“Unperturbed I chased the dream”

Matt Harris – Thunderbird Chicken Founder

The most crave-worthy chicken in town

The Electrifying Origin of Thunderbird Fried Chicken

The saga of Thunderbird Fried Chicken doesn’t unfold in your typical kitchen. No, it kicks off in the blistering heat of the racetrack, where speed is king and adrenaline is the fuel that powers dreams. But how does a roaring engine lead to mouthwatering chicken, you wonder? Well, that’s a story best told by the man himself…

The Deep South

I had been racing across the UK and Europe in open-wheel cars and Porsches when an opportunity to race in the USA in NASCAR presented itself. I leapt at the chance and moved to the Deep South, but almost immediately found that the financial climate was spiralling downwards.

It was 2008 and any chance of sponsorship evaporated in front of me…

The BBQ lab

I never found that elusive funding and came back to the UK to discover the recession had travelled here too. So, I got a degree and a crap job and set about hating my life.

Something had to fill the gap that racing left, and it transpired to be cooking. I approached food in the same way that I had with racing, by trying to improve every possible element to its maximum potential.

It rapidly got out of hand, resulting in me starting a food truck under the name BBQ Lab; fusing my love of American food with all things technical. It was hugely successful, as trucks go, but never going to be scalable.

Best Buffalo Wings in London at WingFest

During this time, I was looking for that one special thing that would catapult me forward and it came in the form of wings.

Three months after putting them on the menu, they won the award for the Best Buffalo Wings in London at WingFest. Building on that success, I chose to close down BBQ Lab and focus on creating the best fried chicken I possibly could.

Thunderbird Fried Chicken was born in March 2017. Since then, we’ve gone from strength to strength.


“Unperturbed i chased the dream, travelling the south and eating a lot of fried chicken and bbq along the way; it was food that didn’t really exist in the uk at the time, and i was hooked…”