"When you're lucky in life, you give back and I am very lucky. I give back as much as I can," says chef, restaurateur, and author, Eric Ripert
. When it comes to what inspires him he tells Hamptons.com, "The passion, obviously, for eating at a young age and then from cooking of course." Ripert took a break from the busy lunch rush at Le Bernardin in New York City to speak to us about favorite his Hamptons spots, giving back and being honored at the 2013 Chefs Dinner.
Ripert, a native Frenchmen, gained accolades in the culinary world at an early age as the executive chef New York City restaurant Le Bernardin. He came to the United States after an opportunity arose to work with Jean Louis Palladin at the Watergate Hotel in Washington D.C. "I wanted to travel because I was young and I was excited to go anywhere in the world," said Ripert. "I thought 'I would love to go to America.'" After his stint in the Capital, he was enticed by the broad range of culinary opportunities the Big Apple had to offer. In NYC he worked as David Bouley's sous-chef before landing at Le Bernardin with Gilbert Le Coze.
While Le Bernardin is known for their phenomenal seafood dishes the chef, like a proud parent, isn't partial to cooking one dish in particular. "I can't say I have a favorite because I would be crazy to have a favorite. I love so many dishes on the menu. But I will say that during the week I eat seafood. On the weekend, I eat meat. "
When out of the kitchen Ripert and not with his family, he keeps busy with charitable organizations. He is the chair of City Harvest's Food Council, whose goal is to end in communities throughout New York City, and is the president of the Jean-Louis Palladin Foundation which aims to enhance the knowledge of using high quality ingredients for young chefs and food professionals.
"I have a trained palate," says Ripert who has also made appearances on Bravo's Top Chef
as a guest judge. For him judging the constantans was not a daunting task, "I know what I like and I know when it makes sense or not. When I was judging them, I was always very informative. It was always positive in a sense. It was no struggle at all."
When in the Hamptons Ripert takes daily walks on Flying Point Beach in Water Mill and he also enjoys tasting the work of his peers, "I go out to eat a lot all over the Hamptons. I have a lot of favorite places." Those include Nick & Toni's
in East Hampton, the American Hotel
and the Beacon in Sag Harbor, and Saint Ambrose and Red Bar in Southampton.
He was humbled at being honored at this years Chefs Dinner, "I said 'No way!' I was surprised. I didn't expect it at all. It's always a nice compliment."
The 2013 Chefs Dinner is being held on Sunday, July 28th at the Hayground School. For tickets visit www.greatchefsdinner.com.
Nicole is the Deputy Editor of Hamptons.com where she focuses on lifestyle, nightlife, and mixology. She grew up in the Hamptons and currently resides in Water Mill. www.hamptons.com