Kirkwood Spring Fling announces celebrity judges for 2nd Wing Fling competitionPictured left to right: Ronald Hsu, Rose Scott, Ford Fry, Bem Joiner and Chuck Bryant
This story has been updated.
Editor’s note: Decaturish is a sponsor of the 2023 Kirkwood Spring Fling.
Several prominent local restaurateurs and media personalities will participate as celebrity judges for Kirkwood’s Wing Fling competition on Saturday, May 13.
The competition is part of the 20th annual Kirkwood Spring Fling. The chicken wing competition is presented by Timothy Cox & Co Realtors this year, and it replaced the festival’s barbecue competition in 2022.
“Chicken wings are such a big part of the city’s culture and food scene, but surprisingly nobody intown had done a wing contest yet,” festival organizer Andrew Feury said in a press release.
Tickets for the contest sold out quickly last year. The organizers of the Fling hope that the panel of celebrity judges will attract more competitors which means more tickets will be available for sale.
“We’re bringing the Wing Fling back for a second year and anticipate even more competitors,” competition organizer Matthew Straw said in the press release. “Our judges panel is amazing – we’re very excited for these notable names to judge the chicken wings on offer and to see who will win the title.”
To file your application to compete, click here.
This year’s judges are:
Chuck Bryant is the co-host of the long-running podcast Stuff You Should Know, where he shares knowledge and laughs about everything from science and history to pop culture and the arts. The podcast began in 2008 and is the first podcast to hit 3 billion downloads. The show recently received a lifetime achievement award from The Podcast Academy despite having no aims of stopping anytime soon. A native of Atlanta, Chuck graduated from Redan High School and then the University of Georgia. When he’s not working, he likes to spend time with his family, traveling, gardening and playing music in his “old man band” El Cheapo.
Ford Fry is the renowned chef and CEO of Rocket Farm Restaurants which operates 23 restaurants across the southeast including The Optimist, King + Duke, St. Cecilia, Superica, Marcel, State of Grace, BeetleCat, and La Lucha. His restaurants have received numerous accolades, and he has been called “one of the most prolific chefs and restaurateurs” in the United States. Ford is also the founder of one of Atlanta’s most popular food events, the Attack of the Killer Tomato Festival, now led by Georgia Organics. He has been a four-time semifinalist for the James Beard Foundation’s Outstanding Restaurateur Award and won the Georgia Restaurant Association’s Restaurateur of the Year Award. He is also an accomplished author, musician and adrenaline junkie with a love for tennis and pickleball.
@Fordfry / @theoptimistatl / @stceciliaatl / @stateofgracetx / @marcelatlanta / @supericatexmex
Ron Hsu is an Atlanta-based chef and culinary director behind Candler Park’s Lazy Betty and West Midtown’s Humble Pie, and a 2023 James Beard Award semifinalist for Best Chef Southeast. Lazy Betty has received great acclaim, including a James Beard Award semifinalist nomination in 2019. Prior, he worked at Michelin-starred restaurant Le Bernardin and Le Colonial in NYC. Ron is an advocate for equitable pay in the restaurant industry and serves on the steering committee for RAISE. With his dedication to culinary excellence and social good, Ron Hsu is a chef to watch in the Atlanta food scene and beyond.
@chefhsu / @lazybettyatl / @humblepieatl / @juniper_cafe
Bem Joiner is a passionate Atlanta native and co-founder of Atlanta Influences Everything, a civic-minded creative consultancy and brand which has made a significant impact on the city’s culture. He has also booked shows for early-adopter musicians like Drake, Kendrick Lamar, and the Goodie Mob reunion. Deeply committed to community service, Joiner serves on the boards of a number of nonprofits, including The Grove Park Foundation, The Harvard Diversity Project, The Wren’s Nest, and the Atlanta Film Society. He previously founded CreativeCall.org, a collaboration between Atlanta and Stockholm creatives, and was the Community Engagement Coordinator for the Center for Civic Innovation. He was recently a Forever 404 honoree in recognition for his tireless efforts to uplift the work of others in the community.
@bemjoiner / @atlantainfluenceseverything
Rose Scott is an award-winning journalist who hosts the midday news program “Closer Look” on Atlanta’s NPR station, 90.1 FM – WABE. With more than two decades of reporting in Atlanta, she has covered a wide range of topics including education, minority health issues, sports, affordable housing, immigration, and criminal justice reform. Rose is well-respected in the Atlanta community for her thought-provoking reporting style and has been honored with several awards, including a Southeast Regional Emmy Award, an Edward R. Murrow Award, an Atlanta Association of Black Journalists Award, numerous Georgia Association of Broadcaster awards, and awards from the Georgia Associated Press.
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