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Television: chewy chicken for the eyes
May 12, 2012 11:25 AM   Subscribe

Canadian food chain Swiss Chalet decided to buy an entire cable channel devoted to 24 hour coverage of rotisserie chicken. That's it. Oh and dancing dipping sauce containers.
posted by The Whelk (55 comments total) 11 users marked this as a favorite

 
The Rotisserie Channel, as its called, has been on tv for several years already.
posted by Kololo at 11:30 AM on May 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


Am so proud to be Canadian! PS What about St.Hubert's?? Where's their channel?
posted by bquarters at 11:33 AM on May 12, 2012


I can't see why not. I wonder how expensive it is to have a channel carried by a cable network. It's not like they have to spent a lot on programming.
posted by gauche at 11:34 AM on May 12, 2012


What's the word for something that's repulsive and, at the same time, irresistible?
posted by Nomyte at 11:34 AM on May 12, 2012


It's still more interesting than anything on the CW.
posted by T.D. Strange at 11:34 AM on May 12, 2012 [6 favorites]


Just in case I fall prey to the [citation needed]...
posted by bquarters at 11:35 AM on May 12, 2012


Yeah, seeing the Dancing Dippy amidst a backdrop of confetti and festive pictures was a weird way to wind down my first New Year's in Canada.
posted by zix at 11:40 AM on May 12, 2012


Where is Peter Gabriel when you need him?
posted by halfbuckaroo at 11:44 AM on May 12, 2012


What's the word for something that's repulsive and, at the same time, irresistible?

rotisserie chicken.
posted by philip-random at 11:48 AM on May 12, 2012 [10 favorites]


Rotisserie chicken has been take away food for centuries. It was reportedly the favorite of Versailles courtiers who couldn't afford a kitchen on site - they had it delivered from the nearby town. (the politics and customs of having a kitchen being very different at the Sun King's palace.)
posted by The Whelk at 11:51 AM on May 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


Also: The Turnspit Dog
posted by The Whelk at 11:51 AM on May 12, 2012 [2 favorites]


Don't have cable any more, but I love Swiss Chalet. It's total comfort food.
posted by Kevin Street at 11:52 AM on May 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


Where is Peter Gabriel when you need him?

Canada + Rotisserie Chicken == Geddy Lee
posted by mikelieman at 11:52 AM on May 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


From the TV Guide schedule:

4:00 Rotisserie chicken
4:30 Rotisserie chicken
5:00 Rotisserie chicken (R)
5:30 Rotisserie chicken
6:00 Rotisserie chicken
6:30 Rotisserie chicken
7:00 Rotisserie Chicken Idol
8:00 Celebrity Rotisserie Chicken
9:00 CSI Rotisserie chicken
10:00 Rotisserie Chicken Classic
10:30 Rotisserie chicken (R)
11:00 Rotisserie chicken (R)
11:30 Rotisserie Chicken After Dark
posted by Slack-a-gogo at 11:53 AM on May 12, 2012 [26 favorites]


some ace reporting on the campaign here
posted by Bwithh at 11:55 AM on May 12, 2012


After its well-received appearance in a very big hit movie, The Shawarma Channel is inevitable.
posted by oneswellfoop at 11:59 AM on May 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


"I think a rotisserie is like a really morbid ferris wheel for chickens. It's a strange piece of machinery. We will take the chicken, kill it, impale it and then rotate it. And I'll be damned if I'm not hungry because spinning chicken carcasses make my mouth water. I like dizzy chicken."
-- Mitch Hedberg
posted by cyberscythe at 12:00 PM on May 12, 2012 [5 favorites]


It probably doesn't take up a lot of bandwidth, I mean MPEG is optimized for rotating meat anyways.
posted by RobotVoodooPower at 12:04 PM on May 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


What's the word for something that's repulsive and, at the same time, irresistible?

Voyeurism.
posted by zombieflanders at 12:11 PM on May 12, 2012 [2 favorites]


Rotisserie Chicken is yummy. as is roasted chicken, or pollo asado. In Puerto Rico in the Salinas/Santa Isabel area there is a small chain of roadside roasted chicken called "Victor Pollo" that is excellent if not the best ever. It should have a channel of it's own too...
posted by Eekacat at 12:14 PM on May 12, 2012


And humanity takes one more significant step towards idiocracy.
posted by zardoz at 12:14 PM on May 12, 2012


Since the Puppy Channel (previously) had its day, I had actually believed at one point that the proliferation of channels would eventually lead to a huge slew of mono-content channels.

I'd envisioned things like the Fishtank Channel and such. But aside from DISH's Earth channel, there doesn't seem to be much of that kind of thing around.

I do look at programming schedules and realize that we're very close to this already. 8 hours of Law & Order? Why not just a 24/7 channel. I'd probably put on the How It's Made channel as wallpaper from time to time.

I already do put it on when I see a 4-6 hour block programmed on whatever channel it's shown... It's low-committment, informative, somehow oddly comforting with its rhythms. The only thing that really ruins it are the commercials, but hey... what can you do about those? I'm not going to DVR 6 hours of How It's Made just so I can skip the commercials... That defeats the concept of television wallpaper.

It's a different thing from something like Rotisserie Channel, because the things currently being shown in lengthy blocks have a different quality to them. They're actual shows, not just a camera shot of something.

Ultimately, if we're going to have such a divided and specialized media landscape, I would fully support many more mono-content channels, some with shows and some with just a single camera shot. Imagine if there were a version of the Christmas Yule Fireplace video available year round with music appropriate for the time of year. People would be tuning in, I guarantee it.
posted by hippybear at 12:18 PM on May 12, 2012 [3 favorites]


I worked at both a St. Hubert and a Swiss Chalet and have eaten my share of staff meals, including the (now verboten) half chicken slathered in rib sauce and charred on the grill.

Rotisserie chicken: Tie
Sauce: SC
Fries: SC
Coleslaw: SH
Bun: SC
Desserts: SH (Any mille feuilles or strawberry tarts left over at the end of the night could be purchased by staff at deep discounts. I think my family loved me best when I worked at SH)
posted by maudlin at 12:18 PM on May 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


I haven't had SH in forever because it doesn't seem to exist in the west.

If SC wins on fries and sauce, does it also win on poutine? If so, that's counterintuitive.
posted by Pruitt-Igoe at 12:24 PM on May 12, 2012


I would fully support many more mono-content channels, some with shows and some with just a single camera shot.

And Andy Warhol predicts the future yet again.
posted by The Whelk at 12:25 PM on May 12, 2012 [2 favorites]


...including the (now verboten) half chicken slathered in rib sauce and charred on the grill.

Oh god. Why would they take this away from you?
posted by Kevin Street at 12:27 PM on May 12, 2012 [2 favorites]


And somehow this channel also includes Law & Order re-runs. Amazing.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 12:27 PM on May 12, 2012 [2 favorites]


Pot heads + chicken channel = profit!

"Watcha watching?"

"The, err, Food Network."

"And why aren't you wearing pants?"
posted by Brocktoon at 12:30 PM on May 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


If SC wins on fries and sauce, does it also win on poutine? If so, that's counterintuitive.

Neither restaurant sold poutine when I worked there, but given that you put gravy, not chicken sauce, on the fries, and given that SC fries are in decline, I'd guess that SH poutine would be better. There are no more SH restaurants in Toronto left to verify my hypothesis, so I hope someone in Kingston, Cornwall or Ottawa is willing to test the hypothesis for science and Canadian unity.

Oh god. Why would they take this away from you?

Because even though wait and kitchen staff at SC were unionized (see the history of our union here), management didn't actually love and cherish us.
posted by maudlin at 12:35 PM on May 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


Pot heads + chicken channel = profit!

"Watcha watching?"

"The, err, Food Network."

"And why aren't you wearing pants?"


...because I'm chillin' at the house all day, man. Plus, I just ordered swiss chalet! Oh dude, that rotisserie chicken is dope.
posted by livinglearning at 12:37 PM on May 12, 2012


The rotisserie chicken channel has been on the air for at least a year. It is stupid and, along with the equally useless fireplace channel and (virtual) aquarium channel, a middle finger to cable subscribers who would probably rather have their $100/mo going towards something a little less hubris-y.

Frankly, I'm surprised Rogers doesn't have an actual middle finger channel.
posted by Sys Rq at 12:45 PM on May 12, 2012 [4 favorites]


Wait, you're saying that there are actually cable systems with fireplace and aquarium channels?

That's pretty awesome.
posted by hippybear at 12:49 PM on May 12, 2012


There's an interesting passage in Byatt's A Whistling Woman that has a pre-TV intellectual trying to figure out how TV will change domestic life and makes the analogy to Dickens' characters watching the flames of the hearth and seeing old friends and family members in the abstract shapes, so maybe we're just lapping ourselves here.
posted by The Whelk at 12:56 PM on May 12, 2012


If you're seeing old friends and family members in footage of rotisserie chicken, you should probably talk to your therapist.
posted by hippybear at 12:58 PM on May 12, 2012 [4 favorites]


Poor uncle clucky.
posted by The Whelk at 12:59 PM on May 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


How it's Made, How Do They Do It?, Modern Marvels and the like is pretty much the only "TV" I ever willingly personally watch, and I only really watch them as post-industrial lullabies when I'm trying to go to sleep.

FYI - commercial free episodes of these shows are all over YouTube, many of them full length and not sliced up into 10 minute blocks. There's a whole bunch of folks who seem to do nothing but upload these kinds of industrial documentaries.

No TV or cable subscription required.
posted by loquacious at 1:04 PM on May 12, 2012


FYI - commercial free episodes of these shows are all over YouTube, many of them full length and not sliced up into 10 minute blocks. There's a whole bunch of folks who seem to do nothing but upload these kinds of industrial documentaries.

No TV or cable subscription required.


Tell me how to get them in an endless stream which requires no attention or effort from me and no repeats over an 8 hour period and I'll toss that up on my television for a day once a week.
posted by hippybear at 1:07 PM on May 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


Not liking Swiss Chalet makes me a bad Canadian, I used to love the only St Hubert's in Toronto , but now it's this weird indie, good but not as good as it could be. The best thing is the super indie family run (and by family run i mean like at least three generations) portugese grilled chicken places with piri piri, fuck that's amazing.
posted by PinkMoose at 1:07 PM on May 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


Swiss Chalet is revolting. And back in the '90s, their parent company, Cara, gave a lot of money to Mike Harris *spits*
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 1:09 PM on May 12, 2012


This just kills any desire I ever had to pay for cable.
posted by peppermind at 1:20 PM on May 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


So ... this is not like rotisserie baseball then?

(I mean, it's much more interesting...)
posted by chavenet at 3:09 PM on May 12, 2012


given that you put gravy, not chicken sauce, on the fries

I have ordered and eaten poutine with "Chalet Sauce" instead of gravy and it was delicious.
posted by Fuzzy Monster at 4:02 PM on May 12, 2012


In my hometown (London, Ontario…I know; stop cringing) there were the two chain rotisserie places (SC and SH), but anybody who gave a shit about proper rotisserie chicken went to the Portuguese places like Imperio and Rei dos Leitões. Last time I was in town, I heard that someone opened a Peruvian-style rotisserie place. If so, my hometown just got at least 50% more livable.
posted by LMGM at 4:04 PM on May 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


Well, hippybear, here's what I'm working on:

Old 17 inch lcd monitor attached to wall, photoframe style + WiFi media streamer box (such as the netgear ntv550) + media from youtube or wherever, but especially that hours and hours long video shot from the front of that Norwegian train.
posted by notyou at 4:26 PM on May 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


notyou: yeah, I have my HDTV set up as a second monitor for my computer, and more than once have run that video from my computer to there in full-screen mode as motion wallpaper. It's great.

I'd still love to have one of those on-the-wall digital picture frames that can do video that had enough capacity and capability to play a 26GB file on endless loop. It would be like one of those living pictures in Harry Potter. On an 8 hour loop, the chances of me seeing it repeat within any short timespan would be remote.
posted by hippybear at 4:34 PM on May 12, 2012


I'm often disappointed by the food from Swiss Chalet. The ribs, which used to be pretty awesome, have devolved into something slightly above McRib. The chicken is often over-cooked, making the sauce an absolute necessity. The fries are pretty reliable. But the thing that keeps me coming back, and probably always will, is the skin; that glorious, crispy, fatty, salty chicken skin. It is sublime. One time I asked for extra skin and the waiter, obviously a kindred spirit brought me a plate of delicious skin in addition to my entree. It was a happy day.
posted by wabbittwax at 4:35 PM on May 12, 2012 [2 favorites]


I am not a huge fan of SH, not sure I have ever been to SC, and desperately want some Portuguese chicken this very second.
posted by jeather at 4:45 PM on May 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


wabbitwax, the secret of the SC skin is schmaltz, time, and love. (No poopies.)

Seriously, all the prep SC chicken gets is a lashing of salt inside the cavity and a generous layer of chicken fat on the surface of each spitted bird. The spitted birds sit inside the appropriate cooler for a few hours before they're put in the oven. I was shocked when my favourite cook showed me the secret, because I was sure there was something more elaborate going on.

And Portuguese churrasco is amazing. My neighbourhood is full of great little hole in the wall places. I am spoiled.
posted by maudlin at 6:31 PM on May 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


Huh, we eat at Swiss Chalet once a week, I liked it on FB and I have never heard of the Dancing Dippy until now. I assume it's a regional thing.
posted by Calzephyr at 7:19 PM on May 12, 2012


There are people, who when they order digital cable, say "give me everything", which leads to channels like the rotisserie, fireplace and aquarium channels getting some $$ for every such subscriber.

But take that with a grain of salt. I'm paraphrasing the idea from Rick Mercer's comedy show "Made in Canada" (the episode where they buy a documentary channel which had horrible content (repeating same doc several times a day) and was run by two people on a shoe string budget. And was shocked when it had literally zero viewers but still made plenty of $$.
posted by ecco at 7:56 PM on May 12, 2012


This is the WWV of rotisserie foods. Like something you'd see in a late-period Talking Heads video.
posted by mykescipark at 11:23 PM on May 12, 2012


Like something you'd see in a late-period Talking Heads video.

Actually, it's like something you'd see at a Rush concert.

(At one point in the show, they actually had this happen. They're an odd band.)
posted by hippybear at 6:19 AM on May 13, 2012


I summon fish to the dish, though I like the Chalet Swiss,
I like the sushi 'cos it's never touched a frying pan
posted by kcds at 7:25 AM on May 13, 2012


Maybe today's the day I finally try Nando's.
posted by Pruitt-Igoe at 10:42 AM on May 13, 2012


So, uh, I guess I won't be trying Nando's. After waiting by their "please wait to be seated" sign for 5 minutes, I flagged down a a staff member. She rolled her eyes and told me I was supposed to just order at the counter. Well, fuck you too.
posted by Pruitt-Igoe at 4:58 PM on May 13, 2012


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