Eric Ripert Hearts Processed Cheese
In the Newsweek piece about Eric Ripert's new television series Avec Eric, "Finally, a Highbrow Cooking Show," an important detail is revealed about Le Bernardin: the sous chefs use a kind of processed cheese to find a common reference point with their palates:
But he could talk forever about... how he gets the sauces at Le Bernardin just right. In case you're wondering, it has to do with cheese. All the sous-chefs taste every sauce daily, a part of the kitchen operations shown on Avec Eric. What's not shown: "We realized a couple of years ago that one guy was saying a sauce was bland, while another guy was saying, 'No, it's not bland,' " he says. "So to have the same palate, we buy some cheap, fake Swiss cheese full of artificial flavors. In terms of flavor, that cheese tastes identical all year long . . . so it give us a reference, and we can judge fairly."