As the hostess at Lucques, I am often the one who gets to hear our guests praise and applaud their dining experiences at the end of the night. As they walk out the door looking happy and satisfied they will announce, “That was delicious!” with a look of shock on their faces that reads, “I didn’t know that food could taste that good.” I love to see how some guests’ demeanor changes from on their way in to on their way out. It’s amazing what a great meal and a delicious glass of wine can do!
A few years ago, this mustard-grilled chicken dish was on the menu. Let me remind you that the only dish on the Lucques menu that remains year round is Suzanne’s famous braised-beef short ribs. Everything else changes with the seasons and that’s part of what makes it so special for everyone making the food and eating it. But this chicken dish created quite a stir. Guests were literally begging me to keep it on the menu. One gentleman even called in advance to make sure that it would still be available by the time he came in for his reservation. He pleaded with me to tell the chef to keep it there at least a little bit longer. I even came in, myself, to the restaurant where I work to eat this amazing chicken. I had to let Suzanne know about the public demand and she did let it linger on the menu for a few more weeks.
So when I saw that the recipe for it had made it’s way into Suzanne’s AOC cookbook, my stomach grumbled and I felt intimidated. How could I possibly recreate something that delicious in my very own home? And having interned in the kitchen at Lucques, myself, I knew that this was a dish with many components. But my taste-testing dinner guests for this particular night were my blogger/rocker always-honest best friend Anna Bulbrook and my sweet friend Morgan Kibby, who I hadn’t seen in a while because she has been gone touring the world and receiving Grammy nominations with her band M83 and, quite frankly I wanted to impress them. I couldn’t think of a better way to show off a few tricks I’d learned from cooking in Suzanne’s kitchen and from her books than to make a recipe that had caused a craze. “I hope you like chicken.” I said to Morgan as she stood in my kitchen two nights after she had walked the red carpet looking completely stunning at The Grammy Awards. “Are you serious?! I’m so excited to eat this !” She said, “I’m starving. I haven’t eaten in two weeks.” We all laughed. And I smiled to myself, feeling quite self-satisfied to be personally ending a Grammy-red-carpet-starvation diet with something this good!