Chef Series: Josh Kulp and Christine Cikowski Demonstration
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Chef Series: Josh Kulp and Christine Cikowski Demonstration


(upbeat music) (audience applauding) – Hello everyone and
welcome to the 2019 and 2020 Madison College Chef Demo Series sponsored by Vollrath, our presenting sponsor. My name is Kyle Cherek, and to my right and right are Christine Cikowski. – Cikowski.
– Cikowski. How did I, I said it 40,000 times. – You did it very well. – You did it great. – Until this moment. – Christine Cikowski and Joshua Kulp, who are the honey butter of
Honey Butter Fried Chicken, and the club of the Sunday Dinner Club. – I like the way that you said that. We should change our names. – One of our cooks has started calling me Mr. Chicken when they walk in the room. (laughing) – How many of you, just
quick little show of hands, how many of you have been
to their establishment? It’s okay, it’s a Madison crowd, but I know there are some devotees, yeah right there, yeah right on. – Thank you. – Hi friends. (all laughing) – If you’re not familiar,
the style of restaurants that they have pretty, much
they wear on their sleeve. One specializes in fried chicken, and many other yummy things. And then the other one is
a continual weekly rotating cavalcade of deliciousness
of comfort food. And that is the Sunday Dinner Club. However, it does not actually
serve on Sunday nights. – Generally not, yeah. – So we’re gonna start this
interview process with that, because you’re an enigma wrapped in a conundrum, wrapped in a contrarian. – We’re very mysterious. – The way you’ve gone
about your culinary careers makes zero sense, and
is business plan idiocy. – I agree, 100%. – 15 years. – [Christine] Any business students in the crowd tonight can help us out? – 15 years, two restaurants,
deeply beloved in Chicago, which is an incredibly
competitive, difficult, and kind of mean town at
times, just gonna say it. Because we’re here in
Wisconsin, were nicer. (audience laughing) – My family’s from Wisconsin so I might agree with you a little bit on that. – So, tell the story of
how it all came together, and a little bit of your stories. And also let’s get one
thing out right away. You are a culinary chef couple,
meaning you’re both owners, you’re both chefs, you
own the same restaurants, but you are not married, romantic couple, or any other kind of couple. – No. – Nor have you ever been, it’s not like a Sonny and Cher kind of thing. Where it was cool until
the television contract went to hell, and now
we’re no longer doing it. – My wife is always surprised by the fact that I’m married to Christina. (all laughing) – She’s very understanding. – It’s not even like, and this is my work husband, this is my work wife. It’s like that’s the
chef at my restaurant. – That’s my business partner. We are pretty professional in that regard. We obviously are friends, and
have a lot of shared interests and love of food obviously
being one of them. But we are a man and a woman who run the restaurant business
together and aren’t married. Who would have thought you could do that? – I know it’s crazy. – Well, let’s actually start there because there’s this inherent
assumption within national media that’s happened here, and
media period that like, well obviously they’re man and a woman. Gender is everything,
they must be a couple. Why could they be anything else? And how would that work? – I think it just doesn’t
happen that often, because restaurants are
such, tend to be family, especially the smaller independent ones, be family owned businesses
so it’s not surprising, I think the assumption, I think. What we would love to do is show that it’s not the only option. You don’t have to own a
restaurant with your spouse, although it’s great if you
do, but you don’t have to. – Or maybe not. – Or not, or maybe it’s not, I don’t know. – We forget to, I do think
it is, like she said, we do have a lot of friends that are husbands and wives had
owned restaurants together. But I think there is just this automatic knee jerk assumption, we
had one of our fry cooks who worked for us several
years, and my wife. I am married, I been married
for 10 years, and been with my wife for 15 years
actually, we just had a baby. – Yay.
– Thank you, yay. But he used to see me with my wife. And I think he thought
that was my girlfriend. He was like, does Christine know? – No, he asked one of our chefs, he asked our chef Cam,
why do Josh and Christine never go on vacation together? And our chef Cam was
like they’re not married. And he’s like oh I just thought. And she was like you’ve met Rachel. And he was like, well I don’t know. And it’s like, Josh is
apparently quite the ladies man. – For how many years? – Several. – Several years, yeah. So but Christina and I
met in culinary school at Kendall College in Chicago,
we were both career changers. I used to be a fifth grade
teacher in the Bronx in New York. I went to school at the
University of Wisconsin, Madison. (audience cheering) – Heard of it. – I am from Chicago though,
so don’t get too excited. But I loved going to school here. – We’ll love your tuition. – Thank you. I worked at a bunch restaurants while I lived here, in school. I worked at Tutto Pasta,
literally like 25 years ago. – And Magnus. – Restaurant Magnus, that was probably about 16 years ago, I worked there. I briefly cooked as an
assistant at the Governor, Assistants to the Executive Chef at the Governor’s mansion for Jim Doyle. And I was also, I don’t
know if you guys remember. There was a coffee shop on State Street for a few years called Cafe Asisi. When I was in college, I
was one of the collective owners of that, and developed
their food menu there. So I love Madison but when I was in school I studied English in Poli Sci, I wanted to kind of save the world. Decided to be a teacher– – No one ever had that instinct
when they came to Madison. (laughing) – I thought it was gonna be
easier to save the world. But it turned out to be hard. I moved to New York, taught
fifth grade in the South Bronx for a few years in the very early 2000s. 9-11 happened and I think a lot of things sort of come into perspective,
and I think teaching I loved but it was not my calling. And I found myself wandering
around New York eating, and then shopping, and
coming home and cooking, trying to get through grading
papers so I could just cook. And it kind of suddenly
dawned on me, I love food. I’ve been doing this when I was in school. Maybe I could make a career out of this. Left teaching, and decided
to pursue it full time. I actually came back to Madison briefly, cooked a little while, and
then ended up going to Kendal in Chicago, just because it was sort of a, they had a great one year
program for career changers. Then met Christine there. And we started doing our Dinner Club. You want to tell them how you got there? – Yes I do. I took the L. So I have some Wisconsin roots too. My mother’s– – You both don’t have to, it’s okay. It’s not that type of a crowd. – No, I’m proud of it, I’m proud of it. – It’s awesome, I love it here. – Because you mentioned
yours, I’ll mention mine. ‘Cause that’s cool. My great grandparents immigrated
here from Czechoslovakia and bought land in Mauston, which is still owned by my family, it’s 300 acres. They lease it to another farmer now, but the farm house is still there. And I grew up coming up here every summer to work on the farm house, and
I went to Castle Rock Lake. And and I love Wisconsin,
so I’m like 25% Wisconsin. – Thanks. – It was a dairy farm by the way, lots of cheese, it’s in my blood. Anyway so I kind of came to culinary world a little differently, I was
a music major in college, and wanted to be a singer in a band. That obviously did not happen. I still sing in the shower. But I went to music school and
got a music business degree actually, so obviously I’m a chef now. (all laughing) Very similar to Josh,
like I really loved music, and I loved, I was super
passionate about it. But it wasn’t really my
calling as far as like my work. And I had just worked in
restaurants since I was 16. I was like 10, 15 year
veteran of front of house. So I had been a server, bartender, a host, pretty much every position
that you can have. – What was your first
restaurant experience? – I worked in a cafe a Borders Bookstore. You guys remember bookstores? – Love that, I love that. – That’s a thing, there was bookstores, that had coffee shops in
them, yeah as a barista. I really loved cooking,
just I grew up cooking. My mother and father, they’re divorced, but they both loved baking and cooking. And so that just sort of
was in my DNA I think. But it never occurred to me, and I think Josh too that, why wouldn’t I be a chef? I think things are different now. We have these amazing
culinary schools that are sprinkled across the
nation and like there’s food channels, and food magazines. And that was just sort of starting when we were in culinary school. – Nascent. – Yes, nascent. So I just was working in restaurants, and always wanted to get out of them. I was like I don’t want to be
in the restaurant industry. I’m just doing this until I get to my job. So I left the restaurant
business and took a job selling wine, natural progression. Which really isn’t really getting out of the restaurant business. It’s just like keeping your toe in. – It’s like a sidecar really. Like I don’t ride motorcycles
anymore, it’s just a sidecar. – I’m in the sidecar. So I’m in the sidecar,
in the wine sidecar. And my company got bought
out by another company. And I didn’t really have an option to stay in a position that I wanted to stay, and so I was kind of
forced, forced my hand. And I was like, it was so
obvious right in front of my face for my whole life, maybe
you should be a chef. I love cooking, I love
serving other people and working in hospitality for many years. So it was that sort of kick in the butt that got me to go to culinary
school and then I met Josh. – And you guys were you the,
I say this affectionately, but like the aging out students. (all laughing) – We called that the, what
is it, not back to school. What was it? – It was like– – Career changers, career
changer, yeah career changers. Which also made us super serious about, I’ve was very intentional intentional, our choice to leave our careers, and go. – We were spending our own
money in culinary school, instead of our parents money,
made it a little different. – Still paying it. – Yeah, but we met there,
and I think both were similarly interested in farmers markets and local ingredients, and
had read an article about underground restaurants
that were happening in New York, and there’s one in Portland. And we were graduating school, and obviously we took
jobs in the industry. – This is like 2004? – I think it was 2004, 2004 or five? – Which it was just starting. They were hot in New York, London. – Portland.
– Portland. – There was one in Portland.
– Yeah, exactly. – [Christine] Portland Family Supper. – San Francisco did them occasionally, and then the cops would show up and say, oh can we sit down and have dinner? Because it was San Francisco. – So we invited, so we did it on a Sunday. And that’s why we called
it Sunday Dinner Club. The first one we, invited
like eight people, mostly our parents, you
can do the math on that. I won’t make it divorce joke. (all laughing) We had a table full of our
family and a couple friends, cooked them a five course meal of stuff that was inspired by the farmers markets, and just things that
we were interested in. We had taken jobs in the industry but when you start working as a cook, you learn a lot of amazing things but creativity is not
something that you really get to do for many many years. – It’s just execute, execute, execute. – Which is very important, but I think being a little bit
older and we just really had an itch kind of create too. So we, on Sundays would cook these meals, surprise people at the end
by asking them to pay us, even though they were at our house. – It was a donation. – Yeah, we would pass the pot around, like a cast iron pot and have
people throw money in it. One of our parents would
never pay, we realized later. ‘Cause it was always one person short. (all laughing) – Did they leave an IOU? – It was always on person short, I don’t know if somebody’s mother– – That’s another interview. (all laughing) – So we did that, the people who came to that dinner told their friends about it. We did another one. We started to just collect emails on a piece of paper, and
started to collect emails, and before we knew it we had
probably 1000 people after. And then we would do them regularly, and then we always did other things to kind of support Sunday Dinner Club. Actually I should say that
eventually we left the restaurant jobs and just decided to
try to make a go of this. We did get legitimate pretty quick. We realized we should
probably pay taxes because that seemed like the most important thing. – The rogue side of the
underground restaurant scene wasn’t really appealing to us. We actually wanted to be legit. The reason why we did it
in our homes wasn’t to be rogue, you know like underground. We just did in our
homes because we thought that’s the best place
to eat food with people. – And it was really hard
’cause there was no, there is no ability to
cook a dinner like that in your own home in Chicago,
and I think in most municipalities no matter
how trained you are, how sanitary you are, how private it is. We figured out how to get
like shared commercial kitchen that we could prep the stuff in. And then we would go to our
home or someone else’s home we would be kind of doing catering. I mean it’s a gray area
obviously, but we would pay taxes, we got license, we did the whole thing. And we would start doing
more traditional catering, but the whole time we were
trying to kind of protect Sunday Dinner Club so we could
do it as often as we could. And that was sort of, we
needed Sunday Dinner Club but eventually started
doing them on other days because we ran out of Sundays. – Now we don’t do it at all on Sunday. – What’s your story,
like you tell somebody we’re doing nine Sunday
Dinner Clubs in October– – If you watch them do the math. We’re like oh we have this thing, it’s called Sunday Dinner Club. And they’re like how
many times do you do it? We’re like about 10, and
they’re like one, two. How does that work, and we’re like. – [Josh] Yeah we usually do– – Not instilling a lot
of confidence actually. There’s only four Sunday’s. – It makes sense though, we kind of understand why people would think that. And then we have to say
it’s the feeling, the ethos of a Sunday dinner, of a
family dinner together. – So go on Josh. – So we do them generally now
Thursday, Friday, Saturday. We probably have over
8,000 people on our list. It’s never been open to the public. It’s always been this kind of thing that if you know someone who’s on
the list, you can get added. Or if you meet one of
us were happy to add. We’re not trying to be exclusive. – You’re all invited. (audience cheering) – We met at a very public event. What was it called? – Chef’s Night Out. – Chef’s Night Out, yeah, in Chicago. – Taste of the Nation.
– Taste of the Nation. – We also saw you at Chef’s Night Out. – At Chef’s Night Out, that’s right. That was the James Beard
thing, some years later. Taste the Nation at the
very end of Sucker Central, otherwise known as Navy Pier, at the very end of the
rotunda, and it was full of the firmament of Chicago Chef’s. Bayless, Montano, Achatz,
everybody was there. And these folks were there too. And they were excited
because I had just started working on Wisconsin
Foodie, and I was excited because they’d actually seen it. (all laughing) And we connected right
away, and there was some Talk to Wisconsin and things like that. But I think, I don’t even
know if you handed me a card, but it was so like quiet and
subversive and non-marketing. Yeah we do this like,
initially I didn’t know anything about you, so
where’s your restaurant? Oh we don’t really have
it, explain blah blah blah. Moves from people’s kitchens. Are you in trouble with the law? No, this is how we, you know. (audience laughing) But there was no hard pitch. It was like well, I’d love to
be on your email, like okay. – [Josh] Cool. – Yeah. – [Christine] Pretty much how it went. – And I still, my jaded,
overexposed culinary heart still gets a little flutter every time I see your Dinner Club
email come up in my folder. – Yeah, well that’s awesome. And it’s been an amazing experience for us to do Sunday Dinner Club. As chefs we changed the menu literally, generally every month,
sometimes twice a month. And we cook whatever we want,
or whatever we’re kind of interested in, what we’re curious about. We always, generally,
do a five course meal. This month we were doing kind of like, I don’t know it’s like
Eastern European Jewish food, like the food of my grandmother basically. – Now we’re doing Thai-ish food. – But we do everything from
like fancy French food to pizza nights, pizza is really
my true love in the world. But I own a fried chicken restaurant. – And then your wife, and then your child. – Yes, thank you for reminding me. (audience laughing) – Paul Bartolotta told me once, he said I have never met a slice of
pizza that I didn’t like. And I said even like skanky, airport? He’s like yeah, even then. – I think that Josh’s
true love is his wife, but his soulmate is pizza. (audience laughing) I think that. – But we do pizza dinners
for Sunday Dinner. One of the menus we did regularly
was fried chicken dinners. So at first it was just,
Cristina I don’t really have a strong fried chicken background. When I was a kid I would
like cry if my dad wanted fried chicken ’cause I
wanted a cheeseburger. And so it’s funny now that I
own a fried chicken restaurant. I was also a real like
crazy leftist in college. I might still be a crazy leftist. My dad always points out to me how funny, we have a bunch of businesses. – You’re more capitalist than ever. – He’s the president of
five corporations now, and he always likes to remind me of that. We’ll talk about our business
practices in a minute. We started doing fried chicken dinners. Christine and I approached
fried chicken as chefs. We kind of studied the history of it. And we we really always,
whenever we do anything, we try to look at how
it’s been done before, trying to really understand it. Try to find ingredients from our region, and then try to execute in a way that is respectful of the tradition, but also kind of fresh
in our way of doing it. – Yeah neither one of us had a nostalgia attachment to fried
chicken, which it is a very nostalgic, triggering
food for a lot of people. And which we obviously respect. But not having that was a
little freeing for us as. Because we could just approach it from any sort of standpoint. – You want to tell them how
the butter got in the bird? – It was a total accident. People are like you guys are,
how did you come up with that? Honey Butter Fried Chicken,
it’s like the greatest thing we’ve ever created, and just by accident. So we did these fried chicken dinners at Sunday Dinner Club for many years. And one year was, 2009, I figured it out, we served a side dish
with the fried chicken so people get a plate, two
pieces of fried chicken, and two side dishes, seasonal. And then one of them was a johnnycake. Y’all know what that is, corn cake? Griddle cake with honey butter on it. So you see where I may be going with this? – Delicious. – So we plate this beautiful plate up, serve it to our guests in the dining room, come back to the kitchen and then like– – Give me an ice cold
coca-cola and I’m like, I’ll go to the chair, I’m good, I’m done. – A glass of champaign is good with it. – So being the savages
that we are in the kitchen, chefs like eat different than
you guys, well maybe not. We like to just put it
on a plate altogether, and eat it like over a garbage can like really quickly in the corner. Don’t talk to me right now. – Fred Flintstone style. – [Christine] Yeah very much it’s very– – Yeah Cookie Monster. – What’s the word I’m looking for? – Carnal? – Carnal, (laughing) I
don’t know about that. It’s just very intense. Anyway, so we had plated
some of the scraps for us to eat while
our diners were eating, little tiny plate and
the honey butter just was on the corn cake and
melted on the chicken, like just an accident,
and we ate it anyway. – We’re like passing
this drumstick around. – We’re passing it down and we’re like, I mean like a lot of
swearing was happening, a lot of passion, and I– – Like positive swearing,
like affirmation swearing. – Oh yeah passion swearing right. I’m not gonna do it here, but passionate. And I remember us we were
sitting on my back porch, and I remember putting,
I can still see it, I put my plate down and I
ran into the dining room because our diners were like almost done. And I was like take the
butter off the corn cake, put it on the chicken, like aggressively. And they all did and then
there was like swooning, and I’m not exaggerating that. And then the next night we’re like well, maybe we should put the
butter on the chicken instead. And then our lives changed
so, in that little moment. – So where did you?
– Total accident. (audience applauding) – I want to circle back to like four things that you two spoke to. When did you say okay,
that was a seminal moment of food-gasm, let’s make
a business which will, kills all gasm, any kind of gasm. And let’s turn this into something that is a free standing deal? And then you were hammered,
I mean hammered by your Sunday Dinner Club
email list came in droves. And it was like– – [Josh] It was bonkers. – It was bonkers, and I know
you both looked at each other like this was the worst
best idea we’ve ever had. – I remember standing at the
pass on our opening night. And Josh and I at that point both worked in the restaurant in
service, every day, all day. – We thought we would
butcher all the chicken. – Oh yeah, we were like we’re gonna have 100 customers a day. But I remember standing,
and I was at the expediter. Josh stayed in the front of
house, I stay in the back house. And I remember there was a line, maybe 60 people on opening night. And I remember looking at you in the face, and I was like what did we do? (laughing) And you just like, I don’t know. And we were just, it was
that moment where everything slowed down, and we’re like
what did we just create? But anyway. – Yeah I think we were always
trying to figure out a way to take Sunday Dinner Club
and turn it into a restaurant. But we kind of couldn’t figure out how to do that without totally killing it. – Killing the soul of it really. – We have an event space,
Sunday Dinner Club still is, it’s one seating a night, it’s 24 people. One of us is always there,
and it doesn’t mean that we won’t ever turn it into something. – Which is, interrupt you,
that’s what makes it so special, is that if it were 28 people, or 30, or 60 it would, all the life would be– – It would be different. – I’m so glad that you, I mean I’ve known so many restaurateurs, and
I’m sure we all have the story where it was that lovely place that we went to, and maximum capacity was 54, and you brought all your friends. And then when they got another location, and they moved to capacity 158. – [Christine] That’s what killed it. – Yeah, yeah. And I mean, I think that being said, Sunday Dinner Club has
evolved in some ways. But we always want to make
sure we’re protecting its soul. We couldn’t quite figure out how to, and we also were starting
to get a little bit, like realizing that we needed to actually make money some day in our lives. And I mean it’s beautiful
thing to do, 24 people a night, but it is not a real way to make a living. So I think I was always
looking for concepts. And the cool about Sunday Dinner Club, is we’ve cooked hundreds
of different menus. So we have kind of like
hundreds of different concepts in our pockets, but
this one kind of felt like, wow that is really delicious,
no one’s doing that. And then I think we,
obviously once we came up with the name it just sort of sounds good. So we decided to go for it on that one. – I resisted it for a really
long, you’re being kind. Josh really wanted to do the restaurant. He really wanted to open a restaurant. I was very hesitant to
do it because we had this beautiful thing, where we were serving beautiful food to amazing people
in an awesome environment. But it wasn’t a restaurant. – It was your culinary
student pivot dream really. I mean you were living the dream. – So I resisted it for a really long time, and then I think it was mostly just like coming up with the right
thing, and the honey butter fried chicken just
felt right at that time. – Yeah, and figuring out how to build it so we still are able to do both. We have a full time sous-chef
at Sunday Dinner Club who really handles most of the prep. Because it turns out all the things you dream about in culinary school, you know, HR, and accounting,
and all the business things. – Operations.
– I mean we’re at this point, marketing, we’re business
people at this point. I mean obviously we do think about food, and we live in breathe food. We’re committed to creating beautiful, delicious, craveable things,
but we have to run a business. We have almost 60 employees
and they have needs, and we’re deeply committed to making sure that we’re a great place to work. – Yeah, and we’ll get back to that because some of the things that
you do are amazing. So I look at culinary history, because that’s really what I am. And then I happen to host this
TV show, and do other stuff. But culinary history is my jam. And when I look at America
in culinary history in the last let’s say 20
years, there’s catchphrases. So there’s chef driven,
there’s farm to table, there’s subversive, or unexpected, or avant, or something like that. And you two hit on all of those, in the most unsexy but earnest ways ever. – Great, I’m unsexy,
(laughing) no I love it. – Sunday Dinner Club is so chef
driven, because as you said, and you said before, it’s
what we want to cook. It’s not like you’re,
you don’t hire an agency that’s doing surveys of what
are people interested in. There’s no profile. – Usually it’s a cheese burger. – It’s really what we want to eat. – Yeah, it’s what you want
to eat, yeah right exactly. You’ve always been unsacrificing about the ingredients that you bring in, and paying for them, and
getting those sources. You’re doing slow food
essentially, incredibly thoughtful. I mean right back to
the trainees definition of slow food, where
that came from an Italy. And yet the whole thing
is subversive and avant, because you’re not doing it in this classic restaurant kind of style, where like okay we need
to be on this corner, and we’re gonna have this kind of press, and I’m gonna do this kind of thing, and Riedel stemware, and blah blah blah. You’re like, well I don’t know,
we should get some napkins. – We do have napkins. But no we don’t have Riedel. – Ikea is an amazing place. – Yeah exactly, and so all of that is part of the reason why I wanted
you two, and I’m so grateful that you said yes, to
kicking off this series. Because aside from you
folks, general public, there’s a lot of students
here that are thinking how do I move forward with my career? And you’ve done it in
the most uncustomary way. Yet it’s been authentic
every step of the way, right down to you partnership. The media gets it wrong every time, because they can’t wrap
their head around it. But yet you’re successful,
and Chicago adores you. – Thank you. – Well it’s true.
– Thank you. (audience applauding) – With that said, how do you
take care of your people in, I think the most dynamic food
city that we have right now? You can kind of go like LA,
ethnic thing, and then Chicago what’s happening from
Grant all the way on down. Incredibly competitive, quite expensive, and it’s a place that
people go like they used to go to Lyon, or like
they used to go to Tokyo, or like they still sort
of go to Copenhagen to learn how to cook this
thing, and spend time. They come to Chicago to sponge off those skills and then move on. So how do you keep people? And how do you reward them
for being loyal to you? – We’re still figuring that out, we have a good, it’s a work in progress. Because the industry, and the way that we do business in our industry is shifting right now, which is really exciting. But we’ve always been super committed to being a workplace that
takes care of its employees, and not just into like a
pay way, but just in like, benefits obviously, which is not a thing. I don’t know if y’all are
in the culinary industry or restaurant industry but it’s not common to have paid time off, and
health insurance paid for, or paid parental leave, which
is something that we added, and profit sharing and
having all this stuff. But we also have a pretty progressive, nurturing, supportive work environment. We’re not those chefs,
we don’t yell at people. (audience laughing) We had been in environments like that. – You yell at each
other from time to time. – Not, maybe like when we
were younger and more stupid. But no we don’t, actually, we might, I think we argue but we definitely. I’m not gonna say we
never have any problems at Honey Butter or Sunday Dinner Club, but we have a way of, a sort of culture, and philosophy of dealing with that. It’s like being direct, and respectful. And you can still discipline somebody, and be nice to them when you do it. And so we just have this
sort of culture that is more, I think, respectful is
the way that we look at it. – We want people to feel joy when they’re at our, working for us. I mean, I worked in a lot of jobs where, none of the ones I mentioned
earlier by the way. (audience laughing) Where I would kind of like,
wake up in the morning and wonder if there was
two feet of snow and maybe everything was shut down
because I didn’t want to go. And we always tell our
employees, if you start to have that feeling you’ve got to
do something, we’ll help you. Maybe you can do something
else within the restaurant. Maybe we can help you find
another place to work. But we don’t want people coming to work every day that are miserable, that’s not why we
started these businesses. And I think we’re a little
bit on a mission to show that you can make money, you can be a very profitable business,
but you can also really take care of the people
who are working for you. And it’s not something we do for charity. It’s something we do because we think it improves our business,
we think that people who come to Honey Butter
love coming there. And I think part of the reason
why they love coming there is because our staff is engaged, and loves being there too, and that shows. And surprise surprise, if you treat people well they tend to perform well. – What?
– And stay. – And stay, yeah. (audience applauding) – We do have turnover at our restaurant. We have plenty of people that decided that they want to move on or leave. But not usually because
they hate Honey Butter. – Has left to say, yeah
I’m gonna go work at KFC? – No.
– No. No, I mean number one
reason why I think is they just want a different career. We have a lot of younger
people working for us that are in college, and they
graduate, and they’re like I’m gonna go be a teacher
now, and we’re like great. Or they want to try a different cuisine. We had a cook that left
that loved working for us. But he’s like I don’t, I
want to try cooking fish. I’m like well we can’t do
that here so let’s figure out how to get you in a place
where you can do that. So we really do try to– – Chicken is literally the last word. – [Christine] That’s right. – We also have a lot of adults too. We have a lot of moms, we have
a lot of moms, we have a lot of parents because we are
flexible with their schedules. As Christine mentioned, we have paid parental leave for fathers and mothers. And that’s everybody from dishwasher on up can take time off. So we really try to be a good place for people to spend their career. Our health insurance is
available to people’s dependents, to their spouses and
children, and that’s not almost unheard of in
the restaurant business. And other things, little
things, like we a few years ago eliminated tipping at
Honey Butter Fried Chicken. Most restaurants, believe it or not, don’t really pay their
front of the house workers. They pay them a sub minimum wage. Then they you make it up, you the consumer make it up by tipping. And I know that you all,
I’m sure every one of you tips based on the merit of the service. But we did a lot of research
on this and as a whole people tend to tip based on bad things, how someone looks, the
color of their skin. – Gender. – Their gender, the color of their hair. – Sexuality. – Their thinness, and we didn’t
want our staff subjected to, their paycheck being
dependent upon having to be in that sort of circumstance. – Well and it also happens in reverse. I used to be a tipped worker, and I worked in bars and stuff like
that and you definitely, whether you know it or not
like can look at people and be like those people aren’t
gonna give me a good tip, those people are gonna give me a good tip. And you may give them more service, you may give them free
food, just to get that. It’s just not a good
way of doing business. It doesn’t support the
business or the workers. – It’s very medieval is what it is. – It’s weird, and if you
do the history on it, you know it really is sort of born. In this country it sort of arrived here, at post slavery, it was
a way for white employers to avoid actually directly
paying their black workers. And I think it’s not something
that we want to perpetuate. And so we pay our staff a full wage. And what that means is
that suddenly we actually have to value our product appropriately. Like I know that it feels
expensive to go out for dinner, but realize that those employers aren’t paying half of their staff fully. You are, you’re paying that tip. At Honey Butter whatever our price is, you’re not adding the tip on top of it, it’s hospitality is included. And we pride ourselves on
having amazing service. When we eliminated tips, our
staff was on board with it. And we said, when our customers come they can’t say remember when the service used to be good, when
they used to have tips? No it has to be– – Same level. Danny Meyer fought this battle
famously, and he was saying. He said I’m doing it selfishly because I need great people in
the back of the house. And I need to pay them a living wage, because New York is very competitive, there’s a lot of other great restaurants. And they’re crucial to my business. So take all of the other, slavey background and things like that. He said just call me a
self serving capitalist. – [Josh] Yeah totally. – I want a really great line
cook, prep cook, dishwasher, whatever, and so this is
the model that works for me. If anybody comes up with a better one, I will sit down and listen to you, and probably implement it but, this is the best idea that we have. – [Christine] Yeah, we support it. – So you, your restaurants
traffic in nostalgia, in deep flavor memories, and in something that tastes of home. I can’t think of a more dangerous concept. Because the lasagna that you make is not my mom’s famous lasagna. The fried chicken, like
you said, there’s so, I mean American culinary history. Calvin Trillin made a
career out of writing about fried chicken,
two books in the 80’s. That’s how deep it goes. So has that ever backfired
on you, a little risky? – I mean, knock on wood, at
this point I think it hasn’t. I think we never made
a claim that this was anybody’s grandma’s fried
chicken, it’s our recipe. And the secret truth is like,
people always want to say this is the best, or I have
the best fried chicken place. Thank God there’s a lot of good
fried chicken in this world. There’s room for our fried chicken, along with all the other
wonderful fried chicken. So I don’t think it’s really
backfired on us at this point. We do a couple things differently. We take the bones out of
our breasts and thighs. We buy whole birds. And we use every bit of it, we use the– – Everything but the squawk right? – Everything but the squawk, yeah. We render the fat out of the
skin and the backbone and make schmaltz that gets whipped
into our mashed potatoes. We roast the bones and make
stock that becomes our gravy. But we just like, we brine our chicken. We like the way that the breasts and the thigh ate without the bone. It’s funny when we opened,
some of the food critics in Chicago couldn’t get past
that, that there was no bone. – You can’t take the bones
out of fried chicken. Yes you can. – What you were describing– – [Christine] It’s delicious people. – Other generations would just say, well that’s just called cooking. I’m not trying to
belittle your techniques, but that’s like, no that’s
just called cooking. – Yeah well, if you really
want the bone in the chicken, the drumstick has it
still in our restaurant. We did a lot of testing,
and I’m a big fan of slow cooking, and when we
do a whole roasted bird at Sunday Dinner Club or we do other meats up there that are long slow cooks, we definitely leave the bone
in for flavor and juiciness. But fried chicken’s
actually, it’s not fast but it’s not 30, 40 minutes. And we fry a piece of
chicken in 12 minutes and the bone actually just
doesn’t do much for us if you’re brining it, and
using a great bird to start. So we liked how it ate,
and it’s worked out for us. But that might be the
one of the few things that backfired at first,
just the critics kind of. The one guy, his headline
was the lines are long at Honey Butter Fried Chicken,
and life’s too short. That was one of the first reviews. And now he still have a line out the door. – My point, it’s kind
of a mean town at times. – Yeah, I don’t want to sound bad but we still have a line out the
door, and it’s six years later. And I see this food critic sometimes, and I’m always like, line’s
still long if you want to. (audience laughing) – You’re still here, we’re still here, life’s even shorter ostensibly,
and you could maybe yeah. – We’re doing okay. – We’re doing fine. – What are your challenges moving forward? Because you’ve changed
from, you pivoted from kids cooking in other people’s kitchens, and different event spaces
to legit business owners with two essentially restaurants, an event space, and
then a legit restaurant. Paying taxes, paying insurance, all that. Like what, 15 years? It’s one of those, my wife and I call them talking heads moments, how did I get here? This is not my beautiful house. – Did you ever see those
diagrams where it’s like one person’s life is a pinpoint, and then it’s a straight arrow, and then the other
person’s goes like this? That’s ours, it goes like that. – I mean what’s next, I think
we’re, we always are trying to figure out how to keep
Sunday Dinner Club alive in a way that feels good for us. So we have some thoughts on that. But Honey Butter really, I
mean it seems primed to grow. We’ve been doing it, Honey
Butter has been open for six years, I think we’re trying
to figure out the right way to do it that still
maintains all of our values. We’ve been very fortunate. We have a lot of
opportunities, thankfully. But kind of picking the right one, and working with the right people. We’re very protective of our freedom. We really, part of the reason
we started these businesses is to be able to kind
of have control over our day to day lives, and decide
what we’re gonna do next. And whatever we do we
want to make sure that we’re being respectful of
our ingredients and our team, and giving opportunity
to our staff to grow. Because at some point you just run out of, we have lots of managers
’cause we have people that have been with us for a long time, and we just make them a manager because. (audience laughing) – Sure, like sword on both shoulders and. – We created a lot of jobs for people. – If we open another
restaurant, you get a whole new set of jobs, and then more
of the higher level jobs. We’ll see what happens. – Our intention is to grow and expand it. – Yeah, thinking about where
the Madison location should be. (crowd murmuring) Someday, we’ll see. – We would love that, I have
some ideas, we’ll talk after. – That’d be great. – Well I think probably we
should cook some chicken, fry some chicken or some other things. And so let’s just stand up
from here, and walk back there. – [Christine] Great. (upbeat music) – I do want to point out to
everyone, in case you thought this was not a legitimate Wisconsin demo. (audience laughing) Butter. (audience applauding) – [Josh] Oh you know what
I don’t have an apron. But that’s okay, I’m not
gonna mess up, so don’t worry. – Do you want me, I don’t
have to wear an apron. I’ll go apronless, you
don’t need an apron. – Should I wear one, and you two don’t? No, I’m kidding.
– Kyle wears the apron. – I’m not gonna wear one. – [Christine] All right
cool, yeah we don’t need it. – So we’re gonna make some food. We’re gonna make a few things, we’re definitely gonna
make the fried chicken. We’re gonna make our honey butter. We’re gonna make our
candy jalapeno mayonnaise, which is another dipping
sauce for our fried chicken. We’re gonna make our
kale and cabbage slaw, ’cause you gotta have some vegetables when you’re eating fried chicken. – ‘Cause mom’s watching. – That’s right. – Yeah, we like to have
a little bit of green, healthy like balance the– – Some good roughage.
– this. – We’re gonna also do our
corn muffins, which come with every order fried chicken,
and people really love. Honey butter is great
on the corn muffins too. – Correct, I was gonna say the
first thing that we need to do is make sure our fryer
is on, which it may not be. – I’ll get it going. – So that’s tip number one. – So I just have to tell everybody who can’t see from back there. This is a Vollrath mini fryer. – [Christine] You guys,
this fryer is amazing. – The best, if it were
an appropriate analogy could say it’s the Mercedes of fryers, but that would make Vollrath
better than Mercedes. – This is nice though. – Mercedes is the Vollrath of cars. – Look those little baby
baskets, they’re so cute. – They’re really cute,
you know I gotta say we have a couple of
portable fires for events and they’re not Vollrath,
we should get this. Because it’s actually beautiful so. – Yeah, we can’t go back after this. – Corn muffins though, we’re gonna done because they have to bake and we want them to be done before we’re finished. – [Christine] I’m gonna get some gloves because that’s important. – Cool, and let me know if
I can help you Christine. – At the restaurant, maybe you can. At the restaurant we served, we knew that we wanted to have something
to go with the fried chicken. Traditionally that would be
like a biscuit, or corn bread. But we wanted to make it our own. Again, us not trying to copy other people or just follow strict tradition. So we came up with these corn muffins. They’re a little bit
lighter than a corn bread. They have still have cornmeal in them. We get really amazing corn
meal from a farmer in Illinois. But they’re really good
with the honey butter. And the mix goes, it’s
so easy you actually don’t need any cooking,
you don’t need a mixer. You can just do it by hand. So it starts with the dry mix. So I’m just gonna, can you guys see this? Is there a mirror? – No they have a tv.
– No, it’s a camera. – What? – Yeah, right there, Christine
you’re on television. – Hi mom. Oh my God, okay I don’t
want to watch myself. So starts with flour, so
I’m gonna pour that in here. And then we use two
different types of cornmeal. We like fine cornmeal and coarse cornmeal, because we find that the
texture is really nice. So the fine cornmeal kind of
just melts into the batter. And then the coarse cornmeal
gives a little crunch. – How long did it take
your two to perfect this? – Oh my God, this was the hardest. – [Kyle] How many
chickens were sacrificed? – [Christine] A lot of cornmeal. – [Josh] The testing actually
was really difficult. – This was the hardest thing that we did. So of course, yeah because we didn’t know what we wanted to do,
and how he wanted it. It took probably two years. – One of the things, we were really lucky. When we opened we thought Christine and I would butcher 10 or 15 chickens a day, and we’ve have on the busiest
day maybe 75 or 100 people. And now we sometimes have over a 1000 in our little tiny
restaurant on a Saturday. And we had to figure out
a recipe that could really scale up and work for that many people. – Great, agreed. Okay so then that’s the flour,
the corn meals, both of them, kosher salt which we really like, and then a little bit of baking powder to give the muffins a little lift. – [Kyle] And you all have the
recipes, you have the recipes. – [Christine] Enjoy. – [Josh] We also do sell
this mix at Honey Butter. – You can but it online, HoneyButter.com. We’re always selling, okay so this is, your purchase supports 60 really well taken care of employees. But you can also make
this at home, it’s fine. You want to mix the dry mix together. And then we’re gonna start
to add, oh and sugar, whoops. I forgot the sugar, sugar is important. – [Josh] Sugar is important. – We want that little bit
of sweetness in there. – No self respecting
cornbread live without it. – That’s right. Okay, so that’s that, and then we’re gonna start adding our wet
ingredients to the dry. It’s whole milk, eggs,
oil, and melted butter. Now we’ve found, yes I
agree, you can clap for that. We have found that adding
the, when you add cold milk and warm butter, the
butter can kind of seize. – Science. – I know right. So we’re gonna add the
eggs, the milk, and the oil, and mix that all in
first to get incorporate. And that kind of takes the temperature, the edge off the temperature and then we put the butter in at the end. So you want to make sure that you do that just because that’s a little chef tip. – You need me to warm
up the better for you? – No it’s melted, it’s
the magic of television. – Little pastry chef tip there. – So I’m gonna put these eggs in. Like look how easy this
is to put together. You also realize something super, when we do this in the restaurant we do a 22 quart batch,
but we do it the same way. We don’t use a mixer, we use our hands. – So this is pretty chef intuitive stuff. And you were a pastry chef. – [Christine] I was,
back in my other life. – [Kyle] Back and your
other life at Blackbird. Any of you heard of Blackbird? It’s a Chicago restaurant. – [Christine] It’s a
very fancy restaurant. – [Kyle] Super dope. – [Christine] It’s super
dope, like Kyle said. It’s been open for a really long time. And it’s got a really good reputation, and I did pastry there. – [Kyle] The Exec Chef
at Blackbird, and Avac, and a number of Publican,
Paul Aubuchon just literally confirmed with me the
other day for this series. – [Christine] Oh, that be great. That’s my former employee. – Paul’s super cool, and
he has a new cookbook out. So you’ll be able to have him sign it. And he’ll do recipes from the cookbook. – So you guys see that? It’s kind of like nicely emulsified. And then I’m gonna just put
the butter in over the top. And Josh, you want to
pull up that cast iron? Okay so let’s talk about safety. So we have had this cast iron pan in the oven for an hour and a half. – It’s open behind you. – So what does that mean? It’s a very hot.
– Screaming. – So please, like life
changing hot, like that’s hot. So don’t touch it. – You could brand a cow with that pan. – You could do a lotta. – Do you wanna spray this? – Yes, we call it life
changing hot in the restaurant. – This is a very well seasoned pan though, so thank you Chef Cherek. I got this from college. – Kyle can you put that in
my bin for me, my dirty bin? – Anything for you. – Okay, we’re gonna spray it
pretty well with Pam spray because we really really
really don’t want it to stick. We want it to kind of come out in one. – There were three reallies. – Three really really, yeah
be generous with a Pam spray. And then I’m gonna put this, since it’s been heating so long. How does the oven feel, hot? – Yeah, it’s good. – It’ll start to immediately lift. – Quality things here
at the Madison County. – As soon as you pour it in
the pan it starts to bake, which gives it that nice, we
put a little baking powder in it but it’ll give it a nice lift. It’s like I can already see
the batter starting to go. – Yeah, and caramelizes
almost immediately. – And that’s how you get the nice crust. So Josh is gonna put that in the oven. – Cool, hot. – ‘Cause cornbread without
that crispy is not fun to. – It’s not as good. – We’re gonna keep an eye on that – We did that first
because we want to show you how you can multi-task in the kitchen. And we want that to be done baking by the time our fried chicken’s done. – True, so one other thing we’re gonna get started right away
is our candied jalapenos. – Thank you. – So, this is a Fresno, and
this is a green jalapeno. But I like the color of both, so we used both at the restaurant. We tried it really minimize
waste at Honey Butter. So, we came up with this
candied jalapeno mayonnaise, which was kind of the great
combination of spicy and sweet. And I’ll tell you first how we candy them, it’s incredibly simple. We take the stems off,
you don’t have to actually because you could take them off later. But it’ll just make our
lives a little easier. If you don’t want it to be as spicy you could take the seeds out. But I’m just gonna take
this whole jalapeno, drop it into some simple syrup. So this is just sugar
and water, equal parts, brought up to temperature to simmer. And we’re gonna let these
peppers just simmer in that until they’re really kind
of shriveled, and soft. – You gonna turn on it? – It’s on, I have I’d going. – Oh, I can’t see it. – Well, it’s not like
bubbling but it’s on. – That’s the, yeah that’s that one. – There we go, got it. So we’re gonna let that
simmer until they’re really kind of wrinkly, and
soft, and ready to go. What’s cool about it is
the peppers then will buzz into mayonnaise to make our
candied jalapeno mayonnaise. The syrup will now be spicy
simple syrup, jalapeno flavored. We actually make use that to make candied jalapeno margaritas at
Honey Butter Fried Chicken. – Hey now. – Those are delicious. – Something that we didn’t
really touch on in our conversation is one of
our other philosophies in the restaurant is, not
waste, not wasting things. Food is obviously, there’s
a cost to everything. But also just from an ethical standpoint of not putting food in the garbage. So we really do try to be
super creative with how we use. Like the bones from the
chickens that we butcher, we turn them into stock,
we run them for schmaltz. And really trying to use the syrup from the candied jalapenos. We have, one of the cool things that we do also is when we dredge the chicken, we have the flower that
you dredge the chicken in, that has clumps of butter milk in it. And normally you would
just throw that out. We add a little extra buttermilk, kind of break it up into
little pieces and fry it off. And so we have these
chicken crust crunches. They’re not chicken.
– That would be so good. – We don’t want to throw all
this flour, it’s such a waste. So now we have these little crunchies, and we put them on everything. – Sure, one of my favorite
chef learning moments was, well now a longtime buddy
of mine, but he’s a chef. And their partners, a restaurateur
tour, but he’s a chef. And he said I walked through the kitchen. And there might be the butt
end of a loaf of bread, we’re not gonna use the for anything. But I would rather put
some peanut butter on it, and eat it myself, even if I’m not hungry, then throw it into the garbage. – Totally, so should we
make some fried chicken? – Yeah, do want to do the brine, do me you want me to do the brine? – Yeah brine, you want
to talk about the brine? – Yeah, so we touched on
that a little bit earlier about talking about how to
get the chicken super juicy, especially since we take the bone out. And we found that brine is
the best way to do that. So brine has like a salt,
sugar solution that we soak our chicken in for up to
a couple days, honestly. – Yeah usually it’s 24 hours. – 24 hours is ideal, but wen can go a little longer ’cause we do huge baskets. – Yeah, and we can adjust
the concentration too. – But the recipe that we gave
you is pretty standard for a chicken, or two chickens,
and you do 24 hours. – What poundage do you use?
– Does it say 24 hours? – I think it’s 18 to 24 hours. – What pound– – Usually three to three and a half. Depending on what time of
year and what’s happening. Yeah go for it. – So you want to talk them
through it while I do it? – Normally we do heat
this up because you want the salt and the sugar to dissolve. And then of course you cool it down before you add the pieces of chicken to it. We’re just going to show
you how we would mix it, and then we’ll, through
the magic of demos here. – [Kyle] Right, the time warp. – Go right through it
but we have water first, and then we have some salt and some sugar. And the ratio should be in your recipe. – [Christine] It’s about one to one. – [Kyle] So what kind of,
because salt can change a lot based on what you use, so do you use? – We use Diamond Crystal Kosher. – Okay cool. – I mean it really doesn’t
matter so much what you use. We like that salt, it feels
good to us in terms of, honestly in terms of how it
feels when we’re grabbing it. – No totally. – And how it tastes, and
it’s a little bit less dense than some of their competitors. But the real important thing is just use the same one across the
board, get used to one salt. And then that way you are
adjusting based on that one. – There’s a lot of chef
wars with Diamond Crystal versus Morton’s, a lot of chef wars. – I might be a Morton’s
guy, but I know exactly what a teaspoon is in my hand,
and so now I’m screwed. Like I can never change. – It’s too hard. I remember like we are Diamond
Crystal people, no judgment. – No we can still be friends. – We’re friends across the isle. (laughing) But I remember going into, we do a lot of stuff
with our friends who own a brewery called Half
Acre, Half Acre Beer. – Sure, their Daisy Cutter was on my, when I drank, I drank a lot of it. – It’s delicious, me too. (laughing) That’s another interview. We do a lot of cool events for them, and so we’ll cook in
their kitchen sometimes. And I remember the first time we did it. We’re like what is this salt, it’s not? It’s hard hearted but you
know, they’re all different. – One cool the about a brine
is you can add all kinds of flavors to it, so at Honey Butter we do a little lemon peel and chili flake. And it just gives a little flavor to the chicken or whatever the meat is. You could do thyme, you could do any herb. And we do brines at Sunday
Dinner Club for our pork sometimes, and we love
orange with pork, and chili. – What’s that?
– Chili flakes. – Chili flake, okay. – So again, normally we would
heat this up, and let it all dissolve, I mean if you
really have a strong whisk. – [Christine] So the water
is also room temperature. And it looks actually pretty dissolved right now, which is great. – So the next step is to get
your chicken, and I’ll just. I don’t have you guys can see above. Can you see this chicken
over here on the stove? I’ll talk about how we cut our chicken. – [Kyle] Where do you get your birds? – They’re Millers Thomas
Chickens from Indiana. So they’re cage free, antibiotic free, humanely raised chickens. I mean part of our thing– – [Kyle] That is actually
a damn fine good chicken. – With sometimes go
through 300 chickens a day. We always are trying to choose the best product for our operation, we always, a lot of our vegetables,
a lot of our ingredients come from our farmers in the region. And we try to go through a
list of what’s important to us, and certainly making sure
that the quality is there. With things like meat we
really want antibiotic free. We’d like the animals to
have a reasonable existence. And at Sunday Dinner Club
we have the luxury of using a pasture raised bird from a
farmer that we directly know. But in the quantities that we’re doing it, we have to find chicken
that is consistently sized, and is readily widely– – [Kyle] Because your
margins are dependent upon it to support those 60 people
and everything else. – I mean the chicken that we’re using is many times more expensive than the commodity chicken
you’d get it at Popeyes. – What? – I don’t know, I’ve never
been there, you okay? – [Kyle] I don’t think
you shocked anybody Josh. – [Christine] Judgment free zone. – [Kyle] I don’t think that
was a provocative statement. – Besides the corn muffin the hardest thing that we had to do,
and the most time consuming, and most challenging was
picking a chicken source. We worked on it for a long time. It’s just really important
to us, it’s the main thing that we sell, and these were animals. And we want to respect
that, so it’s important. – Again it’s the last word in the name. – That’s right, it’s last word. – So we have the pieces of chicken that we bread, and fry at Honey Butter are the breast, the thigh, and the drum. The wings we do a little
bit different preparation. We do them with a little cornstarch, and then put a glaze
on them and then again, the bones become our stock,
so we do use everything. But what we do is we do a cut
that has, gives us two thighs. And the skin is missing from these thighs. We do leave the skin on, but it’ll be just fine for this purposes. These are the thighs, I’m gonna
drop those into the brine. – The brine actually
did dissolve, which is. We planned it that way. (audience laughing) – These are the drumsticks. And then these are the
breasts, we split the breasts. I’m getting a face full of
heat here if I don’t step over. The breast we actually split in half, just to kind of make them
a little more efficiently. And we also do this cool thing, I don’t know if you can see this but we give a little slit to kind
of just gently butterfly. It helps get the brine in there, and it also helps the chicken cook evenly. And again our challenge is we might drop 100 pieces of chicken in
a fryer and we need to make sure that they all
get done pretty quickly. If you’re at home you
don’t have to do this, but you really have to
control your temperature. And we’ll talk more
about that in a moment. – So this part can’t be underscored, because getting that many
pieces of chicken in this case, or you know if you’re frying
french fries at Lambeau, or whatever, getting that number of things to cross the finish line at the same time, the same quality is
something that’s overlooked for most chefs, but if you
could just master that, it’s an incredible, you’re
at a different level. – I mean think about, if
I had, we literally have three fryers that could hold
up to 75 pieces of chicken, maybe more depending on
the size of the chicken. And if we put them all into the fryer I can’t lift the basket and have one piece that’s way overcooked, and one
piece it’s way undercooked. Having consistently sized
things go in the fryer is probably our most important
requirement for the chicken. – So as y’all can see with the brine too, it might seem like a big
batch of brine for a chicken. But we want to give it some room to sort of marinate in it for awhile. – Definitely. These containers are great
though, even for home cooks. Okay so chicken’s gonna sit in the brine. Through the magic of TV. – [Christine] I’ll put this chicken in the fridge so we can use it later. – We have our brined
chicken down here which I’m gonna leave in the
container for a moment while we get our chicken
dredge ready to go. So this is our secret, so
take notes on this one. We tried a million different
ways to do fried chicken. – [Kyle] Right here in
front of God and everyone. – Yeah we love simple, but
we also love there to be like some zippy flavors in there, so we– – Nine ingredients in this pan. – Honestly you can make
really good fried chicken with just salt and black pepper. So don’t be afraid if you
don’t have all these things. Just go for it anyway with what you got. But it starts with flour, so
this is just all purpose flour. – [Kyle] King Arthur,
or something like that? – [Josh] Yeah, we use King
Arthur at the restaurant. One trick is that we also add
a little bit of rice flour to it, rice flour gives
you a little crispier– – [Christine] Kind of like cornstarch, it just like crisps up the batter. – Yeah, it cooks a little
crispier and so we get the best of both worlds with the
wheat flour and the rice flour. And then we have all of
our spices, so before that a little baking powder, just a tiny bit, gives a little lightness to the crust. And then we have salt, we
like to season the batter. It’s funny, one of the things
we always tell our cooks is make sure everything tastes
good as you’re doing it. So when we mix our chicken flour, I don’t know if it’s a glamorous job, but we really do make them
take a taste of it to make sure that the chicken flour
itself actually tastes good. Which I know seems crazy
but, give it a little tiny taste and make sure it tastes good. – I mean here in Wisconsin,
the land of sausage, I know, well it is, I know
so many sausage makers that would always taste the
raw beef, pork, what have you, and that would tell them
about the entire batch. And then they might send it back and say I’m literally not making this today. But it was, you know,
they had to have that. – You gotta taste it. – Well the brine seasons
the chicken internally, but the best part about
fried chicken is the crust. So you want to make sure
that that is seasoned, and not just on the outside,
that it’s the flour itself is seasoned when it
adheres to the chicken. – So that was onion powder
I just put in there, a little garlic powder, and
then we have our cayenne pepper, just a pinch, give a little heat to it, and then lots of black pepper. We love black pepper in fried chicken. So you can see that’s some
fresh cracked black pepper. And then the last ingredient in here, and then we’re also
gonna put on the outside of the chicken, is our smoked paprika. This is actually a Spanish
spice it’s called pimenton. – [Kyle] Oh really, I’m a Hungarian. – [Christine] Did our
friendship just get ruined? – [Kyle] Well it’s kind
of a, we’re on the ropes. (all laughing) – [Christine] We’ll win him back with the honey butter, I promise. – Yeah we’ll see what
happens, you can definitely use Hungarian, you can
do whatever you want. – Well I know I can, but I’m just yeah. So what do you guys use? So how long did it take to R and D this? – Awhile, I mean we did
this dinner every year for several years at Sunday Dinner Club, and every year I would shift a little bit. It probably took us three or four years to arrive at this technique. It was always like not crunchy enough, and then we tried adding the
rice flour and that helped. It wasn’t flavorful enough,
so we started adding different spice combinations,
and we kind of got where were like oh wow,
that’s delicious chicken. And that kind of got set,
and then of course once the honey butter gets on there
it’s a whole new ball game. – It’s all over, yeah. – One of the reasons for the
smoked paprika is we’ve found that it goes really well
with the honey butter. There’s something about
a sweet salty butter and the smokiness of the paprika that just sort of works well, you’ll see. – So in cooking there’s
no new ideas right. I mean we’re all just
taking, you know I mean, from the first time
that humankind basically had a raw meat fall into
the fire and caramelized and they went oh that’s
good, that’s really good. – We’ve just been ripping ever since then. – No it’s true. So was there any, not that
you necessarily started with, but was there any fried chicken
recipe where you’re like, wow Keller’s Ad Hoc fried chicken. – Keller’s Ad Hoc fried chicken. – Was it really, was it really, yeah. – Good call, (chuckles) hugely inspiring. – I’ve made it, and it’s delicious. And he’s such a tactician,
but it’s also like worth every ounce of time and energy. – And we did, we cooked a
million different recipes. His recipe was amazing, he
does a double coat on it. But his spice mix is
great, and it’s definitely similar to ours, it’s not the same. It’s amazing fried chicken,
and obviously he’s the master. – So quick side story, when he
was coming through Milwaukee, second or third year that we
were filming Wisconsin Foodie, and Paul Bartolotta’s a buddy of his, and he’s doing a book tour. And I’m standing in the
kitchen of Lake Park Bistro, their French restaurant where he’s gonna do a thing, next to their big fryer. And at the time the sous chef there was a buddy that I went to high
school with, lost track of. And his name was Brian, and
he’s opining about all of the steps it takes for this fried
chicken, kind of vociferously. And Keller is hanging around
the corner listening to this. – [Christine] Yikes. – And then he comes around the corner, Brian’s like chef, and I’m like chef. And he’s like how you doing? – [Josh] That’s really funny. – You guys seen Paul? – His recipe is definitely
in the DNA of our recipe. So thank you Thomas, thank you Thomas. – His Ad Hoc cookbook is the
only one I can cook from. But it’s fantastic, yeah. – So we got our mix,
we got our butter milk. This is just straight
buttermilk, and obviously we have the chicken
already from the brine. So I’m gonna take the
chicken out of the brine. And we’re gonna go into the buttermilk, and we’re gonna talk about battering. Kyle I’m gonna drop this down here, you don’t want any chicken juices. So a couple key things when you’re working with fried chicken, or battering anything it really helps to mentally prepare. And you want to think
about wet hand, dry hand. Okay it’s like a Mr.
Miagi kind of situation. – Don’t cross them, don’t cross them. – As best you can, you’re
not gonna be perfect. – [Kyle] So that’s a Ghost Busters, we have two movies going. – Don’t cross the streams. – We have Karate Kid and
Ghost Busters, okay right. – Josh and I are both
children of the 80’s so. – The dry hand ges a little
wet, and then you go back in the dry it’s gonna start to get clumpy, and messy, and sticky, and
it’s just gonna slow you down. You have to switch out of
your glove or wash your hands. So we really try to stay
mentally prepared for that. It’s actually harder than
it seems, I know it’s– – I was gonna say how many times has this backfired with people you were training? – Often when I’m doing
a demo it backfires. All right so, take the
chicken out of the brine, and then we’re gonna actually
go right into the buttermilk. We’ll usually do several pieces. And again, some days we batter 2500 pieces of chicken, so we try to move fast. – [Kyle] So what’d you do today? – When Josh and I opened our restaurant, I know we mentioned it before,
but we really did think that we were gonna serve 100 people a day, and that Josh and I would
work in the kitchen every day, and we’d butcher all
the chicken, and fry it, and clean up the kitchen and go home. Then the first day, 1000 people show up and we’re like we’re gonna have to hire. – We spent the whole night butchering. – Hire some more people right away. And now we do sometimes 2500 pieces. – Yeah it’s crazy. All right so chicken and buttermilk, want to make sure it fully gets coated. – Wet hand. – Wet hand is on the left
here, this is my dry hand. And then I’m gonna take
the piece of chicken, place it into the flour,
I’m gonna do a couple pieces at the same time, actually we’ll do both the drums so we stay nice and even. – So as an anecdote of how
beloved the fried chicken, Honey Butter Fried Chicken is, my brother had a work colleague that
would say that his low Honey Butter Fried Chicken
light would come on about every eight days,
and if he didn’t go back and have more he would lose
any superpowers he may have. – [Josh] We’re very lucky,
we have a lot of very passionate folks about the fried chicken. So as you saw me batter,
I’ll do the next one so you can see, but I’m
really kind of pressing to make sure that we get
every nook and cranny. And honestly getting a little
bit of moisture into this mix is good, because you start
to get those kind of like, craglies we call them
of flour and buttermilk. – It’s a technical term
in the culinary world. – So I start by sprinkling
over the wet part, because again if I just
reach down and touch that, my dry hand is gonna get wet,
so I start by sprinkling over. And then I just start really flipping, and rolling, and pressing. There’s a million ways to do
this, people do it in a bag. The idea is all the same, you’re trying to just make sure it’s well coated. And if you were doing a double
batter, which some chefs do, we would now go back into the buttermilk, and then back into the
flour, you’d have a really– – [Kyle] And that’s
just bananas by the way. – I think it’s a little too much, yeah. – I’ve tried that and I
actually didn’t like it as much. But I was like that’s, now
we’re just going too far. How many, in the early days,
how many nights did you go home and fall asleep and
dream of battering chicken? – [Josh] We still dream
about battering chicken. – [Kyle] You close your eyes
and all you see is chicken. – I did a lot of the,
sense my pastry skills were put to use, tested
really when we opened. I had dreams about muffins,
muffin burning dreams. Which is why I probably, you guys see me keeping going to check? Another thing that’s
really great about being, having a business partner co-chef is that Josh can batter chicken while I can check. It’s also nice to have solo cooking time. It’s like a very soulful experience, but it’s also good to cook with a friend. – You can’t be in two places at once. – That’s right. – And we also have, we
probably have a full time person who just makes our
corn muffins, I mean it’s– – We have several full time
people that are doing that. I did want to let you guys
know that I did rotate the pan, because I want to make sure
that there’s even browning, and it’s getting pretty close. I’ll keep checking on that, and then when it’s done I’ll let you know. – So I don’t know if you can
still see this chicken flower. If you look now in here you see what we, these little crunches,
like these little bits if we fry them are delicious. It’s a dangerous thing to have buckets of this around our restaurant. Been trying to go to
the gym a little more. – [Kyle] It’s the pork rind of the chicken world, basically yeah. – So we got our battered chicken, the next step is to fry it. I’m gonna take off the
one glove, I’ll keep my glove that’s been
touching the flour there. – So a child of the 80’s, kind of a Michael Jackson thing now. – Thank you yeah, I appreciate that. – Absolutely, I mean he got weird but there were some great songs. We all think it, we all love the music, we just can’t get behind some other stuff. – So frying chicken is
not as scary as it seems. You definitely can do this at home in a shallower pan, like a cast iron pan. – That’s how we started. – Yeah, these little things are wonderful. And obviously this is a
great one that we got here. But this just controls the heat for us. But the biggest thing is to
control your temperature. A lot of you will fry chicken
at home and be frustrated because it looks beautiful and
crispy and then you go inside and cut it open, and it’s basically raw. – I’ve played that game and lost. – So the reason why
that happens is because you’re frying it too
high of a temperature. Normally we’re taught to
fry you know french fries or something like that at a high temp. You’re trying to get it crispy fast. But with chicken, it’s chicken. If you think about
cooking a piece of chicken you can’t do it medium rare,
you have to cook it completely. So controlling your temp is
the most important part of it. At the restaurant we fry
at about 320 degrees. So that seems low, but we’re
putting a lot of chicken into our fryers and then
you also need to factor the fryer has to recover,
which means when you put the piece of cold chicken in
the oil temperature drops, it needs to come back, if it drops to 250 you’re gonna a very greasy chicken. – Especially if you’re not using a professional piece of equipment. If you’re using cast iron pan you really want to regulate the oil. – Think of it as like a
different style of sous-vide. – Totally, you’re right,
you’re trying to draw it out. Let it go, get the cooking done, but make sure the crust
is beautifully golden. So I mean we do keep it to,
it was a little crazy at first to make sure that we could
fry 1000 species of chicken. And like the nightmare
is somebody cutting open a piece of chicken and having
it not be fully cooked. – [Christine] Let’s not go to that place. – Yeah, so we spent a lot of time figuring out how to avoid that. – [Kyle] Still a trigger. – [Christine] Very traumatic. – [Josh] I’m gonna grab
my piece of chicken, I’m gonna place it in the fryer. When you put a piece of food into a fryer, we like to be very gentle and focused. Don’t be doing anything
else at this moment. And I’m gonna place it in there, I’m gonna let it drop away from me. So if it splashes it’s gonna splash that way as opposed towards me. – So I can’t tell you, I’ve
been in a lot of kitchens with cameras documenting
the Wisconsin Fish Fry. And there are basically two
types of people in this world. There are people that seek
death and pain when making fish. And there are people that
follow Josh’s approach. – [Josh] You gotta be careful. – It’s one of those
things that you just like develop a sense for when
you been in enough kitchens. That I’ll inherently
know what kind of chef or cook I’m standing near, and be able to subconsciously step
back away from the fryer. And it just started happening. – You want to get closer? – Yeah no, I’m comfortable
with you, but it just started happening around
the fourth or fifth year of being in this career, ’cause I’m like okay you’re a psycho and
I’m gonna be over here. – Remember that we talked
about life changing hot. That’ll change your life,
but in a bad, real bad way. – Or if you weren’t hugged enough by your mother and we can fry together. – You don’t want that change. – So one note guys, I actually,
I don’t have you noticed but I waited about a minute or so before I put these breast pieces in. They don’t have the bone in them, so they’re gonna cook
faster than the drumstick. The drums will probably take 12 to 14 minutes, they’re pretty big. The breast will cook
faster, although it’ll probably still be 10 minutes at least. – [Christine] I’m gonna pull this Josh. – You’re gonna put it? – I think so.
– That’s fine. – Oh it’s pretty, pretty. – Put that down for the cameras. – Ooh, look at that. – Right there, can you get a shot of this? Come on, yeah. (audience applauding) – Notice that I– – If we cut it, will the juices run clear? – Yes, it’s done. So a little trick too, I cook with a lot of cast iron at home. And I know when I pull
something on the oven, I’ve definitely done this
before, where I walk away, I’m listening to music,
and go like, don’t do that. So I leave the towel on the
pan, that’s a little tip. – Right there on my thumb. – There it is.
– Right there. – Oh right, you can see it. – Yeah, that’s the spot. – Don’t do that. – So this is a this is a battle between my wife and I, who now
we cook more equally, she used to do most of the cooking. And we’re both America Test Kitchen geeks. We love that show. And she was always relying on towels. And I was like I love your
hands, I’m gonna put an expensive thing on it eventually, this
is while we were dating. So can we talk about silicone oven mitts? And she was like my towels are fine. So this was almost, well
it was a point of tension, where I sat her down and
made her watch the episode where they tested everything from like a couple of napkins to
towels, blah blah blah. And silicone oven mitts
people, silicone oven mitts, that’s all I’m saying.
– Towel. (audience laughing) Our friendship is deteriorating,
I don’t want to know. – We’re learning a lot. – We’re like creatures of habit, so chefs, we’re just very towel oriented. But yeah the silicone mitts are great. You’re not gonna hurt yourself. And they probably won’t melt or burn. – So couple quick things before
we move on to the next dish. I just checked the peppers,
they’re getting close. I think we’ll do that after the slaw? – Yeah, I’m gonna make the honey butter. – Cool, but the chicken,
I’m telling you guys. Just listen to it, it’s kind of like– – [Christine] Like it’s singing. – It’s not super crazy,
it’s not not bubbling. It just sounds just right. I gave it a little shake
just to kind of make sure that they’re not sticking together. So far it looks pretty
beautiful, nice and blond still. Like if it was really dark at
this point I’d be concerned that the temperature is too high. Having a really good meat thermometer, this is a great one that seems. But something that’s really
instant read and powerful. I can definitely tell
you that investing in a really high quality meat thermometer is a great thing for your
kitchen, and we actually have them all over our restaurants because we want to be
able to take the temp. And I can also take the
temperature of the oil. – And they’ve come down a lot. It used to be they’re quite expensive. Bought one as a gift, my
brother has an outdoor, anyway it doesn’t matter, but
he can be literally outside, or inside his cottage while
he’s got a smoker or a fryer, at 60 feet away, and it’ll
read the temperature. – That’s amazing.
– It’s really cool. – I don’t want to just keep
like tooting Vollrath’s horn but this fryer that I
just put the cold chicken in just recovered, and it is exactly 320 degrees and holding, so I’m impressed. – [Kyle] Well done, nice. – I just checked the
temperature of the oil, I’m not even gonna start
temping the chicken yet, ’cause I know it’s not
done, we’ll get there. In probably about seven, eight minutes we’ll start checking the temperature. – Something our cooks always ask us, especially our younger
cooks, how long does it take? And we’re like it’s done when
it’s done, but generally– – [Kyle] And generally a little longer. – And generally longer is also true. In general I would say
like 10 to 16 minutes is a good range, but you can’t
rely on that with chicken. ‘Cause you gotta temp it ’cause you don’t want to have raw chicken. – All right let’s talk about honey butter. So honey butter we– – The first word. – The first words, we are
super lucky and grateful that we source both our
butter and our honey from farmers in Wisconsin,
so thank you very much. – Whoo! (audience applauding) – Honey from Gene at Gentle Breeze here. – Which some of y’all might know. – At the Madison Farmers Market. – And then we get our
butter from Nordic Creamery. So what used to happen
is they would each bring the butter down, and the honey down. Gene would come with these
700 pound things of honey, and he’s the strongest man
we know, and bring the honey. And then they would deliver
the Nordic Creamery butter and then we would in the mixer. We actually had one full time employee that made all the butter,
that’s all she did because we were going
through so much of it. And I don’t know if you know
this, but Nordic Creamery and Gentle Breeze are
pretty close to each other. And so we all got to talking one day. And I know Nordic Creamery
is like, well why doesn’t Gene just bring the honey
to us and we’ll mix it in our industrial mixers, and then
delivery your honey butter? – [Kyle] Oh cool. – Five years it took
us to figure that out. So now our our actual honey butter is made at Nordic Creamery. – In Wisconsin.
– In Wisconsin. (audience cheering) – Which is why it’s so good. – [Josh] I agree. – Okay so it starts with butter,
and we pre tempered this. I’m using a glove just ’cause I– – Salted or unsalted? – Unsalted because we
want to add our own salt. Honey is sweet, obviously, but it changes. So you want to be able
to adjust as needed. – Because it’s an organic product that responds to the environment– – What, that’s crazy. Okay, so it starts with butter. And I’m gonna turn our mixer on low first. And I want to get this going
because it takes a while, because we want to whip
a lot of air into it so it becomes light and
fluffy, so then when you spread it on the chicken,
it just goes like this. We like the airiness of it,
so we actually whip it for, well they do now, but
we whip it for a really long time before adding the honey. – A bunch you haven’t been, it’s akin to a really great French
or a Swiss chocolate, and the way that it melts on your palate when it just gets to
that basically body temp. And it just, like there’s
nothing you can do about it, it just falls apart perfectly. That’s what this honey butter
does on top of the chicken. – I’m gonna go up to speed three. You can do this by hand, but if you have a mixer I would recommend, yeah. So that’s how we just
whip it until it becomes this light pale, almost icing color. And then we’ll start to add
the honey, and we’ll have salt, and then we’ll let it go a little longer. And that’ll be, we’ll taste it because that’s important, and then we’ll be done. – It’d be a real shame if we didn’t have any samples for you right? – Can you guys hear us?
– I’m sure we will. – [Kyle] Don’t worry. – [Christine] Can you hear
us over all the machinery? Okay, I can’t. – I am gonna take the
temperature of the chicken now, legally, by sanitation expectations the chicken needs to be
at least 165 degrees. One of the nice things
about brining it is that, even if it gets to 185, even 195, it’s still gonna be really nice and juicy. So don’t stress too much about that. I am gonna take the temp,
you want to try to get into the flesh of the chicken
in a really thick spot. You don’t want to be near the bone because the bone temperature could
be a little different. – That looks really good Josh. – Yeah it does, the color looks great. – The bone will retain temperature longer. – And actually it’ll keep carrying over. It says 147 now, if I took
it out it probably actually would end up somewhere 155, 160. – I was gonna say, it’ll rise. – The breast, I’m gonna take the temp, it might be a little bit more. Yeah the breast is a little smaller, it doesn’t have the bone in it. Actually it’s 130 right
now, so we got a little ways to go on that, that’s great
we’re drawing out the cooking. Probably another couple minutes on that. And how are we doing on time, do we? – We’re good, we’re good. – You wanna make the slaw real quick? – [Josh] Yeah, the slaw. – You can do the slaw and then
we’ll, and then we’ll sample. – [Josh] The mayo or the slaw, slaw? – Slaw?
– I’ll do the mayo. – [Christine] Should we take a vote? – [Josh] Let’s do the mayo. – [Kyle] You guys want to arm wrestle? – All right so Christine, maybe we should, well I don’t think they
can see back there. I’ll take a look at these peppers, and we’ll talk about it from there. So peppers are nice and soft,
there’s still very spicy but they have a nice sweetness to them. – Do you want to just make it by hand, or do you want to put it in the blender? – That’s a good question. I guess I could just chop it by hand. – I think we could probably
fit this over, let’s see. – [Josh] Is there a plug
on the end over there? – Yeah, let me see if I can
just get the cord to reach. I feel a magic, the chi
of the demo is with us. – So I’m gonna take a
little bit of the green, and a little bit of the red and again, just depends on the
quantity of mayo you have. Are you good? – [Kyle] We’re golden. – Great. So I got some red and some
green jalapenos here, candied. Don’t do this at home, don’t walk around with a spoon full of peppers. (Christine laughing) We’re gonna drop this into the
food processor, mayonnaise. – I took if out for you
Josh, sorry too efficient. – You’re good. – So because you’re both chefs, of course you make your own mayo? – We do at Sunday Dinner Club,
at Honey Butter we don’t. Because just again the volume
we’re going through is insane. So we do when we’re
doing our small dinners, but not at Honey Butter. We make our own flavored mayonnaise, we buy the base mayo, Hellmann’s. – [Kyle] Hellman’s? – Yeah you know. – [Audience] Yay. – So mayo goes in with
that, and we’re literally just gonna buzz, and
then we’re gonna season and taste with salt and pepper. And this condiment, the
candied jalapeno mayo is amazing on pork, it’s
amazing on fried chicken, it’s amazing on fish, so don’t be afraid to use it in different ways. Throw this thing on top, hopefully we’ll figure out how to work it. And we’re just gonna pulse. And one thing you want
to do when you’re using a food processor like
this, if you don’t know, is scrape down your
sides, just to make sure that it kind of evenly gets buzzed. And sometimes it’s actually easier to do a slightly bigger quantity
because you actually can get a little bit more volume in a
little bit more room to buzz. – So this is sadly, it’s okay,
Vollrath doesn’t make these. This is somebody else.
– Definitely not Vollrath. – But what’s the difference between a Cuisinart and a Robot Coupe? – Robot Coupe’s just a
brand, are you asking me? – No, I’m asking anybody in the audience. – Let’s let them answer,
does anybody know? – It’s the same thing. An American entrepreneur
was over in France, discovered Robot Coupes,
bought the rights to bring it to America, launched in 1974, was a very expensive
product, it was $375 when it first hit the market,
at the time in ’74. Slowly built up a following
because home cooks were like, wow this thing’s amazing. But it’s the same engine, it’s just– – I did not know that. – Changed the name. – You learn something new every day. – You gotta be a food historian, and read “The United States of Arugula”
to learn these things. – I appreciate that
little tidbit, thank you. – You’re welcome. – Okay, so candied jalapeno mayonnaise. I don’t know if you guys
can see this, oh you can. Okay I’ll hold it up for you though. Set that back there. So just like that, it’s sweet, it’s spicy. We would taste it, add a
little bit of salt to it. – You want me to do that? – Yeah let’s do a taste. Oh we have tasting spoons. – [Kyle] It’s a culinary school dude. – Okay, that’s fair, here’s the salt. Let me do a little salt in there. – Yeah it needs salt. – Does it need sweetness? – No it’s perfectly sweet, spicy. – If it needs sweetness
we can add a little bit of the candied jalapeno syrup
that’s now on the stove top. Good? – A little more salt. – A little more salt. – So most chefs will have, or
most restaurants will have, of course, the exec chef with a taste, and then probably a sous chef. There’s two levels of chef that taste at their restaurant, and
then maybe a sous, right? – I mean that could have
been the perfect moment where Josh seasoned it
once, and I tasted it and I was like perfect,
but it wasn’t perfect. So we’re gonna keep doing it
until we get it right, right? – Well we do encourage our
cooks to taste all day long. So they’re constantly tasting the food, which is, I know, a real burden to eat the mac and cheese like
100 times a day, but. – All right let’s check the chicken, and then let’s finish the butter. – One more temp on the
chicken, looks beautiful. – [Kyle] Yeah it really does,
it browned up beautifully. – Oh we’re so close 163, 165 whoo hoo. That’s there, we’re gonna let
it rest for just a second. – [Kyle] That’s the ball drop
at New Year’s Eve isn’t it? (audience laughing) – And the breast is perfect,
it’s hitting right over 165. So that looks great. We’re gonna let it rest,
let the excess oil drip off. You still be very careful, even though you’re excited to eat it. I’m gonna let it drain a little. We’re gonna dump it onto a
wire rack to let it rest. One of the things about fried chicken is you don’t necessarily want
to bite into it right away. We try to let it rest for a
few minutes before we give it to you, because if you
want the juices to settle. Just like any other piece of
meat you want to let it rest and kind of settle down,
it’s also insanely hot. So when it comes out of the fryer we do a couple things, we season it with salt. – [Kyle] It’s mouth changing hot. (laughing) – Oh good. – I mentioned the earlier
the smoked paprika. Kyle, you should come down here. – [Kyle] Yeah okay. – Come smell this. So the smoked paprika is sweet. It’s pimenton, Spanish paprika. We sprinkle it on and you can just smell it as it hits the chicken. – Yeah yeah. – It’s not spicy at all, it’s
got a sweet smokiness to it. It just kind of gives you
the aroma right when it hits. – The merits of paprika are like, you could write a whole book about it. – [Christine] Maybe you should. – It’s such a subtle, I
got other books to write. But it’s such a fantastic,
fantastic spice. – And we do a lot of Spanish
food at Sunday Dinner Club, so using pimenton is obviously
something we do often. All right honey butter. – Even though I’m Hungarian, I’m gonna give some room for this. – Thank you, I appreciate that. – So honey butter, this is
the second part of the honey. So I pre-measured– – [Kyle] So how many ingredients? – Three ingredients, well
honey, and butter, and salt. Look at that beautiful honey in there. Okay, so we’re gonna add the honey. And then I’m gonna re-whip it
with the honey in there, yeah. And then I’m just gonna sort of sprinkle the salt in while it’s moving. I didn’t just dump it in there because, I mean obviously it’s in a mixer. But I really do want to
get an even distribution. Sprinkle it in. I’m gonna do a little more salt please. – [Josh] A little more salt? – Yeah, I think so. At that point with making
honey butter for so long I can actually eyeball it and be like that maybe needs a little bit more. I’m honey butter expert at this point. Okay so we’re gonna do, again,
want to always scrape down, make sure that everything
is getting incorporated. Because, I mean I love butter, but I want to have honey in it and salt. – [Kyle] So I have a
question for you both? Since you’re in the chi
of the recipes right now. – The chi. – If you weren’t doing this, I don’t mean this demo, I mean this life, this craft, this hat, what would you be doing? – [Josh] That’s a really great question. – Somebody asked us this last
week, and we’re both like. I think I would be a farmer,
I think I would be a farmer. I think it’s in my blood. I just really like being
outside and growing things. And I really love farmers and farm land. And I probably would do that,
it’s harder than being a chef. – And you’re a dog person so. – Oh my God, I’m so obsessed with my dog. I love her so much, I wanted
to bring her with but I didn’t. – I also like the idea of farming
but I don’t know, I think. Like I said, I wanted to save
the world a long time ago. I like to argue, so I think– – That’s true, that’s a true statement. – An attorney whose like, an
anti-death penalty attorney, if that would be a cool thing to do. But I don’t know, I think about a lot, what would I do if this? I don’t know how this happened to me but I really do feel like I found the thing. I mean I love tea, and I
love food and it’s like such a great deal that
I wake up in the morning and get to be around food every day. – But you still get to argue. – I do. – And you still get to
have social justice, I mean not with us. Josh argues with a lot of
people in a very passionate, productive way about employees rights, employment practices, farming
practices, agriculture. So you still, you get to do it. – Well I mean so what you’re
doing, what you’re both doing. First of all the way that
you’re supporting your employees is a total anomaly, and
so that’s social justice. The fact that you feed
people with slow food, with healthy food, they
could they could literally drive to the place where
those things were grown, raised, rendered, harvested, you know. I mean if that isn’t social justice, I don’t really know
what social justice is. – [Josh] I appreciate that, thank you. So honey butter. – So I mean we’re gonna
taste it, since you got to. – You’ll get there, don’t worry. – I’m just gonna help
myself to a spoon here. (audience laughing) – So sweet salty, – Yum yum yum yum.
– buttery awesomeness. – [Josh] Should we just
visually put a little on the chicken while it’s hot so they can? – Oh my God. – I’m gonna give it like 30 more seconds. – [Josh] We should have Kyle
put some butter on that. – Yeah, we should have Kyle do it. Kyle, are you willing? – [Kyle] I’m willing. – It’s a small sacrifice. – It’s so simple it’s almost stupid how it’s the perfect balance. – Yeah. – But anything off, I mean
it’s like I’m gonna get poetic. It’s like looking at a painting, or hearing a great piece
of music or something, where if you took one tiny element out, or you put one extra in,
the whole thing would be off skew and just not as pleasurable. – Agreed, it’s the perfect
flavor combo, oh my God. Oh my God look at that. – You want to do it down here Christine? – Yeah, I want y’all to see this. – I’m doing a conversation
with Samin Nosrat in October. – I love her. – Tell her about Honey
Butter Fried Chicken. – [Kyle] I will, but I
mean, salt, fat, acid, heat. Like this is salt and fat,
and then we’ve got the sweet. – And the dairy they say
has a little acid in it. Look at that. – Wow. – [Christine] Beautiful. – [Josh] Grab one of those spoons. – [Kyle] I’ll do it. – [Josh] And so we tell people to butter the chicken like they’re buttering toast. So just get a nice little bit of butter, maybe on the back your
spoon kind of situation. Yep, and then just butter it. – Just butter, can I do a drummie? – [Josh] Do whatever you want,
yeah, you should go to town. I hope it’s good. And just like give it a
second, let’s watch it. – Yeah.
– Go a little more. – I was about to. – [Josh] So it turns out the
reason why we’re successful is because this looks
really good at Instagram. So when you open a restaurant, just make sure that
it’s a very photogenic. Butter melting and chicken
is a winning combination. – [Kyle] Are there are there any folks that go to Colectivo Coffee, in this room? – [Audience] Oh yeah. – So I just, myself and a
chef just did consulting and develop 40 new menu items for them. And the the first edict for
all the new menu items was we need them to be Instagram-able. – [Josh] Totally. – What a world, how things have changed. It’s not like, just
quintessentially delicious or, can’t get enough, people coming back. It’s like no, it’s gotta
look great on Instagram. – Although there is that show, what’s that show, David
Chang’s show, Ugly Delicious? – Ugly Delicious
– Ugly Delicious, yeah. – And that food is like. – Yeah, it’s great. – There’s a little subculture going on. So very Instagramable, our food. – Should we make a quick
kale slaw, and then? – Do it, do the kale slaw. – Okay so Christine, you want
to get those ingredients, and I’ll kind of take
care of the dressing. – I know the chicken was very
hot, but it was pretty much all the personal restraint
that I had not to just– – Take a bite. – Bite into that right now. – No I always feeling
the temp on my fingers. I’m gonna give it another
minute or two because I don’t, well I make my living with my mouth. So I’d rather just preserve that. – Josh if you need to– – I’m gonna do the dressing in a bowl. So why don’t I do the dressing first, and then we can bring it down to you. So guys this is a dressing
for our kale slaw. It’s called sweet tea vinaigrette. We have sweet tea at the restaurant, so it’s just tea with sugar in it. And then we like the idea of
making a vinaigrette out of it. So it’s kind of almost like
an Arnold Palmer vinaigrette, it’s got lemon and sweet
tea, and but then it has all this good stuff and you might want to find in a good vinaigrette. So for us it starts with that sweet tea. This is just sweet tea right here. We’re gonna pour that into a bowl. The tea tea and I dropped
into the buttermilk, so we’re gonna skip it. – We’re not gonna use that. – We also put a little pinch of actual black tea into the mix, into it but I don’t have you heard, but I
dropped it in the buttermilk. (audience laughing) So forget that. These are just some minced onions. We drop that into our vinaigrette. And what I do when we’re
making a vinaigrette is we let that kind of macerate. So just let the onions kind of hang out. But this is a little bit of– – [Kyle] Sherry? – It’s just, what does
it say in your thing rice vinegar, or white wine vinegar? Rice, what? Either is fine, so
whatever it says is fine. So a little vinegar, and we
let the onions just hang out with the onions, and kind
of infuse their flavor. I also like to add a little
bit of salt at this point. ‘Cause I like to season the base, and kind of let that hang out. So that might hang out
for 10 or 15 minutes. And then we’re gonna add a
little bit of mustard to it. – [Christine] Do you need a spatula? – [Josh] If you have one that’d be great. – [Christine] I have so many
from, thank you Vollrath. – Christine’s favorite
kitchen tool, the spatula. – [Kyle] It’s true. – [Christine] High heat
rubber, silicone spatula. That spatula is my favorite
spatula of all time. – [Josh] Minimizes your
waste so you can really get every last bit out of it, as best you can. – I’m so glad you’re
doing your vinaigrette. Our late friend Todd Moore taught me how to make a delicious vinaigrette. And the big takeaway from me was time. I understood how to build the flavor. But then just give it time. – [Christine] Well we
came from the same place. – You can put any kind of base flavor, put a little mashed
garlic, if you’re making, anchovy is wonderful as the base flavor. Get that all in there, I did add mustard. Mustard is an amazing emulsifier. It’ll kind of help the oil bind. And then I’m just gonna add oil. This should be grape seed
oil, a neutral oil is fine. If all you have is olive
oil that’s great too. But we’re really going
for the flavor of the tea, and then the acid from the vinegar will kind of help make it zingy. Get that oil in there, and
you could do a gentle stream or you can just kind of go nuts and whisk. You could also do this in the blender. And if you do it in the
Vitapress, it’ll probably stay together, I mean it’s
powerful enough that it’ll stay. If not just give it a whisk,
or put it in one of these containers and give it a shake
right before you need it. I’m gonna give it a quick taste. – What you shouldn’t do is
leave it in the vita-prep and then have your wife
think, I don’t know how, but that it was leftover pancake batter. (audience laughing) That happened in my life. – [Josh] That seems crazy. – And just as you were
using expletives when you first tasted the honey
butter fried chicken, she was using them in a different way. – So this will break, it’s
fine but then we just whisk it back together when we
need it, it tastes great. You want to try it Tine? – I trust you. – Okay, cool. – So the other last thing
that we’re gonna show y’all how to do before we start eating
is super important for our, we make a kale and cabbage slaw. We wanted to have a slaw
at the restaurant that was a little less traditional, but still a nod to like a traditional vinegar
slaw, so we add kale to ours. Kale is my favorite food,
surprisingly enough. – Do you have the T-shirt that says kale, it looks like a Yale, only it says Kale? – I don’t have that but I’ll take it if somebody wants to buy it for me. I love kale is, like I love it. And so we wanted to just
add that health to our slaw. But you kind of want to give it like that, you’ve heard of the massage, massaging kale, that’s like a thing now. – Totally. – But it’s super
important because it also, this is a raw dish, and like you want to break down the fibers a little bit so you can easily digest it I guess. It’s really better for you. – The simplest salad
you could make at home that’s good for you, your loved ones, your kids if you have
them, grandkid, neighbor, whatever you got is just
rip up kale, little bits, olive oil, salt, massage
it for two minutes. Take the stress of the
day out on the salad. – Now I’m just gonna
like, can you see this? – It’s fantastic. – You just want to like kind
of massage it a little bit. – So I forgot the lemon
guys in the dressing, but we can put it in right now. We get a little lemon juice, and then ideally a little bit of zest. – You know these guys, I mean they have a recipe
written down you’d think. – So if you don’t have
a zester you can also just kind of peel it with the knife. I just got a little bit of the lemon zest. And I’m gonna mince that up real quick. Because I don’t see a zester around here. A zester is great though,
and if you have one you could do the zest all that lemon in. But a little bit of this lemon will just be really nice in there. So you could peel it off with a peeler, and then chop it up really small. Let me get that in for
you, and then we’re also gonna put a little bit of lemon juice in. – [Kyle] So for all your home cooks, when you buy lemons please
please please buy organic. – Yes please. – They’re on the dirty dozen. The things that are used
in citrus to keep them looking like small squash balls instead of actually citrus, you just don’t want that in your system. Always buy organic. – Needs a little salt but it’s good. – It’s great. – A little bit of salt,
and then we’re good, – I’ll get you some salt. – He knows a guy. – You got a guy? – Yeah. – Okay, well that’s our food. – Yeah, thanks. (audience cheers and applauds) Christine, these guys,
she’s got a mouth full. (audience laughing) We like to put a little bit
of fruit on top of this salad. At the restaurant we use
dehydrated pomegranates or raspberries, currents
are wonderful too. So we have some dried currants. Just sprinkle that in, gives
is a little pop, and that’s it. – [Kyle] So while we, chefs finish up, while they finished essentially, and we’ve got samples coming out. We’re gonna have, we’re gonna open up for some questions and answers. So home oil, that’s a
barrier for home cooks. What you know what do
you do with the extra oil after you make this delicious recipe? – So a couple things, you
don’t need that much oil. You could actually fry
chicken in a cast-iron pan maybe a little bit higher side than that. – Holy God, by the way. – Thank you.
(Christine laughing) And you put the chicken
in it, you can flip it and really control your heat in the pan, and use a much smaller quantity of oil. But then also yes, let
it cool, strain it out. Use it several times you can use it to make fried chicken
again, or fry other things. You could just keep it kind
of on the back of the stove, or in a little special container. You can get many uses if
you really do strain well. – A little tip, oil goes rancid. So you want, if you’re
gonna hold it, strain it, cool it down, strain it really
well through cheesecloth or a coffee filter, and
then put it in a container that’s not clear, and then put it in a dark place and it’ll last a lot longer. Because if you put it in the
sunlight, can you all hear me? If you keep it on the counter,
and it has access to sunlight that’ll spoil the oil quickly and there’s stuff in it that will also spoil it. So keep it in like, you notice
like sometimes if you buy really nice olive oils
they come in a dark bottle? The reason is so the sunlight doesn’t expedite that spoilage, so great. – Yeah thank you, other questions. – [Audience] What was the process
like for opening up stands in the United Center and at Wrigley Field? – The United Center, yeah. – So the question is what was
the process for opening up stands in the United Center
and at Wrigley Fields. – So we’re really lucky
that I’m a huge Cubs fan. We, the last couple
years have been part of the Wrigley Field Chefs Series so we get to go down to Wrigley
and open the Honey Butter Fried Chicken booth there for
a couple weeks every summer. It’s an amazing experience,
and at the United Center we have, where the Bulls
and the Blackhawks play, we have a permanent booth
that’s in their concession area that were really
fortunate to have as well. The process of it was
that, we’re just lucky. They asked us about
it, we agreed to do it. And then we had to really work with them. Because they’re operating those booths. So we kind of have a
manager that helps oversee the quality, lots of
testing and thinking about our systems to make sure that
the quality is really good. – Who’s the big guy, is it
Delaware North, or who does that? – It’s Levy. – Levy, it’s Levy yeah. – So they’ve been a great partner. And it’s just a lot of
attention to making sure that our quality is good there. – Well our sous chef goes there. – Yeah, and our sous chef goes there. – And I think you’re
wrong because you said you were lucky, I think your
chicken is so damn righteous that that’s why you ended up there. – I appreciate that, thank you Kyle. – [Audience] Maybe you said this, but where are you located in Chicago? – The question is where are
they located in Chicago. In Chicago. – We are located in the lovely
neighborhood of Avondale, on the corner of Roscoe and Elston. So if you are coming to
Chicago from the Madison area you would take 90 in all the way, get off at Addison just like
you’re going to Wrigley Field and stop on our street before
you head on down to Wrigley. – We’re very close to the highway. And I know you’re all going
to Cubs games all the time so, we won’t talk about the
last one season of baseball. – Well speaking of Cubs fans though, Graham Elliot will be here in a couple of- – Oh right. – Yeah in a couple of demos,
and he’s a bananas Cubs fan. Which again, we can meet in the middle on that, cross the aisle. – Put some butter on that, Kyle. – [Kyle] Oh yeah. – Oh my God it’s really good. – I love that you’re
still, upteen years later, you’re like no it’s really good. – [Christine] It’s really good, yeah. – How is it everybody? (scattered applauding) – [Audience] So Christine
given your musical background, do you ever sing in your
kitchen, and can you sing for us? – Oh my God, wow oh my God I cannot. – Christine’s got a musical background. – Yeah, I’ll just leave her alone down there and eat some chicken with you. – Will she ever sing in the kitchen, and will she sing for us? – I just started to get my, you asked me that question and my heart started racing. And I started to have anxiety. I will occasionally sing like
to myself in the kitchen. And I had pretty bad stage
fright, which is probably one of the reasons why I don’t sing in public. I have no problem standing
in front of people and talking about food but if you meet me outside later I’ll sing for you privately. (all laughing) Is that fair, okay. – [Audience] How concerned
are you about knockoffs? – Question is how concerned are they. Excuse me my mouth is full
of delicious corn bread. How concerned are they about knockoffs? – I mean, oh you want to take that one? Josh is like ready to go. I’ll give you my opinion,
and then Josh can answer. I think it happens, and it has happened. And we sort of very early on
sort of protected ourselves legally with trademarks
and stuff like that. But listen, we can’t
trademark actually putting butter on chicken, like
it’s a, there are no, like an in culinary, like
we tend, I mean it’s just really difficult to be
like this is our recipe, and you can never do
that flavor combination. And people, we’ve started
to see it in major fast food chains, honey
butter fried chicken sandwich. We’re like what? But I think that I’m not
concerned about it because there’s room for a lot
of different things. And we just have to make sure
that we are doing it the best, and that we hold true to our ingredients, and the way that we serve it. I don’t think you can divorce
our food from our service, and so we just need to
be really good at it. I wish people wouldn’t do it, but– – It’s flattering right? – It’s flattering right? – It’s an interesting thing happening literally in the fried
chicken world because Nashville Hot Chicken has become a major trend in the last about two years. And there’s a lovely family,
and specifically a woman, I think her name is
Dolores but I’m not sure. Anyway, and not a big
operation in Nashville that had always been
doing this hot chicken. And it caught on, and the National Press gave it that name, and now
there’s copycats galore. And it’s this appropriation of a very straightforward, gorgeous recipe, but folks just jumping on that train. – [Christine] We purposely
didn’t do hot chicken. – And we have seen lots of
honey butter fried chicken popping up, I think Christine’s
totally correct that. Part of the reason we share
our recipes is because it’s one thing to make this for yourself, we totally encourage you to do it. It’s another thing to really, a restaurant is not just the recipe. So having the full
experience of Honey Butter is pretty unique, and I don’t
think even if someone stole everything we had, they’d be
able to recreate it exactly. We have seen, there was a place in Manila in the Philippines that opened
that was called HB Chicken. And their pictures looked
exactly like our fried chicken. And this woman who goes to the Philippines went to this place and said
it was someone her cousin knew who opened this place, and he had come to Honey Butter Fried
Chicken and basically went there and tried to copy it. But it’s kind of flattering right? – I mean when you’re raging in Manila. – I know right. Any other questions?
– Any other questions? – Yeah.
– Yes, in the back. – [Audience] Plant
proteins, a lot of people are thinking maybe we
better shift to that. And chicken is not worth the environmental impact, when the other stuff comes. But I wander if you think of that in terms of the trend, like where would you go? Have you thought about tastier chicken, laboratory chicken,
cauliflower, or anything? – So the question is plant protein, and there’s a lot of discussion about that and replacing some of
the proteins that are essentially detrimental
to the environment. There are currently more chickens on the planet than there are people. But its impact, as
compared to say, beef is– – Minimal. – Yeah, minimal, not even not even close. – But it’s still to be considered. – Where would you go with that? – Yeah I mean we, first
of all we do already offer alternatives with honey
butter fried chicken. So we have a non-GMO locally sourced tofu that is amazing honestly, we often just eat it instead of the chicken. And it gets the same seasoning
on it as our fried chicken, and it fries up really nice and crispy. And you can get that on our sandwiches, and you can get that in
baskets, and it’s delicious. And the great thing
about our flour is that in our seasoning, as it does fry a portobello mushroom amazingly well. I’m all for the plant based
burgers and things like that. I think we still lean towards
the stuff that is vegetarian but has been being done for millennia. I mean I think things like
tofu, or making our own sort of patty mixtures,
or frying vegetables. Rather than trying to
pretend it’s a chicken, come up with something else
that’s really delicious and has a similar flavor profile. You want to say any about that or? – I don’t know, I mean to
be totally transparent, I mostly, and Josh too I think, I mostly eat a plant based diet. I don’t actually eat a ton of meat. I don’t really eat a ton of fried chicken. I always tell people
it’s a sometimes food. We really purposefully
made our restaurant menu, obviously we have honey
butter fried chicken, but everything else around
it is very vegetable, produce nutritious, wholesome, healthy, colorful food to balance that out. So one of the reasons why
it’s super important to us to make a kale slaw and
serve it alongside of it. So you’re eating like a big pile of kale with a piece of fried chicken. So that’s sort of how we
address it, and live our lives. – Yes? – [Audience] So let’s say we
were driving down to Chicago, and we wanted to miss your lunch
rush, and your dinner rush. (audience laughing) – But it’s a really fun experience to stand in line, I promise you. – The question is, is
there an optimal time to come to Honey Butter Fried Chicken? – [Christine] Three o’clock. – Yeah, three or four in
the afternoon is generally. Saturday’s it can still be
busy, and Sundays at that time. But yeah it’s funny people
will show up at 7:30 and be like the lines too long,
I’m like yeah come at 4:30. But obviously when the
line is out the door we’ve worked very hard to have it move quickly and try to make it a
pleasant, joyful experience. So don’t turn away if
you see the line, please. – It’s true, it is part of, I don’t know. It looks like some of
the folks in the audience might remember standing
in line to get tickets for a concert before you could buy it on the computer that you keep in your hand. But that sort of group
experience, which is lost from so much of our lives
now, is something that you get at Honey Butter Fried Chicken, that you get it, what’s the
barbecue place in Austin that everybody gets excited about? – [Christine] Franklin. – Franklin Barbecue. – Used to be Hot Dog’s. – Yeah, used to be a
Hot Dog’s, I mean it’s ambivalent might be too strong
of a word for all the time, but I don’t, the times
that I’ve stood in line no one was there in a bad mood. Maybe they had a bad
day, but they were now in line to have some delicious chicken. – They were giving
themselves culinary flowers. So it’s kind of part of the experience. And I personally, even though I could text either of them and say
we’re here and I want to, can I come around and
get some chicken, maybe? I wouldn’t want to miss on that. – Thank you. – [Kyle] Any other questions? – We got one over there. (audience member speaks indistinguishably) – [Audience] So you were talking earlier about wages and tipping. I think that profit sharing is important. And I believe that eventually
when we turn over people. How do you weigh in, where
do you stand on that? – Okay so this is, that’s a long question for me to, but the question is about the I think the separation
between front of house and back of house, tipping
wages, and equalization there. And really how do you navigate
that as business owners in the current culinary climate? – I think it’s a struggle, but it’s not something that we’re afraid of. Really from the beginning,
we’ve really tried to bring the front of the house, and back of the house together. I have also been a server, and been afraid to talk to the cooks. We try to get the front of house people in the kitchen helping
with prep and stuff. And because they’re not relying on tips, they’re actually often happy to do that. Our kitchen kind of leads
right into the dining room, so our cooks and our front of the house staff have a lot of interaction. And they have to communicate a lot because they’re always talking
about how long the line is, and what things that are
happening in the front so that the cooks can be aware. And I think Christine and I kind of try to lead the charge on that. We’re both in the front and in
the back and try to demystify sort of the fear of the of
the mean kitchen people. The other thing is we don’t
hire it mean kitchen people. So they don’t exist at
our restaurant really. And if they do they tend to go quickly. But we really treat each
other as customers too. And that’s something we
teach our staff from day one. So there generally isn’t
that sort of strong divide. And I think not having the
tips makes a huge difference. Because a lot of cooks,
maybe rightly so sometimes, especially in big cities can see a server walk out with three, 400 dollars at the high end restaurants in Chicago. – [Kyle] Or more. – [Christine] Or more. – After an 18 hour day walked
out with 120 or something. I mean it’s something, just
the inequity of it is dramatic. So in our restaurant
that just doesn’t exist. They’re all being paid basically the same. And I think that helps them
kind of stay on the same team. – I have a quick question. So you have this wonderful
culture that you’ve talked about, and I believe it. I don’t know any of the
folks that work for you, but I would probably guess
that everything’s true. The culinary world is very demanding, the hours a very tough, time away, you’re working when
everybody else is playing, basically to make a broad statement. And the need to unwind at the end is often a very very strong drive,
chemical dependency is the light motif that
runs through this culture, going all the way back to Karem. So how does your culture
help to abate that? Or is it just you can never win? Or talk about that a little bit. Because I think it’s
something, especially for culinary students moving into that world that is not mentioned enough, but is a big big big part of the culture. – It’s a huge part of
the culture and it’s been a struggle for our whole careers. And I think that it
starts with me and Josh. And we really do try to
set a positive example. We don’t have like a drinking
culture in our restaurant, not to say that people
at our restaurant don’t that work for us, aren’t going
out and drinking regularly. But we don’t do it in our restaurant. So I think that helps,
and us providing benefits, health benefits or people can get physical care, mental health care. We are not afraid to talk
about that kind of stuff, I think being transparent, we tell our, I go to therapy, Josh goes to therapy. We actively talk about it and front of our staff like it’s not a big deal. – I do Pilates. – Josh goes to, I do yoga, Josh Pilates, and I go acupuncture and we talk about that stuff like it’s super important. It’s super disturbing how
much chemical dependency there is, and we really do
try to encourage people to find another way right to do it. But a huge struggle, and I think it starts with the employers putting
some boundaries in place about what’s allowed in
your restaurant, what’s not. Our staff members don’t stay after and just get like limitless
amounts of drinks. We don’t do that, and so
we’re just trying to set a positive example of being supportive and non-judgmental when it does come up. And not being afraid to have a conversation with them about it. – Cool, yeah yeah. Any other questions? Didn’t mean to bring it down. Just something that was deeply, deeply. – [Christine] It’s important. – [Kyle] It is important,
and it’s a discussion that doesn’t happen often enough. So I knew that you two
would have something to say. Yes sir? – [Audience] Do you have vegan
options at your restaurant? – Question is are there
vegan options at the– – We do, so there’s a couple things. First of all this slaw is vegan. We can do a barbecue tofu, fried tofu sandwich that we can do. Our mayonnaises have eggs
in them, although we have actually looked at options to change that. So that could potentially come someday. But we can do a barbecue tofu sandwich. And our tofu itself is
vegan, but then the question is which sauce, and our sauce
would be our barbecue sauce. – Yes sir? – [Audience] As
established culinary chefs, who are actually developing
the business now, what’s a typical day for you two? – So the question is now
that you’re established, 15 years in, 15 years
young, overnight success. – Yeah right. – What’s a typical day? – I mean it varies
dramatically day to day. If we have a Dinner Club Day, that means the dinner would start at 7:30 at night. I’m up very early, I have a baby, a one year old, so I’m up early with him. We usually generally don’t,
aren’t in the restaurant until nine or 10, nine
on Fridays we have our weekly huddle with the
staff and we go through all the financial information. My schedule is usually 10 to five or six, doing lots of like a
meeting with Christine to talk about whatever topics we have. Meeting with our operations
manager, meeting with our cooks. Then helping our sous chef
prep at Sunday Dinner Club. I try to get into the kitchen when I can. I love it, but it’s also
sometimes challenging. But it is a million decisions. It’s funny, I left teaching in the Bronx which was a very stressful job. And this is not at all
the same sort of magnitude of importance, but I feel like we are pulled in a lot of directions. We deal with HR stuff,
how to fund the business, I’m talking to investors,
while also talking to real estate people and
negotiating terms on things, and dealing with all these companies, delivery companies, and garbage companies. So there’s just a lot of things to handle. Yeah go for it. – Let me tell you what we did today. – Okay. – So you can get an idea
of it, a real life example. So we each got up in the
morning, and took care of our various children slash
animals, that’s important. And then Josh picked me up
and we had a phone interview with somebody from Chicago Magazine about the restaurant business. And then we had another
meeting on the phone in the car on the way to Madison to do the demo, with our operations manager
and our culinary manager about the future of our
company, and our next location, and also our delivery contracts,
and our staffing issues. And then we had another meeting
with our general manager, or had kitchen manager to
talk about back of house and front of house specific issues to Honey Butter Fried Chicken. Then he and I chatted a
little bit about higher level, like what are we gonna
do next kind of stuff. Should we get investors, should we, like really high level stuff. And then we’re like where
should we eat lunch? (audience laughing) Then we checked into our hotel. That’s a real serious question. We checked in our hotel, we got on slack, answered all of our employees
questions, checked our emails, checked in with my animal and his wife. Then we came here did a tour,
had some lunch, did some more, I proof read and edited
a Sunday Dinner Club invite that’s getting sent out tomorrow, answered some more
questions, met up with Kyle, did an interview for Vollrath. Then we had dinner, and then we did this. And that’s just a day. And it’s so it’s like, I
also did a social media post for Honey Butter ’cause
I do all the social media. – [Audience] But where did you have lunch? (audience laughing) – We had lunch here actually. – Yeah, we had lunch here.
– We ran out of time. – We didn’t get here
in time, unfortunately. – We ran out of time. – We love to eat in Madison. My wife and I, and my baby come
here often just to get away. – I actually was here this past weekend. I was here Friday, Saturday, and Sunday for visiting friends,
and I went to Mint Mark. I love that restaurant
with my whole heart. Please go visit and support
Sean, he is an amazing– – Chicago guy. – Chicago chef from
Madison, moved back up here with his family, and his restaurant is, I could not highly endorse it enough. – Can we ask this crowd what the best pizza in Madison is though,
because that’s really. – Pizza what? Pizza Bruno? – [Audience] Salvatore’s. – I was gonna say, Salvatore’s
– What about Greenbush? Not Greenbush? You know where I went to
eat on Saturday night? I went to Grandpa’s. – [Audience] Yeah. – [Christine] It was great. – [Kyle] Grandpa’s is legit. – I loved Grandpa’s. There you go Josh, there you go. – Thank you. – I don’t think I have a working mic but any other questions? There we go, any other questions. – [Audience] What’s on
the back of your T-shirts? Turn around. – Put the butter on the bird. (audience laughing) – And scene. – Well maybe this is a good cue after hearing about Josh and Christine’s day. It’s ten after eight, let’s give these, let’s just let these
chefs have a normal night. (audience applauding) (upbeat music)

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