In just a few days we’ll be flying back to the Cayman Cookout for year two of the once-in-a-lifetime culinary extravaganza. We justified it last year by it falling on my actual birthday and Eric Ripert being my favorite chef, blah blah blah. This year we found more organs to sell and justified it again by David Kinch (our local boy representing!) being a chef at the cookout. We asked Eric about having David there when we got our cookbook signed last year so I want to take at least a little credit! ;-)
So, I’ve mentioned this before but something strange happens to me when put in the presence of Chef Eric Ripert. I lose the ability to form coherent sentences. It is highly unusual. I pride myself on starting conversations with people I want to meet and setting up interviews, or at least potential interviews, with them for this site. Neil Gaiman was the first, we remain in touch to this day, 12 years later. Then there was Jason Webley, Sxip Shirey, Kim Boekbinder, Alan Anton, Mark Van Name….all people I admire and consider “celebrities” and none of them have the effect on me that Eric does.
This is why: Neil, Kim, Alan, Mark….even Tori Amos and Amanda Palmer….I’ve spoken with them all and I am in awe of all their talents but I don’t want to do what they do. I’m not a singer, I’m not a fiction writer, I love to cook and talk about food. I love listening to music but producing it isn’t my passion. Cooking is.
My husband is convinced I have a crush on Eric. It’s not that. I’ve been able to have coherent, intelligent conversations with “boys” I’ve had crushes on since I was 15. This is different. Eric has perfected something that I can only dream of doing. He has skills with seafood that I aspire to have.
Oddly, this is not something I want to do for a living. I don’t have the stamina to be a chef in my own restaurant, on my feet from 5am when the suppliers roll in until 2am when the last diners straggle out. I just want to cook the best food I can possibly cook in my kitchen. Eric not only does this with perfection but is a nice guy who is mellow, nice and Buddhist to boot! Every article I read or interview I watch with him makes me more giddy and awkward.
I’ve met his wife and she’s awesome, sweet, beautiful and smart. My son and his son were inseparable at last year’s cookout. All these things would make you think that I would be able to talk to Eric. Yeah…No. Maybe this year?
Grant me the strength and vocabulary to not be a bumbling fool. Give me the wisdom to form a sentence. Or at least not sound like a Brian Regan routine, “Yeah…take luck!!!”…argh!!