“I didn’t invent fried chicken, the thing I did was perfected it,” says Honey’s Kettle owner and chef Vincent Williams, who has been mastering the art of crispy, juicy fried chicken over the last 40 years. Inspired by colonial-style frying, his restaurant serves 50,000 pieces of fresh fried birds per week to the hungry residents of Los Angeles.
Williams’s son Trenton also works at the restaurant, where he leads everything from marinating and storing the fresh chicken that comes in directly from a local farm, to preparing the batter to a perfectly “milkshake-like” consistency, to frying the pieces to crunchy, golden perfection. “He’s an amazing chef, truly amazing,” says Willams.
The 66-year-old restaurateur seems to beam with pride – over his son, his business, but also in the legacy of Black cooking traditions — those of his own family, as well as other Black families that cooked around kettles for generations.
“We’re American food,” says Williams, citing his research on early American colonial cooking at the local library in preparation for opening the restaurant. “Kettles were in the family fireplace, and guess who was in the kitchen? They all were the color of my skin. They were the cooks,” he says with honor. “Our people are very good at flavoring food.”
While many variables at the restaurant impact flavor — the freshness of the chicken, the ratio of water to flower for the batter, the quality of the oil, and more — it’s hard to look past the idea that William’s devotion to his craft is ultimately what makes his chicken so highly coveted.
“It was my passion to deliver a product that would last for generations of time,” he says. “We’re seeing this resurgence of chicken because some people really know how to do it, and we’re one of those people.”
Check out the full video to see the entire process of making fried chicken at Honey’s Kettle.