Fried chicken might not seem like the natural enemy of fat, but community-led arts organisation Create reckons it could be the secret weapon.
The group — which has a mission statement of ‘exploring the ways artists can contribute to the lives of people in cities’ and was previously responsible for Open East Festival and You Me Bum Bum Train — is currently crowdfunding for a project called Chicken Town.
The plan is to open this autumn in Tottenham, an area with one of the highest child obesity rates in the country — over 40% of children over 11. While it will be aimed at the whole community, Chicken Target will particularly target these kids on their way home from school.
The idea is simple: offer better quality chicken meals to young people at the same price as local chicken shops. This chicken will be steamed prior to flash frying to minimise exposure to oil, while higher quality oils and the use of less salt will also come with health benefits. Sides such as sweet potato fries, roast corn, greens, coleslaw and coconut rice will offer a healthier alternative to the ubiquitous greasy chips.
It’s good news for chickens too — all of Chicken Town’s birds will be free-range.
Forming further community ties, Chicken Town has also has committed to providing training and apprenticeships for local people — paying them London Living Wage — and is working with top restaurants including The Clove Club, Polpo and Quo Vadis to provide mentoring.
How can they afford to match the price of cheap chicken shops while using good quality ingredients and paying decent wages? The answer comes with evening times, when the space will be transformed into a neighbourhood restaurant, with all profits pumped back into the business to subsidise the chicken dinners.
Given that the man in charge of the offering will be Chef Giorgio Ravelli, who has previously worked in the kitchens at Notting Hill’s Michelin two-starred restaurant The Ledbury — voted the 10th best restaurant in the world, it's fair to expect good things.
The project has been given a £15,500 grant from the Mayor of London’s High Street Fund, it is now trying to raise £50,000 on Kickstarter. It only went live yesterday and has raised over £8,000 already.
It really does sound like this is one chicken dinner that could be a winner.