In celebration of International Chef Day, we’re spotlighting Wingstop flavor master, chef Larry Bellah! We sat down with him to learn more about his background, expertise, and journey to becoming Wingstop’s head chef and culinary expert.
Q: What led you to become a chef?
A: I always had a strong bond with my grandmother growing up. That bond really developed in the kitchen. She passed away right after I graduated high school. Working in the kitchen has always kept my incredible memories of her top-of-mind.
Q: Why wings? What drew you to Wingstop?
A: Wings are a great pallet – almost any sauce, seasoning or flavor can be placed on wings, so the options of development are almost endless!
Q: What does your process look like when launching a flavor?
A: The development of flavors takes about a year and is rather detailed. I always start big with lots of new flavor options and then begin to whittle them down. The process usually goes like this:
- Wingstop takes it to social media to get an idea of what new flavors the fans want to see in-restaurant.
- We take our findings and head to the kitchen – fine-tuning flavors to ensure they live up to Wingstop’s standards.
- Of course, we want to hear from our internal team members. If our flavor experts love it, then we know our guests will too.
- After we narrow it down to a few flavors, we put them to the test in a ‘soft-launch’ in a few of our restaurants.
- If a flavor is well-received by our guests, we’re ready to serve it to the world!
Q: What is your favorite part about serving the world flavor through Wingstop?
A: You can’t beat the people and the culture. At Wingstop, there is a sense of freedom that allows everyone to follow whatever path that leads them to their best selves and highest potential.