"" What's She Eating Now?: Le Post du Fooding

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Le Post du Fooding

The place: PS 1 Contemporary Art Center. The
Event: Le Fooding, a collision of American and French chefs serving up tastes of their handiwork to benefit Action Against Hunger. Theme of the night: long ass lines, and lots of 'em.

The event concept is a good one. Local chefs face off against their French counterparts at a fun, casual event in a cool venue for a worthy cause. The execution, however, could use some work. The first line of the night was the one to get in and stretched halfway around the block. This just served to warm you up for the queues inside. The lines for some stations spiraled around in curlicues upon curlicues making a fun game out of hunting for the very end. Everyone was having a good time though, which would have made it bearable if only the food was a little more remarkable.

Our first stop, the cheese station. The brie, Liverot and Emmental all left me dismayed. A first for me, I didn't finish a single piece of the slightly dry and rubbery samples. We then joined the back of the first line we could identify. When we got close enough, we could see that it was Wylie Dufresne's station. Expectations were high. Once at the front Wylie informed us we would be eating grilled chicken necks with a yuzu marmalade. The marmalade was beguiling and quite lovely, if only it had been paired with something else. The chicken necks were hard to eat, particularly in the low lit courtyard, and the experience of maneuvering around the vertebrae was not a pleasant one. A lot of work for very little meat that wasn't that good.

Starting to lose hope in Le Fooding, the next dish, Brooklyn chef Sean Rembold's Fried Corn and Scallop Butter, provided salvation. This dish was truly divine. Corn dipped in a deep fryer and served with a rich butter based sauce that had small pieces of scallop and was flavored with shallots, chives, paprika and peppers. The fresh corn and the decadent sauce were a well devised match and the hint of mint from the garnish added a little je ne sais quoi to this outer borough creation. After seeing Chef Rembold at work, Diner went straight to the top of my list of places to try.

Next we queued up for Paris chef William Ledeuik's marinaded grilled pork rib. The teriyaki pineapple sauce tasted fairly pedestrian but the rib itself was cooked to perfection, if only there was more than the one tiny little rib after the seemingly never-ending wait for it. Then we went from the far courtyard area to the near one, where the installation that undulated about the space could be seen more clearly in the brighter lighting. It was an interesting series of tents that were copper colored on the inside, fur covered on the outside. Sounds blah, photographs not so great but a real feast for the eyes in person.

While we waited for Christophe Pele's barbecued sirloin, we sent two scouts from our party to retrieve some soup from a oddly un-patronized station to hold us over on our slow march to the food. The steak was my second favorite dish of the night but again, very small considering the journey to the table. Last from the savory category was David Chang's Bo Saam. By the time we got to it some of the accouterments had run out so I am not sure what the full dish was meant to taste like but the pork was delicious and the slightly spicy sauce was exactly what the pork needed.

Then the biggest bottleneck of the night, dessert. Brooklyn's The Greene was there serving up ice cream cones, or rather one woman from The Greene was individually scooping and making cones for each diner at the event while a male coworker simply watched. This was by far the longest wait of the evening, reminiscent of manufacturing before the invention of the assembly line. We tried both flavors, the vanilla bourbon and the hazelnut gianduja. The former tasted good but was not very creamy and in fact a little icy. The hazelnut, on the other hand, was smooth and a perfect richness with small pieces of hazelnut providing just the right amount of crunch throughout.

All of the people working the event wore shirts with "I Hate Le Fooding" printed on the front, which made me wonder on the way out if I too hated Le Fooding. While the lines were certainly formidable, and some of the food only decent, I think I would more appropriately wear a shirt that reads "I liked Le Fooding, but I am really glad I wore flats."


  1. wylie dufresne seems to ask "how can i?" as opposed to the more logical first question, "why the fuck should i?"

    its interesting but i fear andy dufresne may make better food.

  2. This sounds like even more of a clusterfuck than last year's Village Voice Choice Eats event. PS I've yet to eat Chang's butt and I'm jealous.

  3. Via Twitter I heard they improved things for Sat night although I am glad I went Friday. I am still too flummoxed by Minetta Gate to enjoy their food (they were there serving up "black label" burgers Sat). A restaurant that will only serve me someplace that is not their dining room lest I pollute their restaurant with my un-famousness is not one whose food I want to eat, fabulous as it may be.

    And Eddiej... I have eaten at Wylie's WD50. Some stuff was a creative thought that misfired in execution, some was truly amazing, but all of it was too cerebral. I was exhausted from thinking so much about the food when I left. Sometimes you just want something to be delicious end of story. Its a fun party trick at first but after a while I tired of wondering how he mixed a pineapple with an escargot to make it taste like bananas Foster.