Eric Ripert, Jacques Pepin Talk Abusive Chefs, Favorite Foods and the State of Fine Dining at Arsht Celebrity Chef Series

Keep New Times Free
I Support
  • Local
  • Community
  • Journalism
  • logo

Support the independent voice of Miami and help keep the future of New Times free.

Jacques Pepin showed Eric Ripert a thing or two in a friendly cook-off at the Arsht Center Celebrity Chef series Friday night. With nine minutes to go on the 30-minute clock, Pepin, who found time to make dessert in addition to the two dishes he and Ripert were expected to prepare, proclaimed: "Do we have to wait until the end or can we start plating?"

After an introductory interview by Anthony Bourdain, the two French chefs were given a mystery basket with a whole chicken, a whole fish, fennel, asparagus, quinoa, cauliflower, oranges and a mango. Pepin, perhaps feeling as if he was in one of his TV shows, gave the play-by-play of everything he was doing, while a quieter (probably not by choice) Ripert looked focused. Both made chicken bouillabaisse as one of their dishes.

And while there was no winner in this cook-off, the audience got a good tease from the aromas coming out of the kitchen and a good laugh out of the chefs' candid answers to Bourdain's questions.

Continue reading for some sound bites:

Pepin on being a chef then vs. now...

"Any good mother would have wanted her child to marry an architect, a

lawyer, not a cook. Now we're geniuses."

Ripert on working for Joel Robuchon ...

"I'm still traumatized."

"It was a very, very tough kitchen. He was considered a genius at the

time and we were working there because he was a genius and we would

accept any kind of abuse from him and he knew that."

Is fine dining dead?

Ripert: "Can you go see a concert of U2 and say opera, ballet and the

philharmonic is dead?

... A lot of restaurants that are not upscale are doing very well.

However, fine dining is very healthy and I don't see any signs of that

aspect of the industry dying."

Pepin: "The day it dies people won't buy Mercedes, Lamborghini or any

of those Porsches ..."

On Gordon Ramsay's Hell's Kitchen ...

Pepin: "It's a parody of what people often think a chef should be ..."

Ripert: "I refuse the idea of glorifying abuse."

Favorite French comfort food...

Pepin: My mother's

Ripert: French fries

Food they'd eat in an eating contest ...

Pepin: Caviar

Ripert: Truffles

Least favorite food ...

Pepin: Marshmallows

Ripert: Brain

Favorite meal cooked by their wives ...

Pepin: "My wife was born in New

York city from a Puerto Rican mother and a Cuban father. [Audience goes


So arroz con pollo and some of the stuff she does with pork with black

beans and all that."

Ripert: "My wife is Puerto Rican too. The last experiment was

hard-boiled eggs in the microwave ... "

Ripert on favorite Miami restaurants ...

Casa Tua and Prime 112.

And finally, the quintessential question, if they were on death row

what would be their last meal ...

Pepin: If I'm on death row I couldn't eat.

Bourdain: What do you drink?

Pepin: A bottle of scotch to make it easier.

Ripert: I'm not sure. A good bottle of Bordeaux and maybe something

like a roasted chicken with wild mushrooms, something that lasts a long


Keep Miami New Times Free... Since we started Miami New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Miami, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Miami with no paywalls.

We use cookies to collect and analyze information on site performance and usage, and to enhance and customize content and advertisements. By clicking 'X' or continuing to use the site, you agree to allow cookies to be placed. To find out more, visit our cookies policy and our privacy policy.


Join the New Times community and help support independent local journalism in Miami.


Join the New Times community and help support independent local journalism in Miami.