Green Circle Chickens
A group of fancy New York restaurants are serving chickens that were fed with scraps from their own kitchens, reports Jeff Gordinier in The New York Times (9/17/13). The idea was hatched by Ariane Daguin, the chief executive of D’Artangnan, "a company that has played a major role in bringing ingredients like foie gras, game birds and Berkshire pork to the broader American marketplace." She says her inspiration was a combination of the "mushy, watery" chicken typically consumed in America and memories of "rich and meaty" chickens from her native France.
The difference, she believes, is that "chickens back home wandered around the yard nibbling on carrot tops, onion skins and old baguettes." So, she resolved to take a "heritage-breed chicken" from the Gascony region of France and feed "it scraps from fine restaurants." Her collaborators are high-end Manhattan restaurants, including Per Se, Daniel, Gramercy Tavern, the Modern and David Burke Townhouse. The birds are raised on an Amish farm, and fed "for longer than usual," which has "more than doubled the normal cost of raising chickens."
Ariane has invested "more than $250,000 into research and start-up costs," in what she has branded as Green Circle chickens. Encouraged by early results, she is now "creating separate pens and roaming yards for the chickens that belong to each restaurant group." The expectation is "that each cluster of birds will have its own taste." Chef David Burke muses over the possibility of poaching his chickens "in the same peelings it ate." Ariane thinks the concept could "influence cooks and diners around the country," and if it takes off, "may add more Amish farms to the project."