As Executive Chef and Director of F&B at the Country Club of Detroit, Brian Beland, CMC, stresses the importance of doing simple dishes flawlessly.
As Brian Beland, Executive Chef and Director of Food and Beverage at the Country Club of Detroit (Grosse Pointe Farms, Mich.), prepared to take the Certified Master Chef exam in 2010, one of his mentors, Fritz Sonnenschmidt, CMC, asked him to identify his strengths and weaknesses as a cook.
“I don’t have a single dish or style that defines me, but I told him that I like to roast chickens,” says Beland. “[Chef] Fritz then said, ‘Well, then you’d better roast the best damn chicken you can.’”
He did—and Beland continues to rely on this recipe as a way to showcase elegance in simplicity.
“There are many nuances chefs must consider to get the perfect roast chicken,” says Beland.
For his variation, Beland starts with a soft brine. He also dots the breast with butter and air-dries it for 12-24 hours, which helps the skin to tighten back up, before trussing and roasting.
Perhaps the most impactful step (and the one that yields the most crispy skin) is the way Beland trusses his chickens. He wraps them so that the legs take on a human-like pose, complete with a thigh gap. This process allows for more surface-area exposure and even cooking.
“When it’s done, the chicken is golden brown all the way across,” says Beland. “It’s juicy and plump, but not so plump it tastes like lunchmeat. It’s bright with flavors of rosemary, thyme and lemon, too.”
Follow Chef Beland on Instagram: @belandbr4