At the three Michelin stars of New York The Bernardinethis solitary lobster claw sitting in lime green remoulade on a sea of china may seem like the essence of simplicity, but because the chef Eric Ripert is behind, you know better. Its minimal presentation belies the intricacies that went into its creation.
No wonder, then, that the celebrity chef applies the same stripped-back aesthetic to the renovation of his personal kitchen. Sleek efficiency was what he was looking for. “It doesn’t look like anything,” he says, “like a table and a wall.” But this rarity is a question of performance. “It’s Formula 1 for kitchens. I can cook for 20 people on my own.
Ripert likes the clean look of a wall of cupboards hiding crockery, spices and cutlery but with plenty of space for everything. He went to the German manufacturer Siematics for cabinetmaking and worked with its experts to place the various essential elements appropriately. When Ripert cooks on the 12-foot island, he can reach for the fridge to retrieve the butter without taking his eyes off the searing scallops in the pan in front of him. This easy reach is no accident: it was measured to fit his arm length. “Two feet behind me, I have the fridge and I have access to wine and the freezer,” he says. “I’m not moving; I’m cooking. It’s ultra-efficient.
The kitchen is also adapted to his size and that of his family. Ripert and his teenage son are both over six feet tall, and his wife is also tall, so they had the Caesarstone counters built to higher specifications. That was the advantage of starting from scratch rather than upgrading an older kitchen. He opted for Caesarstone, rather than marble or granite, because it resists scratches and stains, even with red wine. And it’s a breeze to clean. Ripert says, “It’s important to have an easy-to-maintain kitchen when there’s no one around to clean up after you. »
To this end, he has installed two dishwashers, because when he receives, there are always several dishes with wine pairings. “When the guests leave, I have one for the glassware, one for the plates. I put everything in the machines, press a button and go take a nap,” he laughs. And effective cleaning up after meals was key when selecting a cooktop – a five-burner glass induction cooktop, plus a larger side burner for stock pots. “A little spray, sponge, wipe and it’s done.”
A quick wipe down isn’t the main reason for choosing this type of stove—for Gaggenau-Nevertheless. He also uses it at Le Bernardin and in his apartment in Manhattan. “What I like about induction,” says Ripert, “is first of all that it is very economical, in terms of energy. When you use gas, you use a lot of heat that is not needed, so from an energy point of view it does not make sense. It also creates a lot of heat in the kitchen. Induction does not give off the same type of heat – it works magnetically, only heating the metal placed on its surface. “I can boil water and put my hand in it, and it’s cold,” he explains. In addition, the induction is powerful. This pot of water will boil in just one minute.
Its devices not only stand for efficiency but also for precision. The island’s other cooking surface is its rectangular teppanyaki grill. “The heat is exactly the same from corner to corner and all the way to the middle,” he says. “If I’m having a big party and I want to cook 50 scallops, the heat will be the same all over it.”
Another island design element he borrowed from his professional life is the 10 inches of countertop between the cooking surfaces and the rim. “I can put plates in front of me and do it just like we do in a restaurant,” Ripert says. “It’s the way we compose the dishes.”
He turned to Gaggenau for all his personal devices, even though he has no professional relationship with the company, because he felt it was the most technically advanced. This includes a new ventilation system that springs from the counter and another that draws air into the basement and exhausts it outside, keeping odors and smoke away from guests and the chef without obstructing his field of vision. vision for his friends and family.
Ripert also wanted more than one oven: a combi, as well as a standard. A combi oven can mix steam and convection heat. “You can put halibut at 220 degrees for 12 minutes and it’s perfectly cooked,” he says. “You can put in a whole head of cauliflower and steam it, then sear it. It’s very quick and you get the right crispiness.
Within the cabinets are spaces designed for exactly how Ripert and his family use the equipment: “Siematic asked us how to entertain ourselves, and they came up with the ideas. This includes pull-out cutting boards, an under-grill trash can that he can open with one knee, and drawers of varying heights to accommodate taller pans.
The previous kitchen in this space was cut off from the dining room and entertainment area of the home, which Ripert was eager to reverse. Now he can see the fireplace at the other end of the living room from 25 feet away, while his friends can sit in front of the island while he cooks. “When I see houses built with the stove against the wall and I know the person cooking has to have their back to the room, it drives me crazy,” he says.
Its space, on the other hand, was well studied. He says some architects only think about design, not kitchen and flow. Some like to hang pots and pans and block your view. The secret to avoiding such glitches when building your dream kitchen? “Go see a specialist and explain how you will use your kitchen,” he says. “Don’t let them do what they want.”
While his social need was very present, another request from Ripert was to feel connected to nature outside the large bay window: “From the kitchen, I feel like I’m in the middle of a forest. In summer, when you open the doors, you have the chirping of birds and the smell of wood. Last winter there, during a blizzard, I was making soup and stew and watching the snow and the bird feeders by the window. It was very fun and calming.
And for a perfectionist, he’s surprisingly satisfied. “I wouldn’t have done anything different. I am very happy to enter this house and to be reunited with her. This is my dream.”