Where Hudson Valley cooks are crowned king of the wing

For wing lovers, the return of WingFest to the city of Poughkeepsie was a delicious treat. But for some cooks, it was a return to what they do best.

It’s hard to find anyone more passionate about chicken wings than Steven Abril.

As the owner of Las Tres Americas food trucks, Abril specializes in wings, empanadas and tacos. But it’s his creativity and competitive nature when it comes to chicken wings that keeps him coming back to Hudson Valley WingFest year after year.

“First place, most creative. I have three of those titles,” Abril said. “Two first-place belts that are up front.”

Abril said he’s always fighting for first, but he never lets that get in the way of the family-like atmosphere among food entrepreneurs.

“I love to be competitive. I love to have competition,” Abril said. “I’m friends with my competition. That’s what makes it even better, ’cause we’re like, ‘Hey, I got this and I got that,’ you know?”

Abril started as a restaurant chef before taking his lifetime of experience cooking recipes to work for himself.

“I’ve been cooking ever since I was a little kid,” he said. “My mother, oh my goodness, she never cooked. So I had to cook. But yeah, food trucking, I’ve been in the game going on four years now. I love it, it makes my life so much easier.”

He said Las Tres Americas is all about the intersection of cuisines.

“Listen, you’ve got North America, Central America and South America. So we wanted to bring all those Americas, as it should be, let people try a little bit of everything,” he said.

Without WingFest, he’s not sure if he’d be able to have the food truck business that he loves, or flex his creative muscles with wing flavors like blueberry chipotle or gochu pepper.

Once WingFest starts, it’s hard to stop. Because people love Abril’s wings. And he’s so grateful for it.

“If it wasn’t for all these people, all these customers coming to these events, then we probably wouldn’t be in business,” Abril said.