Besides bringing the South Beach Wine & Food Festival to our Magic City, Lee Brian Schrager also will be the reason you crave fried chicken every day of your life. Fried & True: More than 50 Recipes for America's Best Fried Chicken and Sides is out and available now.
So how does Lee Schrager celebrate the launch of his love for crisp yet tender birds? With a launch party at Perez Art Museum Miami and appointing Stephen Starr Events to replicate five recipes he traveled the country to find. While a picture is worth 1,000 words, (the photography in the book is scrumptious) taste trumps sight, always. And now you can celebrate and get a taste of Lee's journey tomorrow at 6 p.m.
We talked to Lee about what fried chicken wasn't included in the book, which birds made event, and what's next for him.
Tomorrow, May 27, from 6 to 9 p.m., locals can celebrate the forthcoming of fried chicken with the man who made food go from being a commodity to a demand. Martin Hand will provide the music for a Southern-style night as guests get to chow down on five dish renditions from the book. In addition to leaving with a full and satisfied tummy, guests also will leave with a signed copy of the book. If you're lucky, you might even get to pick a bone with Schrager -- just be sure to know your chicken and sides before approaching him.
New Times: Why did you decide to celebrate the launch at PAMM and with Stephen Starr Events replicating five of the recipes?
Lee Schrager: I serve on the Board of Trustees for PAMM -- it seemed like a natural fit to showcase Miami's newest cultural destination. It's a beautiful venue for events, and I like that Stephen Starr is the on-site caterer because I can trust him to reproduce the recipes for the book correctly for the number of people who will be there.
Do you know which five recipes they'll be cooking up?
I know a couple of them, but wanted to be surprised with what they chose to recreate.
What's the biggest misconception people have about cooking fried chicken that isn't true?
That it's difficult to make, not true. If you can read and or follow a recipe you can make fried chicken.
What was the biggest challenge you faced writing Food Network South Beach Wine & Food Festival Cookbook that you learned from and applied to Fried & True?
Not to ask everyone else what they thought I should be doing and to do what I thought was best for the book in my own mind. With Fried & True, the biggest challenge we thought would be making certain all the different recipes would photograph differently -- and they all did.
What other advice can you offer up to people writing recipe books?
Get an agent!
Is it safe to assume that Chicken Coupe is your favorite Wine & Food event?
I love all my events equally, but there is a special place in my heart and stomach for Chicken Coupe.
What's the most important and unexpected thing through this process? When we were traveling to these places during what we affectionately called our "Cluck Tour," what struck me most was how much love and care everyone put into their process. From celebrated chefs to what might seem to be a shack on the side of the road, it was apparent that everyone had a back story or family history with their fried chicken.
Encountered any new fried chicken since that should've made the cut?
There are plenty of chefs creating great fried chicken that aren't in the book -- the book would never be a finished product if we tried to include everyone! Here in Miami alone there's the fried chicken tacos at Huahua's, Thai-style wings at Khong River House, the chicken & waffles at Eating House...
After fried chicken, what's the next best fried thing?
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Breakfast. Working on a new book for April 16, Morning Glory, and looking forward to my other project on donuts.
Fried & True: 50 Recipes for America's Best Chicken and Sides launch party takes place Tuesday, May 27, from 6 to 9 p.m. Tickets for members are $175 and $200 for nonmembers (includes tax, gratuity, and signed copy of Fried & True).
Follow Carla on Twitter @ohcarlucha