Talking at the Pass: Chefs Eric Ripert and Jennifer Carroll

Introducing a new series where mentors and their now independently successful disciples reunite to chat about their time together and what they learned from each other. Our first installment features celebrated chef Eric Ripert of Le Bernardin and Jennifer Carroll, a breakout star on Top Chef and the chef-partner of Requin.

Eric Ripert and Jennifer Carroll

Eric, what was your first impression of Jennifer?

Eric Ripert: When we hired Jen in 2003, we were impressed with her personality, her skills, her motivation, and passion to learn. At that very young age, she had her own vision of opening a restaurant and doing something on her own one day. So, we were very impressed by that drive.

Jennifer Carroll: I wanted to learn from the best and work at the best place possible. I was all about seafood, so the best and only place for me to go was Le Bernardin. I walked in off the street and dropped my résumé off. They called me to come in for a stage. I was so nervous and excited at the same time. It’s very intimidating walking into that kitchen. There are 40 cooks, and everyone is working and moving. When Eric came in and I got to meet him, I totally froze. It was something I was looking forward to for so many years. I can’t even put into words how much that day and that meeting changed my life.

Eric, do you remember a pivotal moment when you saw the depth of her talent and what her true potential might be?

ER: At Le Bernardin, everybody starts on the cold side of the kitchen and then you move around to our many stations. Then we choose the best staffer overall to become the saucier, which is a very difficult task. We were impressed with Jen’s qualities of leadership, though we hadn’t asked her to be a leader, so we gave her the position. She did a fantastic job on the sauce. Very impressive. I believe she was the first female saucier in our kitchen, and that’s a big deal, because it’s a position of power and leadership. Then we mentored Jen to be a good sous chef. At that time, we had the opportunity to open a restaurant in Philadelphia, 10 Arts Bistro [Which is now closed – ed.]. Jen was performing so well that I right away thought, “We are going to ask her if she would take that position,” because she got respect from her team. Respect is not something that can be given. The team is very tough in the kitchen. If you make mistakes and don’t know what you’re talking about, you won’t get respect, especially from older employees. But Jen earned that respect from them.

What was it like for you, Jen, when Eric asked you to head up 10 Arts Bistro?

JC: Each week, Eric and I would have a meeting. We would talk about life, goals, and the future. This meeting when Eric brought it up, I was definitely taken aback and shocked. I was not prepared to hear that. I didn’t think it would be happening at that meeting.

When Jen was going on to Top Chef, did you have reservations about her doing it or did you encourage her?Continue Reading

Sweet! 13 Top NYC Restaurant Week Summer 2016 Desserts

NYC Restaurant Week Summer 2016 kicks off on July 25th and runs through August 19th. Diners can save at hundreds of the city’s best restaurants with three-course $29 lunches and $42 dinners — which include dessert, arguably the best part of any meal. Here we present 13 of our top picks for meal enders sure to satisfy your sweet tooth.

Banana Pudding at Miss Lily’s
Chef Adam Schop created Miss Lily’s famous, creamy, and decadent banana pudding. It comes layered with freshly cut bananas and delicious vanilla wafers for some added texture. Make an NYC Restaurant Week Summer 2016 reservation at Miss Lily’s.

NYC Restaurant Week Summer 2016

Vanilla Bean Crème Brûlée at David Burke Kitchen
The classic vanilla bean crème brûlée gets a seasonal twist from executive pastry chef Tracy Wilk with the addition of summery strawberry rhubarb jam and lemon thyme cookies. Make an NYC Restaurant Week Summer 2016 reservation at David Burke Kitchen.

NYC Restaurant Week Summer 2016

Devil’s Food Cake at The Dutch
The name aside, the devil’s food cake from pastry chef Summer Bailey makes us feel positively angelic. Served with an elegant quenelle of vanilla ice cream, it’s a sin to skip this one. Make an NYC Restaurant Week Summer 2016 reservation at The Dutch.

NYC Restaurant Week Summer 2016

Key Lime Pie at Charlie Palmer Steak
Savor the sweet and sour flavors of this summertime delight. Graham crumb, chantilly cream, and raspberry round things out in this version from executive chef Ryan Lory. Make an NYC Restaurant Week Summer 2016 reservation at Charlie Palmer Steak.

NYC Restaurant Week Summer 2016

Torta della Nonna at Tarallucci e Vino
This translates to grandma’s cake (and you wouldn’t want to disappoint her — or executive chef Cara Hermanson — by not ordering it). This quintessential Italian specialty is both delicate and delicious, filled with thick custard and topped with pine nuts and a sugary glaze. Make an NYC Restaurant Week Summer 2016 reservation at Taralluci e Vino.

NYC Restaurant Week Summer 2016

Molyvos Sundae at Molyvos
Executive chef Carlos Carretto gives the traditional ice cream sundae a Greek accent with baklava ice cream, Samos caramel, walnuts, and shredded sesame halva served in phyllo dough. Make an NYC Restaurant Week Summer 2016 reservation at Molyvos.

NYC restaurant Week Summer 2016

Chocolate Genoise at The Liberty Room at Aureole
Sponge cake gets an assist from coconut marshmallow and coconut ice cream in chef Renaud Besnard’s spin on this French favorite. Make an NYC Restaurant Week Summer 2016 reservation at The Liberty Room at Aureole.

NYC Restaurant Week Summer 2016

Sherbet Parfait at STK Midtown
Keep things fresh with this refreshing sorbet trio with a berry compote and almond crumble – perfect for summer indulging, courtesy of executive chef Andy Kitko. Make an NYC Restaurant Week Summer 2016 reservation at STK Midtown.

NYC Restaurant Week Summer 2016

Maple Syrup Pie at Left Bank
It’s like breakfast for dessert with this ender from chef Laurence Edelman. Slathered in dark amber maple syrup and accompanied with cider cookies and creme fraiche, this Canadian-inspired dessert is always on the menu Left Bank. Make an NYC Restaurant Week Summer 2016 reservation at Left Bank.

NYC Restaurant Week Summer 2016Continue Reading

Cindy Daniel on Creating the Healdsburg SHED Ecosystem

Healdsburg SHED

About 20 years ago, Cindy Daniel and Doug Lipton moved to Healdsburg to follow their dream of starting their own farm. After they achieved that dream, they set out to conquer another three years ago: Healdsburg SHED, a celebration of food and community unlike anything else.

Healdsburg SHED has the primary quality that you may see on a thriving farm ecosystem: diversity. This beautiful two-story building is home to a restaurant, fermentation bar, coffee bar, retail shop, produce, farming tools, and a community gathering space. The mission of all of these components is to create a space that celebrates “good farming, good cooking, and good eating.”

After a tour from Doug, we sat down with Cindy to talk about the inspiration, concept, and construction behind SHED, including the different components that work together to make the ecosystem thrive. Some customers may come in daily for a cup of coffee and a pastry or heirloom seeds for their home garden. Ultimately, there are many different kinds of people who can relate to SHED in different ways — here’s how she engages them all.
Continue Reading

dineLA 2016 Preview: Save in the City of Angels, July 18-31

Los Angeles has recently been touted as “the most exciting food city in America,” and dineLA Restaurant Week continues to be one of Summer’s highlights for Angelenos. This is your opportunity to experience an all-star lineup of some the city’s best restaurants for less. Featuring lunches for $15, $20, and $25 and dinners for $29, $39 or $49, this is the must-dine event of the year. As you prepare to book your reservations, check out these dineLA 2016 offerings and snag your tables early and often.

BOA Steakhouse Santa Monica +
BOA Steakhouses are holding on strong to their status of being perennial LA hot spots. Both locations continue to combine a bold, modern environment with upmarket steakhouse fare. Not to worry, pescatarians; they are just as well-regarded for their superb seafood dishes and Instagram-worthy sides. Make a dineLA 2016 reservation at BOA Steakhouse Santa Monica and BOA Steakhouse West Hollywood.

dineLA 2016

Petrossian Paris Boutique & Restaurant
If you really want to go big for dineLA 2016, look no further than the refined opulence that is Petrossian in West Hollywood. This caviar-centric restaurant will be offering a unique three-course dinner menu reflecting chef Alex Ageneau’s lighter, California-inspired approach to traditional French fare. And, keep an eye out for their extra special Royal Caviar Tasting menu, being offered at 30% off the regular price. Now that’s something to “ooh, la, la” about! Make a dineLA 2016 reservation at Petrossian French Boutique & Restaurant.

dineLA 2016Continue Reading