When I think of Eric Ripert, I think of one of the world's most charming and debonair chefs; I also think of outstanding, inspired seafood, the kind he serves at his inimitable restaurant Le Bernardin in New York City. (I also think of this: He and his good friend Tony Bourdain are sometimes mistaken for each other. Bourdain will pretend he's Ripert and say that in reality he's a really bad cook. It's the opposite of the truth about Ripert, but funny to think about.)
I'm learning a lot reading Ripert's wonderful new memoir, 32 Yolks: From My Mother's Table to Working the Line. For instance, that one of his touchstone dishes was chocolate mousse (it's my favorite, too). "Chocolate mousse has been a favorite since I was a kid," says Ripert. "For one thing, it's convivial—you never make just one portion, always a big batch for sharing." Also that one restaurant experience, even if not's remarkable to anyone else, can change everything.
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F&W has excerpted a chapter from his book. Read it all the way through to hear what one of the world's great chefs has to say about an early restaurant experience that changed everything for him, the place that featured his beloved dessert. Here, from the chapter First, Dessert: Chocolate Mousse.