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Publisher's Summary

Hailed by Anthony Bourdain as "heartbreaking, horrifying, poignant, and inspiring", 32 Yolks is the brave and affecting coming-of-age story about the making of a French chef, from the culinary icon behind the renowned New York City restaurant Le Bernardin.

In an industry where celebrity chefs are known as much for their salty talk and quick tempers as their food, Eric Ripert stands out. The winner of four James Beard Awards, co-owner and chef of a world-renowned restaurant, and recipient of countless Michelin stars, Ripert embodies elegance and culinary perfection. But before the accolades, before he even knew how to make a proper hollandaise sauce, Eric Ripert was a lonely young boy in the south of France whose life was falling apart.

Ripert's parents divorced when he was six, separating him from the father he idolized and replacing him with a cold, bullying stepfather who insisted that Ripert be sent away to boarding school. A few years later, Ripert's father died on a hiking trip. Through these tough times, the one thing that gave Ripert comfort was food. Told that boys had no place in the kitchen, Ripert would instead watch from the doorway as his mother rolled couscous by hand or his grandmother pressed out the buttery dough for the treat he loved above all others, tarte aux pommes. When an eccentric local chef took him under his wing, an 11-year-old Ripert realized that food was more than just an escape: It was his calling. That passion would carry him through the drudgery of culinary school and into the high-pressure world of Paris' most elite restaurants, where Ripert discovered that learning to cook was the easy part - surviving the line was the battle.

Taking us from Eric Ripert's childhood in the south of France and the mountains of Andorra into the demanding kitchens of such legendary Parisian chefs as Joël Robuchon and Dominique Bouchet, until, at the age of 24, Ripert made his way to the United States, 32 Yolks is the tender and richly told story of how one of our greatest living chefs found himself - and his home - in the kitchen.

©2016 Eric Ripert and Veronica Chambers (P)2016 Random House Audio

Critic Reviews

"Heartbreaking. Horrifying. Poignant. And inspiring. I've known Eric for years, and I had no idea that this was how it all started. If you want to get a clear picture of where one gets the drive and dedication to be a truly great chef, there is no better or more harrowing account." (Anthony Bourdain)
"This book demonstrates just how amazing Eric's life has been both inside and outside the kitchen. It makes total sense now that he has become one of the greatest chefs in the world today. This is a portrait of a chef as a young man. It's endlessly entertaining and teaches young cooks how it used to be." (David Chang)
"Eric Ripert is known around the world for his talent and passion for food. I have been friends with him for half his life, but his memoir let me discover more about his past. His journey from Andorra to Manhattan is full of adventure, hard work, and ambition, and it is an inspiration to us all." (Daniel Boulud)
"Peter Ganim's beautiful and moving narration reveals moments of horror, heartbreak, joy, and inspiration as a young boy learns lessons about food and applies them to life.... Ganim’s narration, accentuated by a fluid French accent, is dynamic and modulated, capturing Ripert’s experiences and responses with anguished and fearful whisperings, deep anger, and, finally, tenderness and humble confidence. It’s a listening experience so compelling that one can almost hear the clatter of kitchenware." ( AudioFile)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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Every aspiring cook needs to read this

I wanted to read this book as soon as it was published. Since I had the the privilege to have worked with Chef Ripert at Le Bernardin in New York City many years ago. The book even brought back many of my own childhood memories as I started my culinary career in Belgium in a very similar way. A must read for all who are thinking of having a career in the world of culinary madness. Just a little disappointed that the book ends when Eric moves to the States. Hope there will be a part 2 coming in the future. Merci Eric for sharing.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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Eric Ripert is a chef among chefs.

I really enjoyed learning about where he came from and how he developed his refined tast for food. This is a must read for chefs and foodies.

3 of 4 people found this review helpful

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A French chef’s life scares me

Great story, and read. I’m fascinated by Eric Ripert, he’s an amazing chef. Loved hearing how he learned and exactly what he was taught. I only wish the story included his life after he arrived in the US.

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Great storytelling

I havent listen anything like this book, the perspective and the feelings of The young Eric are so profound, well described and easy to understand.

I start to scream "Ripert!!" All the time, as if I were Robuchon.

Great book.

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Great book.

Great book, I only wished Eric and his handsome voice read it. Also I hope there's a part two about how he opened Le Bernadine as this was all about prior to that.

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Has some good stuff

Once you get past the long chapters about his childhood there are some really good chapters about food and his early career . I just got bored with the stuff about his family life as a boy

1 of 2 people found this review helpful

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Beautiful Story

The narrator of this book is superb! Is very lovely to learn how Eric Ripert became who the wonderful chef he is. Couldn't help but want to eat Nutella on a baguette when listening to the chapters about his childhood and what would be his afternoon snack lol. Very inspiring how by hard work and dedication he took a leap of faith coming to America for new beginnings. Love love this story♥️

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1 complaint

I wish there would have been at least one chapter about his time in America.

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  • Gypsycat
  • Madison, WI, United States
  • 10-14-16

only okay

I've read a lot of food memoirs and this was not the most humble, magical, or inspiring.

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So so good!

This was the most poetic autobiography I have ever read. Fascinating, relatable, decadent... **warning** :: will make you hungry!