Austin Chicken Wing Festival: Wild Chix & Waffles to serve up wing-inspired food

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Photo Credit: Courtesy of Wendy Wu | Daily Texan Staff

Chicken wings might be the main attraction of the Austin Chicken Wing Festival, but they won’t the only food attendees will find at the event, which takes place this Sunday, May 20th at the The Auguste Escoffier School of Culinary Arts  from 1-5 p.m.

Wild Chix & Waffles, a cafe that serves up chicken, Belgian waffles and coffee, will serve up wing-inspired chicken bites instead of wings at the festival on Sunday, May 20th from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. The Daily Texan spoke to the restaurant’s founder, Wendy Wu, to find out more about the origin of her eatery, what she will be serving at the festival, and her recommendations for festival attendees taking on the hottest of hot wings.

Daily Texan: How did you get involved in the Austin Chicken Wing Festival? What will you be serving?

Wendy Wu: We entered the festival when Scott (Shepard) and Gavin (Booth) contacted us saying they would love for us to be part of the festival, to serve our chicken. We thought it was very interesting, so we decided to join … We’re going to be serving chicken wing-inspired bites, some hot chicken dishes served with some of our special sauces.

DT: Will you be at the festival yourself?

WW: Yes, I will be there myself … I’ll help cook and serve and explain our dishes to all the people that are there.

DT: At your restaurant, you serve a combination of chicken and waffles. What is it about about combining these two foods that you like so much?

WW: For me, chicken and waffles just speak “comfort food.” Whenever you feel down or want something that’s fulfilling, chicken and waffles are a great combination. People often think it’s a brunch item, but to me, it’s an all-day item. For us (at Wild Chix & Waffles), we’re thinking the waffle itself is more like a vehicle (for the chicken) like a burger bun.

DT: I’ve read on your website that your time in Paris inspired you to give Wild Chix & Waffles a European flair. Could you talk about that a bit and how that contributed to your restaurant?

WW: My background is actually in architecture. While in Paris, I was working for an architectural firm there, and I just in general loved food since I was young, so I’ve always liked to cook … Some people say I’m like an architect gone wild. I took all my design background and put it into (the design) of the restaurant ... I incorporated my design skills into the restaurant, into the food, into the things that are crucial. As an architect, we do a lot of design, we do a lot of research in the beginning. We want to make sure the design meets all our requirements and has our own concept behind it. We tried out so many vendors for the ingredients we used, and we always strive for the best quality food.

DT: Do you have any tips for surviving the hottest wings?

WW: Tips? Well, I love spicy food, and I can handle a lot of spicy food. So I see people bring some milk, bring something to cut down the spice when they need it. But in the end, to me, it’s endurance. That’s the challenge, having something spicy … It’s a fun thing to do with friends.

DT: So you’re recommending that people go as long as they can without milk or ranch?

WW: Yeah! I would definitely recommend you do that until you cannot handle it anymore.

You can find out more about the Austin Chicken Wing Festival here.