Richard Gere honored his pal Eric Ripert and the world-renowned chef’s wife, Sandra Ripert, at City Harvest’s 2022 gala Tuesday.
Gere told the crowd at Cipriani 42nd Street that Eric introduced him to the food rescue nonprofit and described the legendary Le Bernardin chef as one of the most generous people he has ever met.
“He’s been a part of [City Harvest], I think, since ’97 when we became friends,” the actor said.
“This is what he was doing in the world to give back, and I was very thankful that he brought me into this … and it’s enriched my life,” he added.
Gere was seated next to Sandra, whom he described as Eric’s “extraordinary wife.”
“Every time [Eric] came on stage, [she’d say], ‘He’s so cute. Eric’s so cute,’” the “Chicago” star quipped.
The couple’s son, Adrien, also surprised them at the gala, bringing Sandra to tears.
“She started crying because she was so surprised,” a source tells Page Six.
Sandra spoke about how her mother struggled to put food on the table when she was a child growing up in Brooklyn.
“And during the pandemic — when Eric had to shut down the restaurant — he turned to her and said, ‘Let’s go help at City Harvest.’ They spent time there feeding hundreds of people,” the source says.
Meanwhile, Eric, 57, spared the crowd from listening to “a four-page speech” that he had prepared because he lost his glasses.
“I am not even joking! That is the truth,” he told the crowd.
“Miss Congeniality” star Benjamin Bratt hosted the event solo after talk show host Tamron Hall was unable to attend, we’re told.
John Legend, Chrissy Teigen, Neil Patrick Harris and David Burtka were a few of the notables who attended.
The gala raised a record-breaking $5.2 million, “enough to put more than 12 million meals on the tables of our fellow New Yorkers,” City Harvest CEO Jilly Stephens said.