Chef Eric Ripert's On the Line

Are you watching Top Chef? (No spoiler in this blog, fyi...)

I thought the latest challenge -- the one where the chefs got to eat at Le Bernardin, then had to figure out how to recreate the dishes themselves -- was the best one yet. I bet the contestants were all quaking in their clogs when they had to face Eric Ripert as a judge.

At the end of the episode, they kinda-sorta pimped On the Line, Ripert's new book, but just barely. If you weren't paying close attention, it would've been easy to miss.

It is a very, very cool book with tons of interesting, insiderish info about the famed seafood restaurant -- its history, Ripert's background, Q&As, kitchen slang and terminology, a guide to every station in Le Bernardin's kitchen, a breakdown of a day in the life of the restaurant, and tons of seafood recipes, some of which have Ripert's handwritten tips and sketches of what the dishes should look like.

I should also note that Ripert's co-author was Christine Muhlke, whom I've had a writer's crush on for more than a decade. She used to be an editor at Paper magazine, and nowadays is an editor at the New York Times. For this book, she didn't just profile all the major players in the restaurant -- she sweated out a crazy night in the kitchen, too. Fun! 

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