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The Food Dude: Wingman wings

Terry Bursey's wingman platter.
Terry Bursey's wingman platter.

New Year's Eve parties are a finger-food paradise, a smorgasbord of dips, toothpick skewers, bacon-wrapped everything, and my personal favourite – wings. There's just something about chicken wings that sets my soul and taste buds on fire. Honey garlic, blue cheese, spicy, buffalo – along with flavours that are completely unique – never seem to fall off their perfection mark.

A couple of years back I was asked to a New Year's Eve bash that was part potluck and part gaming party. It just so happened to be the same year my professional wingman job went viral and I was experiencing a small burst of notoriety as a result.

I had decided to take the opportunity to bring shy and socially anxious folks, as well as people new to the island, to George Street and house parties to help bolster their confidence, effectively coaching them through the kinds of social activities that come much easier to most of us.

All in all, I had enough adventures in my short-lived life as a pro-wingman to write a book (or start a different column).

I wanted to make something for the party that was a delicious finger food, but also somehow had a clever joke in it. The general theme of that month being my wingman gig, I decided to go with wings.

After brainstorming a few flavours to try, I settled on a sauce that was so good, it actually had me giving myself a small round of applause.

Wingman Platter

Ingredients:

Buffalo wings
1/2 cup real butter, melted
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
1/2 cup hot sauce (Frank's works best)
3/4 cup flour
1/2 tsp garlic powder

Honey garlic wings
1/4 cup honey
1/4 cup butter, melted
1 tsp garlic powder
1/3 clove garlic, finely chopped
1/2 cup soya sauce
1 1/2 tbsp. corn starch

Wingman wings
2 tbsp. ketchup
1/4 cup honey mustard
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp garlic powder

Directions:

- In a deep fryer, fry desired amount of plain chicken wings until golden brown and fully cooked. Set aside.

- For each wing type, simply whisk ingredients together in a steel bowl and toss wings until evenly coated.

- Place on baking sheet covered in parchment paper and bake in pre-heated oven at 375 degrees Fahrenheit for approximately 15 minutes.

- All ingredients can yield about 4 dozen wings in total, more depending on wing size. Sour cream and ranch dips go extremely well with these wings. Be sure not to use breaded or flavoured wings with this recipe.

I arrived at this party with a client in tow. He was your typical shy gamer nerd, and I figured attending a video game-themed party would be a fitting stepping stone to help him mingle with other humans.

While he was initially mortified by the sheer number of people and I could sense his mounting anxiety, I soon broke the ice by introducing him to as many people as possible and hailing him as probably the most impressive and skilled gamer I had ever come across, which was true enough, I suppose.

Within seconds, he was holding a controller and smiling as he took on our host in a friendly game of Halo.

The part I always enjoyed most about working as a wingman was watching my client transform from a shy, quiet introvert not at all in their element to a laughing, conversing, party-goer genuinely enjoying the same festivities as the rest of us with renewed confidence.

Altogether we rang in the New Year with a bang, and while most people ended the night's celebrations a wee bit poorer from partying, this wingman was happy to wake up with an extra $100 in his pocket – despite the crippling hangover.

Happy New Year!

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