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32 Yolks: From My Mother's Table to Working the Line

3.89  ·  Rating details ·  4,211 ratings  ·  504 reviews
NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER - 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 know
Hardcover, 247 pages
Published May 17th 2016 by Random House (first published April 12th 2016)
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3.89  · 
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 ·  4,211 ratings  ·  504 reviews

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Diane S ☔
May 04, 2016 rated it really liked it
I like to cook, buy the best ingredients available to me and think I am a pretty good at it. Or so my family says. But to be this caliber of a chef liking it not enough, passion os required, the passion required to cook for sixteen or more hours of a day. That I don't have the desire to do.

Saw Chef Eric Ripert on Top Chef, plus I like reading books about food, heck I really like food. He grew up with a mother who created wonderful food, had grandmothers who also cooked well, though differently.
Diane Barnes
Jan 13, 2019 rated it really liked it
I like to cook and I like to eat, and I like to read food memoirs. I was unfamiliar with this French chef's name and reputation, but had heard of his legendary New York restaurant, Le Bernadin. I happened upon this book, and it turned out to be a good one. He had a difficult childhood, but an early mentor who was a local chef in his little French village. Jacques would let the six year old Eric sit on a stool and watch him prep and cook. Eric was hooked and never looked back. He went on to work ...more
May 16, 2016 rated it liked it
Unlike many who would be attracted to this book, I started reading not really aware of who Eric Ripert really is. I don't generally pay attention to Michelin stars or any of that - way above my budget. But I do tend to be interested in memoirs, and as someone who collects cookbooks like some collect tchotchkes, I enjoy reading about chefs and their backgrounds and training. 32 Yolks was both interesting and compulsively readable.

Ripert didn't have the best upbringing as a child. His parents ende
Jul 11, 2017 rated it really liked it
"Still, by mastering those thirty-two yolks, I had done something right. I was becoming a real cook."

This is not just a pretty cover and fitting title, it's a damn good coming-of-age memoir. I can only hope that Ripert teams up with Veronica Chambers again to write about his life in America.
Barbara (The Bibliophage)
Jul 31, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: own-digital, memoirs, 2018
Chef Ripert made me aware that my knife skills are pathetic. And that I desperately want to go to France and eat meal after delicious meal. But even more this is a story of backbreaking work, ambition, and family support. It took balls to go from culinary school to Michelin-starred kitchens, but Ripert did it. And he lived to very engagingly tell the tale. Great foodie memoir!

Full review on my book blog
Mar 24, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I enjoyed this book for so many reasons. I like autobiographies and this one is no exception. I didn't know who Eric Ripert was before delving into this so what a wonderful surprise to hear his story. This book was so well written. I loved the descriptive quality. His life was somewhat privileged, but there was also heartache and tragedy. The way these topics were handled is what made this well written, (in my opinion). It didn't feel like a tragedy parade as if the author was looking for some r ...more
May 24, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: food-health, arc, memoir, own
Eric Ripert is one of the most recognizable chefs in the world today. He makes good food. He's on Top Chef a lot. And Anthony Bourdain seems to think he's a swell guy. To top it off, he's always got that humble and composed Frenchman swagger. The guy just has it going on.

I like Eric Ripert, and I figured I was going to enjoy this book when I first picked it up. But I wasn't expecting to be so caught up in it. I mean, I LOVED it. Start to finish, loved it. It was fun to read, and I didn't want it
Jan 16, 2019 rated it liked it
We follow Eric, as a cherished only child of two loving parents. he is treated as somewhat of an equal at times, having his love of food seeded from these early days when his parents took him along for lavish meals and indulged him. His mother always a detail oriented and stylish woman, owner of a high end boutique, showed him excellence in preparing even simple meals at home, including presentation and table setting.

Unfortunately, his parents were a bit of a heartbreaking case of their time. Bo
May 14, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This a fascinating inside look from one of the world's best know chefs into what shaped and influenced him to become the culinary master he is. From the pain and abuse endured as a child, to the many mentors that taught and inspired him, Eric Ripert gives a amazing account of his life from earliest beginnings to the pinnacle of his enduring success. This also a good, detailed look at what it is like to work in some of the most famous restaurant's kitchens-- the stress, abuse, inspiration and the ...more
Apr 12, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: nonfiction
Read it. Couldn't put it down. It was heart-breaking and amazing, and as I read it, I'd find myself thinking, there's a piece that lead to LB's genius. Loved the line about how he could tell where a chef made a mistake in a sauce because he's made every single one of them himself. But now I want more! I want what happens after he gets to America! Ripert and his co-author did an excellent job of laying out the foundations of Ripert's life and start in the kitchen. Now I want the next step.
Sue Russell
May 04, 2016 rated it liked it
This is really a pretty good book---better than most chef memoirs. But it's hard to know how to rate a book for which the author had "help." In this case I might add that the "help" did a very good disappearing act, so that the prose seemed natural and the food parts seemed credibly detailed. I know that I couldn't have done anywhere near as good a job in describing the various knife cuts.
Jul 21, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I recently went to this chef's 3 Michelin star NYC restaurant Le Bernardin. It was a culinary experience of a life time and I wanted to know more about Eric Ripert. This book is about his lonely and troubled childhood, culinary school, and his first few chef experiences. If I ever had dreams of being a chef this book has cured me of such aspirations. Grueling is too mild of a word. You have a front row seat view of what made him the chef he is today. The book ends as he boards a plane from Paris ...more
Finished the audiobook today (great narration) and it made me like Eric Ripert even more. He seems like a classy, stand-up guy and talented chef and I enjoy his friendship with Anthony Bourdain and watching them pal around on their shows. I had been meaning to read this one and since my blogging cooking group is cooking his recipes for the next six months, it seemed a good time to read his memoir.

He had a difficult upbringing with the death of his father at an early age, life with an abusive st
Apr 02, 2017 rated it it was amazing
What a beautiful memoir! I'm not a foodie or super into cooking, but I love a good food-related memoir. I adored the gritty brashness of Bourdain's 'Kitchen Confidential' and Ripert's own coming of age/ 'learning to love being a cook' story doesn't disappoint. It comes down to a simple story of of Ripert's pre-fame life, from his tough childhood to the stresses of learning to cook in the kitchen of one of the most talented (and demanding) chefs of the last century. Beautifully written in a way t ...more
Eric Asuncion
Apr 25, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Personally, I liked the book. Eric comes off much of a French chef as he could. It was refreshing to see where he draws his inspirations from in his cooking.
Apr 16, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2016, in-english, memoir, food
Fascinating coming-of-age story of a boy becoming a man, finding his passion and learning to cook and how to be a professional chef.

This is a story of beginning of long way that Eric Ripert had to take to become an amazing chef of a three star restaurant. Reading it I had more and more admiration for all the chefs. Work in a kitchen is so difficult, so physically and mentally exhausting it amazes me that so many people decide to embark on this journey to become a professional chef. And I am than
Jan 28, 2017 rated it liked it
A must read for those aspiring chefs! What determination! What achievements!
Feb 05, 2019 rated it really liked it
I think Eric Ripert is amazing. He seems so humble and relatable, which is the opposite of what "chef" conjures up, most of the time. The Parts Unknown episode with him in China is my favorite.

I really enjoyed this memoir. It was written so artfully, and yet so bitingly at times. It was also funny, and very sad. I wanted to give little Eric a hug throughout the first half of the book.

- "My mother had, to my mind, chosen poorly, and I strove to remind her of this failing on a daily basis...I wre
Meg Marie
Jun 01, 2017 rated it really liked it
My experience with Ripert is mostly limited to Top Chef, this just made me love him more. His book isn't about natural talent, but just a love of food and years of practice and hard work.
Kelly Kittel
Apr 24, 2018 rated it really liked it
Note: I wanted to give this book 3 stars in keeping with the Michelin system, but it's better than that.

I am one who eats to live, as opposed to living to eat. I’m a far cry from a foodie and am looking forward to the culmination of the chevre craze when I can eat a nice beet salad without encountering that most unpleasant of surprises. I've hunted for my share of chanterelles in the coastal forests of Oregon because I am all about fresh food. But I'd just as soon buy a handful of baby bellas,
Heather Colacurcio
Sep 12, 2016 rated it really liked it
In the heart of the most famous French kitchens, you will find a cutthroat world full of chefs trying to make their mark on the world. Eric Ripert recounts his privileged, but difficult childhood spent in the South of France and Andorra. When Ripert was only fifteen, he began culinary school and with a bright future ahead, started training in one of France's oldest, most beloved restaurants. When the opportunity struck to move even further up the ladder, Ripert jumped at the chance, not realizin ...more
3.5 stars

Eric Ripert is one of my favorite Top Chef personalities (he's both dreamy and articulate), and as I've been fortunate enough to eat at Le Bernardin a handful of times, he's also one of my favorite real-life chefs.

His childhood was both more fraught and more privileged than I had expected. No spoilers, but I strongly sympathized with young Eric, even when he was being a bit of an entitled prat.

The tales of his first Michelin-starred kitchen training are reminiscent of Kitchen Confident
May 04, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction, memoir, food
I read this in Ripert's voice in my head, along with his French accent. I think you should too. The anecdotes in this book sometimes jump around in time and get a bit repetitive because of this, but overall, I found Ripert's early life in the kitchen entertaining. I even laughed out loud in some bits, especially about his Ghost Sauce. I was incredulous about some of the stories, especially how they ended up, but I could see Ripert's love of food and dining clearly in his descriptions. His co/gho ...more
Denise Morse
Mar 07, 2016 rated it really liked it
The book is an in depth look at the early formidable years of a true genius chef. It is always fascinating to read about how people become who they are, what happens in the early life to shape their thinking and their personalities. I wanted so much to go back in time and to give him a hug, i worried for him even knowing that things turn out alright. The description of working for Robuchon was so incredibly interesting. I so wanted to continue the story for after he got to Washington D.C. and le ...more
Jul 14, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This was amazing.

I have always liked Eric Ripert from his various food television appearances, but I didn't know too much about his past. I wasn't expecting the stories about his childhood abandonment and the stories of his parents divorce. They hit me close to home, though my own childhood wasn't coupled with some of the traumas that he suffered. But I just felt a lot of things while reading this, and I would really recommend it to others.
Jun 14, 2016 rated it it was ok
Shelves: audio, 2016-reads
I am not a foodie, but I listened to the audiobook because I'm working on my French pronunciation and because I like Eric Ripert's voice. Unfortunately (for me), Ripert doesn't read this himself. And though the way Peter Ganim says mise en place is quite pleasing and the Andorran and Parisian settings were lovely to imagine, I wasn't all that compelled by the brutal dramas of culinary school and high-end restaurants.
Audrey Terry
Mar 29, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I received this book through a Goodreads giveaway.

I haven't enjoyed reading a memoir this much in a long time. I like to think that I can cook, and this book was an immense joy to read. The way that Chambers and Ripert explain the process of creating dishes made it real and tangible, even for a home cook that has never made, or ruined a terrine before. Well done.
I enjoy reading a good food-related book, and Eric Ripert's memoir was one that, for the most part, I didn't want to put down. I already knew enough about the rigorous process of becoming a chef from other memoirs I'd read, plus I have a close friend whose son went through the excruciatingly difficult process of culinary school and beyond. But 32 YOLKS: FROM MY MOTHER'S TABLE TO WORKING THE LINE is beyond being a story about making it through all that and ultimately becoming an award-winning che ...more
Stephanie Brunnett
May 28, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I chose this book after hearing an interview with Ripert on NPR. The story follows his childhood in France and Andorra through his training in culinary school and an elite French restaurant. This book will make you hungry as you read about his descriptions of food, and you really get a sense for his passion for cooking and feeding others. I enjoyed reading about all of the people in his life - family, friends, and colleagues - who influenced his cooking career and how he describes the impact the ...more
Jan 14, 2019 rated it liked it
This is the story of Chef Eric Ripert, from his childhood to his early twenties before coming to the US. Basically the story ends as soon as it becomes interesting. You will never really learn how he became the great chef that he is now. What I learned was that if you have a wealthy mom and dad who can afford to dine at Michelin starred restaurant, speak French and go to culinary school and be a mediocre student there you might be destined to become the most revered chef in the whole world. The ...more
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Gaithersburg Book...: 2016 Author Eric Ripert on You Tube 1 3 Feb 10, 2017 07:31AM  

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Eric Ripert is grateful for his early exposure to two cuisines—that of Antibes, France, where he was born, and of Andorra, a small country just over the Spanish border, where he moved as a young child. His family instilled their own passion for food in the young Ripert, and at the age of 15, he left home to attend culinary school in Perpignan. At 17, he moved to Paris and cooked at the legendary L ...more
“Prior to my second stint in Perpignan, I was a fine diner and as I saw it, food was art. At vocational school, I was being taught how to cook, but I was frustrated by how basic the dishes were. I was like a kid who had grown up listening to Chopin, then showed up at music school, never having actually played an instrument. I mean, when you listen to Chopin all the time, you want to become Chopin. And then you go to music school and all you're doing is plunking out mi for hours at a time. It's boring as hell, and not why you enrolled. I was impatient to create great meals and not so excited about starting with the basics. Why were we spending hours learning how to hold a knife or mine a shallot when we could be making nouvelle cuisine? True, I didn't know how to cut a chicken in eight pieces or make a bechamel. But in the two- and three-start restaurants I had been to, they were way over the bechamel. Still, there I was, in school, making the most basic of dishes--salade Nicoise, potato-leek soup, an omelette.” 2 likes
“It wasn’t her fault, but it was her fate, like so many single mothers, to be caught between a wistful child and his fantasies of the father who is perfect, in part because he is hardly ever there.” 0 likes
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