André Prince Jeffries Enjoys Much-Deserved Moment in the Spotlight at James Beard Awards



Last week, among the exciting announcements that several Tennesseans took home big awards at the James Beard Foundation celebration in New York, there was also a wonderful tribute to our own André Prince Jeffries, proprietor of Prince's Hot Chicken Shack. The restaurant joined Arnold's Country Kitchen among the Nashville restaurants honored by the JBF as "American Classics."

As part of the presentation, a new video was produced to introduce the assembled industry professionals to the delciously excruciating phenomenon that is hot chicken. I spoke to several people who were in attendance at the awards, and they said that there were a lot of knowing nods around the audience from chefs who had made the pilgrimage to Prince's for the fiery fowl. Those in the know were seen leaning over to whisper stories in the ears of the uninitiated who were either horrified or who checked Google Maps to figure out how to get from the Nashville airport to Dickerson Road.

The short introductory video is pretty similar to Joe York's SFA mini-doc that featured Miss André, but close viewing will reveal at least one new detail important to those of us who seek to replicate — or at least create a close approximation of — the piquant poultry. André's daughter says "It's not just dousing some spicy stuff on the top at the last. It's down to the bone." At about the :50 point of the video you can see that the chicken is being basted with something that I assume is thinned volcanic magma. It's not nearly as thick as the lardypaste that I've used in my home kitchen to torque up the bird, so I'm not sure if this is an additional step I've been missing. Any video CSI technicians out there who can help with the deciphering?

The video also shares the first photographs I've seen of the man behind the rascally behavior that led to the creation of the hot chicken, Thornton Prince. He was definitely a handsome dude, and I can see how he might have aroused such passion in his scorned lady friend. Bless him for that!

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