Fried Chicken Craving, Satisfied!

Winnipeg’s Fried Chicken Fest back on its 5th year

Chef Mark Merano of James Ave Pumphouse Food and Drink displays his entry to the 5th Fried Chicken Fest which runs January 16-22. Chef Mark’s creation, called Orange Chicken French Toast, is one of the nearly 50 fried chicken recipes being offered in participating restaurants in Winnipeg.

“Winnipeg’s restaurants are still struggling. This year’s Fried Chicken Fest gives people a fun way to enjoy their favourite food and help support the restaurant industry,” Chef Allan Pineda, co-organizer of Fried Chicken Fest said.

Restaurants who have an entry to the festival are offering a unique fried chicken dish only for the week of the Frief Chicken Fest. Each dish is presented by their chef, showcasing their culinary skills and offering a unique flavour experience.

Fried Chicken Fest goers are encouraged to try as many dishes as they can and vote for their favourite online at


With the record number of participating restaurants in the 5th Winnipeg Fried Chicken Fest this year , more Filipino chefs have also brought their culinary expertise to the first festival of the year-some new, some returning. Chef Mark Merano of James Ave Pumphouse Food and Drink is one of the new ones. His creation, Orange Chicken French Toast, is buttermilk fried chicken with a spiced orange syrup , condensed milk French toast , and garnished with orange segments, feta, pickled onions, mint and chili flakes.

“It’s like painting a picture , my inspiration was fried chicken and French toast. And you just put it together and see what made sense. I love Chinese food so I thought of lemon chicken, then changed it up a bit, thus, the orange chicken,” said Chef Mark when asked about the recipe inspiration.

Chef Mark said that it took a couple of days of trial and error before he came up with the final showpiece.

“I think it is a matter of looking what is available in your arsenal as a chef. You scrap what doesn’t work and keep what works,” added Chef Mark.

Since the festival started, Chef Mark shared that the restaurant has been getting good feedback about their fried chicken dish entry.

“People say it’s a very brunchy item, it’s unique.”

Chef Mark, working in a unique restaurant, it being built in a historical building which was Winnipeg’s first high-pressure water system, not only boasts of their amazing location but also a menu that draws on Manitoba culinary traditions. Two of their bestsellers are the Dan Dan Thai and Braised Beef Tacos which definitely are must try recipes.

This year’s event amid another round of COVID restrictions, Chef Mark sees more promise to the festival’s goal of supporting Manitoba restaurants and all the people who make up this important industry.

“I think we’re on the way back up to success because people are eager to come out again. They want to support, and people love eating out. With patience, we will be back at how we were, striving and creating food and being part of a place where everyone comes in with friends and family,” Chef Mark said.

Try out all the amazing fried chicken recipes featured here, created by our kababayan Filipino chefs. To support other entries, please go to

Orange Chicken French Toast

Dan Dan Thai foregrounding the historical pumphouse

Chef Allan Pineda, co-organizer
Susie Erjavec Parker, co-founder

1100-50 Sage Creek Boulevard
The Ultimate Mother Clucker
Presented by Chef Noel Soriano

Six deep fried chicken balls stuffed three ways: Apple and Brie, Broccoli and Cheddar, and Pesto Parmesan topped with a cream sauce, maple-flavoured aioli and green onions, served in a waffle cone bowl.

185 Stadacona St.
CRK ( chicken, rice & ketchup) Burger
Presented by Chef Charlie Villapando

Panko-breaded rice bun. Deboned chicken thigh. Smothered in our housemade banana BBQ ketchup. Topped with our housemade pickled cucumbers, a fried egg, bacon, and cheese.

806 Sargent Avenue

Japanese-style fried chicken with zesty ginger coleslaw, sushi rice, and Chef D’s sweet sauce in a delicious nori taco shell.

1301 St. Matthews
Strike n Spare Chicken Sandwich
Presented by Ben Fernandez

A delicious ground chicken patty with a touch of marinara sauce, Asian style coleslaw on a bun made from our pizza dough.

130 Provencher Blvd
Maple Benny Chicken Sandwich
Presented by
Chef Anthony Carino

Maple-glazed chicken, field greens, pickled onions and bacon jam, and topped with Hollandaise on a sourdough waffle.

806 Sargent Ave.
Crspy ChicFredo

Fettuccine pasta in a creamy alfredo sauce, topped with bacon crumbles, grated parmesan cheese and herbs, all stuffed in a savoury panko-fried chicken taco shell with a garlic parmesan swiss stick.

Photos by Ron Cantiveros | Filipino Journal