10 Questions with Chef …Eric Ripert
By Susan Dyer Reynolds
Restaurant: Le Bernardin,155 West 51st Street, New York; 212-554-1515, www.le-bernardin.com.
Mantra: “The fish is the star of the plate. That dictates all
Upcoming projects: A series for PBS debuting this September called Avec Eric, which will take viewers behind the scenes at Le Bernardin, around the world for inspiration, and then back to the kitchen to cook.
Fun Fact: Ripert used to go dancing with Aqua’s executive chef, Laurent Manrique. “Techno in New York City,” he says with a devilish smile. “Now, I would need a week to recover.”
Last thing you cooked for yourself?
Boudin blanc. For a guy who has a fish restaurant, not bad, huh?
Favorite food from your childhood?
I have a lot of good memories … probably apple tart and croque-monsieur.
How would you describe working in your kitchen?
An experience [laughs]. Surprisingly civilized, very kind – at least we try. Happy cooks cook better.
Something in your fridge or freezer that would surprise people?
Pastelles – they are like Puerto Rican tamales wrapped in banana leaf. My wife is Puerto Rican so we always have them in the freezer.
Your worst kitchen experience?
My friend had a 20-seat restaurant and he asked me to help him with a New Year’s Eve dinner – he was hired by a hotel to cook for 500 people, with six cooks.
What is the last restaurant you ate at here in San Francisco?
The Slanted Door for lunch today. It was my first time. I loved it.
If you retired tomorrow, what dish would you be remembered for?
Carpaccio of tuna with foie gras.
What is your favorite offal?
Is foie gras offal?
What do you do for staff meals?
The cooks do Mexican food. We have a menu for the week, and Saturday is pizza day. Once a week we have something Mexican – tacos, enchiladas.
Ultimate fantasy meal – what, who, where?
Something simple with good wine and my family and friends in the Redwoods. I love the Redwoods.
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