September 28, 2009 | Short Order

Wylie’s Grilled Chicken Necks, Ze Kitchen Galerie ribs, the talk of Le Fooding

Yves Camdeborde with his daughter and pig head "bouquet." Photo: Steven Richter

        Le Fooding’s ambitious chef/champagne/art/music/love fest got off to a slow start Friday evening with aggressive VIPS storming the delivery entrance while patient ticket holders pawed the sidewalk in long queues outside. We press, ancient regime and blogpheric, wrapped in our aura of entitlement, got to beat the crowd, some drawn immediately to Le Cliquot, others sniffing for the wild cherry mohito (Plaza Athénée) and Dutch Kills Moscow Mule.  Food is my drug.  I quickly spied Yves Camdeborde and his daughter from our favorite Paris lunch must, Le Comptoir du Relais. Their mini Henri IV casserole with creamed cow’s cheese and a fabulous baton of toast would soon run out. Walk-around eaters gamely chawed away at Wylie Dufresne’s grilled chicken necks with yuzu marmalade.  “ Sorry, can’t shake your hand, I’m all sticky,” neck eaters apologized to one another.

I am fond of Wylie Dufresne but not his yuzu-grilled chicken necks. Photo: Steven Richter.

        A Dufresne acolyte approached his master humbly.  “I love your yuzu marmalade” he said.

        The fried corn on the cob with scallop butter by Sean Rembold from Brooklyn’s Diner was equally difficult to eat but that didn’t stop foodies with their own teeth and someone to hold their drinks. Having been rudely dismissed at Momofuku Ko, I approached David Chang warily but he smiled and I took one of his small offerings –  acutely unmemorable shredded pork on a lettuce leaf.  Somewhere Christophe Pele (Bigarrade, Paris) was dispensing barbecued sirloin.  I just never got there.  But I wouldn’t have minded seconds or thirds of spicy grilled pork ribs by William LaDeuil from Ze Kitchen Galerie

It's rare to find art at a food event but this is PS 1. Photo: Steven Richter

        The nine year-old emergence of Le Fooding, embracing that French food has been freeing itself from “Gallic culinary imperialism,” has liberated a lot of barbecue. Le Fooding - food + "ing" to make it rhyme with "feeling." First time I heard the name, I cringed. Glad it wasn’t something I made up.  It must be clever or even funny in French.  Not a putdown as it would be in English.  And Le Fooding Guide to 800 “restaurants of style.”  I’m sure style is not a pejorative for restaurants we must avoid at all costs. Funny how we and our French friends use the same five senses to love food but we can barely talk to each other. The lovely young Anna Polonsky in the advance team of this big edible love affaire met me for coffee.  We shared a cinnamon muffin at Fairway Café.

        "How is this new?” I wanted to know. She told me there was a new kind of bistromania. “Oh yes," I said.  “Another age of the bistro. It’s the fifth bistromania since I started writing about food.” 

         She cited Yves Camdeborde as someone who gave up his demanding success at La Regalade and came back to a most demanding success at Comptoir de la Relais. “ And Stéphane Jego at l’Ami Jean. I yawned  That old story.  I’ve been following Yves for twenty years. How many times have I written about l’Ami Jean?

        But then I bit my tongue. She was a young deer in my headlights. Why did I need to be so mean?  So I let her have her Fooding revolution.  I agreed to come on Friday night.  I actually let myself have some fun.  I hope the ticket money went to charity as promised and not for tents, ice and security.

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