Sunday, August 05, 2007

Interview with Matt Reynolds - Chicken Wing Documentarian

If you are a lover of the wing you've probably seen by now that a new film is in the works - a documentary that will recount the buffalo wing's rise in popularity as well as attempt to find the world's greatest buffalo wing in the state of New York. On a recent evening, I had a chance to sit down with Matt Reynolds and find out more about his passion for the wing. Here's how it went...

Cluckbucket: For the record, please state your name.

Matt: My name is Matt Reynolds. I was briefly known as Matt "Old Hickory" Reynolds in high school but the nickname didn't stick.

Cluckbucket: Why a wing documentary?

Matt: I've been looking for two years to transition from text journalist to documentary filmmaker. Buffalo wings were a subject dear to my heart. The more I thought about doing a wing documentary, the more it made sense. I believe wings are on the verge of pizza-like stardom. I also believe that I, having 1. grown up in wing country 2. lived abroad and 3. practiced journalism for eight years, am uniquely qualified to understand and interpret this moment. Imagine if you could go back to Naples in 1640 and locate the best pizza, the prototype for this food billions of people eat, film it being made, interview its chef, and document the culture that produced it. That's what I want to do for the wing.

Cluckbucket: What/where was the best plate of wings that you've ever consumed?

Matt: My best plate of wings was Danny Boys, Newark, New York, 1992-1994. Some say atmosphere counts heavily in determining the quality of a wing. Not as a separate consideration. But that it actually affects the taste and how you remember the taste. It may be so -- Danny boy's had a 10 cent wing night that epitomized the best of wing culture: young women in tight stonewashed jeans, beer, pot-smoking in the parking lot, bar games such as table shuffleboard and darts. And yet I really believe there was something special about their wings -- big, juicy wings. Crispy, but not too crispy. Very hot (they called them suicidal) but still buttery as a medium. (pet peeve: when a bar cranks up the heat with peppers (good) but then takes it up another notch by removing the butter (bad)). Their pepper of choice was the habanera.

Cluckbucket: Do you always hold true to the buffalo wing flavor, or do you ever consume wings with an alternative sauce like BBQ, teriyaki, or others?

Matt: I occasionally try a novelty wing. I have nothing against them. I try to be objective. If someone came up with a wing better than a Buffalo wing, I would feel honor-bound as a journalist to acknowledge its superiority. But I haven't had that experience yet. I went to a bar last week with 30 flavors -- parmesan, boss sauce, jerk, et cetera. None of them were as good as their straight hot Buffalo, although the Buffalo parmesan came close.

Cluckbucket: Lastly, if I want to be involved in the documentary, how do go about doing that?

Matt: Email me at The trip is open to the public. All are welcome. You can learn more about the Great Chicken Wing Hunt at the following sites:

Peace, love, and grease!

Scott "The Cluckbucket" Roth

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