Jean-Francois Meteigner on Tour of Duty in Vietnam

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Bonjour, Vietnaaam! Photo: La Cachette Bistro

Meteigner, a crucial tête-de-pont of French tradition at his own shuttered, sanctified La Cachette in Century City and lateronce the white linens had been mostly yanked from L.A.'s tablesthe shuttered La Cachette Bistro in Santa Monica, has upped and left the West Coast for Vietnam, taking residence there to cook as the executive chef at An Nam French Bistro at the MGM Grand in Ho Tram Beach, a luxury property slated to open in 2013. The former L'Orangerie chef's plan is to spend a year in southeast Asia, during which he'll meld Vietnamese ingredients with the cuisine naturelle he's spearheaded since his days as a mere lad of fifteen enduring boot camp at Troigois. At that point, the chef will come back to L.A. and open his own "small" restaurant influenced by the more than 100 dishes he's currently creating, featuring dishes like seafood pho with ginger dumplings, frog's legs with star anise, and beef tartare with kimchi and quail eggs.

A much bolder move than bringing his talents to Le Roi du Burger, and given L.A.'s obsession for Asian cooking, including celebrated destinations overseen by talented westerners, a particularly astute move. Enter the first contender for the most heavily anticipated restaurant of 2014.