Camellia Cuisine: Camellia City Bakery’s chicken salad
Pull up a chair and take part in a family tradition.
The chicken salad at the Camellia City Bakery & Deli is “hand-pulled, hand-chopped, and made fresh everyday,” said owner Ann Judah.
Known as the “backbone of the business,” the recipe has quite a unique history. “This is Ozzie’s famous roasted pecan chicken salad. It was his grandmother’s recipe,” Judah added.
Every morning Judah makes this fresh chicken salad. When preparing the salad, she mixes until, “it looks right.”
She even commented that the family has always wondered if its creator (Ozzie’s grandmother) knew the exact measurements of the salad when she first concocted it many moons ago. Following the specific instructions, Judah does not even need a recipe anymore. “I have been eating this salad for 43 years!” she said.
She does, however, need a day to begin the process.
“I boil the chicken usually the night before,” she added.
Not the traditional southern chicken salad, Judah explained the story behind her late husband’s recipe. Taking an old family recipe, he added his own flavor.
She said, “He put his own tweak on it over the years. After Oz died, I knew that he hand chopped everything. He always said that’s where the love is. […] That’s what Ozzie did, so that’s what I do.” Besides the chicken, there are many other ingredients that come together in this dish. The extra ingredients include, “apples, raisins, and roasted pecans.”
The recipe has even stolen a few hearts of many new customers. Judah said, “I have people come in here and tell me that I hate raisins, but I love that chicken salad.” One traveler passing through on vacation said, “We stopped here on our way back from Florida […] The Lobster bisque was one of the best I’ve ever had and the chicken salad was excellent.”
With its new followers, the recipe has proven a staple on the menu. She said, “I can assure you, every time you get a batch, it is fresh ingredients, hand-done, and its been prayed over.”