Eric Ripert's Favorite Cheese Isn't What You'd Think

Listen in on an interview with acclaimed chef, Eric Ripert, head of three-Michelin-starred New York restaurant Le Bernardin (via Yahoo!), and you may find yourself witness to a distinctly French phenomenon. Ripert's outlook on life has the ability to leave you feeling equal parts inspired (by the beauty and joy that surrounds us every day), and totally bummed out (about how none of it really matters).

Take his interview with Eater from 2010, for example, when Ripert — who is a practicing Buddhist — imparted a lesson that he said often came up in conversation with his young son: If one is angry, one cannot also be happy. "At the end of the day, the chef who is screaming cannot be happy," Ripert explained. Wise words from a sage Frenchman who tries (sometimes unsuccessfully) not to dislike anyone. Of course, just after that, he dropped another truth bomb. "Basically, nothing has a true reality in itself ... The concept that all beings and events are interconnected and so there is no concrete reality. All is emptiness," he described.

If you're anything like us, this leaves you wondering about the French chef's philosophy on something far more important than the meaning of life... Where does he stand on cheese?

When it comes to cheese, Eric Ripert likes a good old American underdog

You may not believe us when we tell you this, but the favorite cheese of Eric Ripert, the Frenchiest Frenchman to ever French, is not, in fact, French. It's actually American. Okay, to be fair, Bloomberg asked a handful of top chefs to submit their favorite "under-the-radar" cheese — perhaps not quite the same category as an all-time, hands-down, can't-live-without-it favorite cheese. But the fact remains that while Anne-Sophie Pic and Wolfgang Puck couldn't resist naming a French cheese as their faves, Ripert broke the cheese mold and went with an American underdog.

Coupole, an aged goat cheese from Vermont, has stolen Ripert's heart as an underrated favorite. "[Coupole] has a lot of flavor and a great creamy texture," Ripert said. "It is full of personality." According to Barron's, it's been 30 years since the native French chef joined the Le Bernardin kitchen in Manhattan, and it would seem a little American patriotism may have rubbed off on the European. Ripert did get a small dig in during his conversation with Bloomberg, however. "It is wonderful to see that America is producing cheese as delicious as those in Europe," he said. In other words, fear not, Ripert's sense of French pride has not gotten moldy over the years.