It’s been a while since I chowed down (pun intended) a book on food, cover to cover, in the matter of hours. The short break over the New Year long weekend has been kind in allowing me to read 32 Yolks by Eric Ripert. 32 Yolks is Ripert’s memoirs of his early encounters with food and his journey to being a chef. Among quoted reviewers were Daniel Boulud, Anthony Bourdain and David Chang, all singing praises to the authenticity and inspiration the memoir has provided, testament to Ripert’s name in the industry.
The book starts on a poignant note reading,
Two things happened the year I turned eleven: my father died and I became friends with my first professional chef, a guy named Jacques.
That is a line that draws a reader into the book instantly. It is precisely such a voice that captivated me into binge reading the book in one afternoon. As I read about Ripert’s first encounter with chocolate mousse, I recreate the bittersweet dessert in my mind, almost salivating on the library copy of this readable memoir.
His journey to be a Michelin 3-star chef is by no means an easy one, as with most who have made a name in the culinary work. The memoir documented the kitchen abuses during that time, something that will not be permissible today. Yet it was through those hazing rituals and punishing tasks that Chef Ripert acquired the grit and tenacity to build his empire. The title 32 yolks is based off one of Ripert’s first duties at his first apprenticeship after graduating culinary school – making a hollandaise sauce with 32 yolks by hand. It is the recollection of such seemingly mundane tasks that lent the authenticity to this memoir.
I thoroughly enjoyed this read, and I hope the foodie in you will too. Read this if you enjoy reality TV shows like Top Chef .