Get Your Fingers Greasy at Winnipeg's First Fried Chicken Festival

Not that you needed an excuse to eat fried chicken from some of the city’s best local restaurants, but now you officially have one.

From Jan. 21-28, more than a dozen Winnipeg eateries will participate in the city’s inaugural Fried Chicken Fest. Much like Le Burger Week, and the upcoming La Poutine Week, each restaurant will create a signature fried chicken dish specifically for the festival.

Fried Chicken Fest, organized by local chef Allan Pineda and marketing strategist Susie Erjavec Parker, will give chefs an opportunity to experiment with everything from the spices and the crunch to the flavour and the presentation. It will also be a great chance for Winnipeggers to discover some restaurants they’ve yet to try.

“Winnipeg’s food scene is diverse, and our chefs are creative,” says Pineda. “Fried Chicken Fest gives us a way to show off both of these. With the cold weather, Fried Chicken Week is the perfect way to encourage people to get out and experience the best of Winnipeg’s food scene with friends and family.”

A sneak peek at The Oak & Grain’s Fried Chicken Fest entry. 

To date there are 13 local restaurants signed up for the festival’s first edition. They include: The Oak & Grain, Promenade Cafe and Wine, ERA Bistro, The Tallest Poppy, Little Goat Food & Drink, Blaze Restaurant & Lounge, Inferno’s on Academy, Underdogs, Have a Nice Day, The Merchant Kitchen, Summit Cafe, La Carnita, KYU Grill, Santa Lucia, The Cornerstone, Pine Ridge Hollow, Brazen Hall Kitchen & Brewery and our partner business, Little Bones.

Meet Summit Cafe’s Southern Belle: pure-leaf steeped tea-brined fried chicken with roasted garlic aioli, red pepper jelly, butter lettuce and pickled peaches on a potato scallion bun. 

People are encouraged to try as many of the dishes as possible and vote on their finger-lickin’ favourites using #friedchickenfest on social media. Winners will be selected in the Judges’ Choice, Most Creative and Fan Favourite categories.

Here’s a look at some of the other mouth-watering entries:

The Fried-Chicken Hero from KYU Grill: Fried-chicken skewer, Japanese potato salad, beet-orange-infused daikon, pickled carrots, butter cream sauce and cilantro.

The Chicken and the Leg from Pine Ridge Hollow: Pork fat-fried Manitoba chicken marinated in sriracha and buttermilk, drizzled with chipotle mayo, chili dill honey, served on French toast brioche, and pickled shallots and lemon apple cucumbers, topped with a sunny side egg and dill sprinkle.

The Don Pollo from La Carnita: Free-range chicken thighs, brined, battered, golden fried and splattered with guajillo sauce, next to green papaya frito.

The Moroccan Southern Fried Chicken Sammich from Inferno’s on Academy: Buttermilk and Moroccan spice-brined chicken thighs on a fresh ciabatta bun with harissa mayo, pickled red onions, artisan greens and tomato topped with an Elman’s dill pickle spear.

The Nashville Hot Chicken from Brazen Hall Kitchen & Brewery. 

Confit Chicken ‘n Waffles from Promenade Cafe and Wine: Chicken slow-cooked in duck confit then fried, placed on two in-house Belgian waffles with gremolata, matchstick potatoes and maple syrup.

Fried chicken on a blue cheese biscuit with bacon garlic sauce and apple celery slaw from The Tallest Poppy

The Dirty Bird from Underdogs: Louisiana-style buttermilk fried chicken (thigh), homemade creamed corn, served with home-baked sweet sweet jalapeno cornbread.

Fried Chicken Bowl from The Merchant Kitchen: Korean-fried chicken thigh, whipped yucca, truffle cheddar, serrano chile hollandaise, boar belly, and pickled red onion.

For more information and to vote, visit Fried Chicken Fest online.

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