6/12/2012 09:00:00 AM

Chefs Honor Thomas Keller, Ripert Talks Meeting His Wife

Yesterday we stopped by a luncheon at Per Se to honor super chef Thomas Keller, recipient of the S. Pellegrino Lifetime Achievement Award from The World’s 50 Best Restaurants. As you would expect from one of the most refined, upscale (and spendiest) restaurants on the planet, the food was incomparable, the setting beautiful and the service impeccable. But when the bubbly flows, the conversation follows – meaning it didn’t stay high brow for long. Read on to find out what happens when eaters (including top-notch chefs) stop being polite and start getting real (can you get the phone?).

Notable Quotables: To kick things off, William Drew of Restaurant magazine read a note from Daniel Boulud (who unfortunately couldn’t be there) and in toasting him said Keller “lived like a cowboy”, but was really a “Frenchman in disguise.” Jonathan Benno (a former chef de cuisine of Per Se who currently oversees Lincoln) praised Keller, thanking him for “inspiring a generation of chefs.” Finally, the man himself took the stage and charmingly thanked everyone (and sponsors Pellegrino and Aqua Panna) before kicking off the four-course meal.

Keller gives a speech
Off the Record: Did we mention the free flowing wine? A few glasses later, when we were able to get over the fact that Eric Ripert and Jeffrey Steingarten were sitting at our very table, we joined in a lively, food-free discussion that ranged from the recent NYC Puerto Rican Day parade to yep, 50 Shades of Grey. Unfortunately, Steingarten and Ripert haven’t read it (or so they said), so we can’t report their opinions, but we feel strongly that they’d take issue with the book’s singular focus on white wine (served with venison even!). We did, however, manage to find out how Ripert met his wife. She was a hostess at an UES restaurant where he used to hang out and one day after illegally planting himself on the terrace, she enforced the law and kicked him off. #nyclovestory.

The End: We came, we saw, we ate a lot (and drank more). Per Se should install some cots in the foyer, because boy could we have used a nap when we were done.

1 comment :

  1. It puzzles me that why Thomas Keller hires David Ciabattari recently, who was being sued for sexual harassment in his prior workplace, as Chief Financial Officer for Thomas Keller Restaurant Group?