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“We share with the reader how we motivate the staff,” Ripert says. “I don’t want to ignore what they do. Those guys deserve recognition.”
Writer Christine Muhlke was given full access to Ripert and his staff of 140 to document how a four-star restaurant operates. “I didn’t want a romantic book where everything’s perfect, we all love each other,” says Ripert. “I never told the staff what to say, or what not to say. But then I read some of the interviews and it was like, f--k you, f--k them, f--k that. We erased the f--ks.”
Here, Ripert discusses why he brought his staff into the spotlight and his newfound hobby: blogging.
WWDScoop: How often are you actually working in the restaurant?
Eric Ripert: I’m here five days a week, but I take my four weeks’ vacation.
WWDScoop: So many of your peers are criticized for spending their time away from the kitchen.
E.R: I’m not judgmental of what they do, or don’t do. I’m used to the kitchen. It is obvious that I’m not peeling every carrot; I’m not cooking every morsel of fish on your plate. It’s a very naïve idea to think that the chef is cooking everything, and, on top of it, is irreplaceable. That would mean that basically he is the only genius, and there are idiots all around him, which doesn’t make sense.
WWDScoop: You must consider your current staff pretty remarkable to immortalize them like this.
E.R.: Those guys, the chefs and executive chef, executive sous chefs, they have 15, 16 years with us. The associate chef has been here 20 years—it’s longer than I’ve been here. We have a team that is passionate and motivated, qualified, obviously, and I just thought it was the right time.