Haute Eating: 10 Questions for Chef Eric Ripert of Le Bernardin

Simply mentioning the name Eric Ripert conjures up thoughts of an haute seafood experience at Le Bernardin, widely considered one of the finest seafood restaurants in the country. Chef Ripert has won countless awards for his cuisine, from Best Food in NYC by Zagat and Outstanding Chef of the Year by the James Beard Foundation, plus 4-stars from the New York Times and 3 Michelin Stars for excellence.

Le Bernardin is considered one of the top “must-go-to” restaurants among food lovers—the prix-fixe dinner menu is incredibly alluring, with three categories: almost raw, barely touched and lightly cooked. And now we can also see Ripert on television. He is a guest judge on Bravo’s “Top Chef,” and the second season of his own show, “Avec Eric,” launches this fall on PBS, along with his companion book, also titled Avec Eric. Ripert may be a busy chef, but one thing is certain: dinner at Le Bernardin is a veritable haute dining experience.

Read more about Chef Eric Ripert on his web site, Avec Eric.

Haute Living: What’s new at Le Bernardin?
Eric Ripert: We have been inspired by the summer ingredients available in the markets right now and so we are focusing on making fresh new dishes for our menu.

HL: What are some of your favorite dishes at Le Bernardin?
ER: In all honesty, I don’t have a favorite. We change the menu all the time and I always feel that the next dish is always the best.

HL: Where do you like to dine when you’re not working?
ER: There are many places that I love. If I crave Japanese, I go to Yakitori Totto, if I’m in the mood for pizza, I head to Serafina Pizza and for brunch I can be found most weekends at Balthazar.

HL: What’s your ideal meal?
ER: I love a grilled NY Strip steak on the BBQ with grilled vegetables and a good spiced arugula salad

HL: Where do you like to dine for a special occasion?
ER: I love to celebrate at some of my friend’s restaurants, like Daniel or Jean-Georges or Masa

HL: What’s your favorite NYC neighborhood?
ER: I love the Upper East Side where I live. There are lots of tiny restaurants on Second Avenue with great food and I really enjoy being close to Central Park.

HL: What do you like to do in the city on your days off?
ER: I like to spend my weekends with my family and friends. Very often we travel and when we stay we shop, eat and drink a lot!

HL: Your favorite vacation destination?
ER: Somewhere tropical like the Cayman Islands or Puerto Rico

HL: What’s your most memorable meal?
ER: It has to be one of the simple meals I had growing up with my family. In the summers we would eat outside in the garden at a long table and I have the best memories of those dinners.

HL: What are your five favorite ingredients?
ER: Black truffle, sea salt, honey, dark chocolate and chorizo.

Le Bernardin is located at 155 West 51st St; 212-554-1515

To reach Tracey Ceurvels, visit her blog, The Busy Hedonist, or email her.