The occasion is their appearance in “Good vs. Evil: An Evening With Anthony Bourdain and Eric Ripert,” a live stage event that combines storytelling, some revelations about what goes on behind the kitchen doors of posh restaurants and a little good-natured sparring between old friends.
Bourdain, the chef-at-large at two Brasseries Les Halles locations in Manhattan, is the rock star and, presumably, the “evil” half of the pair.
He's widely known for his blunt, often-profanity-laden observations in his books “Kitchen Confidential” and “Medium Raw,” as well as on his Travel Channel shows “No Reservations,” “The Layover” and his latest cable series, “ Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown ,” which debuted April 14 on CNN.
Ripert's (pronounced RIP-air ) resumé is no less dazzling.
Foodies know him as the soft-spoken, gracious chef and co-owner of New York City's internationally acclaimed seafood restaurant Le Bernardin.
The restaurant has received a three-star Michelin Guide rating every year since 2005 and has been given four-star ratings in each of the five New York Times reviews Le Bernardin has received over the past two decades.
Ripert is the author of “Avec Eric,” a cookbook based on his PBS show, as well as “On the Line,” “A Return to Cooking” and “Le Bernardin Cookbook.”
Though their images are very different, Ripert and Bourdain have been friends since 2000, when Ripert invited Bourdain to visit him at Le Bernardin soon after Bourdain's “Kitchen Confidential” came out.
“We became very good friends. We had a good interaction,” Ripert says. “It was Anthony's idea that we do a show together.”
Between 10 to 20 times a year, they venture beyond Manhattan to bring “Good vs. Evil: An Evening With Anthony Bourdain and Eric Ripert” to audiences in cities around the United States.
“It's two hours. People laugh a lot. Everybody leaves inspired or having learnedsomething,” says Ripert. “The first part is roasting.”
It begins with Bourdain giving Ripert a good-natured grilling on topics such as cooking practices or the prices at Le Bernardin.
“I then return the favor,” Ripert says.
On past stops, the interrogation has covered Bourdain's travel experiences, his drug use and his opinions on celebrity chefs, such as Paula Deen and Rachael Ray.
“Then we sit down and discuss more topics — food, the food industry, the planet,” Ripert explains.
The evening ends with Bourdain and Ripert answering questions from the audience.
Most often ,people want to know more about the pair's restaurants or their TV shows, or they have questions about food preparation.
Frequently, they ask what advice Bourdain and Ripert would give to someone interested in working in the food industry.
“One: Don't come into the restaurant industry because you are looking to be rich. It's physically and mentally challenging,” Ripert tells them. “Anthony and I agree on that.
“Two: go to a good culinary school, then work for a very good chef. You won't make much money. But, you will learn.”
Alice T. Carter is a features reporter for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-320-7808 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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