I was kind of sad to see the Ad Hoc Fried Chicken Kit for sale in my latest Williams-Sonoma catalog ($14.95!). I have the Ad Hoc at Home cookbook, and while I haven’t cooked a lot of recipes from it yet, it is a gorgeous cookbook that is very absorbing to leaf through. What I like most about it, though, is Thomas Keller — one of the most renowned chefs cooking today — encouraging home cooks to elevate their game and turn out incredible family meals. The book is supposed to inspire us and teach us how to be better cooks at home. It seems like buying a kit to make Ad Hoc’s signature fried chicken really goes against this philosophy.
I’m not likely to make the fried chicken recipe, as I avoid deep-frying at home. (It’s messy, it’s expensive, it’s not very healthy for everyday eating, and I prefer to get my deep-fried treats on the outside.) But taking a look at the recipe, I see that the brine required has just 9 ingredients, including water, none of them uncommon. The coating requires 7 ingredients: flour, garlic powder, onion powder, paprika, cayenne, salt and pepper. How much more basic can you get? So what are you buying this kit for, other than the name on the package?
I realize that we are all American and therefore want to make as much money as we can selling unnecessary things to gullible consumers, but every now and then, I would love to see someone stand by their principles and not sell out. This product has lowered my respect for Keller a notch.
But I am still very much looking forward to eating at Bouchon in Las Vegas this weekend!
Here’s a review of the mix in Serious Eats. (Interestingly, it is the comments and not the review that point out that this product seems like a rip-off.)
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