You can’t deny people are awesome. Who doesn’t like sitting down with good friends to ask them interesting, insightful, and funny questions? That’s what 11 Questions is about. I’ll be featuring some friends I look up to as well as people within the community I’ve always wanted to get to know. As a bonus, I’ve updated some of the questions!


Matt Hinckley of Hinckley’s Fancy Meats (Instagram) and I have a lot in common. We both like meat. We’ve both lived in Africa and have ample stories to tell about it. And even though that’s only two things, it feels like enough because after I’ve spent time with Matt I feel unfettered. He’s confident in his own skin, easy to approach, and has that blue-collar charm that makes you feel like he’s in the thick of it with you. If that’s not enough, he owns a ton of knives.


Who do you look up to?

It’s not hard to find good role models in the martial arts community. Justin Wren uses all his proceeds from professional fighting to build wells for Pygmies in the Congo. He also runs an anti-bullying charity here in the USA.

Francis Ngannou worked in West African salt mines before making it in the UFC and now uses his platform to help that community. Stipe Miocic, the UFC’s heavyweight champ, still works full time as a firefighter because he feels compelled to do so. There are dozens of stories of people fighting their way out of poverty, homelessness, drug addiction, alcoholism, abusive childhoods, etc. From the most humble neighborhood gyms to the UFC Apex Sports Complex, there are people who show up every day to push and grind their way out of desperate situations. I find inspiration in those struggles and it makes me want to push harder for my own goals.

Favorite book, album, musician?

I used to love Orwell’s books until we started living in them. Now I’m more into cookbooks. “Nose-To-Tail Eating” by Fergus Henderson is beautifully written and probably the book I reach for most when I need inspiration. My favorite musician and album change pretty regularly and it’s hard to pick one. I loved the Dave Matthew’s Band in college. I listened to a lot of Bruce Springsteen growing up. I love electronic music. I love hip hop and old school rap music. They all come and go and then come back again. If I had to pick one band that has never grown old on me, it would probably be Pink Floyd. I’ve probably listened to The Wall the most, but over the past few years I’ve been listening to The Division Bell.

What’s your favorite place to eat in Orlando?

Hinckley’s Fancy Meats, of course. Get the pastrami.

If you could mate two different species of animals what would they be?

My boxer and a three-toed sloth. I think that the sloth might tone down the energy level to something more tolerable.

Who in your life has inspired you?

My wife is an information sponge and is able to grasp a pretty deep knowledge of things that capture her interest in a pretty short period of time. She’s working full time, going back to college, and doing other online studies in holistic medicine. Her work behind the scenes is also the only reason that I am able to run my own business. I draw inspiration from her work ethic, sacrifices, ambition, and resolve.

What are you proud of?

I’m proud of the brand and business I’ve built at Hinckley’s Fancy Meats. It has morphed quite a bit from the original idea, but I’ve stuck with it and after five years I feel like it’s still in the incubator.

What rejuvenates you?

International travel. Seeing the way other cultures live forces an inward reflection. Sometimes I come home with gratitude for how good things are for us in the US. Sometimes I come home with envy because there are a lot of things that are better abroad. Either way, the reflection makes me appreciate life more.

Is there anything you haven’t done yet which you feel compelled to do or want to achieve in the future?

I’d like to earn a black belt in Brazilian jiujitsu. I’d like to own property. I’d like to expand my business. I’d like to spend more time with my wife traveling and exploring.

How do you balance your personal and professional life?

I’m terrible with this. My work bleeds into my personal life and my personal life bleeds into my work. But I love my job and I’m around good food and good people all the time, so it’s not so bad.

How do you hope to be remembered?

Remember me as someone who never gives up.

If you were to choose a different career what would it be?

I like the outdoors a lot, so owning some sort of hunting or fishing lodge sounds attractive. I also love martial arts and could see myself working within that industry in some capacity.

Click HERE to read more “11 Questions” columns by Brian Carlson.

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