Oklahoma City’s beloved Ludivine raised stakes from its original north Hudson Avenue location in April and relocated to a swanky, remodeled mid-century structure in the heart of OKC’s midtown.
Chef de cuisine Shannon Goforth moved with the restaurant and enjoys the new digs and increased traffic, along with welcoming additional clientele to the Ludivine family.
“It was a little harder at the original space,” Goforth says. “We were kind of tucked in off the street – parking was a challenge and [there was] no real outdoor patio vibe. Here, we have greater exposure on a busy street in the middle of midtown. I love it.”
Goforth’s path to Ludivine was like that of many other chefs – earning stripes through education and experience. An Edmond native and University of Arkansas graduate, Goforth set her sites on the state of New York and the Culinary Institute of America. During an externship at The Hil On The Hill by chef Hilary White in Georgia, Goforth learned how to build a robust, confident team.
“My biggest challenge with the move, and finding my way as chef de cuisine, was building my team,” Goforth says. “I have that now and [am] pretty happy with this kitchen. Russ [Johnson, chef and owner of Ludivine] was a big help with that, too.”
When Goforth found her way back to the 405, she worked her way through some heavy-hitting dining spots – Vast, Flint and Oak Tree Country Club – before finding her home at Ludivine.
“I started at Ludivine five years ago and have really learned a lot working with Russ,” she says. “I’ll come up with ideas and run them by him, or go foraging through the walk-in, seeing what he’s brought in, asking if I can use it. He’s been a great mentor.”
With the holidays, Goforth and her power team tackle the seasonal rush. Ludivine has reprised its beloved A Christmas Carol dinner, inspired by the Charles Dickens novel. The four-course setting sold out last year, and Goforth plans for the same this year.
“It was so much fun,” Goforth says. “Russ likes a lot of the old school approach to food, so we’ll have some classic holiday items, some with a twist.”
As for figgy pudding, Goforth laughs.
“I’m sure there will be; we did it last year,” she says. “In fact, when we were playing around with the idea, Russ had an old recipe for figgy pudding, one that we made months ahead of time. We kept it in the walk-in and had to feed it every so often with rum.”
If you are in Oklahoma City or plan to visit in mid-December, check out Ludivine’s website (ludivineokc.com) for reservations. Goforth and her team will expect you.