I've been beside myself with excitement ever since I learned he was to be the new judge on the new season of Top Chef, which premieres June 16; he's going to alternate with Gail Simmons (another favorite of mine!).
If you're not a fan of Top Chef, I strongly recommend that you tune in -- not only because it's an entertaining, fast-paced show, but because, well, Eric Ripert is so very lovely. Don't believe me? Here's a quick rundown of why I love the guy ...
1. He's brilliant. Not only is he an accomplished chef (he runs the four-star Le Bernardin in New York), he also recently received two Emmy nominations for his TV series, Avec Eric.
2. He has a French accent.
3. He's devoted to his family. Recently he told Eater National:
"I have good relationships with everybody but I don't socialize too much with other chefs ... I have kind of a strict discipline. I try to balance my life in between the needs of being with a family—my wife and my son—and my professional life. And at the end of the day, I am tired and I want to dedicate some time at home."
4. He's a practicing Buddhist who promotes sustainability and compassion in the meals he serves.
5. As you can probably tell from the four points above, he's amazingly intelligent and thoughtful: My favorite Top Chef episodes are the ones on which he has been a guest judge because I love hearing his reactions to each dish. As a viewer of the show, it's ordinarily difficult to *imagine* what a dish tastes like -- not so when Ripert explains it.
See? I told you he's lovely. And I bet I've convinced you to watch, haven't I?
Are you a Top Chef fan? Are you excited for the new season?