Fried chicken originated in Europe and was introduced in America by Scottish immigrants, who had traditionally preferred frying their chicken over baking it. It quickly became a popular dish in the South, where the women of poor black slave communities, who couldn’t afford to raise pigs or cattle, “grew” chickens to sell, live or ready-fried, to the wealthier white population. Today, fried chicken is a family favorite loved world-over for its tender meat and crispy flavored skin.
The history of fried chicken seems a strange introduction to an article about the latest and greatest in contemporary French cuisine, Trois Mec restaurant. Since its inception in 2013, the restaurant has used an exclusive ticketing system to fill up its tiny 26-seat space. Trois Mec Tickets go on sale two weeks in advance of the booking date, allowing patrons to buy their way into a unique dinner-service only culinary experience. The menu is not publicized: whilst there are several reviews online allowing you to piece together an idea of the chef’s innovative style, you won’t know what’s for dinner until you show up. Those seated nearest the bar have the incredible privilege of watching the cooks in action, and the restaurant is famous for its special wine pairings menu, featuring different wines primarily from across France that have been painstakingly chosen to exactly match the food on your plate. Customers are talked through the entire experience by the chef and sommelier, and whilst it is probably a more expensive night out than your average dinner, it is certainly a worthwhile experience.
Chef Ludovic “Ludo” Lefebvre
The Trois Mec menu is the brainchild of internationally acclaimed chef Ludovic Lefebvre, colloquially known as “Ludo”, who fell into the culinary world at a young age and has cast himself as its chief creative ever since. Born in Burgundy, France, his first kitchen job was arranged for him by his father as a means of convincing the teenage Ludo to get a real job. Ludo loved even the most menial kitchen work, and continued training in restaurants across France before emigrating to the USA. His first job in the States was at L’Orangerie, where a mere one year later and aged just twenty five, he was promoted to head chef. After several other prestigious restaurant jobs in California, Chef Ludo ventured out on his own and fast became known as the “impressario of pop-up dining”, creating a mobile food show called LudoBites that aimed to serve extraordinary food to ordinary people at acceptable prices. His massive acceptance and popularity gave way to the opening of Trois Mec, and a year later, Petit Trois, two exceptional examples of fine dining on the LA circuit. These restaurants focused on French technique but still this was not enough for the talented chef – his latest endeavour, Ludo Bird, is a classically trained and critically acclaimed chef’s take on the American classic, fried chicken.
I guess it goes to show that some dishes are clear winners, regardless of where they came from. If a dish rooted in deepest poverty from the deepest South has become an international favorite and earned the attention of one of the world’s most innovative and exciting young chefs, it’s clearly a winner. Delicious fried chicken plus Ludo’s incredible take on flavor? Sounds good to me.
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