Shop with a Chef: Fable’s Trevor Bird

January 1, 2013

After competing (and placing second) on Top Chef Canada last year, chef Trevor Bird was inspired to open the farm-to-table Fable restaurant in the old Refuel location in Kits (1944 W. Fourth Ave., 604-732-1322, fablekitchen.ca). “I’ve always been very passionate about how things are grown,” he says, “and knowing where food comes from.” These days, the Lumière and Market at Shangri-La alum is thinking about chicken.

HOW TO SHOP

Bird says the best way to ensure that you’re getting a free-range, hormone-free chicken is to ask questions about the product rather than relying on packaging labels. At Fable he sources poultry from Two Rivers Meats because he’s able to quiz farmers directly. “If I don’t trust the source, I don’t eat it. You want animals that are raised in pastures, doing what animals do. If you shop at a quality butcher shop, they’ll have close ties with their farmers.” He suggests chatting up staff at The Honest Butcher (3209 W. Broadway, 604-733-2220).

HOW TO COOK

Bird prefers to brine, truss, and slow roast chicken to ensure juiciness. To brine, combine two litres of water, a half-cup of salt, and a half-cup of sugar, then submerge the chicken in the mixture for 12 to 24 hours. Take it out, pat the meat dry, and sit it uncovered in the fridge for a few hours to finish drying. “That way, you get a nice even brown crust.” Bird suggests roasting the chicken at 200ºF for three to four hours in order to produce superior results. How to tell when it’s done? “Insert a thermometer between the leg and the breast, which is the last place to cook. Once it hits 54ºC, remove the chicken from the oven and let it rest an hour to finish cooking completely.”

 Click here to see Bird demonstrating how best to brine and truss a chicken.

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