Giving take-out roast chicken a French twist

Updated: 2013-07-20 01:39

By Rebecca Lo (China Daily)

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Let's face it: We all wish we could cook more. But there are a million excuses why we don't. Washing up is daunting. I've had more than one friend tell me they are horrified grease might splatter on them while frying something. There's always some ingredient that goes missing in action halfway through the recipe. And, in Asia anyway, it is often easier and cheaper to eat out.

The result is that if we wish to dine in the comfort of our underwear at home, the choices are often limited to sloppy rice boxes and greasy pizza. That's where La Rotisserie comes in. The brainchild of three French friends, chef Aurelien Malik Benbernou, marketing guru Marie Ranc and banker Jerome Carlier, La Rotisserie is a strictly take-out venue that recently opened its second branch in the buzzing neighborhood of Sai Ying Pun.

Giving take-out roast chicken a French twist

Chef Aurelien Malik Benbernou with roasted chicken at La Rotisserie in Hong Kong.Photos by C for Communications / For China Daily

It offers grade-A free-ranging corn-pecking chickens from France, slowly turning on spits in one of its two rotisserie ovens until moist and tender. One machine specializes in the 20 top-secret spice mixture that replicates chickens roasting on street corners in local Parisian neighborhoods, while the other is a flavor of the month — and that was mustard when we dropped by. Sliced, diced and sandwiched into crisp baguettes — another fragrant offering made on the premises — or packaged into take-away paper containers, it is a taste of the city of lights to be savored at home.

"People don't cook in Hong Kong," says Ranc. "This is a way for them to enjoy a bit of France at a reasonable price. French food doesn't have to be all three-Michelin-star restaurants. And the high rents in this city make take-away a good concept for us."

Ranc is the product of a French father and a Cambodian mother. "I started out a year ago as the kitchen help!" she laughs, remembering when she and her partners opened their first La Rotisserie in Sheung Wan. Barely larger than a closet, it nevertheless quickly garnered a huge following as the area is teeming with office workers on the prowl for alternative lunch options.

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