Eric Ripert Makes Charity Dinners Fun
- Chefs like Gavin Kaysen, right, cook front and center to raise money for Tibet.The good news: These days, every chef has a charity they’re 100-percent committed to (more on that in F&W’s upcoming July— aka Best New Chefs—issue), and they’ll headline a dinner to prove it. The not-so-good news: How not-so-fun those dinners can be. To the rescue: Eric Ripert, one of the world’s great chefs, of NYC’s Le Bernardin, and the star of the tv series Avec Eric. At the recent Thank You Tibet! Celebration held by the Tibet Fund at NYC’s Pierre Hotel, Ripert hosted a dinner with a bunch of his superstar chef friends (Michael White! Dan Barber! Gavin Kaysen! Daniel Humm!). His genius idea was to have each chef cook a few signature dishes right at the tables of party-goers. George Mendes of Aldea in Manhattan made foie gras terrine with root beer, and rice studded with duck confit and black olives, while Sam Talbot of Montauk’s Surf Club served oysters with BBQ mignonette and miso cod cheeks with roasted carrot vinaigrette. Ripert, meanwhile, prepared Perigord truffled egg and barely cooked wild king salmon. “I loved doing this dinner—I wanted to create an event that had a unique format. And I love the idea of the chefs cooking in front of guests. We had such a good vibe,” says Ripert. What also made it fun: An auction of work from artists with names like Peter Max and Francesco Clemente.