How Chef Eric Ripert And City Harvest Are Helping To Fight Hunger In America - Exclusive

Renowned French chef Eric Ripert has a passion for feeding people delicious and nutritious food. As the longstanding chef and owner of New York's acclaimed Le Bernardin, he's created a world famous menu full of modern, innovative, elevated dishes that will likely blow your mind ... if you can get a reservation, that is. If that's not an option, you can invite Chef Ripert and his uniquely delicate culinary talents right into your kitchen by way of his many cookbooks, including his most recent, "Vegetable Simple."

Chef Ripert has also spent a large chunk of his career feeding those less fortunate by working closely with City Harvest, a New York City-based organization dedicated to providing fresh, healthy ingredients and meals for residents of the five boroughs who struggle to put food on the table.

In an exclusive interview with Mashed, Chef Ripert lamented that it's not okay "to have part of the community being wealthy and living very well, and having some people in the same city that are struggling with food." It's a reality that's not just true in New York City, but in cities and towns all over America. And it's this reality that "inspired me to really make a difference," added Ripert, by working with "the best organization and the biggest food rescue organization in New York." Ripert went on to explain all the work he's done with City Harvest over more than two decades, and how the crucial resources they provide to hungry New Yorkers is something that could benefit people all over the country.

Eric Ripert has been working with City Harvest for 25 years

City Harvest says that their goal is to "strengthen the local food system, building a path to a food-secure future for all New Yorkers." Chef Eric Ripert has been an integral part of that effort for 25 years. "I started to work with City Harvest in 1997," he told Mashed, with his involvement only growing over time. "I started with them by giving food every day to the drivers." In 1998, Ripert helped found the Food Council, a notable "group of chefs in New York who are helping City Harvest by giving food, by going to events, and by bringing attention, raising money through auctions and so on." Currently, Ripert serves as vice chair of the board of City Harvest, where he continues to "raise money ... give food ... raise attention" and more.

In light of those efforts, Ripert and his wife are being honored at this year's annual City Harvest Gala for their "unmatched" dedication to feeding New Yorkers, which "has made a tremendous impact on City Harvest's ability to grow and meet the persistently high need for food in our city," according to the organization.

City Harvest is a model for fighting hunger all over the country

City Harvest's work is focused on the "1.5 million people living under poverty level" in New York City, according to Eric Ripert. The organization provides nearly 100 million pounds of food a year and helps fight hunger by helping to prevent food waste; operating mobile markets, where people can shop for produce and ingredients they need; hosting nutrition education programs, and more. And during the pandemic those efforts were increased, including with the help of Chef Ripert, who served up "400 meals a day, [every day from May to December]" out of his restaurant, Le Bernardin, as he told Mashed.

But Ripert reminds us that hunger is not just an NYC problem. "All over the U.S., we have people who are facing the same challenges ... and it's very difficult to see. People do not advertise that they don't have food on the table, but malnutrition and people fighting hunger is common in America," he said. And the sad truth, Ripert added, is that "they don't even have the help that City Harvest [provides] for New Yorkers in need." Hopefully, the work of City Harvest can guide and inspire more food rescue efforts to help support the more than 38 million Americans who are food insecure.

You can learn more about Eric Ripert's work with City Harvest on their website. If you want to show more support, click here to make a donation to help feed people in need.