Laying claim to the best chips in the UK and the nation’s only chip university, The Real Food Café in Tyndrum, Stirling, uses Drywite All Seasons to achieve potato perfection
Winter for The Real Food Café, a roadside diner and chippy in the Scottish Highlands, is the business’s quietest time of the year. It is also one of the coldest with temperatures during the day currently hitting a chilly -8°C.
Despite this, it’s still on course for a successful 2023 with turnover up 10-12% on 2022 even after inflation is taken into account.
One aspect of the diner that doesn’t change all year round is the popularity of its chips.
Earlier this year, the chippy won the Field to Frier category in the 2023 National Fish & Chip Awards, earning it the title of best chips in the UK. With the industry’s only chip university – onsite training that produces expert “chipologists” – the hard work to achieve perfect chips starts even before a single spud arrives on the premises.
Owner Sarah Heward explains: “You’ve got to have a relationship with your potato supplier because it’s not about paying the cheapest price, it’s about being confident that they are going to source you the best product available on the market at a reasonable price.”
Equally important is having the right practices in place, such as knowing how to store potatoes and how to test for sugar content. “It’s important to have rigorous processes in place and to have them written down so all staff can follow them,” says Sarah. “And remember to review them because different varieties of potatoes will need different rumbling times and fry times throughout the year.”
Frying with a dry chip is also a must, which is why all staff are trained in using Drywite All Seasons. Chipologist and manager Colin McGeoch, adds: “Having dry chips to fry with is better for your oil because you haven’t got water breaking it down, so it lasts longer. Dry chips taste better too because you don’t have the water lowering the temperature of the pan so they don’t absorb as much oil. This actually makes them a bit healthier too.”
Using Drywite also helps reduce waste as, on the odd occasion the cafe has leftover chips, they can be bagged up, placed in the fridge and used the next day.
The Real Food Café ensures it never misses an opportunity to promote its chips — currently they are the focus of its Pick ’n’ Chips litter-picking campaign.
“There can be negative connotations to eating fried potato, so it’s important to do things that promote chips in a positive light,” adds Sarah.
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