Book Award Celebration at Le Bernadin

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Lucky Eric Ripert! His new book is being published this November by my wonderful editor Pam Chirls at Wiley. So Pam invited me to have lunch at Chef Ripert's Le Bernadin to celebrate the IACP book of the year award. And what a celebration it was! We began with a delightful champagne Franken Demoiselle and to accompany it, rillettes of salmon (spread). The individual breads were from Tom Cat and accompanied by a butter so delicious I asked for the brand. Turns out they make their own butter adding fleur de sel. I was tempted to ask what cream they use to make it but thought better of becoming a culinary pest!You can find better photos on their site but here are the ones I took with my cell phone as I didn't have the foresight to bring my camera.

STUFFED ZUCCHINI FLOWER WITH PEEKYTOE AND KING CRAB; "FINE HERBS-LEMON" MOUSSELINE SAUCE

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SAUTEED CALAMARI FILLED WITH SWEET PRAWNS AND SHITAKE MUSHROOM; CALAMARI CONSOMME

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SKATE WITH SHITAKE MUSHROOMS, AND MICRO RADISHES IN CONSOME

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POACHED LOBSTER

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The sommalier Jared FIscher chose brilliantly: a Neumeister 2007 sauvignon blanc "Klausen" which I'm now trying to purchase! And out came a parade of desserts:

VANILA YOGURT PARFAIR, BLUEBERRIES, BASIC ICE CREAM, YOGURT SPONGE

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PISTACHIO MOUSSE, CARAMELIZED WHITE CHOCOLATE, LEMON, QUEEN ANNE CHERRY

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A DREAMY CUSTARD SO COMPLEX I CAN'T REMEMBER THE COMPONENTS!

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SORBET AND MOLECULAR GASTRONOMIC BURSTS OF CITRUS

Full as we were we plowed through all of the little friandises, the most exquisite of which was the miniature Paris Besse. No photo--I was over the moon. These were some of the best desserts I've ever had in any restaurant. Do check out pastry chef Michael Laiskonis's blog.