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Dancing with chickens

By Mike Peters | China Daily | Updated: 2017-06-27 08:41

Dancing with chickens

Chef Christoph Zoller helps a young aspiring chef find the leg joint. The group prepared pan-seared scallops, roast chicken and strawberries Romanoff. [Photo/China Daily]

What better place to spend a Saturday afternoon than in a chef's restaurant kitchen, with a bottle of bubbly and some fresh-plucked birds? Mike Peters tucks in for a cooking class.

Agatha Christie's famous fictional detective, Hercule Poirot, was once asked why he wasn't busy looking for footprints and other clues at a murder scene.

That, he explained, was a job that the police were perfectly competent to do.

"Why have a dog and bark yourself?" he asked.

That funny quote came to me recently as I stood in the gleaming restaurant kitchen of The Cut, with one hand around the neck of a raw chicken. Was I really standing in the fancy Fairmont Beijing hotel's restaurant, making my own lunch?

Of course, that was my own choice-as it was for the 19 others huddled around as chef Christoph Zoller explains why he'd always buy a whole chicken.

"They will be fresher," he says, inviting us to stick our noses close for a smell test. "You don't really know about packaged parts until you get home. The whole bird is better value, too-cheaper pound for pound."

"Plus, you can use EVERYTHING," he says, as he quickly whacks away the head and feet and wings with a very sharp chef's knife. "This all goes into the soup for tomorrow."

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