Lulu De Rouen is a Manhattan Beach native who attended Orange Coast College before joining Joachim Splichal’s gastro-conglomerate in 2003, working as sous chef at Catal Restaurant and Uva Bar at Downtown Disney before becoming Executive Chef at Leatherby’s Café Rouge. To help keep Pinot Provence relevant after 10 years, Splichal named De Rouen executive chef in mid-September. The rustic French restaurant across from South Coast Plaza now has a new spark.
At a November 18 media dinner on the rustic bird cage-lined patio, new chef Lulu de Rouen presented classic rustic Pinot dishes, plus some new entries. She spent two months in Europe working for Joachim Splichal’s old friends Martin Barasategui (San Sebastian) and Chez Bruno (on the French Rivera), who’s known for preparing fourteen-course truffle dinners, where people arrive by helo from San Tropez and Cannes.
For the Amuse Bouche, De Rouen capped blistered bruschetta with calamari, fennel, ratatouille and cherry tomatoes.