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July 26, 2014

Dining Al Fresco: Le Fooding

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”

Check out Dining Al Fresco at Petersham Nurseries and Kurobuta.

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Ticket to LA: Le Chateaubriand's Iñaki Aizpitarte

Day 1: The Paris-based Chef du Jour Imports Some Cali Flavor Into His Kitchen

Grilled avocado and fresh citrus take center plate as culinary hotshot Iñaki Aizpitarte of must-visit Paris restaurant Le Chateaubriand preps for his first-ever trip to the Golden State by conjuring his own vision of Californian food culture. Ahead of his visit to Le Grand Fooding—a two-day gormandizer’s paradise organized by Alexandre Cammas, founder of chic French dining guide, Le Fooding, which starts tomorrow in LA and aims to connect the Parisian and Los Angeleno gastronomic scenes—Aizpitarte welcomed filmmaker Gautier Billotte into his 11th arrondissement eatery. “The atmosphere in Le Chateaubriand is a mix of serenity and effervescence,” says Billotte. “You could smell fresh, raw products and the food cooked for the team lunch in the small kitchen, where they listen to loud electro music.” Currently ranked 15th in the world by Restaurant magazine, the bistro is known for its exciting, untraditional take on French fare and a nonchalant atmosphere. A testament to Aizpitarte’s role as one of today’s leading young chefs, he also runs another of the city’s top destinations, the more relaxed tapas bar Le Dauphin, designed by Rem Koolhaas. For Le Grand Fooding, Aizpitarte is joined by fellow Paris-based chefs including Frenchies’ Gregory Marchand and Jean-François Piège of the eponymous Left Bank establishment, and such LA culinary stalwarts as Mozza’s Nancy Silverton, and he will be cooking up a specially prepared dish of fresh beans, herbs and brown butter.

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Spotlight

Fine de Cognac

Acclaimed Filmmaker Fabienne Berthaud’s Magical Homage Distills the Heritage of Hennessy's Golden Spirit

A sunlit field provides a filmic take on pastoral impressionist painting in director Fabienne Berthaud’s visual collage devoted to the bucolic origins of Hennessy Fine de Cognac. Set in the idyllic countryside of western France, the filmmaker brings what she describes as her own brand of “cinematic magic realism” to this sensual take that mirrors the process behind the making and sipping of the cognac itself, starting with the vineyards and ending in the glass. The result uncovers a completely new way to experience the drink, emphasizing the fruits, flowers and subtle ageing that go into the creation of the iconic elixir. The nature-infused style typifies Berthaud’s lauded approach to filmmaking, which has included the 2010 film Lily Sometimes (Pieds Nus Sur Les Limaces), a Cannes Art Cinema Award-winning feature starring Diane Kruger. “I wanted to make an organic, sensory film that felt close to the elements and what nature represents,” explains Berthaud. “I wanted to convey the delicacy, the details and the subtlety of spring.”

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