June 24, 2010 | Short Order

Despite rumors that Maguy wanted out, Le Bernardin gets a new lease on life

                  Photo: Steven Richter

        Maguy LeCoze will not be not packing her Chanels with plans to retire to Paris. Clearly, a woman has a right to change her mind. I can’t count how many times in the past several years she told me Le Bernardin would be no more after the lease expired in 2011 and how happy she would be to leave New York for Paris forever.  Now a new lease has been negotiated or is close to signing. 

         Her chef-partner Eric Ripert who said he would leave the kitchen for consulting has changed his mind too. “Times change.” says Ripert, the chef who stepped up so brilliantly in 1994 after the shocking death of Gilbert LeCoze at 49.  “I guess I thought I would win the Lottery and retire. I could have a lot of consulting jobs but I’m very picky.  At the end of the day what makes me happy is Le Bernardin, and I’ve decided to focus on that,” he said just days ago.  Ripert says the high-priced four star empire of seafood at 155 West 51st Street has suffered less in the recession than other midtown restaurants.  I’m guessing, since neither would say so, a gush of steady income looked too good to turn off.

             Photo: Steven Richter

         The new deal with Equitable, who recruited the LeCoze brother-and-sister act to lend class to their new West Side headquarters in 1986, leaves room for Maguy to come and go as she pleases, to Paris or to Brittany where she and Gilbert were born, and to her house in Mustique. “I realized it would be a mistake to retire,” LeCoze now says.  “What would I do?”

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