List Price: $28
Publisher: Random House
First entered: 21st, May 2016
Number of weeks: 2
NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • Hailed by Anthony Bourdain as “heartbreaking, horrifying, poignant, and inspiring,” 32 Yolks is the brave and affecting coming-of-age story about the making of a French chef, from the culinary icon behind the renowned New York City restaurant Le Bernardin.
In an industry where celebrity chefs are known as much for their salty talk and quick tempers as their food, Eric Ripert stands out. The winner of four James Beard Awards, co-owner and chef of a world-renowned restaurant, and recipient of countless Michelin stars, Ripert embodies elegance and culinary perfection. But before the accolades, before he even knew how to make a proper hollandaise sauce, Eric Ripert was a lonely young boy in the south of France whose life was falling apart.
Ripert’s parents divorced when he was six, separating him from the father he idolized and replacing him with a cold, bullying stepfather who insisted that Ripert be sent away to boarding school. A few years later, Ripert’s father died on a hiking trip. Through these tough times, the one thing that gave Ripert comfort was food. Told that boys had no place in the kitchen, Ripert would instead watch from the doorway as his mother rolled couscous by hand or his grandmother pressed out the buttery dough for the treat he loved above all others, tarte aux pommes. When an eccentric local chef took him under his wing, an eleven-year-old Ripert realized that food was more than just an escape: It was his calling. That passion would carry him through the drudgery of culinary school and into the high-pressure world of Paris’s most elite restaurants, where Ripert discovered that learning to cook was the easy part—surviving the line was the battle.
Taking us from Eric Ripert’s childhood in the south of France and the mountains of Andorra into the demanding kitchens of such legendary Parisian chefs as Joël Robuchon and Dominique Bouchet, until, at the age of twenty-four, Ripert made his way to the United States, 32 Yolks is the tender and richly told story of how one of our greatest living chefs found himself—and his home—in the kitchen.
Praise for Eric Ripert’s 32 Yolks
“Passionate, poetical . . . What makes 32 Yolks compelling is the honesty and laudable humility Ripert brings to the telling.”—Chicago Tribune
“32 Yolks may not be what you’d expect from a charming, Emmy-winning cooking show host and cookbook author. In the book, there are, of course, scenes of elaborate meals both eaten and prepared. And all the talk of gigot d’agneau, tarte tatin, petits farcis, paupiette de veau and saumon en croute may prompt a dinner reservation at your local French restaurant. But Ripert’s story is, for the most part, one of profound loss.”—Los Angeles Times
“If you’re interested in how successful people become successful—and if you’re not, why aren’t you?—check out 32 Yolks.”—Jeff Haden, Inc.
“This book demonstrates just how amazing Eric’s life has been both inside and outside of the kitchen. It makes total sense now to see him become one of the greatest chefs in the world today. This is a portrait of a chef as a young man.”—David Chang
“Eric Ripert is known around the world for his talent and passion for food. I have been friends with him for half his life, but his memoir let me discover more about his past. His journey from Andorra to Manhattan is full of adventure, hard work, and ambition, and it is an inspiration to us all.”—Daniel Boulud
Name: Eric Ripert
About the author:
Eric Ripert is grateful for his early exposure to two cuisines—that of Antibes, France, where he was born, and of Andorra, a small country just over the Spanish border, where he 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 The New York Times. Ten years later and for the fourth consecutive time, Le Bernardin again earned the 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 #1 restaurant in the city, awarding it 5 five stars in its inaugural restaurant rating issue—a position it still holds today. Also in 2005, Bon Appétit 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 3 three stars in 2005, 2006, 2007 and 2008. The Zagat Guide has recognized the restaurant as the “Best Food” in New York City for the last eight 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 foundation named Ripert “Outstanding Chef in the United States.” In 2009 Ripert was granted the rank of Chevallier in France’s Légion d’Honneur.
Ripert has served as guest judge (and “fan favorite”) on Bravo’s Top Chef for two seasons and has appeared on the Late Show with David Letterman, The Charlie Rose Show, The Ellen DeGeneres Show, TODAY, Live with Regis and Kelly, and The Martha Stewart Show. In fall 2008, Ripert published On The Line with Artisan, his second book with the publisher. Ripert will star in his own television series, AVEC ERIC, airing on public television in September of 2009.
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