How Chicken Gets Perfectly Reheated At Daniel Boulud's Restaurants

A succulent roast chicken is the centerpiece of a classic dinner, and for Michelin-starred Chef Daniel Boulud, a roast chicken is something he will never take off his menu (via Rachel Ray). In order to ensure that each chicken is perfectly roasted to order at his restaurants, Chef Boulud actually reheats par-cooked chicken using a flash cooking method.

To prep for an evening service, per HuffPost, Boulud's restaurants will pre-cook all of the chickens about 95% of the way and left resting in a warm place in the kitchen. The moment a guest orders a roast chicken, they "flash" a chicken, which is a kitchen term that means reheat. The whole chickens are placed into a 400-degree Fahrenheit oven for 5 to 10 minutes until it's perfectly cooked to temperature, carve, and ready to plate.

This flash reheating method makes sense for a restaurant to get the roast chicken to the guest in a timely manner. Depending on the size of the bird, roasting a chicken can take up to an hour from start to finish. Prepping a large batch of pre-cooked chicken ready to flash at a moment's notice is practical for a restaurant that will have several, simultaneous covers of roast chicken every night.

How to flash heat at home

While flash reheating is a great technique in a restaurant, there are a few tweaks that need to be made if you want to adapt this method to a home kitchen. The main caveat is that Boulud's kitchens have specific, temperature-regulated, warm areas where chickens can rest for long periods of time without overcooking and remaining safe for consumption. Those conditions aren't necessarily replicable at home. In fact, for home cooks, the USDA does not recommend par-cooking your chicken to finish cooking later because it increases the chance of foodborne illness.

The solution? If you have a dinner party, roast your chicken before guests arrive to a doneness of 90% to 95%. Chef Boulud recommends 425 degrees Fahrenheit for 15 minutes to crisp the skin, followed by finishing the chicken at a lower temperature of 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 20 minutes. He emphasizes allowing your bird to rest up to 30 minutes near the oven, where it's warm, to finish carryover cooking and allow the juices to redistribute throughout the meat. When it's dinner time, flash the chicken in the oven for a few minutes so it's hot the moment it hits the table.