Why Eric Ripert Likely Won't Open More Restaurants

For nearly half his life, Eric Ripert, who is truly one of the planet's actual top chefs, has had, essentially, one job. And that is not about to change anytime soon. How do we know? Because it comes straight from the mouth of the 55-year-old French-born chef who, since the early 1990s, has been conceiving of and crafting mind-bogglingly transcendent seafood dishes in the fabled kitchen of New York City's famed Le Bernardin (of which he became Executive Chef in 1994, after the death of its founding chef, Gilbert Le Coze).

Le Bernardin has become synonymous with Eric Ripert, but so, too, has Eric Ripert become synonymous with Le Bernardin, a restaurant so iconic that the world-renowned Michelin Guide to Restaurants has stated, "when the definitive history of NYC's dining scene is written, Le Bernardin will have a chapter all to itself." Although Ripert has authored several books, made many television appearances, including on CNN's Parts Unknown, which starred Ripert's close personal friend, the late Anthony Bourdain, launched his own line of caviar, and several times partnered with others in opening restaurants, the multi-award winning chef has no interest in building a restaurant empire like some of his celebrity chef peers (yes, Gordon Ramsay, we are, in fact, talking about you). And there's a very good reason why it's unlikely Eric Ripert will open more restaurants.

The longtime friend of the late Anthony Bourdain longs to keep things simple

It's not that Ripert is against owning another restaurant, per se. In fact, he does own Aldo Sohm, but that's essentially a wine-focused outpost of Le Bernardin located mere steps away. That makes a world of difference to Ripert, who in 2015 told Inc. that the reason he'd never given serious consideration to opening a restaurant in Vegas is that he couldn't imagine doing justice to Le Bernardin, its staff, and its clientele, while doing the same thing for a restaurant in a far-flung city.

But perhaps more importantly, Ripert's life as a New York City restaurateur makes him genuinely happy, so why would he take a chance on messing that up? "Every day I walk in Central Park. I see my family. I see my team," he told Esquire in 2016. "I don't want to be in an airport and flying to one place to another." In addition, Ripert's Buddhism practice has helped him to value life's simple pleasures. "I don't need to have 30 restaurants. I am happy with the one I have."