Fish Oil in Desserts? Chef Ludo Talks ‘Rat in the Kitchen’

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Who put fish oil in the dessert? That sure seems like the rat. Or maybe not? TBS’ fun new 10-episode cooking competition series, Rat in the Kitchen (Thursdays 9/8c) is a whodunit of sorts, as a mix of professional chefs and passionate home cooks compete in a series of creative cooking challenges against — you guessed it — a rat.

The rat in this case is competing for his/her own take of the money, secretly sabotaging dishes so they can steal the money. If the rat succeeds, the rest of the contestants get nothing. Judging what’s tasty and what’s just plain awful (if the rat succeeds) is Chef Ludo Lefebvre (the French LudoBites creator, author and TV personality). Hosting duties fall to comedian Natasha Leggero who adds some extra fun spice to the show. Here Chef Ludo answers a few 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 hard to figure out. I found the rat maybe two times in 10 episodes! These were the times when the mistakes were very, very obvious.

What excited you about being a part of this series, and how are you finding the time?
It’s a great concept, and you learn about cooking, and Natasha is hilarious. The way she talks about food makes me laugh. In the show we take the food very seriously — myself, the contestants and the producers. It’s fun to watch to try to find the rat. It’s an educational cooking show but a game at the same time!

What do you find the biggest mistake to be that the contestants (not the rat) make on the show?
To undercook protein, not season the food enough.

When it comes to all of your restaurants, which would be a fan’s best chance to run into you these days?
My flagship Petit Trois in Hollywood. I love my little parking lot strip mall restaurant. I love this little restaurant.

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

What’s your favorite dish 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 it!

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