Cooking Across America: Le Mobile Feast Visits Paducah

Aug 11, 2017

Steve Le and his no knead bread.
Credit Photo Provided

Steve Le has a lot of miles on him. He was born in Siagon in 1975. His family received political asylum when he was 8-years-old and moved to France. Two years later relatives sponsored Le and his family  to move to the United States, where they settled in southern California. Le loves the United States. He’s a graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy and served as a dive officer on a mine sweeper during the terrorist attacks of 9-11 and the invasion of Iraq.

But, the vitriol that spewed during the 2016 election cycle caused Le to question what he thought he knew about the country he adored.

“I didn’t think I recognized what I was looking at anymore based on what we were saying to each other or about each other,” Le said.

After wrapping up a few stints as an English teacher at private schools in Connecticut and California, and starting a non-profit magazine he decided to get back on the road.

“Because so much of what we see in media, social media and T.V., I don’t think is real,” said Le

He wanted to insert himself into everyday moments to get a grasp of what’s “really” happening. That’s what has inspired him to cook a dinner party in all 50 states. He’s calling it Le Mobile Feast. The design is pretty simple. Le, who describes himself as a writer who cooks or a cook who writes, prepares a meal for a host in his/her home and they invite up to 12 of the friends.

“And we keep people at the table and share stories for hours on end,” Le said.

Le Mobile Feast's Paducah dinner party.
Credit Steve Le

In fact, a Wednesday night dinner in Paducah, KY lasted six hours. Conversations evolve organically, Le said, and people are more often than not quite open about themselves and sometimes reveal stories they haven’t shared before.

This isn’t a glamorous trip either. Le is driving a Honda Accord full of his belongings and table settings. He rarely stays in hotels, often opting for a couch.

Le has been working on this project since February of 2016 and, according to his website, has stayed with 123 hosts he’s found via the website CouchSurfing.com or through people he’s previously met. He’s driven more than 18,000 miles and cooked more than 130 dinners. He has 14 more states to go to complete his goal and start writing his book.

You can hear more about Le Mobile Feast by listening to an interview with him below.