WIN: A copy of Matt Abergel's Chicken and Charcoal

The Staff Canteen


Matt Abergel has recently launched his debut cookbook, Chicken and Charcoal, and we have four copies to give away to The Staff Canteen members.

Matt Abergel is the Co-Owner and Executive Chef of Yardbird, RŌNIN, and Sunday’s Grocery in Hong Kong. Matt has previously worked in Japanese kitchens throughout Canada before moving to New York City to work under Masayoshi Takayama at Masa.  He has recently released his first cookbook - Chicken and Charcoal which provides readers with an insight into the culinary style at Yardbird.

WIN a copy of Matt Abergel's Chicken and Charcoal cover.JPG

How to enter

To be in with a chance of winning one of 4 copies of Matt Abergel's Chicken and Charcoal, simply comment on this article 'I'm in it to win it'

Closing date is Friday, November 16th at 5 pm - any entries received after this time will not be valid.

One entry per member.

*Full terms and conditions

Matt’s objective for his debut book was for it to be a record and to provide insight into what they have done over the past seven years. 

Despite being a highly successful chef for many years, Matt and his team hadn’t considered working on a book citing that they hadn’t really been given a serious opportunity to do this prior to the release of the book.

017 Yardbird Hong Kong
Yardbird, Hong Kong

Whilst there were other names up for consideration for the title of the book ‘there was also a lot of legal bullshit that we had to keep in mind… I won’t get into that’ but Chicken and Charcoal which represents the concept of Yardbird - Matt’s restaurant in Hong Kong seemed like a fitting choice.

The conception, design and content of the book has taken around two years to complete, but Matt admits that the majority of the work was completed in the last few months of the project saying that ‘Procrastination is a fine art!’ and that one thing that he learnt whilst working on this book was that he learned that he had an ‘attention span of a seven-year-old.’

Not only is Chicken and Charcoal incredibly insightful and easy to digest, but it is also visually stunning too. Did Matt have a vision in mind of how he wanted it to look?

131 pickles

He revealed: “For sure. My vision for the book was really clear and I worked with one of my best friends, Michael Carter, on the layout and design. The artwork was all done by Evan Hecox who is, hands down, my favourite artist. All of the photos were done by three very talented close friends - Siu Yan Fung, Alex Maeland, and Jason Lang.”

He has collaborated with a highly-curated selection of artists, designers, illustrators, and brands over the years, so how important are these collaborations to him and the Chicken and Charcoal brand?

Matt commented: “They are very important. Running restaurants can be monotonous at times but these collaborations help to breathe life back into the daily grind.”

He was also keen to utilise the book to shine a light on the people he works with and to demonstrate why these people are so important in the ‘big pictures of running a restaurant’.

When reading Chicken and Charcoal, Matt hopes that they will receive a complete picture of what Yardbird is and what it represents. As well as including a selection of recipes from his restaurant with dishes both past and present is included including Matt’s favourite - The Tare Sauce. Readers can also learn more about the importance of sourcing meat, butchering and grilling techniques too.

For those who haven’t tried combining chicken with sake, why does Matt think this is such a winning combination?

He explained: “Because they aren’t complicated. Both sake and chicken are not acquired tastes, and both are best served in the most natural way.”

106 f oyster
It's all about the grilling technique!

Yardbird is something of a phenomenon not only in Hong Kong but worldwide and Matt didn’t think the concept of chicken and sake would have been so popular.

He said: “No, not really. I am very grateful for the success, but at the end of the day I know that it boils down to having an amazing team that has the same goal.”

Matt does own cookbooks from his fellow chefs, he revealed: “Benu by Corey Lee is amazing. Chris Cosentino – both of his books are highly underrated. Mr Hong by Dan Hong is really good. The list goes on...”

Chicken and Charcoal has been very positively received but does Matt have any plans for a follow-up book? It’s a case of watch this space!

He mused: “One day at a time. That’s how I’m living.”

By Emma Harrison

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The Staff Canteen

The Staff Canteen

Editor 13th November 2018

WIN: A copy of Matt Abergel's Chicken and Charcoal