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Eric Ripert will serve as a recurring guest judge on season seven of Bravo's Emmy award and James Beard-winning series, Top Chef. This season, the show will be set in Washington D.C.
Ripert is grateful for his early exposure to two cuisines — that of Antibes, France, where he was born, and to Andorra, a small country just over the Spanish border where moved as a young child. His family instilled their own passion for food in the young Ripert, and at the age of 15 he left home to attend culinary school in Perpignan. At 17, he moved to Paris and cooked at the legendary La Tour D’Argent before taking a position at the Michelin three-starred Jamin. After fulfilling his military service, Ripert returned to Jamin under Joel Robuchon to serve as chef poissonier.
In 1989, Ripert seized the opportunity to work under Jean-Louis Palladin as sous-chef at Jean Louis at the Watergate Hotel in Washington, D.C. Ripert moved to New York in 1991, working briefly as David Bouley’s sous-chef before Maguy and Gilbert Le Coze recruited him as chef for Le Bernardin. Ripert has since firmly established himself as one of New York’s — and the world’s — great chefs.
In 1995, at just 29 years old, Ripert earned a four-star rating from The New York Times. Ten years later and for the fourth consecutive time, Le Bernardin again earned the New York Times’ highest rating of four stars, becoming the only restaurant to maintain this superior status for this length of time, without ever dropping a star.
In 1997, GQ named Le Bernardin the best restaurant in America, and in 2007, the magazine named Le Bernardin one of “Seven Food Temples of the World.” In 2005, New York magazine declared Le Bernardin the No. 1 restaurant in the city, awarding it five stars in its inaugural restaurant rating issue – a position it holds today. Also in 2005, Bon Appetit declared Ripert’s Butter-Poached Lobster with Tarragon and Champagne its “Dish of the Year.”
Le Bernardin continues to receive universal critical acclaim for its food and service. The Michelin Guide, which made its New York debut in 2005, honored Chef Ripert and Le Bernardin with its highest rating of three stars in 2005, 2006, and 2007. The Zagat Guide has recognized the restaurant as the “Best Food” in New York City for the last seven consecutive years. In 1998, the James Beard Foundation named Le Bernardin “Outstanding Restaurant of the Year” and Eric Ripert “Top Chef in New York City.” In 1999, the restaurant received the “Outstanding Service” award from the Beard Foundation, and in 2003, the Foundation named Ripert “Outstanding Chef in the United States.”
Ripert has served as guest judge (and “fan favorite”) on Bravo’s Top Chef for four seasons and has appeared on the Late Show with David Letterman, The Charlie Rose Show, Ellen DeGeneres, TODAY, Regis & Kelly, and Martha Stewart. In fall 2008, Ripert published On the Line, his second cookbook with Artisan. In 2002, Artisan published A Return to Cooking, a collaboration between Ripert, photographers Shimon and Tammar Rothstein, artist Valentino Cortazar, and writer Michael Ruhlman that was selected by Newsweek as one of its best books of the season. In September 2009, AVEC ERIC, Ripert’s first TV show premiers on PBS.
Ripert is the Chair of City Harvest’s Food Council, working to bring together New York’s top chefs and restaurateurs to raise funds and increase the quality and quantity of food donations to New York’s neediest. When not in the kitchen, Ripert enjoys good tequila and peace and quiet. He lives on the Upper East Side and Sag Harbor with his wife and young son.