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Behind the Scenes: Le Bernardin's Magic Table Chart

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Krieger, 12/17/08

Midtown: Experienced diners may already be familiar with the exalted seafood at the four star West 51st Street restaurant Le Bernardin, the silky voice of its superhero chef Eric Ripert. But here's something that may be new: the genius, seemingly archaic, organizational chart that dominates the kitchen. While almost all restaurants in New York work solely on ticket and computer based systems, the Ripper keeps his chefs and waiters organized with the addition of the above white board. It's one of the few he knows of around the world. We'll have him explain how it works:

"Lets suppose table one has four people. As soon as four people sit down on table one, the waiter is going to write four on the left most box under the number one. He's going to write the number of people, then he's going to call for an amuse bouche. When the canape goes out, he's going to cross it off." Then the waiter writes the table number in the appetizer box, crosses it when they're sent, and so on and so forth with all of the next courses (boxes are added for tasting menus).

Chef explains the justification for the extra work: "The reason we do that is that sometimes we have 20 tables at the same time and the chef doesn't hear everything. I have seen this in very few restaurants worldwide, this system. The computer is not as precise as this board. When the board is filled up, it gives you a good idea of when the rush is going to come. They know to have the anticipation."

Just one more reason why Le Berns makes it into the exclusive four star club.
· Eater Scenes: Le Bernardin

Le Bernardin

155 West 51st Street, New York, NY 10019

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