By Erin Walsh
Call it the French Revolution of food.
On Sept. 25 and 26, Le Fooding, a French culinary outfit dedicated to promoting a more egalitarian, less stuffy approach to dining, presents its first event in the United States at P.S.1 Contemporary Art Center in Long Island City.
Although the idea of any self-respecting Frenchman (or woman) touting a more populist take on the gastronomic arts may elicit cries of “le scandale” among food snobs, to Le Fooding co-founder and former food writer Alexandre Cammas, the revolution was warranted.
“The idea was to say, ‘Let’s play with food, let’s make the public smile,’ and we created some events, some leisure events, with a lot of guests,” he said.
The group, which stages culinary events in France and publishes an annual restaurant guide, wants to cut through the hype by giving restaurants that aren’t necessarily listed in the Michelin Guide a chance to garner well-deserved accolades.
“We’re the coolest sort of referee in food,” said Cammas. “In New York City, a lot of things have changed. Now you can find some restaurants in Brooklyn and Manhattan where the produce is the most important thing. I went to fashionable restaurants that were not good. Now, some restaurants are fashionable because they’re good.”
Le Fooding, which is an amalgam of the words “food” and “feeling,” aims to support the creativity, the personality and the originality of contemporary cuisine, according to Le Fooding spokeswoman Anna Polonsky.
The two-day event, which starts at 6 p.m. with an exclusive Veuve Clicquot champagne and cheese reception and 7 p.m. for general admission, pits all an-star lineup of New York chefs against their French counterparts. Participating chefs include New York’s Daniel Boulud and Olivier Muller of DB Bistro Moderne, David Chang of Momofuku and Wylie Dufresne of WD-50 and Paris’ Inaki Aizpitarte of Le Chateaubriand and Yves Camdeborde of Le Comptoir du Relais.
Tickets are $60 for the Le Clicquot de’Amour reception, and $30 for general admission each day. All proceeds support Action Against Hunger. The event will also include specialty cocktails created by New York and Paris mixologists, French cheese tastings and sounds from DJs, including celebrity spinmeister Paul Sevigny (the actress Chloe’s brother). More information is available online at lefoodingdamour.com.
P.S.1 was chosen as the venue because of its historical and cultural significance, said Cammas.
“We like to create an event in a venue that is not popular for this sort of (culinary) event,” he said. “In France, we work with a lot of museums (and) art galleries. It was natural for us to be close to Manhattan. P.S.1 is very central, and it’s a nice place with a nice team.”
The goal of Le Fooding d’Amour Paris-New York is to pair talented Parisian chefs with their New York alter egos, according to Polonsky.
“How can one have a better sense of the taste of the time in 2009 than by united the best chefs of these two world culinary capitals?” she said. “To give the opportunity to chefs, mixologists, to the public and the media to write a new page of the world culinary history.”