Eric Ripert was born in Antibes, France in 1965, He began his relationship with food in the most formative of all kitchens his grandmother's. Watching, tasting and learning at her elbow, Ripert developed the Mediterranean palate that influences his cooking today. When the young chef's family moved to Andorra, just over the Spanish border, he expanded his repertoire to include Spanish flavors and ingredients.
Ripert attended culinary school in Perpignan, and in 1982 moved to Paris to work at La Tour D'Argent, the renowned Parisian establishment that dates back more than 400 years. After two years as a cook, Ripert moved to the Michelin three-star, Jamin, where he soon was promoted to Assistant Chef de Partie. He left to fulfill his military service in 1985, then returned at the request of Jamin chef/owner Joel Robuchon, as Chef Poissonier.
Ripert came to the United States in 1989 to work as sous chef at Jean Louis in the Watergate Hotel in Washington, D.C. In 1991, he moved to New York, where he worked briefly as sous-chef under David Bouley until he was offered to work for Maguy and Gilbert Le Coze as a chef for Le Bernardin.
In 1995, Ripert earned a four star rating from the New York Times, and has subsequently been praised in magazines such as Gourmet, Food Arts, The Wine Spectator, W and Elle. In 1997, GQ named Le Bernardin the best restaurant in America. It continues to receive critical acclaim for its food and service, including being recognized by the Zagat Guide as the "Best Food" in New York City for the past four consecutive years. In 1998, the James Beard Foundation named Le Bernardin Outstanding Restaurant of the Year and Eric Ripert Top Chef in New York City, and in 1999 they received the Outstanding Service Award. This year, the Beard Foundation named Ripert Outstanding Chef in the United States.
Ripert is the Chair of City Harvest's Food Council. In this capacity he works to bring together New York's top chefs, restaurateurs and others in the food community to assist City Harvest in its mission to raise funds and to increase the quantity and quality of food donations. Ripert is also the President of the newly formed Jean-Louis Palladin Foundation. The foundation serves as an ongoing tribute to Chef Jean-Louis Palladin and seeks to keep alive his great contributions to the culinary arts. Part of its mission will be to develop programs to increase the understanding and appreciation of high quality ingredients among young chefs and food professionals.
Ripert has been the guest chef at the French Embassy in both Mexico and in Venezuela, at the masters of Food and Wine in Carmel, California, and for the New York City Ballet. In 1996, Chef Ripert became a part owner of Le Bernardin.
His new book, A Return to Cooking, was published last November by Artisan. A collaborative effort with photographers Shimon and Tammar Rothstein, artist Valentino Cortazar, and writer Michael Ruhlman, A Return to Cooking was selected by Newsweek Magazine as one of their best gift books of the season. Eric has been featured this season in Food and Wine, Food Arts, Gourmet and GQ.
Eric Ripert won the James Beard Award for 2003 Outstanding Chef of the Year.
Le Bernardin Cookbook:
By Maguy Le Coze and Eric Ripert
Reprinted by permission.
This page modified September 2010
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