First off, a disclaimer: I'm a vegetarian with an uninspired palette, a real soy meat and potato kinda guy. Therefore to me, like so many tastes and flavors, the name Eric Ripert was an exotic unknown.
Until one 100 degree day in the Bronx.
I came across a woman picking plastic bottles from the trash in the shadow of Yankee Stadium. Seventy years old, wearing a light dress and her hair in a bun, she was a standard-issue grandmother, but one struggling to eat on an honest income.
We got to talking about how a system that promised rewards for a lifetime of work failed to deliver; how picking trash, saving pennies, and clipping coupons was, literally, keeping the lights on in her apartment.
And then, with tears in her eyes, she told me about Eric Ripert and City Harvest.
Eric Ripert is one of the greatest chefs in the world today -- I know that now. He's the owner of New York City's four star experience, Le Bernardin, an author, and a member of City Harvest, the world's first food rescue organization.
At a Mobile Market, Ripert and City Harvest provided a hungry grandmother from the Bronx with good, nutritious food rescued from the city's restaurants.
Like a good meal, they made sure she was not forgotten.