Eric Ripert is famous as an eminent chef. He's also, clearly, a brave man.
Ripert - soft-spoken and French-accented - will go mano a mano with the famously acerbic chef Anthony Bourdain on stage at the Pearl Concert Theater at the Palms this weekend in "Good vs. Evil: An Evening with Anthony Bourdain and Eric Ripert." It's an event billed as "two very different careers and personalities sharing one stage."
The whole thing was, as you might expect, the idea of Bourdain, author of "Kitchen Confidential," host of the Travel Channel's "Anthony Bourdain: No Reservations" and critic of the likes of Rachael Ray and Paula Deen. Ripert said they've done 10 or 12 appearances so far. And still he comes back for more.
"We always start the show with a roast, so we can get people to laugh a lot," said Ripert, chef of New York's famed Le Bernardin.
As you also might expect, Bourdain starts. Then Ripert gets his turn.
In truth, he said, the two are close friends, which is how the whole idea was born.
"He said, 'We have a good friendship and we have a good sense of humor between ourselves and so on, and we should do a show that should be fun and at the same time inspiring for people,' " Ripert remembers.
The inspiration, he said, and an educational aspect come in the form of discussion about such topics as sustainability and genetically modified foods.
"After the roast, we sit down and we talk about the industry, about trends, and giving advice to people who are interested in becoming chefs," he said.
Because the show is not scripted, he said, every one is different.
"Depending on the mood of Anthony and myself, we have a different interaction, especially for the roast," he said. "Then obviously I have my view on sustainability and he has his. If we bring up the subject and talk about it, we definitely don't change depending on the city."
Ripert said that so far, there's been a solid audience response to the show. And people's interest in seeing and hearing chefs may have something to do with the way their roles have changed.
"The way chefs are today, it's more celebrity than ever," he said. "It could be the television influence and so on. It's true that 20 years ago, chefs were 24/7 in their kitchens. Today they come out sometimes."
"Good vs. Evil," he said, is very interactive.
"What surprised me is that the people laugh a lot," Ripert said. "And at the end, when we are done with the show, a lot of people come up and tell us that they learned a lot, so it's a good thing. They are inspired.
"If we can have a show that's fun and inspirational and educational at the same time, it's a winner."
Contact reporter Heidi Knapp Rinella at firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-383-0474.