Many years ago on a trip to New Orleans, I was seeking out what I had heard was the best fried chicken in Louisiana. The shop I was looking for was called Willie May's Scotch House. And while it was very good, it didn't quite blow me away, nor was it up to the memories I had of my Grandma Opal's fried chicken in Greenville, South Carolina.
As i was walking back to the Quarter, I happened upon Dooky Chase in the Treme, just a block or two away from Willie May's. Although I was thoroughly stuffed, I walked in with my wife and we sat down an ordered up the fried chicken buffet, complete with chicken, gumbo, peach cobbler and mac & cheese. I didn't see any collard greens, so I asked for a side. What came out in that little bowl of greens forever changed my life, and put me on this crazy mission to re-create not just those greens, but to find out exactly what was in my Granny's chicken, so I could taste that love again.
After so many test runs, and experiments with batter, brine, breading, fry temperatures, fryers, ingredients, etc., I felt like I have finally discovered exactly the taste I was looking for, and what I believe is truly great fried chicken and sides made primarily with LOVE & SOUL. Those are the two magic ingredients that make my food stand out in a world full of mass produced fried chicken. Thing is - many people don't have access to those ingredients - but my life has been so full of loving special family and friends and influences like MISS LEAH CHASE, who brought that LOVE & SOUL in to my food. In fact the year before she died, she cooked for our family and friends at our wedding rehearsal dinner at Dooky Chase in New Orleans.
I have spent years in the fine dining restaurant world, teaching wine service to staff at the Chateau Marmont in Hollywood, at the French Laundry in Yountville, and as wine director for so many great restaurants across the country. I am one of just over 200 Master Sommeliers in the world, and yet my great achievement is to have come up with this recipe and technique to make delicious fried chicken and southern soul food sides to make you happy.
I appreciate your time and hope you like our food. I made it just for you with LOVE & SOUL.