Earlier this week Eater asked readers to send us their most memorable taste over the past year from the chefs/restaurants participating in Food & Wine's first installment of Taste of Beverly Hills. As anticipated, many referenced eats from pop-up chef Ludo Lefebvre and his curious creations, not surprising M. Volt received a fair share of nods, so did former Church & State chef Walter Manzke. As for our winners, the best stories/memorable bites BOTH came from chef Ludo. Reminder: First place walks away with two passes for any one day of TOBH, while the runner up receives two passes to any one event. Make sure to check back next week for another chance to win!
First runner up: I’m a “Newbie Foodie,” if you will. So as embarrassing as this may be for me to say, I’ve had foie gras for the first time last Tuesday evening. That’s right? foie gras for the first time, at the age of 30. I know, I know? according to all of my self proclaimed “veteran foodie” friends and to even my own sister who was a Le Cordon Bleu educated pastry chef for a many number of years, this is an utmost travesty. But let me say, after that first enduring bite of heaven on earth, I must agree with all of them. How could I have been ignorantly blinded by the outcries of each animal activist I had conversed with on the way to my weekly grocery shopping trips to Whole Foods?
But then I had this unforgettable dish at LudoBites 5.0.
I don’t know exactly what drove me to try it, but I did. Whether it was the alluring, wafting scent of it on a nearby table or just the idea of me having to try everything on the menu due to fully booked reservations, who knows? I just had to have it. And sure I’m glad I did.
That blissful yet tiny piece of foie gras was the most memorable TASTE I have ever encountered. Prepared as dynamite with raw tuna, Chef Ludo Lefebvre knew just how to win my taste buds over at Gram & Papa’s. It was uncompromisingly rich and succulent, and yet at the same time, lighter and smoother than I ever imagined it to be, which in turn created some major tongue melting action. And don’t get me started on its extraordinary taste. Let’s just say that this genius dish raised the bar of every other plate of dynamite I will come across in the future, as it was perfectly salted and creamy. To off set its extreme intensity, the chilled and refreshing raw tuna did just that.
This dish was so superior to me in fact, that I am honestly afraid that the next time I try foie gras, it won’t measure up! But at least now I know I won’t ever be opposed to trying it again. It was seriously life changing.
And the winner: My most memorable and only (so far) LudoBites experience was the fried chicken/Top Chef viewing/Ludo's birthday extravaganza at Akasha back in April.
Picture three young women at the end of the night after a few beers and lots of fried chicken with all the trimmings. As we are leaving, we manage to catch Ludo and gush a bit about how delicious everything tasted. He is all charming and French and tatted up.
Ludo: You like it? Very much? That is SO nice!
Me: Yes, we loved it! In fact, she (my friend) even has some in her bag to take home to her boyfriend!
My friend (silently, through the enlarged eyes of outrage that she gives me): WHY are you telling him I have fried chicken in my purse like some HOBO????!!!!
Ludo (in the concerned tone of someone taking care of starving children): You need more of ze chicken? We have so much more of zee chicken! Please, you should have some more! More! (turning to me): How beeg is zis "boyfriend", hm?
Me (not lying): Oh, he's a pretty big guy.
Ludo (grabbing her hand and upping the Frenchness to eleven): Come viz me!
He took us all back to the kitchen and loaded us up with about a dozen friend chicken 'balls' (picture attached). The best part was the parting order: "But NO MICROWAVE! Must reheat it in ze oven! Respect! RESPECT ZE CHICKEN!" All while shaking his finger at us and gesticulating wildly.
Needless to say, "Respect the Chicken" has become an all purpose catch phrase, as well as the name of our Tuesday night Pub Trivia team.