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On the Line: Inside the World of Le Bernardin
By Eric Ripert, with Christine Muhlke
ISBN: 1579653693
Publisher: Artisan
Publication date: December 2008
Format: Hardcover
List price: $35 
Type: Restaurant
Sample recipe: Barely Cooked Wild Alaskan Salmon with Daikon, Snow Peas, Enoki Salad, and Sweet Pea-Wasabi Sauce , Milk Chocolate Pots de Crème Eggs with Caramel Foam, Maple Syrup, and Maldon Sea Salt
Intended audience: novice advanced beginner good home cook gourmet professional
Apparent goal: stocking stuffer sampler comprehensive coffee-table Biblical stature
Competition: outclassed follower in the pack strong challenger likely champ
Variety: too little too much unusual nice mix just right
# of recipes: <50 <100 <200 <300 ≥300
Practical recipes: <20% <40% <60% <80% ≥80%
# of ingredients: ≤4 ≤7 ≤10 ≤12 >12
Ingredient hunt: 7-Eleven airfare required online pantry supermarket
Recipe complexity: too hard simple medium challenging professional
Instructions: inadequate verbose bare-bones full-figured educational
Time conscious: unconscious outright lies white lies realistic honorable
Cooking time: weekend project takes all day takes time ≥30 minutes <30 minutes
Added info: zip overwhelming scant balanced generous
Photos/drawings: none distracting decorative instructive glorious
Recipe results: ≤dorm food casual food family meals fancy food fit for royalty
Nutritional info: none overwhelming hit or miss adequate comprehensive
Format/Ease of Use
Layout: ugh cluttered fine considerate work of art
Legibility: unpleasant challenging tolerable clear brilliant
Production quality: cheesy dubious years of service gift quality stunning
Page numbers: non-existent hard-to-find spotty sufficient every page
Table of contents: AWOL frustrating passable useful excellent
Index quality: none tragic adequate good a treasure
Page flipping: upsetting tedious acceptable rare never
Writer: beginner food writer writing cook personality auteur
Cook: unknown self-taught chef teacher celebrity
Fulfills ambitions: falls short almost there satisfactory exceeds home run
Flavor delivered: sad inconsistent tasty delicious exceptional
Overall tone: sterile trying too hard straightforward best friend mom
Value: ouch! a little pricey worth splurging on the money a deal
Overall rating: skip it good very good excellent Ochef Top 100

Comments: If you learned how one facet of the New York restaurant scene works from Anthony Bourdain's Kitchen Confidential, you get an entirely different picture from On the Line, Eric Ripert's behind-the-scenes look at Le Bernardin, one of the first four restaurants in New York to earn three Michelin stars. It's not that there's any less speed, but there's exponentially more order, more organization, and almost infinitely more attention to standards.

The front of the book is the nuts-and-bolts look at the workings of Le Bernardin's kitchen and dining room – how much the flowers cost, how new dishes make it onto the menu, and who performs what role, from dishwashers to top management. The back is a collection of Chef Ripert's wonderful recipes – some of which you may be up to, and all of which are interesting to read and consider.

The best of both worlds would be to read the book and then dine at the restaurant. Or dine at the restaurant, then read the book, then dine at the restaurant again. Or....


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