32 YolksFrom My Mother’s Table to Working the Line


NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • Hailed by Anthony Bourdain as “heartbreaking, horrifying, poignant, and inspiring,” 32 Yolks is the brave and affecting coming-of-age story about the making of a French chef, from the culinary icon behind the renowned New York City restaurant Le Bernardin.

In an industry where celebrity chefs are known as much for their salty talk and quick tempers as their food, Eric Ripert stands out. The winner of four James Beard Awards, co-owner and chef of a world-renowned restaurant, and recipient of countless Michelin stars, Ripert embodies elegance and culinary perfection. But before the accolades, before he even knew how to make a proper hollandaise sauce, Eric Ripert was a lonely young boy in the south of France whose life was falling apart.

Ripert’s parents divorced when he was six, separating him from the father he idolized and replacing him with a cold, bullying stepfather who insisted that Ripert be sent away to boarding school. A few years later, Ripert’s father died on a hiking trip. Through these tough times, the one thing that gave Ripert comfort was food. Told that boys had no place in the kitchen, Ripert would instead watch from the doorway as his mother rolled couscous by hand or his grandmother pressed out the buttery dough for the treat he loved above all others, tarte aux pommes. When an eccentric local chef took him under his wing, an eleven-year-old Ripert realized that food was more than just an escape: It was his calling. That passion would carry him through the drudgery of culinary school and into the high-pressure world of Paris’s most elite restaurants, where Ripert discovered that learning to cook was the easy part—surviving the line was the battle.

Taking us from Eric Ripert’s childhood in the south of France and the mountains of Andorra into the demanding kitchens of such legendary Parisian chefs as Joël Robuchon and Dominique Bouchet, until, at the age of twenty-four, Ripert made his way to the United States, 32 Yolks is the tender and richly told story of how one of our greatest living chefs found himself—and his home—in the kitchen.

Eric Ripert is the chef and co-owner of the New York restaurant Le Bernardin, which holds three stars from the Michelin Guide and has maintained a four-star rating from The New York Times for more than two decades. He is vice chairman of the board of City Harvest, a New York-based food rescue organization, as well as a recipient of the Legion d’Honneur, France’s highest honor. He serves as a regular guest judge on Bravo’s Top Chef and is the host of his own TV series, Avec Eric, which has won Emmy and James Beard awards. Ripert is the author of five cookbooks, including Avec Eric, On the Line, A Return to Cooking, Le Bernardin—Four Star Simplicity, and My Best: Eric Ripert.

Veronica Chambers is a former editor at The New York Times Magazine and Premiere, and is currently a contributing editor at Glamour. She attended Simon’s Rock College at age sixteen and was named one of Glamour magazine’s Top Ten College Women of 1990. The co-author, with John Singleton, of Poetic Justice: Filmmaking South Central Style and a frequent contributor to Essence, Seventeen, and The New York Times Book Review, Chambers has held a Freedom Forum Fellowship at Columbia University. She lives in Brooklyn.

“Passionate, poetical . . . What makes 32 Yolks compelling is the honesty and laudable humility Ripert brings to the telling.”Chicago Tribune

“With a vulnerability and honesty that is breathtaking . . . Ripert takes us into the mind of a boy with thoughts so sweet they will cause you to weep. He also lets us into the mind of the man he is today, revealing all the golden cracks and chips that made him more valuable to those around him.”The Wall Street Journal
 
“Eric Ripert makes magic with 32 Yolks.”Vanity Fair

32 Yolks may not be what you’d expect from a charming, Emmy-winning cooking show host and cookbook author. In the book, there are, of course, scenes of elaborate meals both eaten and prepared. . . . But Ripert’s story is, for the most part, one of profound loss.”Los Angeles Times

“This book demonstrates just how amazing Eric’s life has been both inside and outside of the kitchen. It makes total sense now to see him become one of the greatest chefs in the world today. This is a portrait of a chef as a young man.”—David Chang

“Eric Ripert is known around the world for his talent and passion for food. I have been friends with him for half his life, but his memoir let me discover more about his past. His journey from Andorra to Manhattan is full of adventure, hard work, and ambition, and it is an inspiration to us all.”—Daniel Boulud