Chef Bio: Eric Ripert

Eric Ripert

Eric Ripert’s strongest culinary influence came from cooking with his grandmother in Antibes, France, where he was born in 1965 and spent much of his childhood before moving to Spain. His upbringing heavily influenced his culinary palate, which is evident in his specialization of seafood and his infusing a Spanish flavor to his dishes.

Before heading his own restaurants, Ripert worked at Jamin, a three Michelin star restaurant, in Paris, and as a sous chef for the Jean-Louis Palladin at his self-titled restaurant in Washington D.C.’s Watergate Hotel.

Le Bernardin in New York City is perhaps Ripert’s most critically acclaimed restaurant.  Awarded four starts by The New York Times three months after it opened in 1986 almost a decade before Ripert would become a co-owner, Le Bernardin still maintains those four stars today and holds the distinction of never having lost a star. Le Bernardin, which specializes in seafood, also earned three Michelin stars each year from 2005 through 2007.

Ripert’s Weekend Bistro, a self-described casual neighborhood restaurant, caters to the Washington DC crowd with its American cuisine served at brunch, lunch, and dinner while 10 Arts in Philadelphia is described as a contemporary American bistro. Located in the Ritz-Carlton, 10 Arts’ menu features seasonal, organic produce from local farmers.

The only restaurant in the Caribbean with AAA diamond restaurant status, Blue features both classic Eric Ripert dishes, made famous at Le Bernardin, and fresh local fish.

Ripert’s culinary achievements have earned him elite status in the culinary world and have garnered him a slew of awards, including The James Beard Foundation Award for Outstanding Chef in the United States in 2003 and Top Chef in New York City in 1998.

The chef’s critically acclaimed Le Bernardin has also won its fair share of awards. Le Bernardin earned four star status from The New York Times in 1986, a distinction it still holds today; Zagat named its food the Best in New York City from 2000 through 2007, and The James Beard Foundation awarded Le Bernardin 1998’s Outstanding Restaurant of the Year.

Ripert’s culinary accomplishments have naturally translated into television opportunities.Avec Eric debuted on PBS in 2009 and has already received a James Beard Foundation nomination. Currently in its second season, Avec Eric is described as a blend between an eco-friendly travelogue, a cooking show, and a documentary of life at Le Bernardin.

Reality television fans perhaps know Ripert best for his recurring guest judge spot on Bravo TV’s hit series Top Chef. In addition to Top Chef, Ripert has appeared on dozens of televisions shows, including The Today Show, The Early Show, Access Hollywood, The Martha Stewart Show, Jimmy Kimmel Live, and Regis & Kelly.

The celebrity chef is also the author of the books On the Line and A Return to Cooking.

Often displaying a calm demeanor, Ripert doesn’t always keep his cool, as The Boston Herald shared in a March 2011 blurb. In fact, question whether he uses real truffles at Le Bernardin and risk having your table cloth, and everything with it, pulled from beneath your table before you are removed from the restaurant. Ripert’s response to his handling of the situation?  I don’t know what happenedI know I should not have done it. It wasn’t the way to deal with a complaint.”

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