Fresh-faced local entrepreneurs Ahmad Al Rabeea and Basel Al Sulaiman originally met in 1994, each instantly finding the other’s personality to be somewhat challenging as they squared up to each other outside of their shared music class.
They eventually overcame their immediate differences becoming staunch friends, forging a lasting relationship stronger than most. But, life took the young men in polar opposite directions.
Ahmed moved into the creative industries as a graphic and interior designer, and Basel won his wings as a pilot; impressively he’s now an aviation instructor. Years later life threw them together again and they founded Farm Brown Chicken (FBC), the delivery-only fried yard chicken concept. Basel explains to bazaar more about the FBC journey starting with his love of food.
“I’m a traveler for food!” Basel exclaims, a huge smile on his face. There must be others reading this who feel something similar; those of you who want to travel to Japan for fugu, or Scotland for haggis, or…New Orleans for the fried chicken! This is what happened to Basel, whose friends insisted on his last night visiting the French Quarter being spent dining on the battered poultry, half a fried chicken plated before him.
He rolled his eyes in frustration thinking to himself, “What am I doing here, [when I could be eating so many other delicious things]” until he took his cutlery to the chicken. To his surprise and delight the juicy meat was fork tender, the outside having a crunch so satisfying that the aural experience translated quickly to one infused with dopamine. “I paused for about ten seconds trying to chew this as slow as I can so I can find out what’s in it. Absolutely amazing!”
Returning to his place of study, down south in Alabama where he was completing his certification to become an instructor, Basel desperately wanted to taste more of this fried chicken but New Orleans was eight hours drive away, too far. Searching the internet for the top ten burgers, by accident the results returned the top ten fried chicken places in Atlanta, closer in only half the drive time.
Basel was eating fried chicken for two months, every weekend, learning the flavor profiles, textures and everything else that he could about fried chicken, through his own experiences. Even though Basel still had time left studying in the States he called Ahmad as he couldn’t wait to share his fried chicken idea with his friend.
“The good thing about Ahmad is that he believes in me without even trying, and I believe in him too” explains Basel.
2013 saw them back in Kuwait together, going to a local electrical goods retailer and buying the largest home fryer they could find. Balancing it precariously on the steps outside of the house with an extension cord running through the home plugging into the electricity, they fired it up and started frying chicken.
Every Saturday Basel and Ahmad set up a laboratory at home trying new marinades and breading. They hit a wall when they tried to find the best way to cook the chicken without burning the breading. It also took a year to find the best marinade recipe be it with butter milk, salt solution or dry mix, and for how exactly long the meat should be marinated.
Basel still mixes the sauce himself to this day, trusting only in his three years’ experience with the Farm Brown marinades. Ahmad’s palate also helps the duo, as it is highly sensitive, and he is adept at pinpointing what needs to be added to the concoction to perfect it. The next challenge was to train the six hired chefs to keep the Farm Brown Chicken standard across the board.
After the chicken though, what is next? The bun of course! Basel went to a local bakery to ask them to create a bun, and was immediately told, “use a potato bun.” He felt the potato bun overexaggerated though, and despite its common use, actually more preferable for beef, and not for chicken.
Next, they tried the milk bun but it didn’t handle the sauce well, nor the foil packaging (becoming soggy), and so did not make the cut for delivery. The next step of course, as you do, was flying to London to garner the best advice from renowned bakers there. And thus, Basel discovered the cream bun.
Described on the Farm Brown website as brioche really this special recipe bun is a mixture of recipes for brioche and milk buns with cream added to enhance the flavor and texture. All the Farm Brown Chicken buns are the same high quality, with the FB Black having that additional ingredient of charcoal, adding a little something extra to the flavorsome burger built up of FBC recipe candied chicken and Asian vinaigrette coleslaw.
The Farm Brown Chicken kitchen is currently in Shuwaikh and the partners are building a front of house so that people can enjoy FBC on site or complete self-pick up instead of only home delivery. Farm Brown Chicken currently only delivers to certain areas and given that the kitchens are in Al Rai, Basel sagely says that this can adversely affect the quality of the FBC experience, especially when ordering from very far away.
If you fancy trying a bit of the “yard brown” chicken offerings you should visit the Farm Brown Chicken website to check if they deliver to your location. This way, when you’re visiting friends or happen to be within a certain delivery area, you can place your order secure in the knowledge that the food will deliver well.
Keep an eye out for updates online and in social media as FBC will soon be using car delivery too. FBC also prides itself on taking part in the seasonal markets you get in Kuwait, and you can find the Farm Brown Chicken mobile division at esteemed foodie gatherings such as Qout Market.
We finish the interview by asking the two friends which food item unique to Farm Brown Chicken would they use to describe the other? Basel says of Ahmad immediately without even thinking,
“Farm Brown Black! Because it’s complicated, like his sensitive palate, and even his character.” Ahmad says that Basel would be the “November” Farm Brown Lab limited time only burger, [Basel was born in November] and, “Because it’s Farm Brown Lab it’s different and Basel always aims to be different.”
To view the Farm Brown Chicken menu and order delivery visit www.farmbrown.com and keep up-to-date with FBC by following them on Instagram @farmbrownchicken. Read the FBC review in the Dining & Entertainment Guide 2019.