It’s a cheeseburger, but it’s only made out of cheese – stinky cheese.
The award-winning chef dubbed the “impresario of pop-up dining” by The New York Times, Ludovic or ‘Ludo’ Lefebvre, will be dishing up at least 600 of them next week at the Samsung Galaxy Lounge at the Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah. But as his demonstration at the Bulthaup kitchen in Beverly Hills showed, it’s not your mama’s grilled cheese sandwich.
“I decided to do this cheeseburger recipe for all the stars at Sundance because it’s very comforting,” the new The Taste judge tells PEOPLE.
“From growing up in France, I always remember that after a big day of skiing in the very cold mountains we always wanted some comforting food. It would always be cheese, bread and a bottle of wine. Cheese and bread are the most comforting foods for me. So this is a fancy, and vegetarian, version of this, and I am going to make at least 600 of these at Sundance, easy!”
While the recipe is almost a reconstructed fondue, Lefebvre – whose talent was featured at two of Los Angeles’s most prestigious restaurants, Bastide and L’Orangerie – said he was also inspired by the one of the first epicurean wonders he saw when he initially came to the U.S. 16 years ago – soup served in a bread bowl.
“I’ve never seen a more perfect meal, just fantastic,” he gushed.
Ludo says the herb garnishes can be whatever your favorites are, or whatever looks best at the market that day. And the agar-agar (a thickening agent for the mousse) can be substituted with cornstarch and you can use whatever your favorite mushroom is. He stresses that the recipe is a jumping-off point and can be adjusted to personal taste:
Reblochon Cheeseburger, Tomato Jam, Chanterelles
• 4 Small Brioche Buns
Tomato Jam Ingredients
• 4 whole hot house tomatoes
• 1 shallot, peeled and chopped finely
• 1 garlic clove, peel and chopped finely
• 1 bay leaf
• 1 sprig of thyme
• 2 Tbsp. olive oil
• 1 Tbsp. tomato paste
• 2 Tbsp. sugar
• 1 Tbsp. aged balsamic vinegar (12 year)
• Kosher salt
• Fresh ground black pepper
• 20 cl. (7 oz.) heavy cream
• 10 cl. (3.5 oz.) vegetable stock
• 30 grams (2 Tbsp) grated parmesan
• 80 grams (¾ cup) Reblochon (other soft cheese such as Brie or Camembert can be substituted)
• 1 tsp. agar-agar
• 4 oz. fresh whipped cream
• Kosher salt (to taste)
• 100 grams (4 oz.) chanterelle mushrooms
• Kosher salt (to taste)
• 4 mustard green leaves (washed; lettuce can be substituted)
• 4 swiss chard leaves (washed; lettuce can be substituted)
• 4 Tbsp. sesame oil
• Aged balsamic vinegar (12 year)
• Fleur de Sel
• 4 borage flowers
Tomato Jam process
1. Blanche the tomatoes in boiling water and transfer to cold water bath.
2. Remove skin from tomatoes
3. Cut tomatoes into quarters and remove seeds
4. Dice tomatoes
5. In a medium saucepan, add the olive oil and warm over medium heat, add garlic and shallots and cook for 5 minutes. Add died tomatoes, tomato paste, bay leaf, thyme and sugar. Cover with lid and let cook for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
6. Remove bay leaf and thyme. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Add Balsamic and cook for 10 minutes. Let cool.
Reblochon Cheese Mousse Process
1. In a medium sauce pan combine all ingredients, EXCEPT whipped cream.
2. Cook slowly until the mixture reaches 85 degrees C.
3. Pass the mixture through a chinois into a medium metal bowl. Place the bowl on top of another bowl filled with ice. Cool down.
4. Once the mixture is completely cooled, fold in the whipped cream with a plastic spatula.
Chanterelle Mushroom Process
1. Clean the chanterelles in cold water and pat dry with a paper towel.
2. In a non-stick pan, sauté the chanterelles for 2 minutes. Season with salt.
3. Slice the chanterelles thinly.
1. Cut brioche buns in half. Scoop out bottom of bun.
2. Line bottom of bun with one mustard leaf and one swiss chard leaf.
3. Place one larger rounded scoop of reblochon mousse on top of leaves.
4. Add one teaspoon of tomato jam.
5. Add a slice of chanterelle.
6. Drizzle with balsamic and sesame oil.
7. Top with a borage flower.
• Optional: Add brioche bun top. Ludo prefers to serve open face.