Archive for Chefs Speak
Chef Ludo Lefebvre and his wife Krissy are truly a delicious duo to watch. Born in Burgundy and classically trained in Paris, the French Chef Ludo moved to the US in 1996, and quickly established his status as a culinary icon as the Executive Chef of LA’s L’Orangeire and Bastide restaurants. Ludo earned the prestigious Mobil Travel Guide Five star awards for each restaurant, as well as a nomination for a Rising Star Chef Award by the James Beard Foundation.
Chef Ludo met his wife and business partner Krissy, and opened LudoBites, “pop-up” restaurants in several LA venues. For those not familiar, a pop-up is a temporary instatement of a restaurant, typically located in the shell of an existing restaurant. Part of their magnetism to diners is that they are in fact so short lived. Their durations are brief, anywhere from one night to several weeks, providing a “once in a lifetime” dining experience. From it’s inception in 2007, LudoBites has received tremendous enthusiastic praise in the culinary world, from such top names as Jonathan Gold, Sam Sifton, and Ruth Reichl.
Chef Ludo and Krissy’s recent adventure is an expansion of the LudoBites concept, aptly named “Ludo Bites America”. The Sundance Channel reality series features Ludo and Krissy taking their touring pop-ups on the road to various cities across the US, opening one pop-up restaurant in a new town with a new menu each week. (Note: For those on the road or sans television, the series may alternatively be viewed on Itunes and Hulu.)
We recently had the privilege of asking Chef Ludo and Krissy a few questions about life on the road, thoughts on Denver, the challenges facing pop-ups, and their plans for the future.
Savory Tv: Ludo, switching venue locations frequently must be very difficult. You are continually dealing with brand new staff and completely different kitchen equipment. Can you discuss how you managed to adapt to the challenges? How did the staff adapt?
Chef Ludo: We have a saying at LudoBites, “Just make it happen”. I did not have time to complain about the challenges (well maybe a little). We have such a short time frame to open the restaurant I just figure it out. Sometimes I had staff that turned into superstars and other times the staff was just weak. I think everyone can say they learned something, including me.
Savory Tv: We are located in Aspen, and would love to hear more about your Denver experience. Denver is a very transient city, and is not traditionally known as an epic culinary center as opposed to NYC or San Francisco. Local ingredients tend to have a short growing season due to the weather and altitude. Did you have difficulty developing menu items there? Can you discuss your Denver experience in general?
Chef Ludo: Denver was amazing. For the first time ever I hunted for my own meat. I went buffalo hunting. I never killed big game before. Of course we use fresh lobster, shrimp, etc in the kitchen but killing those is nothing like a 1200 pound animal. I realized I am not a killer. I made a menu with all of the buffalo, I wanted to respect the girl for dying for me.
I was also able to meet and wirk with Eric Skokan from Black Cat (farm & restaurant) in Boulder. It is a short growing season but when I ate spinach straight out of the ground at his farm it was the sweetest nuttiest spinach I have ever tasted. As Chef Eric told me, if something survives the cold, it is some of the best produce you will ever eat. I you have not been to the Black Cat Restaurant in Boulder, I would 100% recommend it, truly an amazing meal. Denver overall was amazing to me. It was rustic and cosmopolitan all at the same time.
Savory Tv: We love food trucks and pop-ups because frankly, times are touch economically and often times we simply do not have the time to spend in a restaurant. Regarding “Pop-Ups” and food trucks in general, do you see this as a feasible concept for business owners in general? How well do they fare financially as opposed to a traditional fine dining restaurant? Do you see this trend continuing far into the future?
Chef Ludo: Pop-ups and trucks can be feasible for business owners, but if someone thinks it is an easier they are mistaken. Because we don’t have full time employees, whenever we open Ludobites I am typically working with new kitchen staff. Someone needs to be willing to work hard. I don’t sit back and watch people work, I have no choice but to be on the line every night. Trucks provide an opportunity with a little less up front investment, but they have their own set of problems. As with business there are risks and rewards, you have to just decide what you want. Right now the pop-up and the truck work for me.
Savory Tv: Imagine life fast forwarded to the year 2016 if you will. Where do you see yourself and Krissy 5 years from now? Where would you like to be? Do you have any plans to return to France?
Chef Ludo: That is a good question. We have 3-month old twins, so I want to be super successful for them, so I see myself working like crazy to do that, but I also want to be there for them and watch them grow up, so we really need to figure out the future. It will be important for me to expose our children to my culture and have them speak French. I don’t know if I will return to France full time, but I hope we can buy a house there and spend our summers there.
Savory Tv: Krissy, a relationship with any chef, particularly a celebrity chef can be quite challenging. Can you talk about how working together has affected your marriage? Do you play a role in business decisions or do you let Ludo do most of that type of work?
Krissy: We did not intentionally start working together. It started as a way for me to spend a summer after I lost my job due to a corporate takeover. It was during Ludobites 2.0. I figured I would go back to the practice of law after a little break, but that just did not happen. I got deep into planning 3.0 and the rest if kind of history. As an attorney I helped build celebrity brands, but no one was focusing on Ludo’s career. It just seemed natural to me. Building a brand that I am 100% passionate about.
Ludo lets me make most of the business decisions. I of course, consult with him, but he just does not want to deal with it. He wants to cook and be creative. I don’t cook and he doesn’t read contracts.
Savory Tv: We love following both you and Ludo on Twitter, and he seems to really embrace your support. Has the evolution of Twitter had a positive effect on you both? Can you discuss this a bit? Do you ever feel a touch of social media overload?
Krissy: Social media has been truly amazing. It has such a positive impact on business, but sometimes it can be a bit much. I think we both seem to be all or nothing on twitter. Sometimes I just want to check out. I find myself waking up and seeing what I missed and/or wondering if I missed an opportunity. We don’t have anyone that works for us, so everything is all us and it can be a big responsibility. From a business perspective, it is such an amazing tool.
Savory Tv: Krissy, we imagine that you have been living out of a suitcase quite a bit lately! What is it like to cope with that? Do you miss your home base?
Krissy: It is hard to be living out of a suitcase. But, it definitely has its positive (housekeeping everyday), but yes, we miss home. I grew up a military brat and have always been able to travel pretty well, but when you hit day 31 on the road, you just want to be in your own bed and use your own washer/dryer. When we have a tough day due to travel we just try to embrace the amazing journey we are on together and what great memories we are creating for ourselves.
Savory Tv: We asked Ludo the same question, but would love to hear your thoughts too! Where would you like to be in 5 years? Can you ever imagine settling down in one spot after this adventure?
Krissy: Oh my, so hard to say. If you would have asked me this question five years ago, I would have been so completely wrong, so I can’t even begin to think about five years from now. The only thing that is certain is that our twins will be in kindergarten so that will probably dictate life. It could be in LA, could be in Denver, Raleigh, or even France, who knows. I have learned to just go with what the world brings our way. Right now we are so truly grateful for the amazing opportunities in front of us, we just want to appreciate “today”.
Cheers to you, Ludo and Krissy, and may your future be delicious and bright.
From the brilliant Chef chemist and molecular gastronomy mastermind Ferran Adrià, creator of Spain’s El Bulli, frozen chocolate air, edible flower paper and spherical olives, a beer? Yes it’s true. While the talk has been online for over a year, Chef Adrià’s new brew Inedit is now making an official appearance on restaurant menus.
From the Estrella Damm website, Inedit is described as “”a unique coupage of barley malt and wheat, flavored with coriander, orange peel and liquorice”, (it is) “the first beer specifically created to accompany food. It is born from the conviction that a beer that could be paired with the utmost respect to the best cuisine was necessary. That is its aim and its virtue, and that is what makes Inedit different, special and unique.”
Priced at $10-30 per 25 ounce bottle, this is not your average Joe’s Saturday football drinking brew. Inedit is intended to be chilled and served at a temperature from 4 to 8 degrees Celsius or 39 to 46 degrees Fahrenheit, in a white wine glass filled to one third. Where to find it? In NYC, it is available here, and you may purchase it online here as well as other venues.
In this video from Estrella, Chef Ferran discusses the beer and it’s serving suggestions. “I am sure it is going to be imitated” the chef remarks. What do you think? Would you consider stepping out of the box and serve Ferran’s beer to dinner guests?
We have not tried Inedit yet, but if you have, give us a shout and let us know your thoughts in the comments. For more mainstream beer drinkers, be sure to check our beer and food pairing charts. Cheers!
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Yesterday the YumSugar team published a great video with a Thanksgiving focus featuring the lovely Katie with many of our favorite chefs, including Jamie Oliver, Emeril, Rocco DiSpirito, Anne Burrell, and Jacques Torres . The chefs discuss the best cooking advice they’ve ever been given, their favorite food trends, and what they are up to for the holidays. Bobby Flay is calorie counting. Jamie is adorable as ever. And as much as this surprises us to say, the cooking tip from Rocco is ridiculously spot on.
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