Crave: The Feast of the Five Senses - Cookbook Review
by Ludovic Lefebvre
was taught "to love cooking and to cook with love"
by mentors Pierre Gagnaire, Alain Passard, Marc Meneau,
Guy Martin and Jean-Pierre Saulnier. If this sounds romantic,
be sure to read the intro about the psychological terror
he went through in the kitchens of Meneau, where a hush
descended over the pots and pans whenever the master passed
by — not even to mention Meneau's "neurotic obsession
with perfection." He was well-trained there. Gagnaire
called him a bum and drove him hard, but the lessons were
invaluable. During his time with Passard he loved the cooking,
but he also had nightmares about the color of John Dory
bones. After three years he was skin and bones from the
stress, but also an accomplished artisan.
1996, L'Orangerie brought him to the City
of Angels. He was just 24. After five months they promoted
him to head chef. Diners were impressed. Cut to more recent
times: Ludo had dreamed of opening his own eponymous spot
after he left L'Orangerie in 2002, but decided against
it when he heard he'd be cooking for an exorbitant
number of mouths. He found the offer to move to Bastide more accessible.
but proud, he wants people to remember his food. With this
The Feast of the Five Senses, he asks us
home cooks to see, touch, smell, hear and taste our food.
He acknowledges it takes time and concentration. He's
not one to do 30-minute, three-step meals.
have big plans for his foie gras, still undecided between
the seared version with pineapple, dried mint and rose petals;
or grilled with roasted pears and spice syrup with Sauternes;
or in a reduction of chocolate, red wine and pomegranate
with onion jam and juniper berries. We also have our eye
on eggs sunny side up on toast with porcini mushroom coulis
and truffle sauce — so simple and elegant, with the
yolk peeking out in a playful way.
recipes' instructions are clear and there's a good
balance of very doable ones like simple young garlic soup
with thyme and scallops (this dish becomes a high-karat
job with the addition of gold leaf — if you can find
it) or more extravagant affairs like sea urchin crème
brûlée or a five-pound duck, dusted with grand
caravan spices with caramelized spiced pears and baby root
jubilant, sexy book celebrates all good things, and we expect
Ludo's star to continue to shine brightly here and
beyond this topsy-turvy town we call home.
Reviewed by Sylvie Greil
Buy Crave: The Feast of the Five Senses on Amazon
LudoBites tells the story of the chef's epically popular pop-up ventures. If you didn't have a chance to partake in his adventures while they lasted, here's the scoop with revolutionary recipes.
Buy LudoBites: Recipes and Stories from the Pop-Up Restaurants of Ludo Lefebvre on Amazon
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