Eric Ripert’s legendary niceness knows no bounds. (Cooking for monks! Inviting friends over for dinner all the time! Befriending Anthony Bourdain!) And since he’s such a nice man, his Zen tranquility filters down into the staff of Le Bernardin resulting not just in incredible service, but also outpourings of charity where it’s needed most.
“We are a high-end restaurant and feel we are lucky because we live with our passion—we are happy and lucky to work in this environment,” he told Serious Eats in an interview. “So we don’t wait for a catastrophe to arrive to be involved with the community. We do it on a daily basis, mostly through [Le Bernardin’s] City Harvest [menu].
And nowhere did this appear in full force than after Hurricane Sandy, even though his Midtown restaurant escaped unscathed. “Everybody had a sense of compassion here,” he described. “What we decided to do is help City Harvest as much as we could: we cooked full meals for 300 people at a time for them to pick up and deliver. On a personal level, some people volunteered and made donations. So we helped a little bit more than we do usually but, again, for us it’s a daily thought—to help people who are hungry.”
But even after the majority of recovery is done, he says he won’t stop — a tribute to his Buddhist beliefs. “I can’t be successful and feed lucky people and have others who are hungry.”
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