If you ask them how they came up with the concept to stuff chicken wings (with fillings like jambalaya or mac-n-cheese), they’ll likely hesitate and then tell you: an alien abduction.
But you’re not supposed to know that.
Quite honestly, if you encounter the quirky duo (which is likely, given the August 16 debut of their show Wingmen on OWN at 10 pm ET/PT), chances are that an alien abduction wouldn’t be the furthest conceivable stretch from the truth.
Corey Simmons, 29, and Ramone Dickerson, 34, are two childhood friends who both had a passion for cooking, eating and thinking outside the culinary box. As a kid, Ramone was the only one permitted in the kitchen when his grandfather would cook. He’d hang on his leg and watch as he fried chicken, first sprinkling “magic dust” on it and then submerging it popping grease.
He was 6 when he realized how much he loved food and cooking it. That love eventually caused him to gorge, ultimately leading to a self-described “husky” body shape. Around 12 years old, his father enlightened him about out his eating patterns. Ramone decided to relearn how to enjoy cooking and developed better eating habits; this only enhanced his culinary creativity.
Corey’s passion for food and cooking, on the other hand, started from a love of cartoons. He watched countless characters mix potions and create whatever they desired, food or otherwise. Based on his observation, all it took was an idea. Cooking became the closest he could come to bringing his fascination with the imagination (and cartoons) to life.
Due to their age differences, they lost touch by their teenage years but later managed to reconnect. Still in love with food and cooking, they’d often share ideas and recipes. The idea to turn their passion into a business occurred rather naturally for the two. According to Ramone, that’s when the “alien abduction” happened. They began brainstorming what kind of food they were going to serve. The details after that aren’t clear, but Cory apparently woke up sore with a strong urge to play André 3000 and we’re not supposed to talk about it.
Just know that we got stuffed chicken wings out the deal, and this is how easy it is to get pulled into their antics.
And for the past seven years, those antics, their passion and humorous approach to life have enabled them to build the success that they now claim. Thanks to the investment of family members, they were able to move their business from the back of a college bar to their own food-truck. That landed them the opportunity to gain the exposure and support of the Cooking Channel’s show, Eat Street. That opportunity led to them now entering the world of reality TV to continue building their “million dollar wing” empire by taking the OWN Network on a culinary adventure.
As we chatted on the phone during our interview about their journey thus far, I asked, “What is this new experience like? Your whole dream is about to be broadcast to the world. How is this affecting you all?”
Ramone paused and thought for a moment, then said, “I think we have come relatively close to grips with the fact that all of this happening. We’re ready. Hopefully there’s going to be an influx in business—in traffic to the truck—and people get to experience the wings and come hang out with two guys who just truly had a dream and are fortunate enough to have it shown to a lot of people.” He added, “We want to serve people chicken wings. We like seeing how happy people are when they have wings. That’s the reward, you know? Having a business that’s more than just business.”
So what can you expect to see during the one-hour debut of the show? For Corey, it’s a rather simple answer:
“People can expect to see two guys that [they] can relate to. We’re trying to make something out of an idea and we’re having fun doing it because that’s what [life] is about. Ramone says that often—that we are here to live and not to [just] exist. You know? So we go about what we do with love and a passion, not just for the money… but right now [especially] we feel successful that the business has been going as long as it has, and we’re still having fun with it,” he said.
“This is like a dream. It’s never a walk in the park, but your state of mind opens and adjusts [due to] different things, to [a point] where you just enjoy everything so much more.”If the wings and all of the other sides dishes that they chef up (like loaded baked potato salad and three cheese mac-n-cheese) are anywhere near as enjoyable as their current state of life seems to be, then damn it, pass the hot sauce. Mama’s ready to dig in.
Oh, and don’t worry about whether the wings will be going anywhere… because they won’t.
They’re stuffed too much…you know? Just 2 Fat 2 Fly.
Tune into “Wingmen” on the OWN Network, Saturday August 16, 2014 at 10 PM ET/PT. In the meantime, check out some of their wing creations below:
Movie Themed Wings
Spaghetti Eddie (The Godfather)
Stuffed with spaghetti noodles, marinara , and italian sausage and finished with more marinara and freshly grated parm and italian seasoning.
The Royale (Pulp Fiction)
Stuffed with ground beef, onions and american cheese and finished with a mustard/ketchup sauce. Served with homemade chips and a side of mayo.
Coq au Fly (Donnie Brasco)
Stuffed with potatoes, bacon, italian herbs, pearl onions, mushrooms and cherry tomatoes. Finished with a red-wine pan sauce.
Syreeta “Sincerely Syreeta” Martin is a mother, freelance journalist, entrepreneur and creator of SincerelySyreeta.com.