Half of pub visits include chips

By Amelie Maurice-Jones

- Last updated on GMT

Popular dish: just over half of pubgoers ate chips when visiting the on-trade, research reveals (image:Getty/ Knaupe)
Popular dish: just over half of pubgoers ate chips when visiting the on-trade, research reveals (image:Getty/ Knaupe)

Related tags Food Chips Gastropub

Some 50.7% of times people ate out at pubs from November 2020 to January 2022 included chips, data from Lumina Intelligence Eating and Drinking Out Panel has revealed.

The research, which took a sample size of 3,693 occasions, included both chips as a main dish and as a side dish, making chips a must-serve at any pub. 

This comes after a recent poll by The Sun​ showed chips to be Britain’s happiest food,​ with one in four voters choosing them as their ‘feel-good’ food option.

But how do you make your chips a cut above the rest? Steven Smith, chef-owner of Freemasons at Wiswell in Clitheroe, Lancashire which placed fifth in the Estrella Damm Top 50 Gastropubs list 2022, told The Morning Advertiser ​(MA​) how he made his chips the best they can be.

Preferred serving option

For Smith, it’s all about refining old classics. The chips accompany the aged Lancashire beef main on the tasting menu, and are paired with sauce Mr Smiths.

The chips are triple-cooked, and take three or four days to make. “This makes them the best possible chips you can have,” said Smith. “It’s just about looking at the individual things, something as simple as a chip, and thinking, how can we make that the best it can be?”

A 2021 consumer test cited by Lamb Weston showed almost 40% of customers love chips as a side, with more than 60% preferring skin-on when in a pub, 35% prefer them plain, while for 26%, loaded is their preferred serving option.

What’s more, some 72% are willing to pay a bit more in a pub for a British sourced product, the test revealed.

Perfect chip

In 2021, head chef at the Pearson’s Arms in Whitstable, Kent, James Drake, saw his chips voted best in Kent. He revealed what makes the perfect pub chip to the MA​.

He said: “It’s all in the ingredients and the cooking process, the final product is only as good as the raw ingredients, it is crucial that every element in the preparation and cooking process is spot on to get a high-end product.

“We use good quality Desiree potatoes, we then peel and cut our chips, so they are all unique and non-generic, we then use the three-part cooking method, blanching, deep frying and then deep frying again at a higher temperature”.

Drake labelled mayonnaise, Tartare sauce and ketchup as the best sauces to dip a chip into, yet believed pubs should be more creative with chip garnishes such as different herb and spice blends to coat, flavour and season chips. This means the chips can speak for themselves rather than being coated with another product.

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