Mt Pleasant News
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Wash Journal   Fairfield Ledger
Neighbors Growing Together | Jun 24, 2018

Professional chefs, novices compete to be Wings in the Spring champion

Singleton takes first place for second year in a row
May 30, 2018
Photo by: Grace King Bobby Singleton took first place for the second year in a row at Wings in the Spring on Tuesday, May 29. Singleton served four different flavors, hoping to “attack the tastebuds.”

By Grace King, Mt. Pleasant News

 

As Roy Manfredi loaded wings slathered with his Memphis dry rub onto a grill, he exclaimed how he sells cellphones for a living. Last night, however, he earned the title chef competing with other contestants to be the Wings in the Spring champion.

Wings in the Spring returned for its second year Tuesday, May 29, kicking off summer by Main Street Mt. Pleasant and Market on Main Tuesdays. Those who found themselves in Central Park were able to try all the wings their taste buds could handle while sipping on craft beers from area breweries.

Manfredi was encouraged to sign up for the event by his good friend and last year’s Wings in the Spring winner Bobby Singleton, who upped the ante this year and served four different flavors of his signature wings off the menu of his in-home cooking business Cashus Italian Cuisine.

Manfredi decided to stick with his one signature flavor, inspired by dry rub found on ribs and steaks in Nashville. Not a consumer of red meat though, Manfredi has spent two years perfecting the recipe to bring out the flavor of chicken.

“Usually when I make it at home it’s a hit,” Manfredi said. “I hope people appreciate the uniqueness of it and hopefully that helps us out in the voting process.”

Singleton was a little braver with his flavor choices, serving up his chicken lip, spinach Florentine, mango chili lime and mac and cheese wings.

Cooking a little over 300 wings Tuesday night, he was hoping to “attack the taste buds.”

“There’s something about the look on people’s faces when they taste something different they enjoy,” Singleton said. “The mac and cheese I think is going to shock some people.”

On the other side of the park Brian Morris was breathless just relaying the flavors in his wings. The peach mango chipotle habanero wings were first grilled covered in his Brian’s Love Your Butt rub before being slathered in the spicy sauce.

The rub is a concoction Morris created out of necessity years ago when he couldn’t find one off the shelves he truly liked. Toying with online recipes, he eventually perfected his 16-ingredient rub, a sweet, flavorful low-sodium rub.

One of Morris’ secrets is that he never buys frozen wings. Fresh is best, a rule also followed by Ray Vens who was cooking up wings marinated in Newcastle Brown Ale and covered in Bernie Mountains Magic Meat Massage.

“Meat is just as much a contributing factor (to the flavor),” Vens said, adding that while his flavor isn’t really bold, he hopes people got a little taste of the beer and seasoning that was soaked up by the jumbo, juicy chicken wings.

Other contestants were Shannan Baker with Walt’s Taproom, Nathan Quint with Paul Revere’s and Christian Oetken.

Singleton took first place for the second year with Manfredi following in second with a one-point difference. Baker followed in third place.

While people were busy tasting wings and listening to the band The Boys play in the park, vendors at Market on Main took their chance on customers.

With new merchandise to unveil, manager of the Mt. Pleasant Farmers Market Vickie Messer decided to try her luck at Market on Main for the first time. “I figured the music and wings would bring people out,” Messer said, adding with the heat over the weekend she was stuck inside in front of the air conditioner crafting for her new business Country Chalk Creations with Vicki.

Messer’s creations are barn wood slabs, floor tiles, chalkboards and metal buckets with silk screen transfers with customizable sayings and pictures.

“This is my ‘hum,’” Messer said. “Some people do yoga. I do this.”

Two other vendors unveiled their baked goods and vegetables for the first Market on Main of the season. Pam Vantiger, of Nana Pam’s Cookie Jar, sold cookies, Dutch letters, pies and more.

“We like the people. We like to sell our goodies. I like to bake. We’ve done well tonight,” Vantiger said.

Morgan Hoenig, of Mogo Farms in Mt. Pleasant, came with a few vegetables to sell and some cartons of eggs. Hoenig said each summer, this is their spot at the market, in the shade and if she gets desperate she can walk to Dairy Queen and get a scoop of ice cream.

“We have a lot of people who come just because we’re here, but we see a lot of new faces too,” Hoenig said.

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