“Chicken and waffles is such an iconic dish that I didn’t want to change it very much. I wanted to make it more layered but with flavors so I pull in different elements like the bourbon syrup for sweetness, the aged cheese for umami, and the pickled okra for acidity. They all complement the fried chicken without overpowering it.” —Edward Lee
Before they hit it off, fried chicken and waffles were each wildly popular in their own rights. Fried chicken evolved out of fricassee at the hands of enslaved Africans in the South and the Dutch brought waffles to what is now New York in the 1600s. The two first appeared together in 1938 at the Wells Supper Club in Harlem, where the combo became a favorite among jazz musicians looking for a post-gig bite. The dish hit the spot when it was too late for dinner but too early for breakfast—a blissful marriage of sweet and salty, North and South. Fitting, then, that this recipe comes from Edward Lee, a chef from New York inspired by the cooking of the South, who serves the dish at his newest restaurant, Succotash, in Washington, DC.