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Apr 24, 2011 10:05 PM

Le Fooding events in general, and Veilles Foodstock in particular -- any reports?

I'm saw on Le Fooding's website the announcement for this series of food events:

I will be in Paris next month and might check out the 7 May event. Any reports from yesterday's (23 April) event or previous Le Fooding events? What typically happens at Le Fooding events? Are they worthwhile even if one doesn't understand French?

Thanks very much.

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  1. I haven't been to a Fooding event for some time but I'm sure it hasn't changed, one does not need to understand French because it's a very nonverbal affair: you stand in line at various huts to grab a bite to eat, you are given a free glass of cabernet d'anjou (one of their sponsors) which knocks you down in a minute before you've even started doing anything.

    I think Le Fooding had a period of grace which was between 2002 and 2009 when they organized an event in NYC and their heads inflated, then they reached their vacuity threshold. The guidebook and the website have good practical information but I have lost interest in the events themselves.

    What typically happens? You stand in line, pay, enter, locate the stalls where chefs are working, stand in line, grab food, stand in line at another stall, grab food, grab something to drink, gather with friends on the grass, and so on. There's generally a DJ but little else happens.

    9 Replies
    1. re: Ptipois

      Vacuity -- ouch.

      As a visitor I won't have a bunch of friends to gather with on the grass, so I'd only be going for the food. Is the food notably better or more creative that one might get from the same chef at her/his restaurant? Is it a way to sample good-enough creations from many top chefs all at once?

      Thanks very much.

      1. re: david kaplan

        Oh by all means go sample what the chefs have to offer in their own restaurant! Most definitely. You don't need to try so hard to get the permission to nibble them sitting on a lawn.

        At Le Fooding they're only doing a hasty, truncated, clumsy version of what they'd do in their own environment. And you have to stand in line. And sometimes it rains. And sometimes you get sunburns. The wines are generally cheap and mediocre unless the sponsor (once in Winter, Chapoutier) is worth it.

        There has been some fun at some Fooding events. Now the fun is really a thing of the past. It is about developing a network and getting sponsors. It is not even that much about chefs and cooking anymore. And the haughty, elitist aspect of the whole affair has increased as the substance - however little there was to begin with - receded. Some companions of Le Fooding have left, or have been discouraged to stay, because of that lack of substance.

        I remember one Fooding d'Eté in 2007, and there was a long waiting line at the Unico (hip Argentinian grilled meat restaurant) stall. The line did not move at all for about half an hour. People were grilling in the sun as they were waiting. I left the line and went around the the stall to see what was going on. Nobody was serving anyone in the front but meats were grilled and carved. All of them were being sent to the back to feed the Fooding bureau crew and friends of it, standing in the shade under the canopy and pigging out on grilled beef while drinking wine from the bottle. To me that sums up what Le Fooding has become.

        Though less bucolic, and still elitist, the Omnivore events are far more interesting.

        1. re: Ptipois

          Loved, loved the Omnivore do. And every couple of hours you can sneak out and walk off your excess on the beautiful fabled boardwalk of Deauville, shabadabada...

          1. re: Parigi

            Now there is a monthly Omnivore event in the shape of a theme dinner at Les Grandes Tables du 104. Seats a little less than 180 people and cost is about 35€, fills up fast. In March it was Arnaud Daguin's and Alain Alexanian's 100% Vegetables, the last one in April was 100% Pig with Julien Duboué (Dans Les Landes, Afaria) and Sébastien de La Borde. Having been both on the kitchen side and on the table side, I think there's a bit more fun on the kitchen side, but it's worth going to one or two if the theme and the chefs appeal to you.

          2. re: Ptipois

            Thanks for the Omnivore suggestion. Looks like the next one (16 Mai) is just after I leave Paris, so I will miss it, but hopefully others will go and report back. I'm very sorry to have missed the Omnivore head-to-foot pig dinner in April!

            1. re: david kaplan

              That one was really good. There was too much food on the plates. It was a complete pig-out.

              1. re: david kaplan

                Yes I also saw the info about the 16th of May event on their website, but no info on how to make a reservation... Do they usually give out the info closer to the date ?

                And for the Fooding events, I only did one, and it was as Ptipois described. Basically a nice day because I was with friends drinking wine under trees and beautiful weather, but the food itself (although a few of the items were good) was more then annoying (waiting in line 35 minutes for a tiny piece of "ok" meat... meh.)

                1. re: Rio Yeti

                  Looks like the reservation is not open yet on the Omnivore website.
                  They're still busy with Moscow right now.
                  Keep going back to the website during the next few days, the booking link will appear at some point.