Fried Chicken Feels The Heat


20130517At a time when what we eat is under increasing scrutiny, Yasmeen Khan investigates the fried chicken shop. There are over 1700 places in the UK where chicken wings, legs and thighs are dipped in batter and herbs, fried and served up - often with chips.

Ranging from the Colonel's market-leader to the humble chicken and chip shop in the high street, they serve thousands of customers every day.

In the London Borough of Tower Hamlets there are 45 providers of fast food and snacks for each school, and it's a major concern in their Public Health Department. Yasmeen talks to Tower Hamlets' dietician Michele Sandelson about efforts to educate schoolchildren about over-indulging in fatty foods.

Fiona Crawford of Glasgow's Centre for Population Health is similarly concerned about levels of child obesity in Scotland, and is advising on how to restrict outlets near schools. London's Healthier Eating Commitment adds its own missionary zeal, as does Diane Abbott, MP for Hackney North and Stoke Newington.

But, as Yasmeen admits, there's no doubt that fried chicken can be a tasty dish. She visits KFC HQ and meets Chris Fells, the Product Excellence Director, who shows her the kitchens where new menus are tried out - but Colonel Sanders' spicy secret is kept well under wraps.

Mr.Massood who runs the Tasty Chick'n Pizza has no such mysteries and lists cinnamon, ginger, garlic and cumin in his recipe. And for chef and tv cook Gizzi Erskine, fried chicken is up there with the most memorable dishes she prepares.

Producer: Richard Bannerman

A Ladbroke production for BBC Radio 4.