Eric Ripert * Random House * May 17, 2016 * 256 Pages
Eric Ripert is one of the most recognizable chefs in the world today. He makes good food. He’s on Top Chef a lot. And Anthony Bourdain seems to think he’s a swell guy. To top it off, he’s always got that humble and composed Frenchman swagger. The guy just has it going on.
I like Eric Ripert, and I figured I was going to enjoy this book when I first picked it up. But I wasn’t expecting to be so caught up in it. I mean, I LOVED it. Start to finish, loved it. It was fun to read, and I didn’t want it to end. Ripert has such a way with words (or is that his editor?). His love of food is so obvious and earnest, and the way he describes his dishes and their ingredients makes you feel like you are right there tasting them. I’ve never been a natural foodie (though I AM getting better in the kitchen…), but listening to him share how he loves food made me want to treat food better.
What really sets this memoir apart, though, are all the personal details and feelings Ripert shares. He really puts it all out there. I had no idea that he went through so much in his life, especially during childhood. Learning about his relationship with his stepdad was heartbreaking. It’s clear he has a lot of pain associated with some of the people and events he talks about, but he doesn’t hide or gloss over anything. And he also doesn’t lambast anyone either. Even the people who are harsh with him are treated with kindness and respect in this book, and I respect that.
I just so, so loved this memoir. I finished it a couple days ago, but I’m still thinking about it. It resonated with me in a powerful way. I can’t recommend it highly enough.
FYI (because I can’t help myself), I will add that if you like this book, you will probably like Yes, Chef by Marcus Samuelsson. And if you like food-centered fiction, I’d also suggest Kitchens of the Great Midwest.
Advanced Reader Copy provided through Amazon Vine.