As the esteemed executive chef of Le Bernardin, a 3 Michelin-starred restaurant in New York City, Eric Ripert is renowned for his innovative seafood creations and commitment to culinary excellence. Born in the South of France in 1965, he learned to cook from his mother as a child, later working under the tutelage of legendary restaurateurs Joël Robuchon and David Bouley.

Beyond the kitchen, Ripert is a devout Buddhist and accomplished author whose various cookbooks blend culinary expertise with philosophical insights. In 2016, he released the memoir 32 Yolks, an affecting coming-of-age story hailed by Anthony Bourdain as “heartbreaking, horrifying, poignant, and inspiring.”

In a reading list for One Grand, Ripert recommended 10 books that have most inspired his life and craft. From the Dalai Lama to Machiavelli to Henry Miller, find his favorite below, and check out the bookshelves of other culinary icons here.

Eric Ripert’s Reading List

The Quantum and the Lotus by Matthieu Ricard and Trinh Xuan Thuan 

“Buddhist monk Matthieu Ricard and astrophysicist Trinh Xuan Thuan explore the connections between science and Buddhist philosophy. Taking a scientific and secular approach, the authors explain the Buddhist theory of emptiness: the concept that all beings and events are relational and interconnected and therefore have no separate, absolute reality in space and time. I keep this book on my desk and go back to it often for clarity and inspiration.” -ER

My Father’s Glory & My Mother’s Castle by Marcel Pagnol

“I have a signed copy of My Father’s Glory that was given by Pagnol to my father. The author and filmmaker’s story of his youth in the hills of Provence reminds me of many summers I spent there in my early years.” -ER

Paul Bocuse’s French Cooking by Paul Bocuse

“This 1976 book, still in print in France as La Cuisine du Marché, was a strong inspiration to both my mother and my childhood self. The book played a big part in fueling my passion for food and cooking. I must have read it a thousand times—I fantasized over every recipe when I should have been doing my homework!” -ER

Kitchen Confidential by Anthony Bourdain (also rec’d by René Redzepi & Carrie Brownstein)

Kitchen Confidential was the first book I ever read in English. I love that Tony’s world in the kitchen was filled with pirate-like renegades when mine was peopled with regimented professionals. How eye-opening and entertaining to read about the other side!” -ER

Cent Elephants Sur un Brin D’Herbe by Dalai Lama

“This book, whose title translates as ‘100 Elephants on a Blade of Grass,’ begins with His Holiness’ moving Nobel Peace Prize acceptance speech. It was the first serious book on Buddhism that I read, and it inspired me to learn more about the philosophy. I attribute most of the qualities I have today to the spirituality and teachings of His Holiness.” -ER

Bright Lights Big City by Jay McInerney

“I don’t think any book describes New York in the ‘80s as accurately and as well as Bright Lights. When I arrived in 1991, I instantly felt that energy from the book in the city.” -ER

Cooking with the Seasons by Jean-Louis Palladin

“In collaboration with photographer Fred Maroon, this book, much like my mentor Jean Louis himself, was way ahead of its time. Put side by side with cookbooks of today, it’s incomparable. It’s one of the cookbooks I cherish the most.” -ER

The Prince by Niccolo Machiavelli (also rec’d by Martin Luther King Jr.Neil deGrasse Tyson & Robert Greene)

“Given the current political climate, I have found myself picking up and flicking through The Prince on more than one occasion over the past year. It seems manipulation and questionable political conduct is very much alive and well! A fascinating study and still wholly relevant.” -ER

Paroles by Jacques Prevert

“Like most teenagers in France at the time, I was introduce to Prevert in school. And also like most teenagers, I was slightly rebellious and had my anti-establishment moments and so Paroles really spoke to me.” -ER

Sexus by Henry Miller

“Controversial at first, and still by the time I got around to reading it 20 years after its initial release. The fact that it was available in France yet banned in the USA made it even more interesting. While shocked and amused, I was very often surprisingly inspired by Miller.” -ER

(via One Grand Books)

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Categories: Chefs