18 April 1971 |
|Education||Marc Meneau, Pierre Gagnaire|
|Cooking style||Nouvelle Cuisine|
Ludovic "Ludo" Lefebvre (French pronunciation: [ləˈfɛvʁ]), born 18 April 1971, is a French chef and television personality. He received his training in restaurants in France beginning in adolescence and in his early twenties immigrated to the United States. He quickly earned recognition, making appearances on television in culinary shows and earning awards for the restaurants where he held the position of head chef.
Early life and training
Lefebvre was born in Burgundy. While still in his early teens, he expressed his desire to be a chef. His father took him to a local restaurant named Maxime and asked them to give Lefebvre some menial job in order to discourage him, but he loved it. His love for food began in his childhood in Auxerre, France, where he was first inspired by his grandmother.
He pursued formal culinary training at the restaurant L’Esperance in Vézelay under chef Marc Meneau, where he worked for three years. He next worked with Pierre Gagnaire at his eponymous restaurant in Saint-Étienne (now closed), then with Alain Passard at L'Arpège, where he trained in what he describes as "the school of fire," learning to control and play with heat. His final stop was with Guy Martin at Le Grand Vefour, from whom he states that he learned the business side of the food service industry.
In 1996, Lefebvre moved to Los Angeles where he began work at L'Orangerie at the invitation of Gilles Epie, the chef there at the time. About a year later, at the age of 25, he was promoted to head chef and went on to see the restaurant become one of the top-rated in California, receiving the Mobil Guide five-star award.
In 2004, he moved to the restaurant Bastide on Melrose Place, which was also awarded the prestigious Mobil Guide five-star award under his direction. The dishes he created there included panini au foie gras with an apricot based accompaniment, poularde marinated in Pepsi-Cola with popcorn, and panna cotta topped with caviar in a salted-butter caramel sauce. After the restaurant closed for renovations, he decided not to return due to "creative differences."
He created the menu for the restaurant Lavo  at the Palazzo in Las Vegas and after a year there, returned to Los Angeles in 2007. In May of that year, Lefebvre opened Ludobites, where he has taken his concept of the “pop-up restaurant,” providing dinner services at restaurants that serve only breakfast and lunch, to other venues. These events last for limited runs of a few weeks. Unlike some of the restaurants where he has previously been chef, it is his wish and intention to serve affordable food.
Bon Appetit called Ludo “the king of pop-ups.” LudoBites popped up 8 times in the Los Angeles area, crashing OpenTable twice and booked 6 weeks of reservations in 47 seconds. Food writer Richard Guzman wrote of his experience at this venue: "I was sad. The meal was over. In a way, eating at Ludobites is like hooking up with someone way out of your league while on vacation with none of your friends around to witness it and no chance of replicating the experience."
In October 2013, Ludo opened LudoBird, a restaurant within the STAPLES CENTER focusing on fried chicken.
Ludo is now being credited with carrying the flag for Los Angeles modern fine dining, opening Trois Mec in April 2013. Trois Mec is Ludo’s first brick and mortar restaurant, and both the concept and menu were created with his partners and friends Jon Shook and Vinny Dotolo.
Trois Mec has earned 4 stars from both Los Angeles Magazine and LA Weekly, been named Best New Restaurant by both publications, been named to Esquire Magazine’s Best New Restaurant List for 2013, included in GOOP – List of Best Tasting Menus in the World under $100 and made Zagat’s list of Top 10 Hottest Restaurants in the World for 2013. Food & Wine Magazine (Dec. 2013) awarded Trois Mec with the #1 Best Restaurant Dish of 2013 and GQ placed Trois Mec #2 on its list of Best New Restaurants in the country for 2014.
In the Spring of 2014, Ludo Lefebvre, Jon Shook, and Vinny Dotolo will open their doors to Petit Trois, “the most hotly anticipated restaurant opening in 2014." The restaurant will also be located in Los Angeles just next door to its older brother, Trois Mec.
In 2006, Ludo appeared on Iron Chef America, challenging Mario Batali in a battle of Big Eye Tuna, where Batali prevailed. Beginning in 2009, Lefebvre appeared on the first and second seasons of Top Chef Masters. He was a guest judge on season 8 of Hell's Kitchen in 2010. Beginning in 2011, he starred in Ludo Bites America on the Sundance Channel.
In January 2013, Ludo joined Anthony Bourdain and Nigella Lawson as a judge/mentor on the ABC prime time cook competition show called The Taste, and was named the “break-out star” of the show by the New York Times. Returning for season two alongside Anthony Bourdain, Nigella Lawson and Marcus Samuelsson, as well as with the UK version of the show, Ludo was pronounced winner of the hit competition series in early 2014.
Other TV appearances include: The Today Show, Access Hollywood, Extra!, CNN Money, The Talk, Carson Daly, NPR Morning Edition, and a very special episode No Reservations in his home town in Burgundy.
In 2005, Lefebvre released his first book, Crave: The Feast of the Five Senses. It categorizes recipes by sense: "See", "Touch", "Smell", "Hear", and "Taste". The book won second place in the cookbook category in the New York Book Show.
In 2012, LudoBites: Recipes and Stories from the Pop-Up Restaurants of Ludo Lefebvre was released. LudoBites is a chronicle and a cookbook, containing tales of the career of this “rock star” of the culinary world and the full story of his brilliant innovation, the “pop up” or “touring” restaurant that moves from place to place.
Rising in prominence in the culinary world, Ludo was a finalist for the James Beard Foundation “Rising Chef Award” in 2001, and was named by Relais & Chateaux as one of the World’s 50 greatest Chefs.
Lefebvre has described his food as "French with an international flavor." Some of Ludo’s best-known dishes include rack of lamb in a caraway-seasoned broth with baby vegetables, entrecôte with vanilla flavored potato purée, and cardamom and pericarp pepper encrusted lamb. He uses over 200 spices, believes that his most unusual "truc" (technique) is making crême chantilly with fats other than cream, which he learned from Pierre Gagnaire, and his favorite cookbook is Le Pyramide Cookbook by Fernand Point. Two of his favorite restaurants in Los Angeles are the sushi restaurant Katsu-ya and La Cantina in Studio City.
- Celebrity Living (May 2005)
- Star Chefs
- Top Chef Masters, Bravo Television 
- Le Monde (30 March 2010) Ribuat
- [Los_Angeles_Magazine]Los Angeles Magazine
- Los Angeles Downtown News (16 August 2010) Richard Guzman, "Beautiful Bites; Ludovic Lefebvre's Unforgettable Fashion District Stand"
- [LA Times: Fried chicken and biscuits at the new Ludo Bird at Staples Center]
- All Star Chef Classic
- Zagat: The 10 Hottest Restaurants In The World
- Food & Wine
- GQ: Best New Restaurants Alan Richman
- Gelt, Jessica (July 22, 2011). "Hot L.A. chef takes LudoBites to TV". The Seattle Times.
- Hinds, Julie (May 18, 2005). "Chef hunks sell". The Free Lance-Star.
- My Last Bite