All bow to Eric Ripert… the true Top Chef

I don’t think this episode deserves the standard Top Chef recap.

What we saw this week was not a culinary competition… it was culinary education. Since early-December I’ve wanted to write about Le Bernardin, specifically to discuss the unbelievable dining experience I had there. Unfortunately, until now, I simply didn’t know what to say.

Of all the episodes this season, I felt that this was the most interesting from both a viewing and learning perspective. To see how nervous and excited the chefs were, kind of said it all. Even the judges seemed elated to be given such a unique experience. Mr. Ripert himself even seemed surprised at the praise of Toby Young, a critic typically known for his harsh rhetoric and not his endless praise.

Food Mecca at 155 W. 51st St.

Food Mecca at 155 W. 51st St.

I was pleased to see Fabio applauded for his job of  mimicking the Red Snapper dish. I have tried this dish and can tell you first hand that I’ve simply never had a better cooked piece of fish. From the sauce to the razor-thin slice of sourdough that serves as the faux-crust, the dish is flawless.

All-in-all it appeared that the judges were impressed with the chefs understanding of each dish. Let’s face it… no one is going to do it quite like Mr. Ripert… then again, how easy is it to recreate a Michelin 3-star, NYTimes 4-star and Zagat 28 menu?

Should I get the opportunity to return to Le Bernardin, you can bet that I’ll be trying that Lobster/Asparagus. Hopefully, that opportunity will be sooner, rather than later!

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