Spicy fried chicken and big plans to boot

***Rachel Khoo would like to thank all the inspiring people who helped make the Khoollect studio a hive of creativity. Although the Khoollect studio’s doors have now closed, you can keep up with Rachel’s newest adventures on RachelKhoo.com and on Rachel’s Instagram and Facebook pages – and, continue to enjoy the Khoollect website’s stories and recipes, which will remain available.***

Some of the best food on the planet is the simplest. Street food, food truck food, carnival food, fast food – there’s gourmet bites to be found in the most unsuspecting of guises. One man who’s making quite a racket with his fiery fried southern-style chicken is chef Morgan McGlone of Belles Hot Chicken in Melbourne.

Morgan only opened Belles a year or two ago, and already several additional venues have popped up along with big plans to go global.

A Day in the Life of Morgan McGlone

Tell us about Belles Hot Chicken – how was it born and why?

I opened Belles Hot Chicken on 1 August 2014. I’ve always had a passion for fried chicken and wanted to start an eatery that’s casual yet always exceeds expectations. Even though it’s fried chicken (and fast food), it doesn’t mean you can’t make it as good as fine dining fare.

Has the success of Belles come as a nice surprise?

Since we opened in 2014 we have grown steadily (but cautiously) to ensure the integrity of the product and concept. Now we have two restaurants and it’s really great to see customers buying our product and coming back for more.

Do you have a background in the food industry, or is this a bit of a tangent for you?

I’ve been cooking since I was 17-years-old. I’ve worked in kitchens in Paris, New York, Brazil and New Zealand. I stopped for seven years and worked as a fashion model agent in Paris and São Paulo, which was great, but food has always enthralled me.

What do you love most about running your own joint?

I love being able to teach people and interact with our staff and customers. I also love the freedom to cook and serve what we please.

What’s your biggest achievement?

To be honest, our biggest achievements are the things that you don’t receive awards for, such as great staff retention, a returning customer base, and being asked to do great things like feature on Khoollect.

Any new projects in the pipeline?

I have three venues opening this year and we’re always looking to expand. It’s always been a dream of mine to open outlets in Asia, Europe and even the United States.

Best Kept Secrets

Favourite objects that you’ve khoollected? 

My wine fridge and Tiger rice cooker from Japan.

Three recipe books you couldn’t live without?

Best holiday or travel memory?

Travelling to Naoshima Island with my now fiancé. It’s always been her dream to go there and I’m so happy we went together.

What’s your happiest food memory?

My first fried chicken meal at Husk cooked by my mentor Sean Brock.

Who’s your #khoollectcrush?

Natural Wine Maker, Jean François Ganevat.

Urban Favourites

Where do you call home and what do you love most about it?

Birregurra, Australia. It’s a country cottage in a quiet town outside Melbourne.

Your favourite places for coffee?

Market Lane is just so consistent

Best spot for dinner?

Lee Ho Fook in Melbourne. Fratelli Paradiso in Sydney.

Fresh ingredients?

Victor Churchill in Woollahra

Ideal lazy Sunday?

Papers, garden, lunch, nap, wine and cigar, dinner and sunset.

Do you love fried chicken as much as we do at Khoollect? Tell us some of your favourite spots to eat this glorious food.

You may also like

Profile Photo
Bex Shannon

Hailing from far away New Zealand, Bex is into music, travel and everything vintage and retro. She h...

READ MORE BY Bex Shannon

You decide

Your dream holiday destination

View Results

Loading ... Loading ...

Find out more

Read Morgan McGlone’s tips for making fried chicken at home (along with the perfect accompaniments).

Morgan had input into Khoollect’s Melbourne local’s guide.

Visit the Belles Hot Chicken website.

Find Belles Hot Chicken on Instagram – Facebook – Twitter.

Portrait image found here.