Agate announces judges for Evanston Wing-Off 2012

Agate Publishing is proud to announce the esteemed judges for the Evanston Wing-Off 2012. After a long and careful search, we have an expert panel whose background, credentials, and genuine love of Buffalo chicken wings make them uniquely qualified to help us crown the best wing establishment in Evanston. We are honored to welcome the following experts on Tuesday, July 24th:


  • Janet Rausa Fuller – Former Chicago Sun-Times food editor and 2012 James Beard Award nominee
  • Parneshia Jones – Poetry editor at Northwestern University Press, publisher of the 2011 National Book Award winner for poetry, Nikki Finney
  • Martha Bayne – Former Chicago Reader food editor, founder of Soup & Bread night at the Hideout, and author of Soup & Bread Cookbook
  • Andrew Brochu – Executive chef at Graham Elliot, former executive chef of Pops for Champagne and Kith & Kin, and former Alinea cook


These four aficionados will join the judging table alongside Agate’s own cookbook editors, producers, and several other wing cognoscenti on staff.

The Evanston Wing-Off 2012 will be a blind taste test where all entrants (Wingstop, Wings Over Evanston, Buffalo Joe’s, and Buffalo Wild Wings) will be anonymous to the judges, who will rank the Buffalo chicken wings in the following areas: Best Sauce, Best Meat, Best Texture/Mouthfeel, and Best Overall.

“The most important thing with something like this, other than it be run competently,” says Ashlee Humphreys, a Northwestern assistant professor whose research focuses on consumer behavior, “is that consumers perceive it as a fair and legitimate contest.” Agate employees are frequently subjected to Competency Aptitude Testing (CAT), which can involve tests ranging from basic reading comprehension to quickly locating the best cat photos on the Internet, as well as a test of making the perfect artisanal cup of drip-brew, fresh-ground coffee. When asked to comment on the legitimacy of Agate’s blind taste test methodologies, Humphreys said, “Rest assured you have my full endorsement.”

While this year’s Wing-Off will be a closed event, Agate invites the public at large to participate in Wing-Off 2012-related discussion on Facebook and Twitter (hashtag #WingOff2012). Agate is also assuring the complete legitimacy of this contest by making a solemn oath by the Lost Eye of Odin to uphold the rigorous academic and scientific standards of the blind taste test (this is traditionally the most binding promise an Agate employee—or any publishing professional—can make).

Please help us in spread the word about the Evanston 2012 Wing-Off by participating in the online discussion and telling us your thoughts on the art of Buffalo chicken wings.

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