“We may have one or two dishes that are unmovable, but in general, what represents Le Bernardin is the way we prepare raw fish.”
When 26-year-old Eric Ripert strolled through the doors of Le Bernardin for his first day of work, he knew his life was about to change forever. So much so, that he even remembers the exact time of his arrival. “I arrived on June 10, 1991 at 7:40am,” he tells Haute Living. “The exact time has stayed with me.”
Twenty-two years, three Michelin stars, and five consecutive four-star reviews later, Ripert is still blowing diners away at his midtown oasis, often touted as NY C’s Temple of Seafood. In addition to running a world-renowned restaurant, the culinary mastermind serves as a reoccurring judge on Bravo’s Top Chef and as the Chair of City Harvest’s Food Council.
What made you want to become a chef?
Eating! I love to eat and grew up in the kitchens of my mother and grandmother who instilled in me a love of food.
Describe your cooking style.
The mantra of Le Bernardin is “The fish is the star of the plate.”
What is the most popular dish served at Le Bernardin?
We change the menu constantly. We may have one or two dishes that are unmovable, but in general, what represents Le Bernardin is the way we prepare raw fish.
Besides fresh fish, is there a specific ingredient that you love to cook with?
A black truffle—it’s very mystical and very rare. They’re all slightly different and don’t taste the same. You have to be very, very careful because if you cook them too much, they lose all their flavor. If you don’t cook them enough, they don’t develop their flavor fully. It’s one of the most magical ingredients.
In your online series, “Get Toasted,” you teach viewers to cook full meals using a toaster oven. What brought that about?
My wife! She started to cook with it and I couldn’t believe what you can produce from it. It’s very efficient and it’s great for cooking for small amounts of people in little space, which is all too common in New York!
What is the most challenging part of being guest on Top Chef ?
The long hours! We often debated for long periods of time over the small details of a dish— sometimes it went into the early hours of the morning!
What is your least favorite food?
What would you choose as your last meal on earth?
It would be with my friends and family and we would have a simple meal of bread, black truffles and Bordeaux.