Kosher spice: Nashville Kosher Hot Chicken Festival scheduled

The original: Prince's extra hot. Photo courtesy deepfriedkudzu The second Nashville Kosher Hot Chicken Festival will toast taste b...

The original: Prince's extra hot. Photo courtesy deepfriedkudzu


The second Nashville Kosher Hot Chicken Festival will toast taste buds on Nov. 6 at the Gordon Jewish Community Center in Nashville.

Admission is free, but food tickets are being sold for the event, which will run from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Two local establishments, including Bolton’s Hot Chicken and Fish, will have meals available in hot and mild, with sides. There will also be chicken tenders available.

The competing teams will also have samples available for a people’s choice award, and there will be awards for team name and booth d├ęcor.

A panel of judges will award top three prizes in mild and hot chicken categories. The Grand Champion will receive a trophy and new fryer.

The team entry fee is $150 and organizers are planning for 10 teams. While several hundred attended the festival last year, there were only two amateur teams competing.

For traditional hot chicken chefs, the kosher version is a challenge because buttermilk, bacon grease and lard are common aspects of preparation.

Nashville Hot Chicken is famous for being incredibly spicy. For example, at the famous Prince’s, which was recognized by the James Beard Foundation with an American Classic Award for inventing it, spice levels start with a “mild” that is often hotter than most fast-food restaurants’ spicy. The heat increases with medium, hot and extra hot, which some writers have likened to a religious experience, and after which diners must wash their hands before touching anything else, especially their eyes.

Nashville hot chicken is generally served on top of white bread with pickles, with a heaping helping of cayenne in the recipe.

For decades, hot chicken was largely unknown outside of Nashville’s black neighborhoods. In 2007, the Hot Chicken Festival began and raised its visibility. Over the last few years, hot chicken places have migrated across the South from Nashville, and KFC came out with a pale mass-market imitation.

The legend for the dish’s origin states that in the 1930s Thornton Prince was known as a womanizer. After being out all night, he returned home and wanted breakfast. Upset at his wandering ways, his then-partner made him his favorite meal, fried chicken — but with the spiciest things she could find in the kitchen.

Certain that it was inedible and would be a painful experience, she served it to him. Instead, he loved it and shared it with friends. He soon turned it into an idea for a restaurant.

More information here.
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Southern Jewish Life: Kosher spice: Nashville Kosher Hot Chicken Festival scheduled
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