Big-hearted Brooklynites gorge on wings for charity

Big-hearted Brooklynites gorge on wings for charity
Photo by Jon Farina

It was a finger-lickin’ good deed!

A bunch of Brooklynites filled a Bay Ridge eatery to take part in an annual Buffalo wing-eating contest to raise money for the American Cancer Society on Oct. 17.

The 12 contestants, split between two teams, scarfed down 362 wings total during the ten-minute “King of the Wing” binge-eating blitz, but the more impressive feat was raising more than $7,700 for the upcoming Relay for Life cancer walk at MCU Park in Coney Island next June, according to the organizer.

“Every single dollar gets fed back into the community where the money is raised,” said Joe “Zumba Daddy” Gillette. “I challenge any fund-raiser to meet that high threshold. It’s hard.”

The cooks at the Kettle Black served up 400 of the Third Avenue restaurant’s signature wings — which have won various awards, including a designation by “Food and Wine” as one of the top wing joints in the country — in preparation for the event. And the top male and female eaters — Adam Goldman and Mallory Baio — threw back a combined 46 wings.

Gillette started the “King of the Wing” fund-raising contest a year and a half ago to raise money for Relay for Life, which he first got involved with eight years ago. But this year’s contest was without question the most successful in the event’s brief history. The Kettle Black event was one of 20 concurrent wing-eating contests around the world, with 19 across the U.S. — including another at the Salty Dog in Bay Ridge — and even one in Australia.

The events raised $46,403 overall, according to Gillette, who said he hopes to add more global teams to the event next year, and added that organizing the contests have given him a renewed sense of purpose.

“It’s become a tremendous outlet for me, to be able to do something that has reach beyond your immediate community,” he said. “That’s a high that I couldn’t even describe for you.”

Reach reporter Julianne McShane at (718) 260–2523 or by e-mail at jmcshane@cnglocal.com. Follow her on Twitter @juliannemcshane.