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UCLA's Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center

17th Annual Signature Fundraising Event

Taste for a Cure
Friday, April 20, 2012
Beverly Wilshire Hotel

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Ludo Lefebvre

Ludo Lefebvre

Ludovic “Ludo” Lefebvre is the chameleon chef of Los Angeles—and that’s not because of his colorful tattoos. Revolutionizing the era of the temporary/touring “Pop-Up” restaurant concept, Ludo not only moves his migratory fine-dining kitchen to a new location every few months for limited engagements, but he is equally at ease making his renowned fried chicken inside a tiny food truck as he is serving up his ground-breaking dishes to customers at LudoBites.

“The LudoBites model is the epitome of the 21st century marketplace, where the chef, not the restaurant, is the name of the game,” lauds Time Magazine. The itinerant Frenchman, deemed “the Chef of the Future,” by Time, however, has found that his fans will flock to wherever he goes, thanks to his vaunted popularity in the blogosphere and among food industry professionals.

Included in Ludo’s legion of admirers are Pulitzer Prize winning LA Weekly critic Jonathan Gold, who celebrated his “Kitchen Miracles” and included LudoBites on his 99 Most Essential Restaurants list and a spot on the “Top Ten Dishes of 2007, 2009 and 2010” list as well. Gold hailed LudoBites as a dining experience that “may fundamentally change the way we look at restaurants.” Echoing Gold’s stance is Ruth Reichl, who asserted “LudoBites is the ultimate supremacy of food over ambiance.” Sam Sifton of the NY Times has said about his experience at LudoBites 5.0, “each dish perfectly executed, with every flavor in place, every temperature correct, every plate a fully realized piece of art.”

Ludo’s love of food began in his childhood in Auxerre, France, where he was first inspired profoundly by his grandmother, then sent to train in a professional French kitchen at 13. His introduction to the French apprenticeship system gave Ludo a start-at-the-bottom hands-on training that found him honing his craft for 13 years with France’s greatest chefs at Restaurant L’Esperance with Marc Meneau, Restaurant Pierre Gagnaire, Arpege with Alain Passard, and Le Grande Vefour with Guy Martin.

But America beckoned, and Ludo moved to Los Angeles to work at L’Orangerie, where he was promoted to head chef at 25, and went on to see the restaurant become one of the top-rated in California, receiving the Mobil Five Star Award. Ludo went from there to Bastide, and again was awarded the prestigious Mobil Five Star Award. Rising in prominence in the culinary world, Ludo was a finalist for the James Beard Foundation “Rising Chef Award” in 2001, and was named by Relais & Chateaux as one of the World’s 50 Greatest Chefs. His first cookbook, CRAVE: A Feast of the Five Senses was released in 2005.

In 2007, Ludo introduced Los Angeles to LudoBites, and with each successive run the reservation book fills up in record time thanks to his ever-growing popularity. In March 2012 LudoBites made it first stop outside Los Angeles with a two week stop in Kona, Hawaii. Appearances on both seasons of Bravo’s Top Chef Masters, Hell’s Kitchen, The Food Network’s Iron Chef America and Ready, Set, Cook, as well as The Today Show, Access Hollywood, Extra!, CNN Money and NPR Morning Edition have helped thrust Ludo and his “Mad Genius” cuisine into the international spotlight. Briding Ludo’s past with his future, France-Amerique Magazine in 2010 bestowed upon Ludo a tremendous honor, naming him number 1 on a list of “The Top 50 French in America.”

In February 2011 Ludo surprised and delighted some of Hollywood’s biggest stars as the chef for the Elton John Aids Foundation Oscar Viewing Party. In June 2011, GQ Magazine featured Ludo in a 4-page feature calling him “the world’s greatest chef with no restaurant.”

Ludo has now taken LudoBites on the road as the country’s first touring restaurant in a 7-episode series entitled Ludo Bites America on the Sundance Channel.

Though Ludo’s kitchen may not have a permanent address, wherever he cooks, he is sure to find home.


Last updated: 4/5/2012 1:21:29 PM