A man of many words, food critic Alexandre Cammas created the term “Food” + “ing” to make food rhyme with feeling. He started Le Fooding in 2010, producing unconventional gastro-fests to promote a unique philosophy celebrating creativity and fun, and taking food outside of the restaurants.
He quickly made a name for himself for having palace chefs serve street food, holding giant picnics cooked by star chefs in art institutions and other stunts such as having star singer Neneh Cherry handle room-service.
This weekend, Cammas is bringing his expertise to Los Angeles for Le Grand Fooding Crush Paris-L.A. 2013 featuring some of L.A.’s most colorful chefs – Ludo Lefebvre, Nancy Silverton and Jordan Kahn – at The Geffen Contemporary at MOCA. Twenty percent of our ticket sales support L.A. Food Bank & MOCA. Enjoy our exclusive interview with this man of passion!
LF: What’s your story and how did Le Fooding events begin ?
AC: We started to do events in 2000 because we didn’t own a media outlet. As journalists/food writers, we used event planning as an actual media, useful to promote the chefs and the artists we liked, the philosophy we had… Events enable to change the codes, because it is ephemeral. And step by step, ephemeral by ephemeral, it can hopefully help firmly change the codes, for good.
Au final, le Fooding is the only festive gastronomic event. According to Time Magazine, we do “the coolest food events known to man.” Zagat calls us “general arbiters of culinary cool.” We are very proud of both! Le Grand Fooding is not and will never be a ceremony in which chefs are Gods. Le Grand Fooding has a different story each time, in which different actors come to play their part with great pleasure. May they be chefs, graphic designers, musicians, stylists… Nothing compares to it, we are very open and welcome all curious and epicurean people, not only Foodies maniac. The success we have in world lifestyle capitals (Paris, NY, Milan and now LA) attests of this originality.
LF: What are you most excited about Le Grand Fooding in LA?
AC: Los Angeles has always been very inspiring. It is the city where local and tasty ingredients consistently come first. A simple grilled side of pork with salt and pepper can become an experience. Same for a taco or a bo bun. It is the capital of culinary combinations, full of fusion restaurants, unidentified food objects, and dude chefs envied by everyone! It is a new territory and sets new culinary frontiers and the home of the world’s best food trucks. It is also the only place where movie stars smile when they eat crispy pig head.
LF: Did you expect to sell out of tickets so quickly?
AC: That’s a tricky question… if I say yes, it will sound pretentious. If I say no, it will sound like fake modesty. In both cases, it will look “French.” so I’d rather not answer…!
LF: Why does freedom makes a better cook?
AC: New exciting restaurants look like their chef and owner, who make us dream much more than chefs who beat themselves up to win a star or for not loosing one. Those chefs are actually only “sous-chefs,” as they are led by desires that are not their own. These restaurants correspond to independent cinema: a “taulier” who wants to make you live an experience, share his passion with you….not a passion that was dictated. A sincere passion. The price can be obviously an element of success (but that’s how it goes for everything, starting with markets), but authenticity and the quality of the experience to live is the determining factor.
LF: You said the best French chefs are writers – who are some of your favorites?
AC: I don’t recall saying so, maybe I said they were storytellers….I have more favorite storytellers in Paris than anywhere else. Not because I prefer Paris, but because I live there so I spend more time there! So in Paris, chefs able to create whatever they want, beyond the norms, while keeping their work accessible (intellectually, if not financially) to people, are (among others) Greg Marchand (Frenchie), Inaki Aizpitarte (Le Chateaubriand), etc… In NY, I love Hugue Dufour from M’Wells. In L.A., it’s a secret…Let’s say simply that our favorite chefs, from Paris and L.A., are gathered for this event. The only ones missing are the Dudes from Animal and Son of Gun, where I again had a great dinner last week…
LF: What is your favorite motto when it comes to food?
AC: As an ordinary foodie, my motto changes everyday, according to the appetite, the craving… But then as a food critic, it’s a little different: as real criteria, we only ask ourself if we want to come back to this restaurant or not. It is when leaving, once the bill is paid, that we know for what reasons we will return or not.
LF: What will we always find in your kitchen?
AC: First of all : a fridge, and in this fridge so many surprises as it’s a terrible mess in there! You’re likely to find things gone bad in teeny-tiny shrink-wrapped containers that have been forgotten in the back. Also surprising: how bad it smells when there’s a slice of Appenzeller cheese in there. Even under a glass dome, the smell just grabs you! Otherwise, the tool I use the most in my kitchen is the skillet. I like things that are super easy to clean. I hate doing the dishes. I avoid anything motor-powered.
LF: How fast do you live?
AC: Too fast for sure. It’s true that two Paris-L.A. rountrips in a fortnight is quite exhausting. And live simultaneously in phase with Californian and Parisian office hours doesn’t make things easier. But I regulary take a few days off with my family, my wife and my kids to relax. Next trip: Beyrouth, early May. I am super excited!