Tom Colicchio scores a win for doing good with his Big Game recipe, interview

Chef Tom Colicchio at his restaurant Small Batch in Garden City, January 28, 2019. photo provided by Do Good Chicken
Chef Tom Colicchio at his restaurant Small Batch in Garden City, January 28, 2019. photo provided by Do Good Chicken /

As a well-known, respective chef, Tom Colicchio appreciates that he has a platform that allows him to serve more than just delicious food to a gathering crowd. Over the years, the Top Chef veteran has lent his voice to many food related causes. From reducing food waste to alleviating food insecurity, the award winning restaurateur uses his platform to inform, and hopefully change, people’s understanding of their role in the interconnected food world. Given that the end of the football season is often a huge food event, Colicchio has a Big Game recipe that is not only delicious, but will “Do Good” before, during, and after the feast.

For this year’s Big Game Recipe, Colicchio is sharing his Sour Cherry Chicken Wings dish made with Do Good Chicken. During a recent conversation with the chef, Colicchio described the wings as a multi-faceted version of a barbecue sauce, but with sour cherries. It features onion, garlic, ginger, vinegar, lime juice, serrano chiles, and dried sour cherries. All the ingredients are cooked down into a scrumptious glaze.

Colicchio shared a very helpful tip for baking chicken wings. He said, “makes sure that the wings are really dry. Usually, I take them out, spread them out, and leave them in the refrigerator overnight, covered. When they are dry, they can get good and crispy in the oven.”

After baking, the chicken wings are tossed in the glaze and served. Since everyone has their preference, drums or flats, a discussion on chicken wings would not be complete without asking Colicchio his preference. He prefers the flats.

With a delicious Big Game recipe in hand, the conversation turned to actual chicken wing, itself. As many chefs appreciate, the ingredients make a dish. Over the years, home cooks have learned to appreciate the chef mantra that local farms, quality ingredients, and attention to detail will always make a difference in a dish’s taste.

Colicchio is a partner with Do Good Chicken. The company uses a simple premise. It takes grocery store food waste and transforms that usable food into feed for its chickens. From keeping food from landfills to producing a more flavorful bird, the concept is the application of the classic phrase, winner, winner, chicken dinner.

Tom Colicchio for Do Good Chicken
Chef Tom Colicchio at his restaurant Small Batch in Garden City, January 28, 2019. photo provided by Do Good Chicken /

When explained by Colicchio, the concept looks to the simplicity of the past to create a better future. He said, “farmers would actually feed leftover food to their livestock. Obviously, Do Good Chicken is doing that on a much bigger scale. Food that is usually wasted ends up in the landfill, which creates methane, which leads to greenhouse gases, which leads to climate change. If you’re concerned about climate change and you want to do something. It’s as simple as buying a different chicken.”

Specifically, he explained, “Every chicken that you buy from Do Good Chicken takes about 4 pounds of carbon out of the atmosphere.” Plus, the chicken tastes good.

While the concept is relatively straightforward, today’s consumer might not be as aware as past generations. Even though food costs are a constant part of the news cycle, food waste continues to be a huge concern.

Colicchio shared, “we’re about a generation or two generations away from when households would not throw anything out. I remember watching my grandfather. He would fry bacon and save all the fat. That is what you used to do. They lived through the depression when food was scarce, and you didn’t waste anything. A generation later and the story is different.”

He said, “today, Americans typically throw out about a third of their groceries. The average family has about $1,800 a year of food that just gets thrown away.”

While the household number is staggering, it is not an isolated problem. Colicchio referenced that the global issue extends through the food industry. From farms to consumption, the food waste impacts greenhouse gas emissions which is a huge environmental issue. Specifically, he said, “everyone is attuned to the fact that we need to do something.” One easy option is just to buy a better chicken.

This weekend before the food gets served on the table, take some advice from Tom Colicchio and do better with that Big Game recipe. A Do Good Chicken recipe for the guests can be one step to making a positive contribution. The next step is to ensure that everyone takes some leftovers home.