Cooking Up A Storm
At the age of 17, in 1982, three Michelin-starred Chef Eric Ripert had gained experience by working with Dominique Bouchet et La Tour d’argent in Paris, a famous restaurant that has been operating for the past 400 years. Chef Eric was born in France and learned to cook from his grandmother. As a young boy, he moved to Andorra but later moved back to France to attend a culinary school in Perpignan.
“I have had the lucky opportunity to work in some amazing kitchens with very passionate and talented chefs. I count working with my mentors—dominique Bouchet et La Tour d'argent, Joel Robuchon at Jamin, Jean-louis Palladin at Jean Louis, and of course, Gilbert Le Coze at Le Bernardin—as some of the most inspiring culinary experiences I have had, but I think it is important to never stop learning and experimenting with new things in the kitchen,” he explained. In addition to his widespread learning experiences, Chef Eric was also presented with the opportunity of cooking for His Holiness The Dalai Lama. “Cooking in general makes me happy, but if I have to choose one moment it would have to be cooking for His Holiness the Dalai Lama. That was an incredible experience,” he exclaimed.
Chef Eric has made several guest appearances on cooking-based television shows, including guest judge and assistant chef roles on Topchef. He is also a prominent online figure with up-to-date videos and cooking tips and techniques on his website, AVECERIC.COM. Le Bernardin in New York holds the maximum ratings of four stars from Thenewyorktimes and three stars from Themichelin Guide . However, this does not prevent him from continuing to achieve greatness. “At Le Bernardin, it is easy to keep the focus on the quality of food and creating a memorable experience for our guests because that is what I am passionate about, and keeps me coming to work every day, not ratings. I am, however, very grateful for each one and do not take them for granted.”
Having been exposed to extensive culinary scenes around Asia and Europe, Chef Eric says that some of his best creations owe their success to the varied flavours of Asia’s culinary richness. “The Asian culinary scene is very reliant on seafood and tends to be more simplistic with its flavour combinations and preparation, which is very inspiring for me as a chef. Elevating each ingredient, not masking it (is key to my dishes),” he said. To conclude the inspiring interview, Chef Eric is ever so thankful for being blessed with a wonderful journey and has always had it in him to give back to society. He said: “I have been very lucky in my life, and I think it’s really important for everyone to remember that we are all part of a larger community of people, some of which need our help. At Le Bernardin, we donate food to City Harvest, the world’s first, and New York City’s only, food rescue organization. I am really passionate about the work that City Harvest does, providing free, healthy meals and produce, which would have otherwise gone to waste, to people around the city. On a typical day, City Harvest rescues 126,000 pounds of food and supplies to more than 500 community programmes.”