Chef Eric Ripert is arguably the finest chef in America and even the world!! In 1995, his flagship restaurant, Le Bernardin (Often referred to as the “Temple Of Seafood”), 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.” 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.” 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.” He has also opened additional restaurants partnering up with The Ritz Carlton in Washington DC (WestEnd Bistro), Philadelphia (10 Arts, which Kade Nation will remember my interview with his head chef and friend, “Top Chef All Star” Chef Jen Carroll last week) and two in Grand Cayman (One called Periwinkle received a AAA Five Diamond Award, the only restaurant in the Caribbean to receive this rating). Ripert also chairs the City Harvest’s Food Council, and is president of the Jean-Louis Palladin Foundation. He even cooked a private meal for the Dalai Lama (Which he discusses in the interview below)!!

If you thought that was it, he is also a mega TV Personality and Author as well and has served as guest judge (and “fan favorite” who even turned down a permanent judge position so that Jen Carroll could compete) on Bravo’s “Top Chef” for four seasons, can be constantly seen on Travel Channel’s hit show, “No Reservations” with his great friend, Anthony Bourdain, 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, he 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 premiered on PBS for which he just won an Emmy for “Outstanding Culinary Program” as well as a James Beard Award, and it has inspired his new book, “Avec Eric” detailing his culinary adventures and new recipes (It’s his fourth book already at such a young age).

To say this man is a “Culinary Icon”, would be understating his stature in the culinary world!! He can be more appropriately titled a “Culinary God”. He is also beyond humble, understated, polite, and interesting (We talked about the weekend he just spent with the Dalai Lama), and after spending an hour privately with him, he has an unbelievably cerebral mind, and incredible charm and charisma (I can’t even tell you the reaction I got from every woman when I mentioned I was interviewing him!), and Eric even signed my Dad’s book which my Dad went nuts over when I brought it to him today (He’s my Dad’s favorite chef!). Absolute Class Act!! Here he sits down with “The King Of Kamelot” to discuss his amazing career, his growing restaurant and media empire, his new book, what keeps him motivated, his wonderful friendship with Anthony Bourdain, privately cooking for the Dalai Lama, his “Pinch Me” guest, and I even give him an autographed gift from Hall Of Fame NFL Player Andre Reed.