Kangaroos, crocodiles and monks are just a few of Eric Ripert's new friends in the new season of Avec Eric, which premieres this Saturday at 9:30 a.m. on The Cooking Channel. Food & Wine went behind the scenes during filming to talk to the Le Bernardin chef about funding his dreams and garlic's lurid reputation among monks.
You took a long break between the second and third seasons. Why?
In between the second season and now, we filmed On the Table. The idea was to have a guest and cook together, so it would be a different vibe and ambience [than Avec Eric], allowing me to interview guests in a different way. I was interviewing chefs in the Cayman Islands, and the chefs were talking to me like how they would talk to a friend. We thought, why not try something like this in the kitchen and see what happens? We did it, it was fun, and now we are back to Avec Eric and back to traveling. We may do [On the Table] again; it was a lot of fun.
What's the theme of this season?
I travel for inspiration, which in real life I do as a chef. You visit New York and different neighborhoods, and you get inspired. In my private life, I cook recipes that are much simpler and more homey, which is what we do in the studio. We bring the viewer to the country or area we visit and inspire them to cook something from the experience.