Kitchen prep for chefs Ludo Lefebvre and Roy Choi

What will Ludo and Roy think of the dried apricots in our green room?  Will their taste buds discern the origin of our delicately dipped dark chocolate almonds?    I wonder if their senses ever take a rest, or if there is an ‘eating for survival’ vs ‘eating for pleasure’ mode that gets switched on and off.  (Personally I convince myself that every meal is ‘eating for survival’ and more often than not is simultaneously pleasurable.)   Oh how I’d like to peer inside their fridge and find out what happens behind the scenes when Ludo and Roy aren’t in their public kitchens.

Well, the thing is, these guys ARE the kitchen.  The kitchen is where they are- be it stacked into a moving vehicle fashioned as Choi’s Kogi BBQ food truck or in a pop-up restaurant that belongs to someone else by day before a rapid transformation by night transforms it into Lefebvre’s LudoBites.  They’ve blurred the line between eating establishment and ephemeral dining.  Innovation, possibility, and potential are limitless ingredients on their list.

I don’t think there is a city that could be more hospitable to this novel experience of culinary art- question is- is it a fad?  Will the pop-up pop?  Will food trucks be out run by social media snacks?  Say what?  So many questions, and so little time.  L.A. is on the move just like the minds of these creative chefs, who, fads aside, have more than enough solid ground under their feet to whet the appetites of foodies and cultural enthusiasts alike with their fresh ideas and fusion of senses, culture, and experience.

If there is one novel thing the L.A. Public Library can do to put their palate to the test, it’s with a little taste of our extensive menu collection, digitized and dating back to the early 1900s, with menus from Hawaiian cruises on the S.S. Malolo (Deerfoot sausage anyone?)- to the city’s first restaurant to serve authentic Mexican food, La Golondrina Café (1930s), on Olvera Street.   But it appears it’s time to update the collection, as a search for menus from 2000 onward didn’t yield any results.  Is this a sign that menus are a thing of the past?  Yet another question to add to the..ehem… menu…for the upcoming chat with our chefs.

Serving art too! Air France menu cover, 1970, LAPL collection

More on “Taking the Kitchen to the Street: Experiments in Flavor and Form” at ALOUD at the downtown Central Library on October 17th.

-Posted by Maureen Moore

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