Leave it to the French to out-cool the locals. Last night’s Le Fooding pre-celebration dinner found everyone from Jeffrey Deitch (MOCA) to Roy Choi (Kogi) to Nancy Silverton (Mozza) to Jean Francois Piège (Restaurant Jean Francois Piage, Paris) eating inside a Cypress Park warehouse. None of us had been to—or even heard of—the converted event space, which now boasts an elegant two-story brick dining room and a cozy gravel courtyard lit by twinkle-light. It was way off the beaten path in an edgy way that, damnit, we should have known about. But we didn’t. The darn French did, though, managing—without even trying—to set a tone that said, “Mais oui! We are that effortlessly cool.” The ideal L.A. aesthetic, perfected.
It was a fluke, really. One of the Le Fooding organizers just did some Googling for an unconventional space, and knowing nothing about L.A. geography or the hipness of various neighborhoods—especially the gritty Cypress Park—booked the place sight unseen. Well done, Frenchies. Touché.
Almost all of the chefs participating in the sold-out Le Grand Fooding Crush event tonight and tomorrow were in attendance, including Carolyn Spence (Chateau Marmont), Josef Centeno (Bäco Mercat, Bar Amá), and most of the out-of-towners. They all came together over a meal prepared by two unlikely collaborators: Craig Thornton of the underground supperclub Wolvesmouth and Miles Thompson, formerly of the Vagrancy Project pop-up and now chef at Echo Park’s Allumette. Thompson worked briefly with Thornton, and we’d heard through the always-trustworthy rumor mill that the two were on somewhat sticky terms. If there was any beef (there wasn’t any served last night), they smoothed everything over in time for an impressive seven-course dinner that meshed so seamlessly together we sometimes had trouble deciphering who’s dish was whose.
[UPDATE: As usual, that good ol’ grapevine was sprouting some faux info. Thornton assures me the two have been buddies for years.]
The two chefs alternated courses, and the meal opened with a crudo presentation featuring spot prawn by Thompson followed by a Thornton’s Mexican-inspired rabbit meatball and sope dish. Later came absurdly caramelized broccoli with a supersweet white carrot and dates (Thompson), a sort of South Pacific-inspired pork belly with crab remoulade and dehydrated plantain, an elaborate cheese presentation courtesy of Cheeses of France that included baskets of crackers descending from the loft above on ropes, and two desserts (here’s where things get fuzzy): a goat flan with a crumbly almost savory cakey thing and what seemed like cucumber tapioca pearls by Thompson and a Meyer lemon olive oil cake and custard with candied mandarins by Thornton. Most of the French diners left before the second dessert arrived, due to what seemed like a combination of a mass nic-fit and severe jetlag.
The whole event made us pretty excited for tonight’s activities taking place at the Geffen Contemporary at MOCA. Tickets are sold out, sadly, and I’ll be the first to admit that my terrible, dark iPhone pictures are a lousy substitute. But if you were lucky enough to score one early, we think this’ll be a memorable one.