(laughing) So it’s a big difference from being an employee of someone telling you what to do. That’s the negative aspect of it, the glamour I see…the glamour is artificial.
It’s rare…that’s why we see a lot of chefs opening small places because they don’t necessarily have a lot of money, however they want freedom. In 1972, Gilbert and Maguy le Coze — the original owners — opened Le Bernardin in Paris with 20 seats, himself [Gilbert] in the kitchen and no decor, and today Le Bernardin is what it is. (laughing) I mean, sometimes in a recession you are not so excited but…. There is no glamour as soon as you walk in the kitchen, close the door, and have your hand in the ass of a chicken.
When you own the restaurant, you do whatever you want. Well, look, if you want to become a chef, you need to know that it’s go to culinary school.
“I’ve known Eric for years, and I had no idea that this was how it all started.
If you want to get a clear picture of where one gets the drive and dedication to be a truly great chef, there is no better or more harrowing an account.” —Anthony Bourdain “This book demonstrates just how amazing Eric’s life has been both inside and outside of the kitchen.
Ranked the 19th best restaurant internationally by The World’s 50 Best Restaurants list, Le Bernardin — where Ripert has been since 1991 — is a restaurant owned and run by a chef crowned with not only critical acclaim, but even more rare, the sterling reputation of existing as a near anomaly in an industry dominated by ego and temper.
Below, Ripert talks culinary inspiration, kitchen philosophies, and evolving in the era of the Food Network. You know, every big city is becoming a big dining city.