Chicken Town have come up with a recipe to reduce obesity in school children by offering an alternative to the junk food typical of over 8,000 of London’s fast food chicken joints.
Tottenham is home to some of the highest childhood obesity rates in the UK, with over 40% of 11-year-olds classified as obese, but in November its old fire station started offering a more positive option – the capital city’s first socially conscious chicken shop.
With executive chef Giorgio Ravelli behind the menu and support from top food critics, directors Ben Rymer and Hadrian Garrard are targeting young people lured by cheap chickenburger combos on their way home from school. The not-for-profit enterprise is offering a healthier option by substituting greasy poultry for flash-fried free-range chicken, and fatty fries for coconut rice, corn and greens.
Run by arts charity Create, this is not just about better grub, but urban transformation. ‘Junior Specials’ are sold at a subsidised cost price of two pounds, price-matching the cheap-as-chicken-and-chips high street competitors. That’s because all revenue from its evening trade as a neighbourhood restaurant supports the daytime deal which offers the better quality meals to young people.
The sustainable enterprise also provides a new model of social restaurant – offering job prospects, outreach community initiatives, training for local kids, hands-on education on farm trips and mentoring from leading restaurateurs. As Ravelli has worked at London’s prestigious The Clove Club, it is one of the advising restaurant partners, alongside Polpo and Quo Vadis. And more plans are being hatched as the ‘C-Towners’ aim for zero waste and to keep bees on the roof… Honey chicken, anyone?
Ben Rymer and Hadrian Garrard, Directors