Scenes from the OpenTable Aspen Food & Wine Classic Champagne + Sushi Party #FWClassic

The 2015 Aspen Food & Wine Classic was held this past weekend, and OpenTable was there to help celebrate the best in food and wine as curated by our friends at Food & Wine magazine. Since no celebration would be complete without bubbles, we were pleased to host our second annual Champagne-centric soiree at Matushisa Aspen with famed chef Nobu Matsuhisa. ICYMI, we present a few scenes from the OpenTable Aspen Food & Wine Classic Champagne + Sushi party.

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Chef Nobu was in the house, which makes sense because he owns it, as was OpenTable’s Leela Srinivasan.

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There was sushi, obviously.

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And chef Eric Ripert, too.

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There were a lot of other fun food + wine people there also, but the Champagne never ran dry despite our efforts.

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PSA: Don’t go chasin’ waterfalls — unless they’re Krug waterfalls. Then by all means…

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It’s not a Food & Wine party without the mag’s editor-in-chief Dana Cowin and Maria Sinskey of Sinskey Winery (Do you see what I did there?).Continue Reading

Top Chef Texas Episode 11: Chef Ed ‘Red’ Hardy on the Snow White Redemption

In between shooting, Padma entertains the crew with her version of The Bump.

He’s ready to get busy living, but we’re dying for him to rehash the latest episode of Top Chef: Texas with Ed Hardy of Red Rooster Harlem.

Everyone looks mad that Bev won. Yeesh! The boys look dejected. And who knows what awaits them in San Antonio! This show is relentless.

Relentless? Yes. It relentlessly shovels the same formula at us overand over again. I caught myself counting the remaining episodes this week like a prisoner waiting for his release. At Top Chef-Shank Prison, time can draw out like a blade. I’ve spent some long nights, but none longer than this.

Chris J. is amazed he hasn’t won, and I’m amazed he hasn’t gone home yet.

Yeah. It’s seems like he’d better get busy cooking, or get busy dyin’. I hope before he goes home he at least redeems himself a little.

Eric Ripert is waiting for them. I think I’d be shaking in my shoes and praying that I didn’t have to cook anything involving seafood!

Well, it’s the 27th episode of the season so it was about time that Chef/Prisoner Guard Eric Ripert showed up to survey all the “new fish.” He’s intimidating, but I know from firsthand experience that he’s actually a nice guy all the way to his delicious nougat core.

A conveyor belt challenge. Zoinks! I’m picturing Lucy and Ethel and the chocolate factory. I’m thinking people should wait for a great ingredient. Anyway, what basics are you grabbing for your basic mis en place before you take an ingredient?Continue Reading

Cooking Avec Eric Ripert: Le Bernardin’s Executive Chef on His Latest Book

Author Eric Ripert with Avec Eric photographer Angie Mosier.

Eric Ripert’s popular series Avec Eric is currently in its second successful season and now fans can relive their favorite moments with the companion cookbook, also called Avec Eric. A cross between a captain’s log and a cookbook, Avec Eric is is a must-have for fans of this inquisitive chef’s culinary adventures. He sat down to share his thoughts on this new release.

Obviously, travel is a central theme in Avec Eric. I imagine, as for other professionals, travel can be a luxury for a chef/restaurateur. How important is it for you to get out from behind the line and go into the world to experience food as a diner/tourist/etc.?

For me, travel is a huge source of inspiration, and so it is no question that I must get out and visit new places or I will start to feel burned out. I am very lucky to be able to travel every year. Creativity is something that you cannot turn on and off, and so sometimes I may see something out on the road and one day many years later, it will show up in some way or another in my food. So, I feel it’s important for me to constantly see and taste and try new things.

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The Michelin Stars Are Out in NYC: Eric Ripert Reflects on His ‘Threepeat’

Chef Eric Ripert's Le Bernardin has received three Michelin stars for six straight years (That's 18, in case you're counting!).

Today the honorees of The Michelin Guide New York City Restaurants 2011 have been named, and Le Bernardin, for the sixth year in a row, has been awarded three stars.

Executive chef-owner Eric Ripert says of being recognized, consecutively, with three stars, “Every day when I come to work, I think about making Le Bernardin a great place with our team and never think about the rewards first. I believe the consequences of thinking like that can result in great rewards later on.” Indeed. Of the impact of being recognized by such an esteemed guide, Ripert, whose PBS show “Avec Eric” will begin its second season, states, “It is of course a great honor for the team and myself, that we don’t take for granted. It also helps the restaurant to be recognized and busy for the entire year. The Michelin Guide has an economic impact and, therefore, allows us to have a big, well-trained team and to buy high-quality products.”

When asked if he and his staff ever feel anxious about maintaining the level of excellence they’ve attained at Le Bernardin, he shares, “We do not work for the reward but by passion. And, we have evolved with time. We are always inspired and always thinking how we can create a special experience for our guests. New York City being a very competitive city is a blessing in disguise, and we reinvent ourselves all the time — sometimes without even knowing it. But, when we look back a few years ago, we realize that Le Bernardin was a similar but very different place. We strive for perfection, but the most important thing is actually the quest.”

While, once again, only four other restaurants — DanielJean Georges, Masa, and Per Se — received the coveted three-star rating, Ripert would welcome others atop the list. “I’m always very happy to see chefs and restaurateurs being highly rewarded, many of them are friends. The more 3-stars we see the better it is ultimately for our industry,” says this most gracious chef.

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