BY JIMMY DOLAN
For veterans of Mozza, the daily staff lunch at Osteria is lovingly referred to as “Chicken Time”, a usually refreshing midday break that that marks an unofficial “half time” for the day crew.
But, Monday, that lunch turned into an political firestorm when the meal - fried chicken prepared by newly hired pasta room employee Jennifer Velasquez - was lauded by Nancy Silverton as “maybe the best fried chicken ever served at the Corner”.
That statement was issued to the Mozza Tribune – and the Washington Post - in a press release before it was leaked by a whistleblower that the fried chicken contained Russian Vodka.
Almost immediately the “Chicken time” became national political news.
Seeking to diffuse his involvement in the “Ukraine” controversy, former vice president and Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden went on the offensive, calling the chicken not only a threat to national security but “a slap to the kisser” to American vodka makers.
But, it wasn’t just politicians slamming Jennifer’s fried chicken. Just as shocking - perhaps even more so - was the reaction of several Mozza employees, some of who were clearly upset that Velasquez, who has only worked on the Corner since Sept. 5, 2019 - a mere 34 days - was getting so much publicity.
“When I made my fried chicken, I did it for the love of serving my co-workers a delicious meal,” said Chi Spacca sous chef Hayley Porter. “I didn’t do it for the publicity. For the fuckin’ headlines. Who the hell is Jennifer What’s Her Name anyway?”
Lost in the controversy was the later staff meal of fried chicken prepared by Kirby “Dr. K” Shaw. Many thought it was just as good as the Russian Vodka version, but lacked the obvious ingredient of controversy.
Senate hearings will begin Friday.