Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Le Fooding - Meeting David Chang and Wiley Dufresne

Meg and I attended Le Fooding, a fabulous foodie event at LIC's P.S.1. MOMA, benefiting Action Against Hunger. It was great to be at an internationally recognized food festival that originated in year 2000 in Paris. There was a lot of French influence felt in the food, the drinks, the people (chefs) and even the music. P.S.1 was a great venue that not only provided ample outdoor space but also a unique, "underground" element that made it feel like an insider event rather than a mass-produced food fest.

I appreciated the ambiance provided by the urban shelter, "a series of tall hut-like 'chimneys' with dark thatched skin," that helped make Le Fooding funky, interesting and little bit surreal. Not to mention that the structures provided relief from the chilly weather--they were also a conversation starter while waiting on the long food lines.

Tasty Highlights
Although Meg and I chose the dry route, in terms of food, we tried it all except for dessert.

Favorite Foodings - Our #1 favorite pick was the fried corn with scallop butter, provided by Diner restaurant in Brooklyn. The corn was grilled to perfection with a slightly crunchy bite, and slathered in garlicky, smoky, scallop butter. A fellow attendee that we chatted with said that it reminded him of gumbo. Simply scrumptious, I strongly considered getting seconds.

A close second were the grilled marinated pork ribs with teriyaky pineapple sauce from Ze Kitchen Galerie in Paris. We loved how the meat fell off the bone and the sweet glaze on top provided a delightful, almost desserty finish.

Non Traditional Foodings - The most "different" items at Le Fooding came from two American chefs known for their creativity and innovation--Wylie Dufresne of WD-50 and David Chang of the Momofuku restaurants. It was super cool that both chefs were on the premises, actually serving us our food. Wylie was sweet and personable, as he posed for a picture (above) with a fellow chef. David Chang was a bit more quiet and really focused on the food.

Wylie produced an interesting chicken neck dish, consisting of dark chicken meat with a sweet-tangy yuzu marmalade, which we simply devoured. Although I was glad to try a new part of the chicken, the neck shape was a bit off-putting and there were quite a lot of bones in it.

David Chang served up the Bo Ssam, the butt of the pork and a side of red and green chutneys. I think the red was tomato based and the green had cilantro, onions and other fresh herbs. The pork was incredibly tender and slightly gamey, which was a good thing. I liked pairing it with the zesty chutneys, which brought out freshness and a sharpness in taste.

Simple but Great Foodings - The dish we waited the longest for was the barbecued sirloin steak from Bigarrade, Paris. Although it was simple, paired with peppery greens, the cut of meat was excellent--juicy and flavored with delicate spices that were slightly licoricey. Both Meg and I enjoyed its uncomplicated concept and perfect execution.

Unremarkable Foodings
- We were least impressed with the Mini Henry IV casserole with creamed cow's cheese, from Le Comptoir du Relais from Paris. The broth was clear and kind of fatty. Although the pork in the soup was soft, it wasn't lean and the concoction lacked excitement. My favorite part was the crispy crouton that floated on top--it was perfectly crunchy and buttery.

Le Fooding was fun to attend, and I hope that next year's rendition brings forth more creativity and additional surprises. Curious to find out how much money was raised for this worthy cause...

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