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Chips with everything! – Wigan likes the taste of National Chip Week The humble chip...
Friday 12th February, 2010

Chips with everything! – Wigan likes the taste of National Chip Week  The humble chip...
Wigan Council’s Cabinet Champion for Lifestyles Cllr Paul Prescott visit fryer David Gardiner to taste some top chips at Farrimond’s Chippy in Standish.

It’s the cornerstone of the nation’s favourite takeaway and for many a deep-fried wedge of heaven.

There’s never been a better time to celebrate this pinnacle of potato perfection than now because this week (Feb 15 to 21) is National Chip Week.

Wigan Council is backing the countrywide event by getting the message across that your ‘chippie-tea’ doesn’t have to be an unhealthy tea.

And if there’s one person who knows this more than most it’s the council’s resident chip-aficionado Peter Rutter.

Peter is a member of the council’s Healthy Business Awards team and so works with takeaways across the borough to help them reach the standards expected by the prestigious accolade.

Of course the most important part of chips is the taste and the ‘arduous’ task of sampling the goods is often part of Peter’s duties. And believe us, that’s a lot of chips!

“We taste each of the different foods on offer at the takeaway as part of the assessment for the award,” says Peter. “When it comes to chips we are looking for the natural potato taste to come through the oil. We are also looking for the right texture and consistency on the palette.”

So what makes a good chip then?
Peter explains: “Much of the taste and quality of the chips comes from the frying methods. You need good quality oil or fat that is changed regularly to prevent it from going stale…

“It’s important that the chip isn’t over-fried. If it stays too long in the fryer it will just absorb more of the oil and could become soggy. Ideally what you are looking for is a light-brown coating and a soft fluffy middle.

“It’s a popular misconception that chips that are really dark are crispier and tastier but it’s often the lighter ones that are not only better to eat but are healthier for you as well.”

The Healthy Business Awards have been created to recognise those caters and food businesses in our borough that offer their customers healthier food choices. The Healthy Business Awards team work with the business and look at everything from storage to serving. The aim is to get the business to adapt their recipes and menus to meet the standard. At the end of the process the business can proudly display the Healthy Business Award logo.

So far six chippies have earned the honour for serving up healthier fry-ups and many more are soon to follow.

Peter has his own personal favourite borough chippie but he says looking for the logo is a sure-fire way to get a great bag of chips!

Wigan Council’s Cabinet Champion for Lifestyles, Cllr Paul Prescott, is a big fan of healthy chips.

“We don’t want to stop people from enjoying their favourite food, far from it,” he says. “However we do want people to consider healthier alternatives as part of a wider programme to encourage people to become more active and have a better quality of life.

“We’re really delighted that the borough’s food trade is working with us on this and we look forward to seeing many more Healthy Business Award logos in the near future.”

Top tips for chips. Here’s Peter’s advice on what to look for in your fries:

Crispy on the outside, fluffy on the inside, have potato flavour, not greasy, have no rancid aftertaste, not overly dark in colour and the optimum size is 14mm x 14mm cross section.

The council’s Health Business Awards team produce a regular newsletter entitled Good Food Views that can be found at council offices, health surgeries and other public venues. More information and regular updates will also be posted on Wigan Council’s website: www.wigan.gov.uk

Businesses that would like to know more about how to get involved with Wigan Council’s Healthy Business Awards can call the team on 01942 486731 or e-mail healthybusiness@wigan.gov.uk

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