The Huffington Post reported last week that the LA restaurant will start serving the food hybrid monstrosity this spring. The article reports that “Adam Fleischman, founder and CEO of Umami Burger, is behind the ‘chocolate/chicken hybrid’ spot,” and that the ChocoChicken won’t be dipped in chocolate. Instead, it looks like the “chicken fry batter will actually contain chocolate.”
An interesting concept, certainly. But as a southern gal myself, I’m just not comfortable with the combo. If you have to add chocolate to your fried chicken to make it taste better, then maybe you shouldn’t be in this business in the first place. Fried chicken doesn’t need anything else (except a biscuit on both sides).
But will this innovative ChocoChicken hybrid be the nation’s next food craze? Or is it too weird even for boundary-pushing chefs? We decided to find out. Several local Boston restaurateurs and chefs, including Chef Chris Bauers of jm Curley, weighed in on their thoughts about the ChocoChicken hybrid.
Here’s the verdict:
Chris Bauers, Executive Chef at jm Curley
“The idea of chocolate flavored fried chicken brings to mind two images. One where there is a chocolate or cocoa used for a brine or as part of a dredge so you get that bitter sweet flavor in the meat and I think that would be awesome. But it also conjures the image of something dredged in crushed Oreos or with some kind of chocolate sauce. jm Curley might be known for being a little outside the box but I think that’s just too far!”
Donley Liburd, Executive Chef at Cask ‘n Flagon
“The combination of the fried chicken and chocolate sounds a little weird, but when I create fried chicken I incorporate ingredients such as buttermilk and honey which creates a sweet flavor, so the chocolate might actually work.”
Kathy Sidell, Owner of The MET Restaurant Group
“I think I can see how this could be a delicious dish. But like everything, it all depends on how it is prepared and ultimately tastes. How is the chocolate treated? What is the quality of ingredients? What type of chocolate is being used? I can imagine using a high-quality spicy Mexican chocolate in this dish and it being absolutely great. But, when it’s all said in done, how does it actually taste?”
Rebecca Newell, Executive Chef of Beat Hôtel
“I think it’s absolutely awesome! It’s our job to constantly take risks with food and come up with new, innovative things in the kitchen. Imagine if we didn’t? As chefs we have to constantly change, push the boundaries and further develop the palate.”
Greg Reeves, Executive Chef of Pier 6
“I am going to have to say that I am not a fan. Less is more. I’m really big on simple dishes and making sure that they come out well. I think it would make more sense for me to spend time refining a classic dish instead of creating something ridiculous for the sake of being “outside the box.”
Paul Barker, Owner of Pauli’s
“That is so fun, I love it. I think that it is important to be passionate, innovative and push the envelope – that’s how we come up with new dishes. I really like the idea of combining unexpected ingredients, that’s what we do here. When it comes down to it, that’s how the classics were made, chefs were trying out different ideas.”