Nouvelle Deja Vu: The search was on as soon as executive chef Ludo Lefebvre called it quits at L'Orangerie. Whom would owner Gerard Ferry find to fill Ludo's sizable shoes? Ferry has settled on Christophe Eme, a 33-year-old Frenchman who was working as executive chef at Auberge des Templiers, a Michelin two-star restaurant in the Loire Valley. Eme describes his cuisine as French nouvelle revisited.
"Nouvelle cuisine was very popular in the '70s and '80s," he says. "The idea was to replace the traditional heavy sauces with juices from meats and vegetables, but by the early '80s, chefs went crazy. If you strip the excesses away, the idea behind nouvelle cuisine is beautiful. It's about flavor and the quality of the ingredients."
For The Record
Los Angeles Times Saturday August 10, 2002 Home Edition Main News Part A Page 2 National Desk 2 inches; 88 words Type of Material: Correction
Restaurant news--In Thursday's Calendar Weekend section, the Restaurant News column gave an incorrect former place of employment for chef Richard Petty of Reign restaurant. He previously worked at the Beverly Hills Inn.
Eme, who started three weeks ago, will revisit nouvelle cuisine's original form, but with his own approach. "I don't use butter or cream," he says. "I prefer emulsions and jus. I also use flavors from around the world. They are the accessories of the dish. It's like a beautiful outfit--add too many pins, bracelets and necklaces, and the clutter can ruin the look. It's the same with food."
A New Chef at Reign: Beverly Hills' Reign has hired chef Richard Petty to take over the kitchen from Michael Rosen. Since moving to L.A. eight years ago, Petty has worked for Wolfgang Puck and Joachim Splichal and has been executive chef at the Beverly Hills Hotel and Monty's Steakhouse. "I'm cooking fresher, lighter Southern food," says Petty. He uses "a little bit of Memphis soul, Carolina low-country cuisine, Cajun and Creole mixed with recipes from the Gulf shores, all with a contemporary spin." Samples: filet mignon with Africaine sauce and grits, fried catfish with sweet potato fries.
* Reign, 180 N. Robertson Blvd., (310) 273-4463.
Dodd Mitchell Is Everywhere: It's not just one or two restaurants that this designer is responsible for, it's Katana, Sushi Roku, Falcon, Balboa, Pearl Dragon, Gaucho Grill (Brentwood), Avenue (opens Sept. 1) and Voda. (How does he do it? "I work an 18-hour day. When I've got so much going on, I sleep at the office.... I even have a bed in the back room.") Now Dodd Mitchell is adding the Zen Grill and Sake Bar in Westwood to his list. With its hand-carved Buddha bar and more than 100 sakes from around the world, he says, "It will be a spiritual experience mixed with amazing food. You'll feel you're far, far away from the U.S."
At the same time, he's at work on Dolce in the old Chardonnay location on Melrose. "I'm blowing out the ceiling and dropping a 25-foot tree into the back patio," says Mitchell. "I want this to be a different kind of Italian restaurant with a great Italian wine bar
Dodd, who is a partner in all the restaurants he designs, is also redesigning the Huntley/Radisson Hotel in Santa Monica with its 7,000-square-foot restaurant boasting a panoramic oceanfront view.
If he keeps up this high-octane pace, soon he may have no time to sleep.