Chefs Ludo Lefebvre and Christina Tosi Revel in a Nostalgic Afternoon Picnic on Rockaway Beach
“In Burgundy, where I’m from, we were very close to nature; we used to eat sandwiches and salads prepared by my grandmother under the trees,” says tattooed master chef Ludo Lefebvre, joining a roster of rotating culinary wizards at Le Fooding’s annual New York bash on Rockaway Beach’s boardwalk. “And when we went hunting we had picnics in the cabin with cassoulet, pâtés and ratatouille.” A playful and sunny affair just steps away from the ocean, the three-day series saw guests dine at brightly painted communal tables to the sounds Jonah Bechtolt and Claire Evans of Yacht on the decks. While Lefebvre prepared veal breast with an airy parmesan cream, dried olives and artichokes, and bonito tuna, urging everyone to “eat with your hands,” the food-happy crowd also lined up for Andrew Field’s cornmeal crostini sopes with grilled fish, crema and guacamole, in the style of his legendary Rockaway Tacos just a few blocks away. “Whenever you’re on a beach, near the sand, it sparks up childhood memories,” says Field, a central figure in the beach’s post-Sandy reconstruction. “Rockaway also reminds me of the New York I grew up in––the community spirit, the multiculturalism.” As for Momofuku Milk Bar’s Christina Tosi, she dreamt up milk-and-cereal and sour cream-grapefruit-lime popsicles, which everyone happily licked while dancing to the sounds of the New York Brass Band. The inspiration came from memories of bright summer days with her family. “I grew up in Virginia and we’d always hang out in the backyard and eat very fresh, light, effervescent dishes.”
Chef Ludo Lefebvre's Ultimate Picnic Playlist
The Clash – “The Magnificent Seven”
New Order – “Blue Monday”
Pixies – “Hey”
Stromae – “Moules Frites”
NTM – “La Fièvre”
Téléphone – “Un Autre Monde”
The Velvet Underground & Nico – “Heroin”
The Tattooed Master Chef Pays Tribute to the Humble Tuber
Far beyond mashing and frying, the manifold virtues of the potato are explored by the French chef Ludo Lefebvre in this short from filmmaker David Gelb. Often thought of as the godfather of pop-up dining thanks to the success of Ludobites, the LA-based gastronome’s dining experiment that was the hottest meal ticket in town during its various iterations between 2007-2011, Lefebvre initially made a name for himself on the California culinary circuit as the executive chef at two of Los Angeles’ best-regarded establishments, L’Orangerie and Bastide. The French transplant, a recent participant of the Le Grand Fooding Crush festival, has since gained recognition as a competitor on cult cooking shows, Top Chef Masters and Iron Chef America, and his latest venture, Trois Mec, is a collaboration with fellow chefs Vinny Dotolo and Jon Shook, the duo spearheading the meat-heavy joint, Animal. The boys’ new hotspot has been receiving rave reviews for its “casual fine dining” hits like fried salt-and-vinegar buckwheat amuse-bouches to mustard seed-crusted chicken wings, and the restaurant’s kitchen provided the setting for Lefebvre’s potato tasting as captured here by Gelb, the man behind 2011’s unexpected documentary hit, Jiro Dreams of Sushi. The food-happy director spoke to us about hunger, Instagram, and of course, potatoes.
How do you translate the experience of preparing and consuming food into film?
David Gelb: I tend to work with chefs who make amazing-looking food, so that is the bulk of the work. Beyond that, I think the best way is to use the camera to try to mimic the perspective of a hungry person, and then let the audience’s imagination do the rest. We generally keep the camera just above table level, which is what it might look like if you were leaning in and examining your food as it is placed in front of you. Shallow, selective focus helps guide the eye to the most delicious looking parts, which should glow or glisten indicating fatty acids and moisture. In the end, however, it’s really a matter of intuition.
Documenting gastronomic moments has become a global social phenomenon, with images of food proliferating on the likes of Instagram and Facebook. Where do you think this need for us to memorialize and showcase our meal choices comes from?
DG: I think it’s a similar impulse that makes people want to shoot and post pictures and video of concerts and sporting events. There is a certain satisfaction in taking a picture of a perfect morsel and kind of bragging to the world, “I ate that.”
You must have learned a lot about potatoes during filming. Have you tried any new tricks in your own kitchen?
DG: I want to try to make the potato pulp like Ludo does at home. However, I’m a lot better at eating food than making it.
The Fashion Wizards Conjure Up a Bohemian Fairytale for LOVE Magazine
Master storyteller Tim Walker and LOVE Editor-in-Chief Katie Grand reunite for Wizard, a hyper-dreamy shoot taken from the title's latest issue. Set on shooting his “favorite Brit girls,” Walker whisked homegrown talents including Kate Moss and Edie Campbell to Eglingham Hall, the fantastical 17th-century residence in Northumberland, England, that has defined much of his career. “Tim wanted to shoot a mystical fairy tale, and I never usually like wizards and all that hippy shit, but I loved the challenge of pulling in more magical clothing––especially from the great William Vintage,” says Grand, who unearthed the two-tone Halston dress as seen on Jean Campbell. New to the LOVE fold, Matilda Lowther and Jake Love also joined the cast, but it was the decade-plus teaming of Walker and Ms Moss that ultimately defined the made-in-Britain atmosphere on set. “They were sat in the forest having a cup of tea and a chat, and we were all like, ‘Tim, the light's going, Tim the light's going,’ but they were much more bothered about the tea,” adds Grand. Fresh from a road-trip across Utah and Arizona after closing issue 12, the super-stylist sat down with NOWNESS to talk Snow White, wishes and to-do lists.
When did you first meet Tim?
Katie Grand: We first worked together on Dazed & Confused about a million years ago. I think the story was called Poor Cow, and Grace Cobb styled it. I had been at college with Grace and she introduced us. They shot a cow on the M40, I think.
If you could describe shooting with him in emojis, what would they be?
KG: I don’t have emojis on my computer, but if I did there would be hearts and wizard hats, and perhaps the camels––they always make me smile, especially to accompany a picture when someone is showing a lot of cleavage.
Who else’s vintage collection do you admire?
KG: Stephen Philip at Rellik; he's always such a joy. Others’ I've admired are Azzedine Alaïa's, Miuccia Prada’s and Manuela Pavesi’s.
What do you most identify with in fairytales?
KG: I like how sinister they are with such a dark overtone. Something bad always happens and someone always has a good cackle about it. Jean Campbell would be Goldilocks and Matilda’s got beautiful white skin, so she’d be Snow White.
What's on your to-do list?
KG: Answer these questions; get back to Irene at Marc Jacobs about the SS15 shoe fitting; get back to Condé Nast about our advertising sites for the new issue; look at the new Italian Vogue; send Hannah McGibbon a note to thank her for sending her excellent magazine; pick up a new cape from Prada. I think that's it today––not particularly stressful.
Finally, one wish?
KG: My rabbit Clara to come back (she died this week).
LOVE 12 Autumn/Winter 2014 is out Monday 28 July.