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.

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.”

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