Meatopia Diary: Ludo Lefebvre Loves Hanger Steak. And Chicken.



Ludo Lefebvre is one of the most sought-after chefs in California — which is pretty amazing, given that he doesn’t have a restaurant. As I noted in Time last year, he’s helping to redefine the way people think of restaurants, thanks largely to his hugely-sucessful LudoBites pop-ups. (Although Ludo doesn’t consider them pop-ups.) It was one of Amstel Light Meatopia, presented by Whole Foods Market’s greatest coups to get Ludo out east here. I didn’t want to wait for him to get out here, so I asked Ludo a few questions in the meantime.


When can we expect to finally get a Ludo Bites in NYC?


We are working on that right now. We will be looking at a few places when we are in town for Meatopia to see if they could be the right place. Our “plan” right now is to come in November or December but we have to find our space first, so hopefully we can finalize when we are in NYC in July.




Do you think this is the wave of the future? We’ve had some successful pop-ups in NYC but it’s been mostly a publicity stunt. Can it work as a real business?


I don’t think of LudoBites as “pop-up” I think of it as a touring restaurant. It is my full time business model and it works great for me. The problem is the term “pop-up” has become so confusing. I agree a lot of publicity stunts and guest chef appearance have been called pop-ups and even though they are all exciting for the culinary world, I don’t know if they are a real business. On the other hand I do think my touring restaurant can work as a business it has for 2 years. It better I have no choice at this point.





Tell me about your dish. What’s the idea of it? Why hanger steak?


I am doing a korean marinated hanger steak with goat cheese and cauliflower paper. Hanger steak really accepts flavor and I love to marinate it in different ways. LA has big Korean population and I learned korean marinade from my friend Elena and I incorporated on the LudoBites menu last year.

I always use hanger steak. It is a really a popular cut of beef in France. I grew up in kitchens using that cut. I use hanger steak at LudoBites more than any other cut of meat. It is the cut I know best. It is also my wife’s favorite.




Whose food are you most interested in sampling at Meatopia?


Robbie Richter. I tried a lot bbq in Raleigh, NC when I was taping Ludo Bites America. I learned some techniques from a couple of the great pit masters, Keith Allen was really amazing. It was different from anything I have ever had before. I think Robbie’s bbq will be a new experience for me and I always like to learn as much as I can. Maybe I can learn some more secrets about American bbq.




Do you use a lot of meat in your cooking? What’s your attitude towards meat’s place in a meal. What are your favorite things to cook?



I do use a lot of meat but I am also trying to be more responsible and balance my meat cooking with vegetables and fish. I want a menu that balances all of the earth’s resources. I love to cook everything, but I am really obsessed with chicken, I could cook and eat it everyday. Roasted, poached, fried, it does not matter I love my chicken.



Where are you looking forward to eating out in New York? And where should we go when we’re in LA?


I am very excited about my dinner reservation at Le Bernardin. It has been a long dream to eat there and we finally got a reservation and will be going when we come to NYC this time.

LA has so much to offer, just like NYC. If someone wants high end food I would say Hatfield’s or Melisse. In the middle of the pack I would definitely suggest people try the new restaurant Picca, but someone should not come to LA without going to some of the great Mexican restaurants here. My favorite right now is La Guelaguetza.

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