When I first stumbled upon Eyal Liebman, I knew him in the capacity of a pastry chef. I followed him on Instagram as he’d post wonderful photos of his creations at Böhmer where he was working at the time. Then I caught on to L is For… which at that time was only taking custom order cakes. I eventually was invited to attend his inaugural Chocolate Dinner series, which most recently wrapped up its 7th installment.
While Liebman hasn’t officially buried the chocolate dinners, he’s moved on to explore other things. If you’ve met the man before, you’d understand that his mind is constantly conjuring up ideas, concepts and creations. He’s the right mix of crazy (because who would think to pit white chocolate and lobster together), intellectual, quirky and talent.
When deciding what to do for my birthday this year, I was in a pickle. My birthdays always revolved around food, but I was tired of the make-a-reservation-at-a-restaurant routine. I then thought, I could host a dinner party but I really didn’t want to spend an entire day slaving in the kitchen. So I picked up the phone and called Eyal and his wife Rebecca Mëir-Liebman (who is the resident sommelière and co-owner of L is For…) and they basically took care of everything.
When I say everything I don’t mean that they just cooked the food, dropped it off in containers, shoved it in the fridge and left… They brought all the China, all the wine glasses, printed menus and even did all the wine pairings based on the wines I had in my wine cellar. So literally all I had to do was invite my friends which actually allowed me to catch up with everyone. Bonus? We could talk as loud as we wanted to.
The menu was basically a hit list of all my favorite things – avocado, baba au rhum, bacon, butter, popcorn and of course, amazing company and wines.
We sipped on a fig-champagne concoction that the Liebman’s brought as a surprise to celebrate my birthday; Tawse Icewine Riesling (which raised all our eyebrows as the pairing with the corn soup, but in the end we should’ve never doubted); Rosewood Origin La Fumée; Huff Estates Semi-Dry Riesling (so good we had to quick-chill a second bottle in the freezer); and a Côte du Rhones Villages from France.
What I love about Eyal and Rebecca are their genuine personalities. They play the role of server/chef when time calls for an explanation of the dishes and the wine pairings but they’re just such warm people you naturally want them to join your party. And the best part is that Eyal seems to have an opinion about everything, which makes for interesting conversation
I’ve always had a lot of respect for Eyal, who to me comes from the “old school” group of chefs. Just from talking to him you know he is a true believer in “doing your time” to get it right.
He speaks very highly of his mentor, Didier Leroy, and when I ask him why he decided to work for him specifically he said “I tasted his food and I just knew I had to work for him.” This echoes shared sentiments from a lot of respected chefs I’ve interviewed in the past.
I did a very dangerous thing when finalizing the menu with Eyal – I put lamb on the menu. While I am a foodie, not all of my friends are. My sister, who has always been on the fence about lamb actually warned me she might skip that course altogether. But with every course leading up to the lamb, the Liebman’s convinced her that they knew what they were doing. Suffice it to say she devoured the entire thing. For me, the pistachio millefeuille pastry with fresh, fresh tomatoes was the highlight. It was so airy but buttery at the same time.
With Eyal being a pastry chef I always save room for dessert; especially when it’s baba au rhum. I love how the brioche just acts like a sponge and soaks in the rum syrup. It was served with brûléed bananas and a stiff chocolate cocktail.
My friends and I had a blast! I highly recommend L is For… for your next dinner party. Compared to most private chefs who will charge you North of $250 a head (we had requested some other quotes to compare), L is For… definitely has made their service accessible. Their quotes ring in at about $180 a head which includes the bill for sommelière and chef services. Their mantra is “you don’t have to be rich to have a dinner party” – thank God for that. They can work with your budget and can do anything from a cocktail party with passed apps to elaborate, plated and/or coursed dinners. I don’t know about you, but not having to do the dishes and the ability to pass out on your couch without having to worry about hopping in a cab is a luxury in and of itself!
Keep your eyes peeled on their website for event updates. They’ve recently started merging art with food as they host tasting events at art galleries. Judging from the pictures from their last event “Food Beyond This Point” I missed out on some delicious things.
*DISCLOSURE: I was billed at a discount as a birthday “present” from my friends at L is For… Opinions, as always, are my own.*