32 Yolks: From My Mother's Table to Working the Line

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Eric Ripert grew up in the beautiful countryside of Provence and in the mountains of Andorra, a small landlocked state between France and Spain. Thanks to delicious home-cooked meals and impromptu lessons from a local chef, Ripert’s childhood experiences compelled him toward a career in fine dining. 32 Yolks tells the story of his culinary coming-of-age, from working as a military chef to the intricacies of farm-to-table food and cooking on the line in Paris.

Though Ripert’s memoir is built around his passion for food, he also delves into his complicated family history — including his parents’ difficult separation, the sudden death of his father, and his stepfather’s violent rages. Written with humor and candor, 32 Yolks illuminates how Eric Ripert’s love of cooking took him from a microstate village to some of the world’s most famous restaurants.

"Often, in the spring, we’d have my favorite meal: a salad of white pissenlit, or dandelion greens, picked wild from beneath a patch of melting snow. (The dandelions were baby-white because they hadn’t yet seen the sun. Later in the spring, they would turn a brilliant verdant green. But in early spring, they are still white, tender, and sweet.) My mother would toss them in a mustardy vinaigrette and serve them with lamb chops grilled on a piece of slate — a typical Andorran preparation in which the charred meat takes on a slight mineral spice. Finally, she’d prepare a fricassee of chanterelles that we’d gathered while hiking in the woods on our way to where we would set up camp.”

Eric Ripert is a chef, restaurateur, television personality, and author. His New York City restaurant Le Bernardin, is ranked as one of the best in the world. His books include On the Line, 32 Yolks, and A Return to Cooking.

Published: 2016
Length: 237 pages
Set in: Andorra; Provence and Paris, France