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If you’ve been saving your pennies for a chance to dine at Per Se, Daniel or Gramercy Tavern, it might be disheartening to learn that a group of NYC chickens has been eating fare from those fine restaurants, and others, daily! The latest NY food trend is apparently going to the birds and involves chickens being fed leftover scraps from four star restaurants in an attempt to recreate the taste of the old farm chickens. According to The New York Times, several chefs have testified that the movement, which is called “Green Circle,” yields much better tasting poultry than its counterparts raised on industrial farms.
The Green Circle scheme was originally conceived by Ariane Daguin, the French-born founder and chief executive of D’Artagnan, the gourmet supplier that famously helped to bring foie gras and Berkshire pork into the American marketplace. After acquiring a distaste for commonly overfed and caged up American birds, Daguin approached celebrity chef Daniel Boulud with her idea to recreate the taste of more naturally-raised hens.
Boulud jumped on the idea almost instantly and now about a half a dozen other chefs have also jumped aboard the crazy chicken coop too. According to The New York Times, Daguin poured more than $250,000 into research and cross breeding just the right bird from a rare French breed that’s usually seen in Gascony, a southwestern region of France. The resulting pampered chickens are currently raised on an Amish farm in Pennsylvania.
Some of the chefs participating in the program seem to have their own theories about how to enhance the flavors of the birds. For example, David Burke believes you can start marinating your chicken while it’s alive by feeding it ginger and lemon to make it taste gingery and lemony. At least that’s the working theory, anyway.
Meanwhile, Daguin intends to take the experiment a step further by creating specific-tasting chickens based on what restaurant they are getting their food scraps from. So, Per Se chickens will eat only Per Se peelings and bread and the diet of the Gramercy Tavern chickens will come only from Gramercy Tavern.
So do these fancy Green Circle chickens really taste better? Jean-Georges Vongerichten thinks so, describing their flavor to The New York Times as “whoa.”