Today’s Food Newsbits: Tourondel and Business Partner Split BLT Properties; Price of Chicken Wings Skyrockets With Popularity


Yesterday afternoon, it was announced that Chef Laurent Tourondel and business partner Jimmy Haber had parted restaurant ways, just shy of the six year anniversary of their successful partnership. According to the The New York Times, Tourondel’s split with BLT Restaurant Group is amicable, with the chef relinquishing his part in the company’s wholly owned restaurants – BLT Steak, BLT Fish, BLT Prime, and BLT Burger of New York, as well as additional BLT Steak locations in Los Angeles and Washington DC – while remaining executive chef at ten management license properties.

“This has been a great run for me,” [Tourondel] says in the release. “I am looking forward to staying involved in a handful of BLT restaurants while pursuing other culinary projects and new opportunities.”

I’ve seen fried chicken everywhere, but who knew that chicken wings were becoming so popular? According to USA Today, the food cost of chicken wings has skyrocketed due to an increase in demand, with numerous national restaurant chains adding the favorite bite to their menus.

Wings “used to be a throwaway item,” says Andy Howard, head of purchasing and product development for the Texas-based Wingstop chain. “The poultry guys couldn’t even give it away. Now prices have gone through the roof.”

In numbers from the U.S. Agriculture Department, the average wholesale price of chicken wings last year was up 39% from 2008, with some creative eateries offering “boneless chicken wings” – made of breast meat – to increase profit margins.

~Jennifer Heigl