Find a Delicious Marriage of Mexican and Indian Cuisines at Saucy Chick Rotisserie
We grew up with comida en la casa, but we also want to support those who make us comida en la calle. That’s why this Latinx Heritage Month, mitú has partnered with El Jimador to spotlight small business owners to aid the Latino Community Foundation. Juntos, we build on our efforts to foster inclusivity and amplify Latinx voices.
Married couple and business partners, Rhea Patel Michel and Marcel Michel, hail from totally different parts of the globe. Rhea is from Canada, with South Asian parents, hailed from India by way of Uganda. Marcel is first generation Mexican-American. Their culinary lovechild, Saucy Chick Rotisserie, is a perfect blend of both cultures.
Saucy Chick began, as many great ideas did, during the pandemic, after Rhea and Marcel were furloughed from their corporate jobs. They got their start in a ghost kitchen, also called a virtual kitchen, which is essentially a full restaurant that only offers take-out.
“We wanted to use ingredients that are common in both our cultures, like cumin, while including other commonalities as well, like family and hospitality,” Rhea shared with mitú. “I joke that no one ever leaves an Indian house or wedding hungry, and the same is true for Mexicans.”
The menu features two options for rotisserie chicken. One is a Pibil chicken, inspired by the Yucantán pork dish, cochinita pibil, while the other is a Jeera chicken, inspired by Rhea’s Gujarati roots. “The food we’re making is food we grew up eating,” Marcel added.
Once you pick your chicken, there are a variety of delicious sauces and sides to choose from as well. “We are really trying to showcase and highlight what’s possible when cultures come together,” Rhea began. “Each item is rooted in one particular culture, but it all works together.”
Although both Rhea and Marcel admittedly lean towards their own cultures’ cuisines, they agree that the full experience is unlocked when the sauces are combined and layered, despite what chicken you choose. The creamy raita paired with the GG garlic sauce sounds like the stuff of foodie dreams.
Their two must-have sides? The first is Mom’s Beans, inspired by — you guessed it — Marcel’s mom’s beans, which were the standout at every gathering. And the Charred Haldi Cauliflower, roasted with turmeric and chili flakes, and kissed by mint, cilantro and pistachio.
In 2021, they branched out from their virtual kitchen and set up shop at Smorgasburg in Los Angeles, something they’re still doing every Sunday. “We take our ingredients and repackage them. So, instead of rotisserie meals, we create eats that are very shareable and walkable,” Rhea stated.
These more portable yet equally yummy options include chat’chos, their homage to Indian snack food, as well as rotisserie nachos and a torta de pollo pibil.
They’ve been asked to continue doing pop-ups all over LA, although a brick-and-mortar restaurant is something they ultimately want to make happen as business continues to boom.
“We were written up in LA mag as one of the Top Ten Best Restaurants for Takeout in 2022, so that was definitely a moment for me when I was like, ‘Oh shoot, we’re onto something!’” Marcel stated.
For Rhea, there are daily a-ha moments when she interacts with their guests. “Every Sunday [at Smorgasburg], we have many guests that try our food and then make it a point to come back to tell us that it’s one of the best things they’ve ever eaten. And that shocks me every single time,” she said.
This comes as no shock to us as the food looks 50% Mexican, 50% Indian, and 100% fire. If you want to see for yourself, you can find them @saucychickrotisserie on Instagram and TikTok, as well as at Smorgasburg in LA every Sunday. Feliz eating!
To learn more about how you can help elevate the Latinx community alongside El Jimador and the Latino Community Foundation, visit LCF.
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