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Eric Ripert Talks Tequila, Top Chef, his Former Abusive Ways

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Today, Joshua David Stein has an excellent interview up over on Eater National with New York chef and semi-permanent Top Chef judge Eric Ripert. Most interesting are the SIlver Fox's views on fine dining during the recession and the way he's changed his aggressive and abusive behavior in the kitchen. On the former:

I think you can go see a concert of U2 or Lady Gaga and it doesn't prevent you from going to Carnegie Hall. You can do both right...In a city like New York City, it is a very cosmopolitan city with a lot of wealthy people passing through and a very strong local clientele which is very sophisticated. Therefore, upscale restaurants of our level—Daniel, Jean Georges, Per Se—are relevant and busy and successful.
And on how he used to be a total ass in the kitchen:
Look, I have been trained the hard classic way in France, where chefs were very abusive and borderline violent...As a young chef, I was very very vocal, to say the least. I was not a nice guy to my staff; I was seeking perfection. In the US, my observation, and not just in the kitchen, is that we focus more on positive reinforcement than humiliation. But I was not happy with the way I was running the kitchen at Le Bernardin when I started. The staff was miserable. There was a lot of turnover. I changed completely, one day. Well, maybe it took me more than one day. I said, I just cannot run it like that anymore. I don't believe a cook who is terrorized can cook good food.
Take note Marc Forgione. Click through to read about Top Chef, his tequila habit, and his love for the Asians.
· Eric Ripert on Anger Issues, Top Chef, and the Theory of Emptiness [Eater National]

Le Bernardin

155 West 51st Street, Manhattan, NY 10019 (212) 554-1515 Visit Website

Le Bernardin

155 West 51st St., New York, NY