Chicken with a concept"It's a very new concept," says...

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July 12, 1992|By Karol V. Menzie | Karol V. Menzie,Staff Writer

Chicken with a concept

"It's a very new concept," says Jonathan Soudry of his fledgling Pikesville restaurant Poulet. "It's so new it doesn't exist anywhere else in the world. The idea was to create a restaurant environment and give people restaurant food, but with the convenience and prices of fast food."

The decor, by Rita St. Clair Associates, seeks to capture the feeling of Mr. Soudry's native Provence, with tile floors, tile designs on the walls, copper cookware hanging as art, with wooden tables and green-painted wood chairs.

As you might guess from the name, the specialty of the house is chicken. But it's special chicken, cooked by the rotisserie method -- roasted on a spit -- in a special high-tech rotisserie imported from France. "It's crisp on the outside and moist on the inside," Mr. Soudry says: all the attributes of fried chicken without the added fat.

Food is served cafeteria-style. Customers can request either a leg quarter or breast quarter of the chicken, then choose two items from among a dozen or so on a steam table to complete their meal -- a meal that costs only $4.95. Selections include pasta, vegetables and salads. Other items on the menu are rotisserie turkey and turkey salad, tuna salad, and grilled swordfish. "All the cooking is done right in front of them, so people can see what they're getting," Mr. Soudry says.

Scott Allam, a Millersville resident who'll be a senior at Frostburg State University, has won first place in the 1992 Lindt Chocolate National Design Competition, sponsored by Lindt & Sprungli, the Swiss chocolate company. Mr. Allam, 20, a graphic design and computer science major, wins a week-long trip to Switzerland and $1,000 in spending money for his design for a package and chocolate piece that represent the "American spirit." Mr. Allam designed a foil package with a figure in a red, white and blue hang glider soaring over mountain peaks. The chocolate piece inside is shaped like the mountain peaks.

"I initially thought of all the traditional images," Mr. Allam said, "like the bald eagle, then I wanted to make it more subtle. So from the bald eagle I got to the hang-glider. It's the same image -- soaring, freedom." The hang glider "has a little deeper meaning for me," he says, "I grew up in Colorado, right by the mountains, and when I was a kid, there were always hang gliders around."

On the new product front: Gilroy Farms, noted for its line of herbs and seasoning mixtures in jars, has just introduced three new products that once were gourmet-only goodies. Chopped jalapeno peppers, preserved in a vinegar brine, will save the home cook from the finger-burning task of mincing these hot little items. Pesto sauce is made from fresh basil, garlic and olive oil. Sun-dried tomatoes marinated in olive oil, red wine vinegar and herbs are convenient because they don't require rehydration. The new products should be available where Gilroy Farms products are sold, usually near grocery produce counters.

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