Food News

Chicken Kitchen Founder Named Entrepreneur of the Year

Chicken Kitchen founder and CEO Christian Mahe de Berdouare was named Ernst & Young's Entrepreneur of the Year in the Consumer Goods and Retail category. Each year, the award recognizes businesspeople who demonstrate extraordinary success in the areas of innovation, financial performance and personal commitment to their businesses and communities. Winners are chosen by a panel of independent judges.

Chicken Kitchen is a local success story. It started in the mid-'80s as a healthful spot for grilled chicken. Their "chop chop" rice and chicken bowls have become a beloved, and oft-imitated, dish. The original chop chop has expanded with regional versions like Cuban (tomatoes, lettuce and black beans), Mexican (lettuce, tomatoes, black beans, sour cream and shredded cheese) and Oriental (Asian teriyaki sauce, lettuce, tomatoes, sesame seeds and scallions). Today, the chain has 37 locations throughout the state.

The latest Chicken Kitchen is opening in October in Westchester. This new location will be an eco-friendly store, and will serve as a prototype for future branches. For example, the floor will be comprised of 100 percent recycled tires, and all of the paper supplies will be similarly environmentally conscious. "It is a real challenge to find the right balance between price and being green, since prices are still way too high to be mass produced making it hard to incorporate as many items as we would like to," Christian notes. "But it is a good beginning, and a step in the right direction to make our planet a better one."

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Jacquelynn D. Powers