Special Guest Chef: Eric Ripert


It’s a big world but it’s hard to find a chef more accomplished than Eric Ripert. His restaurant Le Bernardin has received four stars from The New York Times, three stars from the Michelin Guide and ranks 18 on the San Pellegrino World’s 50 Best Restaurants list. You can also find him on his TV show “Avec Eric”, on numerous appearances as a guest judge on Top Chef, traveling the world with his sidekick Anthony Bourdain or in one of his four cookbooks. The list of accomplishments never ends.

I had the honor to have him as a very special guest chef in my kitchen this week for a private party. So I made myself very small, helped out and tried to learn some tricks from the master himself. I didn’t have much time to take pictures and most of the dishes pictured below are unfinished but you’ll get a little glimpse of what’s going on in the kitchen.

As part of the amuse-bouches was hamachi rolled in lettuce with mint, Thai basil, carrot and lime nage. The inside of the hamachi is brushed with soy-sauce thickened with agar-agar which provides the seasoning. Clever! The menu:

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Salad of Rare-seared Yellowfin Tuna “a la Thai”

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Poached Hawaiian Escolar

Kaffir Lime-Lemongrass scented Mariniere

Sea Beans and Aki Nori

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Poached Halibut

Artichoke “Barigoule”, Perigord Truffle Butter

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“Egg”

Milk Chocolate Pot de Creme

Caramel Foam, Maple Syrup, Maldon Sea Salt

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Yuzu Parfait

Crispy Sesame-Rice, Ginger, Mango Thai Basil Sorbet


Above, Eric is making smoked salmon croque-monsieur generously filled with Osetra caviar also for amuse-bouche. They were outrageously delicious. On the right, little tartelettes are being filled with piperade and topped with grilled bacalao.

This is a lively combination of thinly sliced tuna (generously seasoned with sea salt and espelette pepper and seared on high heat for 7 seconds on each side- I counted!) , with a Thai salad of greens, mint, cilantro, peanuts, soya beans and a peanut/balsamic dressing. A Thai vinaigrette was drizzled on the tuna later on.

The poached Hawaiian escolar is one of those dishes that defines Eric’s cooking so well. Pure, bright and clean flavors. The fatty fish is gently poached in olive oil, trimmed and sliced and garnished with aki nori and sea beans. A nage is poured at the table made from a Marinière (the juice of mussels with white wine) that’s been kicked up at the last moment with aromatics like Kaffir lime, lemongrass and shallots.

The halibut with black truffles was a total knock-out. Eric taught me to poach halibut in a velouté (aromatic liquid thickened with flour) as opposed to a regular court-bouillon. The viscosity of the liquid keeps the fish from releasing it’s moisture, he said. And it really does. The fish was set on a purée of Jerusalem artichokes in the middle of a flower of artichokes “Barigoule”, topped with slices of the best Périgord truffle I’ve seen all year and a Périgord truffle butter sauce.

“Where do you buy those truffles, Chef?”
“You can’t find them. I buy them all!” he replied with a giggle.

The famous “egg” pre-dessert consists of a chocolate pot de crème, topped with a caramel foam, a few drops of maple syrup and a touch of sea salt.

The dessert was an interesting take on a deconstructed lemon pie. A log of vibrant yuzu curd was piped onto the plate and garnished with crumbs, meringue and a black sesame tuile. An intensely flavored mango-Thai basil sorbet went with it. I love the sleek look of this plate.

Petits-Four consisted of miniature versions of canelés, macarons, pistachio financiers and chocolates. Et voila!

If you enjoyed this post you should check out this one I wrote when I went behind the line at Le Bernardin last year.

Finally, many thanks to chef Eric for being such a class act with everyone involved. It was such a pleasure to have you in our kitchen.

 

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  • Stacey Snacks

    Stephane,

    This is too fabulous!  I love Monsieur Ripert, as well as you!  
    Gorgeous photos and food.
    S.

  • Girl cook in paris

    OMG – how exciting is that??!!  Thanks for posting, for those of us living vicariously through you!  I think I’d die & go to heaven if I could work w/ Chef Ripert like that.  Pictures looks great.  Loved the truffle story!  

  • http://www.stirthepots.com/ Jeremy

    I love the Halibut, had it at the fabulous tasting I enjoyed recently!
    Looks fabulous, by the way Eric Ripert has great hair!
     

  • http://www.mirauncut.com/ Mirauncut

    Steph,

    Must have been wild. Looks like an amazing array of dishes. I like the tip on poaching halibut in a veloute. Never occurred to me! Thanks for sharing.

  • http://vanillasugarblog.com vanillasugarblog

    Stephane!  mon dieu! wow wow wow.  what an honor.  I love chef ripert because of his clean, modern techniques.  You were very lucky to have this memory.  cherish it.  I know you will.  I still think you are far more handsome though.  ;-)  

  • http://thewanderingeater.com/ Tina “The Wandering Eater”

    If I had the opportunity to cook with Chef Ripert, I would scream in excitement and possibly faint. 

    Great photos, as usual! :)

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Peter-Minaki/560410552 Peter Minaki

    An incredible honour Stephane…can still say I know you that you’ve cooked along side the Ripper?

  • http://twitter.com/ChezWhat Christo

    what a GREAT post – and what an amazing experience for you - 

  • Onetribegourmet

    WOW!!! All I can say I’m speechless! Such a fabulous experience and the food looks Amazing! Bravo!

  • http://www.kitchentravels.com/ Dawn (Kitchen Travels)

    Wow. Wow! I would be speechless. The plates all look amazing. How fun!

  • Patrick @ Appetite for Good

    Stephane,

    youre so sexy!!!

  • shirley@kokken69

    I recall you had a stint at his restaurant some time back and blogged about it? Ever since then, I had wanted to go to Le Bernadin during my last trip to US… alas, I couldn’t make time to go….It takes a celebrity chef to be able to invite another celebrity chef to work in his kitchen, no? Confirmed lah, your celebrity status! Applause! 

  • Bee

    Hey Stephane, greetings from Penang (and Bourdain was here a couple of weeks ago).

    What can I say? You’re the man!!!

  • http://lifesafeast.blogspot.com/ Jamie

    Just fabulous! What an experience….and what a meal! 

  • Hester

    Ooh!  What a fun night!  The meal sounds totally delicious and ooh, how lucky you were to be in Eric Ripert’s presence!

  • http://www.foodgal.com/ Carolyn Jung

    Lucky you to share such a fun experience with such a great chef. I had the pleasure of judging a cookie contest, of all things, with Eric Ripert, years ago in San Francisco. He has this wicked sense of humor that you don’t expect. And he’s the epitome of elegance in all that he does.

  • http://twitter.com/UnrivaledKitch Kimberly Fujitaki

    amazing! what a wonderful experience. I’m very jealous. Thanks for sharing

  • http://pickyin.blogspot.com Chang Pick Yin

    You’re the man, is all I can say. Maybe someday I’ll make myself small and learn a few tricks from you.

  • http://www.winedinedaily.com/ Wine Dine

    This is absolutely exciting!! What a wonderful experience you must had. He is one of our favorite chefs and love to watch his TV show. Delicious photos!!!

  • http://www.thespanishwok.blogspot.com/ Debs @ The Spanish Wok

    Wow, what a wonderful time you obviously had.  ALL the dishes look amazing and the menu is amazing too.

    The nearest I’ve come to a guest chef in my kitchen is my mother-in-law, she used to be a primary school kitchen cook LOL

  • Anonymous

    Really fun post.  Nice behind the scene photos.  Sounds like you had a wonderful time – and the food looks incredible.  Thanks for this.

  • http://www.katherinemartinelli.com/ Katherine Martinelli

    Wow, what an experience to get to work alongside a chef of his caliber! It sounds like you learned a lot just from this short session (I’ll have to try poaching fish in veloute) and the photos are gorgeous. I love the one of the desserts with Ripert blurred in the background.

  • Markhous

    DAMN, That’s all I can say.

  • http://www.ouichefnetwork.com Oui, Chef

    OK…time to spill the beans.  Who do you work for, God?  I think I’d wet myself just meeting Ripert, let alone cooking beside him…what a treat!

  • http://www.tastewiththeeyes.com/ Lori Lynn

    Hi Stephane – this is my dream meal. I love seafood, truffles, Thai food, caviar, yuzu, and Eric. Now I love you too.
    I will read this post many times in the months to come. So very inspiring. So bright. So perfect.
    LL
    P.S. Thank you for the kind comment on my “Neo-Modern” beetroot tails presentation too!

  • http://norecipes.com Marc Matsumoto

    Everything looks amazing! I hope you got to sample everything before they went out!

  • http://profiles.google.com/gnocchiaifunghi Frank Fariello

    Lucky you!

  • http://www.vodkitchen.com Jon @ vodkitchen

    What an amazing opportunity to cook with Ripert. Good show!

  • http://www.tunatoast.com/ Anne

    Amazing! The food is just so elegant in appearance but the descriptions of the flavors are everything I’d love in a dish. Love the photos too- you guys look great. Clearly he thinks highly of you as well Chef!