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Ludo Lefebvre on L.A. Eats and His Top Travel Food

Elena North-Kelly

August 08, 2017

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French-born chef Ludo Lefebvre, a major trailblazer in the pop-up dining scene and now at the helm of Beard Award–nominated Hollywood hot spot Petit Trois, will head up the Austin stop of our ten-city Taste America tour this fall. We caught up with the globe-trotting gourmand to find out where he'll be chowing down in Texas, why L.A. cuisine is so incomparable, and what he (shamefully) eats when he's out on the road.

JBF: You’re collaborating with local star and James Beard Award winner Tyson Cole for your Taste America dinner. What are you most looking forward to about working with him?

Ludo Lefebvre: I am really looking forward to working with Tyson Cole, he seems to have a really special gift of melding international and local flavors at Uchi. He is a master of his craft and applies it to different flavors and cultures.

JBF: Have you traveled to Austin before? Are there certain foods or restaurants you're looking forward to having while you're there?

LL: I have been to Austin a couple of times for food events, and I love the energy of the town. I have not had the opportunity to explore it too much, so I’m excited to have the chance to come back and get another little "taste" of Austin. I've never been to any of my friend Tim Love's restaurants, so I'm definitely interested in checking out Lonesome Dove. I've also heard great things about La Barbecue, Launderette, and Dai Due, and hope to try them, too. 

JBF: What is it about your own city's cuisine that you'd like to share with diners both in the city you're going to for Taste America and with our readers?

LL: I don't know if Los Angeles has a true "cuisine." LA is truly an international city with so many different cuisines. But what we do have is access to some of the greatest produce on the planet. The fruits and vegetables from California are comparable to none! I think the term "farm to table" is so over-used, but we really do have some of the best farmland in this country.

JBF: What do you like to eat when you're on the road? 

LL: Like everyone else, usually shitty food. For some reason, I always seem to have a can of Pringles on international flights. Don't ask me why.

JBF: When you're traveling and visiting friends, is there anything that you always bring as a host/hostess gift?

LL: When I go home to France I usually bring my friends and family some California wine. It is so different from French wine, so they love to try it. Back in the old days, I used to buy my family and friends Levi's jeans. They were so expensive in France and super cheap in America. Now the brand has expanded so much that it doesn't make sense, but it was a fun tradition.

See all the exciting stops on our upcoming ten-city Taste America tour, taking place September 22–November 11, 2017. Tickets are on sale now!

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Elena North-Kelly is managing editor at the James Beard Foundation. Find her on Twitter and Instagram.