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

Eric Ziebold’s Kinship By The Numbers

You’ll find numbers everywhere you look in restaurants – from the menu and the wine list to the purchase orders and time sheets. We wanted to take a calculated look at the numbers that add up to create the critically acclaimed Eric Ziebold’s Kinship in Washington, D.C.

Chef Ziebold first found success at the lauded-to-the-moon-and-back CityZen, where he earned a Best Chef: Mid-Atlantic from the James Beard Foundation, a Best New Chef award from Food & Wine, and a Chef of the Year award from the Restaurant Association of Metropolitan Washington. His new venture in the Shaw neighborhood combines graceful elegance, spot-on execution, and dishes that range from elevated takes on simple fare – like roasted chicken – to those that are the definition of decadent indulgence, such as Maine lobster French toast. Here are the numbers behind Ziebold’s winning restaurant. (Don’t worry; you don’t have to be a math whiz for them to make you hungry!).

Eric Ziebold's Kinship

Seats: 75

Tables: 24

Year the building was built: 1904

Kitchen staff: 14

Number of hours a dining room server needs to train before becoming “live” on the floor: 80

Bottles in the wine cellar: 2,000

Largest bottle of wine in the cellar: 12 liters of Diamond Creek

Most expensive bottle of wine sold: $2,300 for a 1989 Chateau Lafite

Pieces of ceramics handmade for the restaurant when it opened: 1,200

Pounds of lobster purchased each week: 165 pounds

Eric Ziebold's Kinship

Chocolate chip cookie dough soufflés ordered last week: 70

Number of orders of the best-selling Maine lobster French toast sold last month: 612Continue Reading

Boozy Popsicles: 7 Alcohol-Amped, Adults-Only Frozen Treats

Torn between a fresh-from-the-freezer sweet treat or an ice-cold cocktail as the best way to cool down this summer? Now you don’t have to choose because clever bartenders are adding a hit of hooch to pops in a rainbow of colors. Here are 7 boozy popsicles guaranteed to give you a buzzy brain freeze.

Nacional 27, Chicago, Illinois
Are you more of a Crockett or a Tubbs? Ordering the Miami Vice paleta allows you to indulge your fantasy of being either one of the pastel-prone policeman. The vibrant pop is a mix of strawberry daiquiri and piña colada. Playing Jan Hammer’s iconic theme song to the show on your iPhone while you’re slurping one down is perfectly acceptable, but doing air drums is forbidden. Make a reservation at Nacional 27.

Boozy Popsicles

Gracias Madre, West Hollywood, California
Knock back too many of these boozy popsicles and you just may wake up to find yourself somewhere in Mexico wearing little more than a sombrero. The svelte-but-deadly cocktail on a stick is made with tequila blanco, roasted pineapple, and jalapeño to add a kick of capsaicin. If you do overindulge, make sure you take a selfie of yourself in that sombrero, as it would make an unforgettable Instagram profile pic. Make a reservation at Gracias Madre.

Boozy Popsicles

Cindy’s, Chicago, Illinois
Every Saturday, executive pastry chef Jove Hubbard sells popsicles out a takeaway window on Michigan Avenue. Call it a pop pop-up. There will always be one boozy selection, such as his piña colada enriched with Hamilton Jamaican Pot Still Black Rum. Not included: a paper umbrella or slice of pineapple. Make a reservation at Cindy’s.

Boozy Popsicles

Del Frisco’s Grille, Washington, D.C.
How do you improve on sangria when it’s already the ideal summertime sipper? You turn it into an icy pop, that’s how. Made with pinot grigio, peach schnapps, strawberry puree, and peach chunks, it’s equally breezy and boozy. Make a reservation at Del Frisco’s Grille.

Boozy PopsiclesContinue Reading

The Best Kid-Friendly Restaurants in Top Summer Travel Destinations in America 2016

As families hit the road and take to the skies on summer travels, we are pleased to unveil the Best Kid-Friendly Restaurants in Top Summer Travel Destinations in America.

Featuring restaurants beloved by locals and visitors alike, the complete list highlights restaurants in Chicago, Los Angeles, New York, San Francisco, Seattle, and Washington, D.C., including Little Goat in Chicago, M Street Kitchen in Santa Monica, and Le Diplomate in Washington, D.C. A to-dine list for families who love to explore the cities they visit through restaurants, this collection of eateries represents those that provide a welcoming atmosphere for children and their families in addition to food that pleases all palates. A multitude of cuisines are represented on the lists, including barbecue, Brazilian, dim sum, French, Japanese, seafood, and, naturally, perennial family favorite, Italian.


The Best Kid-Friendly Restaurants in Top Summer Travel Destinations in America 2016 list is generated from more than 1.4 million restaurant reviews submitted by verified OpenTable diners between June 1, 2015, and May 31, 2016. All restaurants with a minimum “overall” score and number of qualifying reviews were included for consideration. Qualifying restaurants were then sorted according to a score calculated from each restaurant’s average rating in the “kid friendly” category. Based on this methodology, the following restaurants, listed in alphabetical order, comprise the Best Kid-Friendly Restaurants in Top Summer Travel Destinations in America 2016, according to OpenTable diners. The complete list may also be viewed at

Chicago q
Dinosaur Bar-B-Que
Fogo de Chao Brazilian Steakhouse
Little Goat
Mon Ami Gabi
RJ Grunt’s
Stella Barra Pizzeria
Weber Grill

BenihanaEncino, Ontario, Puente Hills, Santa Anita, Torrance
Black Angus Steakhouse-Torrance
Buca di Beppo-Claremont
Duke’s Malibu
Enterprise Fish Co.-Santa Monica
Farmshop LA
Gus’s BBQ
M Street Kitchen
Maggiano’sFarmers Market + Woodland Hills
North Italia-El Segundo
Paradise Cove Beach Café
Queen Mary Champagne Sunday Brunch

Blue Smoke
Carmine’s44th Street + 91st Street
Dinosaur Bar-B-Que-Harlem
Landmarc at the Time Warner Center
Max Brenner-Union Square
The Palm Court at The Plaza Hotel
Rock Center Café
Sarabeth’s TriBeCa
Sugar Factory-Meatpacking District
Tony Di NapoliMidtown + UES
Virgil’s Real BBQContinue Reading