Top chef balances work and life

Eric RipertMany celebrity chefs--Wolfgang Puck, Gordon Ramsay, Jamie Oliver, and Emeril Lagasse, among others--expand their presence by hosting a television show (or two) or by creating a restaurant dynasty with outposts in many countries (or both). Their schedules are frenetic as they attempt to manage their far-flung empires. But not Eric Ripert, the amiable chef of Le Bernardin in New York City. He runs one of the top restaurants in the world and has a sizeable media presence but doesn't work himself to death, as Bloomberg Business reports

The in-depth interview takes us behind the scenes at Ripert's Le Bernardin in New York City, where the chef goes nearly every day, tasting sauces and ensuring that the quality of the restaurant remains at the highest level (it has never lost its 4-star rating from The NY Times, and it has 3 Michelin stars). A few years ago Ripert made a conscious decision not to expand his restaurant empire. "I decided my journey would be in three parts. It would be one-third for myself, one-third for my family, and one-third for my business," he explained. "I've reached my level of contentment career-wise," he continues. "I'm very happy not to expand to other restaurants."

Ripert has an impressive, 1,000+ volume cookbook collection, which he keeps in his Le Bernardin offices. He requires all of his sous chefs to look at every one of those volumes. He doesn't buy cookbooks from the internet, stating that he needs to "feel the book", choosing instead to shop at Kitchen Arts & Letters in New York. He has splurged on cookbooks, spending $1,000 USD for a first edition of Gastronomie Pratique by Ali-Bab. Ripert explains, "It's an emotional connection. It's hard to put a price on emotion."

Although he values his cookbooks, he doesn't treat them with kid gloves, saying "if my book gets stained, that's OK. It's part of the deal." Ripert also has some choice words for cookbooks written by people who he feels are more entertainers than chefs. Read more about that, and how he balances his work and life while keeping the respect of nearly everyone he encounters.

3 Comments

  • Bloominanglophile  on  9/3/2015 at 10:29 AM

    Nice article!

  • Rinshin  on  9/4/2015 at 12:17 AM

    Really enjoyed the article. Terrific chef with a balanced life!

  • Laura  on  9/7/2015 at 12:58 PM

    I've dined at Le Bernardin and I believe that his balanced approach to his life shows up in his restaurant. One of the best dining experiences of my life!

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