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Publisher's Summary

New York Times best seller

Hailed by Anthony Bourdain as "heartbreaking, horrifying, poignant, and inspiring", 32 Yolks is the brave and affecting coming-of-age story about the making of a French chef, from the culinary icon behind the renowned New York City restaurant Le Bernardin. 

Named one of the best books of the year by NPR

In an industry where celebrity chefs are known as much for their salty talk and quick tempers as their food, Eric Ripert stands out. The winner of four James Beard Awards, co-owner and chef of a world-renowned restaurant, and recipient of countless Michelin stars, Ripert embodies elegance and culinary perfection. But before the accolades, before he even knew how to make a proper hollandaise sauce, Eric Ripert was a lonely young boy in the south of France whose life was falling apart. 

Ripert's parents divorced when he was six, separating him from the father he idolized and replacing him with a cold, bullying stepfather who insisted that Ripert be sent away to boarding school. A few years later, Ripert's father died on a hiking trip. Through these tough times, the one thing that gave Ripert comfort was food. Told that boys had no place in the kitchen, Ripert would instead watch from the doorway as his mother rolled couscous by hand or his grandmother pressed out the buttery dough for the treat he loved above all others, tarte aux pommes. When an eccentric local chef took him under his wing, an 11-year-old Ripert realized that food was more than just an escape: It was his calling. That passion would carry him through the drudgery of culinary school and into the high-pressure world of Paris' most elite restaurants, where Ripert discovered that learning to cook was the easy part - surviving the line was the battle. 

Taking us from Eric Ripert's childhood in the south of France and the mountains of Andorra into the demanding kitchens of such legendary Parisian chefs as Joël Robuchon and Dominique Bouchet, until, at the age of 24, Ripert made his way to the United States, 32 Yolks is the tender and richly told story of how one of our greatest living chefs found himself - and his home - in the kitchen. 

Praise for 32 Yolks

“Passionate, poetical... What makes 32 Yolks compelling is the honesty and laudable humility Ripert brings to the telling.” (Chicago Tribune)

“With a vulnerability and honesty that is breathtaking... Ripert takes us into the mind of a boy with thoughts so sweet they will cause you to weep.” (The Wall Street Journal)

©2016 Eric Ripert and Veronica Chambers (P)2016 Random House Audio

What the critics say

"Peter Ganim's beautiful and moving narration reveals moments of horror, heartbreak, joy, and inspiration as a young boy learns lessons about food and applies them to life.... Ganim’s narration, accentuated by a fluid French accent, is dynamic and modulated, capturing Ripert’s experiences and responses with anguished and fearful whisperings, deep anger, and, finally, tenderness and humble confidence. It’s a listening experience so compelling that one can almost hear the clatter of kitchenware." (AudioFile)

"Heartbreaking. Horrifying. Poignant. And inspiring. I've known Eric for years, and I had no idea that this was how it all started. If you want to get a clear picture of where one gets the drive and dedication to be a truly great chef, there is no better or more harrowing account." (Anthony Bourdain) 

"This book demonstrates just how amazing Eric's life has been both inside and outside the kitchen. It makes total sense now that he has become one of the greatest chefs in the world today. This is a portrait of a chef as a young man. It's endlessly entertaining and teaches young cooks how it used to be." (David Chang) 

"Eric Ripert is known around the world for his talent and passion for food. I have been friends with him for half his life, but his memoir let me discover more about his past. His journey from Andorra to Manhattan is full of adventure, hard work, and ambition, and it is an inspiration to us all." (Daniel Boulud) 

What listeners say about 32 Yolks

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  • Melissa Hoffman
  • 2018-05-08

Wishing for 64 Yolks

This was an honest, beautifully rich coming-of-age story that needs a Part 2!! It ended just as Ripert boarded the boat for America--and I wanted to hear about the rise of Le Bernardin, his role as chef-owner, and onward. The narration was superb, unaffected, and didn't overshadow the voice of the author.

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  • PatrickV
  • 2016-07-01

Every aspiring cook needs to read this

I wanted to read this book as soon as it was published. Since I had the the privilege to have worked with Chef Ripert at Le Bernardin in New York City many years ago. The book even brought back many of my own childhood memories as I started my culinary career in Belgium in a very similar way. A must read for all who are thinking of having a career in the world of culinary madness. Just a little disappointed that the book ends when Eric moves to the States. Hope there will be a part 2 coming in the future. Merci Eric for sharing.

7 people found this helpful

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  • Nicholas Hendrickson
  • 2016-05-23

Eric Ripert is a chef among chefs.

I really enjoyed learning about where he came from and how he developed his refined tast for food. This is a must read for chefs and foodies.

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  • david gulak
  • 2019-10-09

not the food book I'd thought it would be

this is a fine book if you are looking for someone's juvenile diary of a young chefs life. I am fresh out of reading Heat by Bill Buford which was an epic journey through the real lives of top-notch chefs. that was a five-star book and a five-star performance. this is a wandering barely entertaining diary of the first 20 years as far as I can tell of a now famous chef. I found myself the entire time just waiting for him to get to the point where he starts really cooking and it never happens. I would give it five stars if this were in the young adult section. but it's not, it was billed as a food book written by a chef, which it is not. I have a two-year-old, and I guess my only positive feedback is that he does a really good job of reading the story like it is being told to children, unfortunately I didn't find that amusing.

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  • Susan L.
  • 2020-07-16

Soothing

Great book about the early years of Chef Ripert's life. Very surprised and touched by what he has gone through. Calming performance that matches the quiet strength and unwavering kind spirit of young Ripert.

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 2020-07-08

Could not stop listening.

Great story from a well trained chef. Genuinely inspiring. Thank you Eric For sharing your story ❤️

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  • Jason Fossee
  • 2020-02-23

Great book

I’ve been meaning to grab this one for a while. I don’t know what took me so long, but we’ll worth it! Great story, I’m kinda a Chef book junky though.

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  • PP
  • 2019-11-01

Engaging and laced with humor

I enjoyed this book and loved the way it was read. This book is truly engaging and is a great listen for aspiring chefs.

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  • Lauren Neuner
  • 2019-06-11

what a brutal/beautiful story

Pain in the night, joy in the morning memoir. Made me cry, laugh, gasp, weep hard, and left me inspired that there is true beauty from ashes. A true testament that everyone has a story, struggles, and starstruck dreams.

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  • Robert L. Marquis
  • 2019-06-08

Poignant, personal, insightful

Grateful to Chef for sharing his origin story, great read and great example for future chefs. I will be recommending it to my students