On Tuesday evening in front of a small crowd at the Résidence de France in Beverly Hills, Ludovic Lefebvre received the insignia of Chevalier dans l’ordre national des Arts et des Lettres. In other words, he became a knight.
The Ordre des Arts et des Lettres is an award given by the French government that recognizes significant contributions to the arts. The award was presented by Christophe Lemoine, the Consul General of France in Los Angeles, who gave a long speech detailing Lefebvre's accomplishments and dedication to the proliferation of French culture.
“Since moving to Los Angeles almost 20 years ago, you have become a key figure,” Lemoine said, “not only of the local gastronomic landscape, but also nationally and internationally. You continue to embody French culture abroad through one of its most famous aspects, gastronomy.”
During Lemoine's speech, we learned the details of Lefebvre's career leading to his current role as co-chef and owner of Trois Mec, Petit Trois and Trois Familia. We also heard the story of his “love at first sight” meeting and courtship of his wife, Krissy, along with the fact that Lefebvre came to Los Angeles for the same reason as Borat; that is, to meet Pamela Anderson.
“I'm very happy to induct you tonight as Chevalier dans l’ordre national des Arts et des Lettres, in honor of your outstanding achievements in cultural diplomacy. We are very proud of you and very proud of counting you among our ambassadors,” Lemoine said. With that he pinned the eight-point asterisk-shaped medal hanging on a green striped ribbon on Lefebre's left breast, while reciting in French the official induction.
With his 4-year-old twins scrambling around his legs (one of whom asked loudly, “Mama, why don't I have one of those?”), Lefebvre then gave his own short speech, thanking the Consul and saying: “I left school when I was 13 years old. And I remember my father all my life told me, 'You will have to take an apprenticeship, and you have three choices: You can be a hairdresser, a mechanic or a cook.' And I said, 'I love to eat so I'll be a cook.' And I'm still in love with cooking. I love the discipline in the kitchen, I love to be abused … in the kitchen of course.”
He went on to thank his wife and friends, and his business partners Jon Shook and Vinny Dotolo (as well as saying that the trio will be opening yet another restaurant some time in 2016 … details on that still to come). “I really really love France,” he said. “I really love the culture. I try my best to represent my country in my restaurants and food and TV shows. The art of living we have in France, it's really my passion. I am also thinking about France with sadness with what happened a few weeks ago. But let me tell you: We are not going to stop — in France or here — to celebrate, to go out, to dance. Vive La France.”