On Friday, Marcus Samuelsson kicked off Harlem EatUp!, a new food festival highlighting Harlem restaurants in his adopted New York City neighborhood. The weekend-long festival included seminars, cooking demos and lots of special dinners — which brought a number of well-known American chefs to cook in and around Harlem. We scored seats at the collaboration between New York pitmaster John Stage (Dinosaur BBQ) and Los Angeles chef Ludo Lefebvre (Trois Mec, Petit Trois).
Samuelsson personally paired up all the chefs for the collaborative dinners, which included match-ups like JJ Johnson of the Cecil with Nick Anderer of Maialino, and Adrienne Cheatham of newly opened Streetbird Rotisserie working with Paul Qui of Qui in Austin, Texas.
Stage and Lefebvre did not know each other before the dinner and hadn’t dined in each other’s restaurants before collaborating on the menu. In fact, Stage had tried to dine at Trois Mec a couple of months ago on a Saturday, only to discover the restaurant is closed on the weekends. Ludo nodded his head: “Yeah, Trois Mec is closed on Saturday-Sunday.” So now you know, too. Lefebvre left the barbecuing to Stage. “I don’t know how to do barbecue, so I did fried chicken,” he said of his mission. We asked him what inspired him to pair up on a barbecue dinner if he didn’t know how to barbecue. “Well, because I see the way they cook the meat, the smoker, I’d rather be here than at a fancy French restaurant.”
Working with Lefebvre inspired Stage to up the ante on his approach. “When you have a talent like this, you always want to up your game a little bit, so we just took some old classics and put a different twist on ’em.” Here are some photos from the action.