Chicken francaise on a plate
The Original Chicken Française Used A Totally Different Main Ingredient
Chicken française is an American twist on the Italian dish vitello française, or veal French. Thus, the original recipe called for veal, not chicken.
Italian Americans and chefs Tony Mammano and Joe Cairo shared their recipe for the dish with a local Rochester chef and the owner of the Brown Derby restaurant, James Cianciola.
Cianciola's Veal French recipe won the hearts of diners and critics, but in the 1970s, veal fell out of style because of its expense and objection from animal cruelty campaigns.
Consequently, Cianciola decided to swap veal for chicken, and the recipe has become a mainstay at Italian American restaurants in Rochester and beyond.