(That hangover was procured thanks to Ludo's buddy and fellow Top Chef Masters star, Graham Elliot Bowles. The couple had a three-and-a-half hour meal at Bowles' River North restaurant the night before, where they were served "the entire menu, I think," Krissy says.)
I wouldn't have guessed Lefebvre was hurting; on the contrary, he was incredibly psyched to talk about his soon-to-launch fried chicken truck.
Lefebvre is at the show as a sort of ambassador of the mobile food scene that's all the rage on the West Coast, the East Coast and pretty much every major city (and even some minor ones) except Chicago (check out our Wednesday food pages for more on the topic). Eschewing the traditional restaurant model, Lefebvre has quickly gained a following with his "pop-up" LudoBites "restaurant" in Los Angeles, which rents a space for a short time, then moves on.
"To be stuck in one place, in one restaurant, for 20 years, I don't want that," Lefebvre said. "It's fun to change, it's fun to move."
His truck, developed in partnership with Mobi Munch, a California company positioning itself as a one-stop shop for food truck entrepreneurs, is an extension of his pop-up LudoBites operation -- only, its sole focus is fried chicken.
"When we cook in fine-dining, it's a lot of pressure. It's more fun, a concept like this," he said, adding quickly, "But nothing's changed. We're still using fresh ingredients, the same techniques I learned with the great chefs in France."
So -- he uses boneless chicken leg meat. He brines the meat and flavors it with herbes de Provence. He serves the chicken cut into little chunks or pipettes ("Some people call them nuggets, some say Ludo balls," he laughed).
It's still another month before the LudoBites truck is full operational, but the chef, oh, he has plans.
"I will take it to the Champs-Elysees. That's my dream," he said, an idea that Mobi Munch president Ray Villaman said isn't all that unrealistic.
Lefebvre also has another truck concept in mind -- one serving French street food, which doesn't really exist, if you think about it. "Street food in France is crepes, or you stop at a bakery," he said. "What about crepe tacos with escargot?"