Ludo Lefebvre Cooked For Movie Stars, May Become A TV Star

As we mentioned earlier, Sundance is getting its food on this year. One of the big names to man the kitchen in Park City during the annual indie film fest is Ludo Lefebvre, the French-born, LA-residing pop-up master behind Ludo Bites. Of course, Lefebvre is all over the news because tonight he'll premiere as one of the four judges on the new ABC prime time show The Taste, starring Anthony Bourdain, Nigella Lawson and Brian Malarkey (though Ludo's being touted as the show's breakout star).

But in true chef form, Lefebvre opted to spend time in the kitchen rather that wait for his next publicity buzz. For much of the past week you could find him serving dinners to celebrities at The Samsung Galaxy Lounge at Village at the Lift, which hosted celebrity cast dinners for the films Before Midnight, Touchy Feely and We Are What We Are. Sounds like a fun place to have been, and Lefebvre tells us about the experience, as well as what to expect on The Taste and whether he'll live up to his promise to us to come cook in NYC (hint: if someone can help he and wife Krissy get their twins to Manhattan, he's game).

Who have you cooked for at Sundance?

The Samsung Galaxy Lounge hosted cocktail parties and cast dinners for a number of films premiering over the weekend. I served guests including Naomi Watts, Ellen Page, Ron Livingston, Julie Delpy and several other actors, directors and producers over the weekend.

What has been on the menu?

The first course was a goat cheese soup with apples, green celery and tofu; entrées included a roasted beef tenderloin and carmelized endive tart. Cocktails were a hot red wine with spiced Chartreuse, lemon and herbs, and a Chatreuse mojito.

Are people you're meeting in Park City excited about The Taste?

Sundance is all about movies so I don't expect people to be talking about television, especially food television. But I am surprised how many people know about the show and are looking forward to watching it. Thank goodness for Tony and Nigella. Everyone wants to see them in this totally new format.

Is Bourdain really going to be the Simon Cowell of the show?

I definitely don't think Tony fits the role of Simon Cowell. He is comparable only to the extent that he has an unbelievable amount of knowledge about his industry and can spot talent. Well, hopefully not better than me, but I don't think he comes across like the "mean" one. We all had our moments of being "honest" with the contestants. The difference between music and food is that it is really subjective. Music can subjective too, if you like a certain style of music or you don't, but if someone is off key, they are off key. With food everyone's palate is different and some people may or may not like certain foods, so they won't vote for you even though it is perfectly cooked, because it is all about "The Taste."

Has anybody cried yet on the show?

Mentors or contestants? Yes, there was some crying.

Best dish you have tasted?

We had some great ones and some really memorable ones, but you will have to watch the show to see.

Have you gotten to see any movies at Sundance?

I wish, but I spent most of my time prepping for my dinners at the Samsung Galaxy Lounge. Next time I will bring a couple of extra people to help so I can just hang out and watch movies all day long. Just kidding.

How does it affect you to be cooking in the cold weather there?

It's f-ing cold and I had to buy new socks. Is that what you mean? The cold has not been such an issue as much as the altitude and the sushi restaurant kitchen. I am definitely not used to cooking at such altitudes and it has a big impact on baking. I had two items on the menu that were "baked" so I had to make some adjustments to my recipes on the first day especially since the ovens at sushi restaurants are not really what I would call "ideal" for the conditions of feeding about 600 people.

You recently celebrated your 10th Ludo Bites pop-up. What has been your most-loved dish so far?

That is easy: Black Foie Gras Croque Monsieur.

Will you be bringing it to NYC, as you hinted in our Food Republic interview in July 2011. We've been waiting, bro!

I don't say things if I don't mean them. I had hoped to bring LudoBites to NYC in late 2011 or 2012 but I highly underestimated how the twins would have an impact on traveling. We need a moving van just for their stuff for a weeklong trip — so much gear. I did have a great experience when I collaborated with my longtime friend Bruce Bromberg for a one night special dinner in October, so I definitely want to spend more time in a kitchen in NYC, I promise you that.

Earlier: Ludo Lefebvre: Don't Call It A Pop-Up