the new york diet

Chef Eric Ripert Starts the Day With Chocolate, Ends It With Chorizo and Tequila

Eric Ripert

Eric Ripert in serrano heaven.Photo: Dorothy Hong

There’s a reason Le Bernardin was ranked No. 1 (one of just two five-star restaurants) in the Platt 101. During lunch and dinner every day, chef-owner Eric Ripert samples a half-spoon of each of the twenty-odd sauces his chefs prepare, tests most of the mise en place (everything from string beans to mashed potatoes to polenta to guacamole), and then takes bites from dishes before they go out to the dining room. “Every day I have ten different fishes — a piece of tuna, snapper, monk, cod, himachi … It’s about 60 or 80 things I try.” To make up for this, he tries to eat light and takes 45-minute walks to (and sometimes back) from work through Central Park. But that doesn’t mean he won’t indulge in his daily breakfast chocolate.

Saturday, January 12
Every day for breakfast I eat a Greek yogurt with honey or zero percent organic sheep’s milk, and every day dark chocolate and dried fruits. I have a hard time eating fresh fruit so I buy them dry because I like to chew on them.

I went for lunch at Serafina, and I had burrata and smoked salmon. Then I had the margherita pizza and tiramisu. I had a glass of Cabernet and then an espresso.

At night at a friend’s surprise party I had figs and bacon, sushi, sashimi, seviche … There was a buffet so I had some filet mignon, rack of lamb with potato gratin, and some salad. Then chocolate birthday cake.

Sunday, January 13
Breakfast again with my coffee, zero percent yogurt with some cashew nuts and honey, dried papaya, dried pear, and dried pineapple and three squares of Michel Cluizel chocolate.

For lunch I had two of my mother-in-law’s Puerto Rican pasteles.

At night there was a staff party for Le Bernardin — we chose Latin Quarter because it’s a great space and the food is excellent and they have a very good sound system and our staff loves dancing and party. I had a lot of Latin-inspired canapés — plantains, seviche. Then I had the lobster salad, some beef, and some rice and beans.

Monday, January 14
I had a sheep’s-milk yogurt, three squares of chocolate, dried papaya, dried pear.

I had lunch at Le Bernardin with some friends. Usually during lunch I work, but once a year I’ll do this. I made a game lunch, and my friends brought some amazing Bordeaux. We started with some pan tomate and serrano ham on toasted bread — my friend brought [some pata negra] from Spain during the Christmas holidays, and I have one at home so I brought it here for that. Then we had roasted duck with caramelized pineapple. Then we had hare à la royale — a very traditional recipe where hare is deboned; you stuff it with truffles, foie gras, and another hare; grind it; and then make a red-wine sauce. At the end you finish it with foie gras and truffles and the blood of the hare. It’s very rich and fantastic. We had parsnip flan with that. After that we had salad and truffles, and after that we had a chocolate tart. Then I didn’t eat for the entire rest of the day.

Tuesday, January 15
I had a low-fat yogurt with raspberries, dried papaya, pear, and chocolate.

I sat down for lunch and had tortellini with mushroom broth and Parmesan sauce and walnuts. And I added confit chestnut soufflé glacé, kind of like an ice cream. Then at night I had a green romaine salad

Wednesday, January 16
I had the same breakfast, but this time it was Greek yogurt and honey, the three squares of chocolate, the papaya and the pear and some dried apples. Then I came to Le Bernardin and stole a chocolate-caramel-cashew tart from the pastry chef. I usually steal one a day, but lately I’m on a diet so I hadn’t had one all week.

At one point I sat down in the conference room, and I ate orange lentil soup and a chickpea salad with pita. I usually never sit down at night to eat — I taste the sauces and the mise en place and that’s it. At a party I had some canapés, and then I had goat-cheese-potato terrine and filet mignon, and some sweet potatoes, and dessert was vanilla ice cream with peanut crisp, hot chocolate sauce, caramel sauce, and whipped cream.

Thursday, January 17
Same breakfast routine, but it was a raspberry yogurt. Then I stopped at La Maison du Chocolat for dark chocolate. When I arrived at work, I had a sandwich with serrano ham.

Usually when I come back home at night, I eat chorizo, but because of the new resolution this year, I haven’t done it yet. It’s one of my rituals — and I sip a glass of tequila. During the week, Patron Silver. On the weekend, Don Julio 1942. When I go out or when I have lunch outside of the restaurant, I always drink red Bordeaux. I’m not a fast-food type, but I like Rice Krispie treats — that’s the furthest I go in that direction!

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