About Chef Ripert and Le Bernardin
Born in Antibes, France in 1965, Chef Eric Ripert 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, France, and in 1982 went to work at La Tour d'Argent, the renowned Parisian establishment that dates back more than 400 years. Two years later, Ripert moved to the 3 Michelin star restaurant Jamin, where he soon was promoted to chef poissonier.
In 1989, Ripert came to the United States to work as a sous chef for Jean Louis Palladin at 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 hired by Maguy and Gilbert Le Coze as a chef for Le Bernardin.
In 1995, Ripert earned four star rating for Le Bernardin from The New York Times: dishes such as Spanish Mackerel Tartare with Osetra Caviar and Sauce Ravigote, and Crispy Chinese Spiced Snapper with Cepes, Aged Port and Jerez Vinegar have earned him acclaim in magazines such as Food Arts, The Wine Spectator, W and Elle. In 1996, Chef Ripert became partners with Maguy Le Coze.
Le Bernardin has consistently earned the highest awards in the industry from Zagat’s and from the James Beard Foundation, which tapped Eric as the top chef in New York in 1998. This year, Time Out New York recognized Le Bernardin as The Best Seafood Restaurant in New York.
About A Return to Cooking (Amazon.com abstract)
Eric Ripert, chef and part owner of New York's Le Bernadin, discovered that as his chef star rose he drifted far, far away from cooking. A Return to Cooking is his response to this sorry predicament, the result of a self-imposed challenge: to gather together disparate souls--a painter (Valentino Cortazar), a writer (Michael Ruhlman, author of The Making of a Chef and The Soul of a Chef), photographers (Shimon and Tammar Rothstein), and a personal assistant (Andrea Glick, who would write and test the spontaneously created recipes)--and simply cook.
The settings (and fresh food ingredients) are spectacular. Sag Harbor in summer. Puerto Rico in winter. California's Napa Valley in spring. Vermont in fall. Rent a house, shop for food, and make the meals happen. For anyone who has ever wanted to understand how a great cook looks at ingredients and settles on a plan, A Return to Cooking is it. In Puerto Rico the reader is treated to Caramelized Pineapple Crepes with Crème Frâiche; Shrimp with Fresh Coconut Milk, Calabaza, and Avocado; and Seared Tuna with Escabeche of Pear Tomatoes.
About the Q&A (beginning December 16)
Due to Chef Ripert's time constraints, there will be a maximum of 25 questions asked with no followups. The session will be fully moderated, and we will only be releasing one question per user at a time -- we will release additional user's questions (a maximum of 3 per user) towards the end of the week, if there is room.
Chef Ripert has graciously offered 3 copies of A Return to Cooking to the users who ask the 3 best questions. Good luck to everyone in what is bound to be a very exciting Q&A!
Chef Eric Ripert
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