In anticipation of Brooklyn Bounty, BHS’s premier fundraiser at 26 Bridge on October 22nd, we are profiling our participating restaurants and honorees of the Food & Heritage Awards. Below is a profile of French Louie, one of the delicious participants in our evening’s tasting menu.
French Louie: All Things French, American and Brooklyn
Chef Ryan Angulo, of the recently opened French Louie in Ft. Greene, is at the stage of his career where he has some impressive laurels on which to rest. But after five years of success with his New American restaurant in Carroll Gardens, Buttermilk Channel, Ryan decided to take on a new culinary challenge. “I had visited Paris a few times and thought how great the food was. I thought, why not a French place with American influences?”
Ryan has this relaxed attitude towards most things in the kitchen, and this might be because it is truly his natural environment. When I asked how he became a chef, there wasn’t a long complex story, but he said simply that, “My first job was washing dishes, and I never left the kitchen.” Ryan will bring his natural gourmet hand to the Brooklyn Bounty festivities, and the possibilities of what to expect from him are endless.
When Ryan talked in mouthwatering detail about his dishes, it became clear why he opened the second restaurant. His creativity is the kind that can supply multiple outlets. He is the rare chef who spends a great deal of time in the kitchen cooking, even after a menu is set. “I am constantly reprinting menus,” Ryan explained. He relishes his time in the kitchen, sometimes staring at dishes waiting for the creative epiphany to hit for the perfect element the dish needs to become a classic. Ryan also fosters a collaborative atmosphere in his kitchen, offering sous chefs a chance to work with him on designing menu items.
Perhaps French Louie’s signature dish, and one Brooklyn Bounty revelers will likely taste, is the Snails “Marchand de Vin.” A classic French dish, but with the New Orleans influence of the Marchand sauce, Ryan adds local grits to the plate, giving it the kick of the American South. Another fantastic dish, this one inspired by the soccas of the South of France, Ryan has created his own version with his Le Grand Socca, a chickpea flatbread featuring heirloom beans and smoky tomatoes. Of course, Ryan’s expert take on French staples such as Steak Frites and Duck Allard anchor the rotating menu.
Most of the produce, meats, and fish Ryan uses are from local purveyors, and he has an especially strong relationship with Snug Harbor Farms on Long Island. “I’m a favorite customer. He knows I’ll take everything he’s got, so he usually stops at my door first.” Ryan enjoys cooking with these fresh ingredients, as well as the challenge of crafting with whatever may come his way. He notes that when he came to Brooklyn about six years ago, it was difficult to find quality local organic produce, as the demand was not large enough. Now, the thriving restaurant scene in Brooklyn supports a robust market and wide selection for such high quality food. This is exactly the food movement that Brooklyn Bounty is celebrating, and French Louie is sure to be a highlight for all tasters.
For his part, Ryan likes responsible, creative food when feeding himself and his family at their Bay Ridge home. “We don’t eat cereal,” he said wryly. Exactly, and neither shall we!
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Written by Avi Scher, Development Intern