By Clyde Hughes | AC JosepH Media
GLASSBORO – Food Network cooking champion Chef Timothy Witcher is always down for a good food fight and wants to give South Jersey residents a chance to get out of their kitchens during the coronavirus pandemic to put their chicken wings where their mouth is.
The South Jersey native, who is the executive chef and co-owner of The Wing Kitchen in Glassboro and Turnersville, is hosting his inaugural Wing Heavyweight Champion Cook-Off Thursday (July 30) from 5-8 p.m. during the Glassboro Townsquare’s Summer Fest on Rowan Boulevard.
“Everybody’s been cooking all these couple of months and people have been asking for ideas and suggestions about different things and getting advice,” Witcher told Front Runner New Jersey this week. “I said, why not have the first, inaugural wing cook-off? And so now people who think they’re chefs, they can flex their muscles.
Witcher doesn’t mess around in the kitchen, as the 2016 winner of The Food Network’s “Chopped” series. He served as a chef at various hotels such as Hilton, Radisson and Wyndham, as well as catering companies and Wells Fargo Center sports arena.
He now shares his intense love for food, technique and local, fresh ingredients with the young chefs of tomorrow as an instructor for the culinary arts at Camden County Technical School in Sicklerville along with running The Wing Kitchen. The Wing Kitchen Express food truck is a new edition to his effort.
The cook-off is open to the public. Judging will run from 5:45-6:45 p.m. First, second and third place team winners will be announced at 7:45 p.m.
Witcher is even supplying the “Wing Heavyweight Champion Cook-Off Belt.” He said after receiving plenty of comments from potential competitors on social media during the heart of the coronavirus pandemic, only seven had sign up for the competition so far.
Witcher said many had – well — chickened out, but he still there will still be a good time and plenty of food trash talking.
“Let me tell you, a lot of [the online competitors] must not be real because I thought we’d get a lot more people to come out,” Witcher said. “I think a lot of people are scared to show their stuff. It’s okay. All this trash you’ve been talking on social media. It’s easy to talk trash you behind a screen of a phone. When you out there in the public there’s people and some real judges, then that’s when you start the camera up.”
Witcher said sone of the social media back-and-forth got interesting. He said, though, now is the time to get real.
“During that whole big quarantine time, we have a lot of social media,” Witcher said. “I kept seeing people, they’re home chefs and professional chefs that aren’t working and food bloggers, they’re cooking more. So as they’re cooking, they’re posting their pictures and stuff. And one of the reoccurring themes have been chicken wings. I love food. I’m a big guy. I love good flavors. I don’t care if I make them, you make them, whoever makes them, they’re begging and the flavors are right and they look good.”
Witcher said the pandemic, though, has given him some blessings, including extra time with his new child who was born prematurely.
“It’s been so positive being home with my family and all the running that we do, usually I still run around a lot now, but I’m able to have dinner with our family almost every night for three, four months in a row,” Witcher said. “That’s something that hasn’t happened since my kids were really small. I have a new baby that was born in January, and that was 13 weeks premature. For everybody to be able to be home with him and help him grow and learn has been wonderful.”
Witcher was born and raised in Willingboro and is currently living in Lindenwold while running his restaurants in Glassboro and Turnersville. He said, though, life has given him chances to enjoy what he’s is doing – like a good food fight.
For more information and order online, visit www.thewingkitchen.com.
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