Eric Ripert: ‘I’ve Reached My Level of Contentment; I’m Very Happy Not to Expand’

The chef behind the enduringly beloved Le Bernardin reflects on the relationship between Buddhism and business
Eric Ripert: ‘I’ve Reached My Level of Contentment; I’m Very Happy Not to Expand’

Nacho Alegre/Bloomberg Pursuits

‘There’s an intensity when I’m around,’ the chef acknowledges. 

Eric Ripert, the silver fox chef of Le Bernardin, has worked long and hard to maintain a restaurant that, perhaps unlike any other fine-dining establishment, is purposely tranquil and serene — a direct result of the chef’s dedication to Buddhism.  

Similarly, Ripert’s devotion to his restaurant has allowed him a level of focus that supersedes the pressure on celebrity chefs to expand and develop their brand.

“I’ve reached my level of contentment career-wise,” Ripert tells Bloomberg Pursuits, which features the chef on its fall cover. “I’m very happy not to expand to other restaurants.”

In the kitchen, getting all the sauces perfect “is the most important part” of running his three Michelin-starred seafood restaurant, Ripert says. He uses Swiss cheese between bites to balance his palate. “This way, I know what I am tasting. The Swiss cheese is always the same, but if it feels salty or bland, I know my palate is off.”

As for his own presence in the room, Ripert says he’s well aware of the difference it makes to the staff when he walks in. “There’s an intensity when I’m around,” Ripert says. “When you see the boss, you see the boss. I don’t leave them shaking, but you put love into the food. It’s a bit la-la-land, but I believe in it.”

Read the full interview with Éric Ripert online at Bloomberg.

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