Celebrated French chef Eric Ripert found Anthony Bourdain dead in a hotel room in France. French hotel. Bourdain hanged himself. CNN said that Bourdain was in France working on a ‘Parts Unknown’ episode.
Accounts of the morning Bourdain was found dead by Ripert from The New York Times and the Daily Mail concur that Bourdain was expected for breakfast and, staff told reporters, Ripert was “waiting and waiting” and finally asked to be allowed to into Bourdain’s room at the Le Chambard hotel in northern France.
Ripert and Bourdain were very close friends, colleagues and confidantes. When you look up Ripert on Twitter, it’s suggested you follow Bourdain. Their bromance was legendary and fans mourning the loss of Bourdain are aching for Ripert.
Ripert said Friday that Bourdain was “an exceptional human being.”
What you need to know about Ripert and Bourdain:
1. Best of Friends, Ripert & Bourdain Often Shared a Kitchen or Stage
After discovering the body of his longtime friend and collaborator, Ripert told The New York Times Friday, “Anthony was a dear friend. He was an exceptional human being, so inspiring and generous. One of the great storytellers of our time who connected with so many. I wish him peace. My love and prayers are with his family, friends and loved ones.”
Close friends, colleagues and fellow seekers of food origins and cultures, they sometimes traveled and cooked together. Ripert first appeared with Bourdain in 2002 on his show A Cook’s Tour . Over the years, the compatriots made dozens of appearances together, mostly on Bourdain shows.
A short blurry video of Bourdain working “fancy French guy and the broke down guy” the former on the grill and the latter handling the saute on the kitchen line in Brasserie Les Halles in New York. As part of an Arts and Lectures Series at University of California at Santa Barbara, Ripert grills Bourdain on his bona fides as a chef and how his vices hindered or inspired. Bourdain says he “didn’t suck…I was not great…but didn’t disgrace my client” while speaking about a specific chef post.
Ripert, in an at once joking and serious way challenged Bourdain on his drug use and asked, “Do you think maybe drugs have compromised your” abilities in the kitchen? There’s instant laughter from the audience as his drug and alcohol use and abuse was freely admitted and sadly legendary. Bourdain asks, “I’m sorry, what was the question?”
2. Bourdain Candidly Shared The Genesis of His Addiction With Ripert While Preparing Octopus & The Two Visited Marseilles Pizza Trucks Together
Bourdain confessed that as a young talented chef running New York restaurants he was offered and indulged in all the “sweet things” a young man likes including, and especially, drugs and soon began a “serious drug habit” that had haunted Bourdain.
“It caught up with me,” he said.
And as Bourdain described his journey with addiction and his life in kitchens he reveals his reverence for his friend Ripert and his skills and expertise as the quintessential top chef.
“…as an example of my insignificance in the hierarchy of chefs, Eric Ripert will not be calling me up for recipe tips anytime soon.”
Bourdain takes his friend on a tour of Marseilles’s iconic pizza food trucks. Yes, Bourdain tells Ripert, Marseilles is the capital of pizza food trucks in France. Ripert admits he’s never prepared a pizza “in my life,” but joked perhaps he and Bourdain could do one together. Their easy rapport and fondness for each other makes watching the two a delight.
3. Fans of Bourdain Are Grieving While Their Hearts Ache for Ripert
In light of recent high profile suicides, Erickson’s point is well-taken. If you or someone you care for needs help, don’t hesitate, don’t wait, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline number on 1-800-273-8255 or go to their website here or visit the International Association for Suicide Prevention here.
4. A TV Chef & Author, Ripert is Known For Top Chef & Appearing on ‘Anthony Bourdain: No Reservations’ & ‘Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown’
Ripert authored and co-authored half a dozen popular cookbooks including Le Bernardin Cookbook: Four Star Simplicity and 32 Yolks: From My Mother’s Table to Working the Line. Ripert was a guest judge on Top Chef, and appeared many times with Bourdain on his shows. His Top Chef bio tells his early story: He left home at 15 to attend culinary school in Perpignan, France. Two years later, in Pairs, the teen was cooking at the renowned La Tour D’Argent then at Jamin. At just 24, Ripert, worked as sous chef for Jean-Louis Palladin at the Watergate Hotel in Washington, D.C. Moving to New York, Ripert was recruited to be chef for Le Bernardin. Ripert is undoubtedly one of the world’s great chefs.
And then there’s his Emmy and James Beard award-winning show, Avec Eric, “…an insider’s view of the professional life and lifestyle of one of the greatest chefs in the world today. Each episode is a journey from restaurant to the source of inspiration to your own home.”
Ripert first appeared with Bourdain in 2002 when they toured French Laundry for Bourdain’s early food road trip shows, A Cook’s Tour. Eater reported that, “Before he became Bourdain’s television BFF, Ripert made a series of cameos on Tony’s old shows, starting with the Napa Valley episode of A Cook’s Tour back in 2002. In this truly bro-tastic episode — which is currently available to stream on Netflix — Bourdain, Ripert, New York chef Scott Bryan, and author Michael Ruhlman hop in a white limo and roll up to Yountville, CA to sample the French Laundry during its heyday.”
Ripert joined other rarefied and dignified chefs to be part of a 1999 ad campaign for the Vita Mix professional super blender called the power tool for chefs. Dubbed “Chefs baring their wares,” or “Famous chefs naked with their blender,” Ripert was one of the chefs featured and recently shared the image in a flashback Friday tweet.
Born in France in 1965, Ripert was taught how to cook by his grandmother. He and his family moved to nearby Andorra, Spain where he was raised, but would later return to France as a teenager to study cooking. But his road was not always easy, he admits and sought out a spiritual course.
“Until I discovered Buddhism, I was kind of lost,” Ripert said. “Lost in a sense that I was trying to be a good person and I couldn’t succeed at the level of where I wanted to be, and Buddhism was, for me, a revelation,” he told ABC News.
5. Ripert’s Le Bernardin is One of the World’s Finest Eateries & HE Among The World’s Best Chefs
Among the world’s finest chefs, as executive chef, Ripert’s restaurant in New York City, Le Bernardin, has been awarded all the stars there are to award; five times reviewed by the New York Times and five times awarded four stars, all the stars The Times has to give. And Le Bernardin received three Michelin stars.
According to his Top Chef bio, in 1997, GQ named Le Bernardin the best restaurant in America, and in 2007, the magazine named Le Bernardin one of “Seven Food Temples of the World.” In 2005, New York magazine declared Le Bernardin the No. 1 restaurant in the city, awarding it five stars in its inaugural restaurant rating issue – a position it holds today. Also in 2005, Bon Appetit declared Ripert’s Butter-Poached Lobster with Tarragon and Champagne its “Dish of the Year.”
Le Bernardin continues to receive universal critical acclaim for its food and service. The Michelin Guide, which made its New York debut in 2005, honored Chef Ripert and Le Bernardin with its highest rating of three stars in 2005, 2006, and 2007. The Zagat Guide has recognized the restaurant as the “Best Food” in New York City for the last seven consecutive years. In 1998, the James Beard Foundation named Le Bernardin “Outstanding Restaurant of the Year” and Eric Ripert “Top Chef in New York City.” In 1999, the restaurant received the “Outstanding Service” award from the Beard Foundation, and in 2003, the Foundation named Ripert “Outstanding Chef in the United States.”
Ripert is a member of the City Harvest Food Council. His commitment to feed the hungry has long been a passion.
“Over 60 of New York City’s (and the world’s!) top chefs and culinary experts serve on City Harvest’s Food Council. They are dedicated to spreading awareness of our mission, raising funds to support our work, and donating high quality food to help feed hungry New Yorkers,” the City Harvest website reads.
In a tweet from January, Ripert shared images from the 10th anniversary of the Cayman Cookout where he’d be joined by Bourdain and chefs including Emeril Lagassee, Jose Andres, Rick Bayless and many others. “Excited to get the band back 2gether,” he wrote.