[Sponsored article] A contagious smile, homemade cuisine with Mediterranean flair, and a joyful team; these are Lionel Pigeard’s secrets.
Lionel Pigeard is the chef and owner behind the catering company Palikao – now located in Los Angeles – a name that is trending by word-of-mouth throughout Angelenos’ dinner parties.
“Palikao is the small village in Algeria where my grandmother, Marcelle Tordjman, was born in 1910. She now rests with my mom and my paternal grandma, my biggest inspirations.”
From North Africa to California to Paris, this 45-year-old Frenchman – whose parents are from Algeria and Bourgogne – aims to create cultural and culinary bridges with the food he makes. Growing up in the kitchen alongside his mother and grandmothers, preparing amazing family meals instilled in him early on a love for cooking. His inherited couscous recipe, a staple in his broad menu, is “the best remedy for homesickness.”
In 2016, Lionel Pigeard sold his two successful restaurants La Cantoche Paname and traded Paris for Los Angeles. He decided to bring couscous, a traditional North-African dish, to Angelinos. That same year, the chef opened Palikao in Downtown LA and before long the small restaurant was labeled “the best couscous in town,” by LA Eater.
It’s couscous in a bowl – a strong concept paired with a modern spin on a classic family recipe – that launches his restaurant’s success.
Now, Lionel Pigeard takes on a new challenge with the launch of his catering company: “I started my career in Paris with party planning and events, so this new venture is like returning to my first love, but in an unknown territory.”
It doesn’t take long before Palikao starts conquering Southern California cuisine with its bespoke catering. From intimate dinners to jubilant weddings, from film sets to boardrooms, whether the event is for 50 or 500 people, Lionel Pigeard applies the same recipe for success: It starts with French savoir faire. First, his team: Fatima Bergquist, a French-Portuguese cook with 30 years’ experience in gastronomy and Antoine Techeyne, a French-Vietnamese chef who worked with five-star luminaries such as Alain Ducasse, lead the catering company.
As far as the cuisine goes, couscous is still the star of the show. But chef Lionel has also developed an extensive array of recipes, all Mediterranean inspired. Whether it’s a Pissaladière niçoise (a specialty from Nice), that wonderfully briny anchovy and olive pizza from Southern France warms your heart, tagine with homemade preserved lemon to die for, a bright pink beetroot hummus, warm baked brie oozing with honey and thyme, or handmade borekas… each event has a joie de vivre.
This convivial spirit is Palikao’s trademark. In a natural extension of the brand, the catering company recently launched cooking classes for all ages. “The recipe for our success hangs in the balance between the warm ambiance that we’re known for with our high level of professionalism. It’s cuisine that’s accessible and original at the same time.” Miam Miam LLC, the name of his company couldn’t be more apt.
But his grandmother’s couscous recipe will always remain a well-kept secret.
For more information about Palikao, please visit their website and follow them on Instagram.
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