Ripert Saves Chang With Emergency Bacon

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The second annual Cayman Cookout, hosted by Food and Wine, was held at the Ritz Carlton on Grand Cayman this past weekend. From last Thursday to this Monday, the party drew big-name chefs including David Chang, Anthony Bourdain, and Eric Ripert, who in addition to running the range at Le Bernardin, is chef at the Ritz’s restaurant, Blue. When asked the night before his cooking demo what he would be preparing, Momofuku chef Chang shrugged and said he wasn’t quite sure. Turns out, it wasn’t just nonchalance: The box of food containing micro shiso leaf, artisanal bacon, and other delicacies that he had FedEx’ed from New York never arrived.

Chang still went onstage the next day and whipped up eggs puffed with nitrogen floating in bacon dashi. Even in the Caribbean, Ripert’s kitchen had the necessary ingredients — exotic spices, herbs, and smoked bacon. “Eric replaced everything for me; his stuff was really high quality — I think we went up market from what we originally had,” said Chang. “Some guys are eating well at a warehouse somewhere,” cracked Bourdain. The chefs narrowly escaped greater disaster. Tuesday, the morning after they departed, the island was hit with a 5.8 earthquake.