Sunday, September 7, 2008

I knew we were soul mates, Eric Ripert.

A free, luxury-living magazine now comes with the weekend edition of The Wall Street Journal. This magazine is called WSJ. I flipped through it quickly, poised to toss it, but then noticed a page featuring Eric Ripert. Ripert is the chef of Manhattan's Le Bernadin. (No, I have not eaten there.) More relevant to my experience and interests, Ripert is an honored guest judge on my beloved Top Chef. Ripert is handsome. His French accent is soft and melodious. Unlike some other guest judges, he seems like a kind individual instead of an egomaniac. I don't know all that much about him, but I like what I do know.

The piece in WSJ features Eric Ripert sharing "his olfactory inspirations''--his thoughts on the smells and more of all kinds of items--from olive oil to windshield soap to raw tobacco. Two of the olfactory inspirations have convinced me that Ripert and I would truly understand one another.

Ripert notes the scent of basil as one that brings him back to his childhood on the French Riviera. He can even smell the different between American basil and basil from the Antibes. The scent of basil does not bring me back to my childhood in Fairfield, Ohio, and I admit I cannot distinguish various regional nuances of basil. I do love the smell and taste of basil as was, for a good portion of my pregnancy with Little Bit, obsessed with that particular herb.

Even more monumental than Ripert's mention of basil is his eloquence with regard to my all-time favorite beverage:

"I drink four Diet Cokes a day. It's rounder, fuller and richer than Diet Pepsi. I even like the smell of it. Diet Pepsi is a more citrusy flavor but it has a slight metallic taste. Regular Coke has too much sugar; I would go crazy."

Talk about true and beautiful words. To his words I would only add, "I even like the way I feel when I glimpse a chilled can of Diet Coke in my fridge." A talented chef with access to the world's finest ingredients who chooses to drink four Diet Cokes a day is a man I would love to meet. And, as we have so much in common, perhaps he'd be honored to meet me as well. NTB.

7 comments:

CaraBee said...

For some reason, I had an anti-basil attitude for a lot of years. Then recently, perhaps after reading of your love for it, I gave it another go. I'm hooked. We almost always have some in the fridge now. I keep thinking I should grow some. I definitely could NOT tell regional differences, though.

I think it is unusual for a chef not to be an egomaniac. Pretty much every one that I have met is, and especially those that run super successful restaurants. It is refreshing to see one that is a regular guy. I need to watch that show.

E... said...

Ah, MEP, there is a reason we are such good friends. Not so much with the Diet Coke (I'm more a 7Up girl, but don't get me started on how FOUL Sierra Mist is), but because I'm much more likely to have a crush on a celebrity chef than say, Brad Pitt. Maybe it's just that he's bald, and he probably does have a bit of the egomaniac to him, but I wouldn't mind having Tom Colicchio cook for me.

Actchy said...

I could lose hours of my day thinking about certain scents that bring me back to childhood, college, specific meals, etc. I've always thought it funny how the smell of frying onion, celery, garlic, and pepper reminds me of growing up, even though it's certainly not a scent that was relegated only to that time period: I fry up these veggies in my own home a few nights a week.

Someday I will be able to describe the smell of my high school. I have walked in other schools and have never detected its equivalent. On the rare occasions when I've been back in the building, I am always struck dumb by the familiar odor. What on earth was that? And why was it so specific to that building? And was it toxic?

LAP said...

I do find the fact that he is not above something as "common" as Diet Coke quite refreshing. I never would have thought to describe its flavor as contrasted to Diet Pepsi quite the way he did, yet I hear what he's saying. Now all I need is for Nina Garcia from Project Runway to wear something from Target and then I will really be pleased.

By the way, did you see Tony from DWTS had his twins...Adrian and Adriana. Questionable boy/girl combo, but perhaps they can be friends with my neighbor's 2 year olds named Alexander and Alexandra.

Anonymous said...

Going through Top Chef withdrawal, I was pleased with this write-up. How funny to think an esteemed chef even drinks soda-pop. (No offense. I mean, I too enjoy Diet Coke.)

Sara G.

Anonymous said...

Too little said here about the difference between Jack and Diet and Jack and Coke. Some would say it isn't worth the extra 20# you carry. I say those people prefer phone sex.

Anonymous said...

I am on board for the regular coke, I try not to tally the "empty calories" I consume in a day. I, too, love basil (grow my own, NTB) but couldn't begin to tell what grows where. One of my favorite smells from childhood is the smell of cinnamon yeast rolls that my grandmother made. You can still catch the cinnamon portion walking by Cinnabon at the mall but the dough just doesn't seem to smell quite the same. Good stuff. m

 
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