Taste test: chips! Heston's v chip shop v McCains

Updated on 22 February 2013 | 0 Comments

Frying tonight! It's a spud showdown as Heston's triple cooked chips, a portion of local chip shop chips and McCain oven chips all fight for the top spot. But which is best?

Apparently it’s National Chip Week, although you wouldn’t think we needed more encouragement to eat chips. But hey, we love them. But which version is best? There was only one way to find out, and that means it’s taste test time.

Homemade chips

Homecooked chipsI decided to have a crack at Heston’s triple-cooked chips to represent the homemade version. After all the man’s got a bit of previous in winning our blind taste tests, having scooped best mince pie two years running and last year adding best Christmas pudding for good measure. I’ve had the chips in his gastropub, The Hinds Head in Bray, and they are very crunchy. I’ve also had Tom Kerridge’s version, which – whisper it – I think are better. To summarise the recipe: you parboil, freeze, blanch in ground nut oil, freeze, and then cook on a high heat and serve. The result was a dark coloured chip, very reminiscent of the ones of my childhood. They weren’t that crispy however. 

Chip shop chips

Kennedy’s took over the ‘Cosy Supper bar’ round the corner form Lovefood HQ on London's Whitecross Street just before Christmas (plenty of thoughts about it here). News editor Simon was duly dispatched to buy a portion of their chips. Kennedy’s chips are cut more oblong than either oven or homemade chips. You also get the small scrappy spiky bits, which I love. If anything I wish Kennedy’s would colour their chips a bit more, they’re a bit anaemic for my tastes. Interestingly most of lovefood's followers on twitter thought chip shop chips would win.

@lovefood has to be chip shop every time!! :)

— Fish 'n' Chick'n Ltd (@FishNChickN) February 20, 2013

@foodjournalist I'm rooting for Chippy to win! Home cooked never taste the same & who has time to do Heston's method?!

— Emma F (@FoodieEmma) February 20, 2013

McCain home chips

McCain chips‘Cripsy on the outside, fluffy in the middle’ says the McCain website, and they were certainly that. These chips also had a ‘unique coating’, which looking at the ingredients consists of a batter made from ‘Wheat Flour, Modified Starch (Maize, Tapioca), Rice Flour, Salt, Corn Starch, (Natural Colours) Turmeric Extract, Paprika Extract’. Call me a purist but I don’t think chips should come dressed in rice flour and turmeric. The coating also rules them out for those with a wheat intolerance. 

The taste test

I thought there would be a queue out the kitchen for a chip taste test, but we could only get five guinea pigs. Simon also offered to do the test blindfolded (hence the hat over his eyes in the main picture), going just on taste alone, and he plumped for homemade. The final results were: homemade: two votes; chip shop: one vote; oven chips: two votes. Everyone correctly deduced which chips were homemade, from the chippy, and oven chips. So there you go, a dead heat between homemade and oven chips. 

What’s your favourite chip: homemade, chip shop or oven chip? And let us know what you put on chips in our sauce survey!

Want more chips? Check out these stories

The history of chips

Egg, ham and chips recipe

Fish and chips with tartare sauce recipe

The top six fish and chip shops in the UK 


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