything in your mind. It’s like music notes are in your mind. I mean, you don’t say you have a pound of rosemary flavor in the sauce, but you create a certain profile and it’s all here. And then, you share with someone who does it, and then, you stay where you are. You control the sauce.
I mean, it’s easy to understand if I make the analogy of saying, when you make your coffee in the morning, you drink it fresh, right away. Now, when you drink your coffee — which is a single ingredient, actually — three hours later, it’s another product. If you drink it in the afternoon, it’s kind of going down the hill. At night, it’s bad. Tomorrow, it’s disgusting. So, you can imagine for flavors and for the dishes. So, we are very much in control and keep it; we don’t create anymore. When it’s on the menu, it’s no more creativity. It stays there.