Fish oil in desserts? Chef Ludo talks about the “rat in the kitchen”

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Who put fish oil in the dessert? It certainly looks like the rat. Or maybe not? The fun new 10-episode cooking competition series from TBS, Rat in the kitchen (Thursday 9/8c) is something of a thriller, as a mix of professional chefs and passionate home cooks compete in a series of creative cooking challenges against – you guessed it – a rat.

In this case, the rat is competing for its own share of the money, secretly sabotaging the dishes so it can steal the money. If the rat succeeds, the other contestants get nothing. Chef Ludo Lefebvre (the French creator of LudoBites, author and TV personality) judges what’s tasty and what’s just awful (if the rat gets it right). Hosting duties fall to comedienne Natasha Leggero who adds extra spice to the show. Here Chef Ludo answers some of our questions.

We screened the first episode and weren’t even close to guessing who the “rat” was. How surprised are you after each episode, or can you detect immediately?
Ludo Lefebvre: Actually, I never detected the rat immediately. It was very difficult to understand. I found the rat maybe twice in 10 episodes! It was the time when mistakes were very, very obvious.

What got you excited about being on this show and how do you find the time?
It’s a great concept, and you learn to cook, and Natasha is hilarious. The way she talks about food makes me laugh. On the show, we take food very seriously – myself, the contestants, and the producers. It’s fun to watch trying to find the rat. It’s an educational cooking show but a game at the same time!

What do you think is the biggest mistake the contestants (not the rat) make on the show?
To undercook proteins, do not season foods enough.

Regarding all your restaurants, what would be the best chance for a fan to meet you these days?
My flagship Little Three in Hollywood. I love my little parking lot mall restaurant. I love this little restaurant.

Growing up, what was your favorite meal/dish (and what was in it/who made it)?
The shepherd’s pie was made by my mother. I was always excited when she was off because I knew she was cooking. She made shepherd’s pie for my kids while visiting France recently, and I stole the recipe!

What dish do you prefer to prepare for your twins?
Roasted chicken and potatoes. Chicken is my favorite thing to cook — it’s very technical, juicy and crispy. My kids love this!

How many books do you estimate are in your library today, and how have you organized them all?
I have about 2,000 cookbooks. They are organized by country. I love the look of books organized by color, but I would never know how to find the book I’m looking for!

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