Friday, November 30, 2012

I Get It, But I Don't Really Get It

"LudoBites - Recipes and Stories from the Pop-up Restaurants of Ludo Lefebvre" with JJ Goode and Krissy Lefebvre   Harper Collins Publishers   373 pages   $24.99 

Pop-up restaurants occur when a chef has lost his own kitchen (restaurant) but is able to borrow another's on a short lease; hence his restaurant "pops-up."  They are advertised by word-of-mouth and Twitter.   It's a gypsy-style life. 

Lefebvre is young, clearly talented (has trained in some of the fanciest restos around) and in fact is listed as one of the 50 Best Chefs in America.  I'm old-fashioned and I don't "get" using agar-agar, sheet after sheet of gelatin or a PolyScience smoking gun (instant smoked taste) a sous-vide or immersion blenders. 

He specializes, he says, in keeping the same flavors but in new forms for classic dishes.  That would help explain his Bouillabaise Milk Shake (his wife wouldn't even taste it) or adding Gruyere marshmallows to the classic bread soup.  He never hesitates to mix meat with sweet as in his "Chocolate Cupcakes with Fois Gras Chantilly Cream and Maple-bacon Coulis, Carmelized dragees and Balsamic-maple syrup." 

He is passionately fond of using ice cream as a garnish.  He handmakes his own.  I noted that his "mustard ice cream" called for only 1/4 teas. of tumeric and no other mustard at all. 
His cauliflower ice cream was created to go with a roast, I believe. 

His other go-to favorite is fois gras.  Now that California has banned the sale and use of it, I bet he just about tore out his hair. 

His cooking style is interesting, certainly, but I'm not so sure how "meaningful" it is in the sense that he really is breaking new ground or just a passing fad.  Time and Twitter will tell.   

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