Ludo Lefebvre is a busy dude. His restaurant collaboration with Animal chefs Jon Shook and Vinny Dotolo is set to open in the next few months, with a possible fried chicken concept to follow. And his new cookbook, LudoBites, hit shelves last week. In celebration of the new book, we thought it would be a good idea to ask Lefebvre what cookbooks have inspired him over the years. It's not surprising, given Lefebvre's origin, that both books he referenced, are French.
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The first, Variations Culinaires, is published by Minerva and offers new ways to look at ingredients. "This is a book built around the treatment of 65 ingredients," Lefebvre says. "Nothing fancy, it just opens the mind to different treatment of ingredients. For example mushrooms (porcini) it gives three treatments: 1. chips 2. roasted and 3. veloute. There are four treatments of Oysters: 1. sorbet 2. jelly 3. tartar and 4. poached. Sometimes, as a chef, you can get stuck in your head and this book is just a resource to remind you of some different ways to prepare or manipulate an ingredient."
The other book, La Cuisine en Fetes by Marc Meneau, is the work of a mentor. "I was in the kitchen when Mr. Meneau started working on this book. I grew up with this book. Mr. Meneau gave me a copy when it came out and it became like a school text book for me. The book is really my training as a young boy in the kitchen of a master. I always turn to it when I want to go back to the basics and build new recipes. This book has really influenced me in my style of cooking, it is my bible that I still use today." A favorite recipe from the book? "A 'past' favorite recipe, since I live in California, is the cromesqui of foie gras."