Eric Ripert – Le Bernardin, New York

Which knives do you use most often?
I like to use a 8″ chef knife and a fillet knife. I sometimes use a yanagi at home for delicate jobs.

How would you describe Le Bernardin’s culinary philosophy?
We are a fine dining restaurant that specializes in seafood. All fish are different; they are delicate and have special characteristics. It requires a good culinary understanding and strong technique to prepare our dishes. If we cook halibut, for example, we try to elevate its finer qualities to really make it the “star” of the plate. I think first about the fish and then about the sauce, color; texture, and accompaniments.

What do knives mean to you?
My knife is my most important tool. Good knife skills are essential to success in the kitchen. You must be disciplined to care for your knives. I enjoy sharpening and, like with cooking, I find it relaxing and meditative. I forget about the world and it’s just myself, the metal blade, and the water stone.

Do you have any advice for young chefs?
You must really be sure that you want to be a chef. You shouldn’t be driven by celebrity. I think that culinary students should be open-minded, humble, and hardworking. These qualities are essential – the rest comes with time.

2004 Korin Knife Catalog