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Why do Restaurants Use Frozen French Fries?

l
lemarais Mar 29, 2013 10:04 AM

With lots of buzz about fries these days, I continue to find many joints (places that could be on the Triple-D show types) that use Frozen french fries. Yikes. With some slight variations, there just aren't any frozen french fries that cut it.

Why do these places have great, fresh food, and then accompany it with frozen french fries???

FN hosts continually say that fresh cut fries cost about HALF (to the restaurant) of what frozen cost them. Not to mention the geometric improvement in taste and quality.

Sure, it's a bit more labor intensive, but if they spend so much time custom cooking from scratch everything else, why not use fresh cut fries as well? Do you put old bald tires on a new shiny car?

  1. g
    GH1618 Mar 29, 2013 10:16 AM

    I don't see how frozen could cost less, including labor costs. Many years ago, I cut french fries in a restaurant job. The peeling is the most labor-intensive part.

    Perhaps they think the fries are not an important menu item, sold mostly to children and people who order sandwiches.

    I know where to get perfect fries when I crave them. I don't need them in every restaurant.

    15 Replies
    1. re: GH1618
      l
      lemarais Mar 29, 2013 10:36 AM

      No you are right. Please re read above-- the Fresh cost half the price of the frozen, as I said. No need to peel, and there is a machine that cuts raw potatoes into fry strips, in one swoop of the arm. Quick.

      Sure, we can travel for good fries, but when a place has labor intensive prepared, from scratch dishes, frozen fries are a non-starter.

      1. re: lemarais
        Will Owen Mar 29, 2013 05:39 PM

        I think you've just explained why those awful skin-on things have taken over about half the restaurants I know. I do not mind unpeeled White Rose or other "new" potatoes when they are very young, but Russet skins? Might as well eat my eggs unshelled.

        1. re: Will Owen
          t
          Tom34 Mar 30, 2013 08:25 AM

          When it comes to ingredients I am all about quality & freshness. However, with homemade fries, additional variables are added to the equation and I have experienced consistency issues with the fresh cut at many places. I also don't like skin on my fries.

          IMHO, sometimes its just hard to beat the old standby where good oil at the right temp for the right time produces a consistently good product. "KISS" comes to mind.

          1. re: Will Owen
            j
            jounipesonen Jul 1, 2013 05:37 AM

            Hmm - I often bake Russetts and throw away the 'white stuff' :-)

          2. re: lemarais
            s
            Steve Mar 31, 2013 03:26 PM

            I prefer frozen. Some very serious places will cut their own, flash fry them, and then freeze them. Still, they are frozen at some point.

            For me, most fresh french fries are non-starters.

          3. re: GH1618
            Chemicalkinetics Mar 29, 2013 01:54 PM

            <I don't see how frozen could cost less, including labor costs.>

            Most likely storage.

            1. re: Chemicalkinetics
              coll Mar 29, 2013 01:58 PM

              ?? most places that use good frozen french fries go through 20 or 30 cases a week. They're in and out....and I'm not talking about the burgers. It's a high profit margin for most places that cater to the french fry clientele. A good frozen fry is most often better than fresh.

              1. re: coll
                f
                flavrmeistr Mar 29, 2013 03:42 PM

                Yep. Especially the fat crinkle-cut variety. I love 'em.

                1. re: flavrmeistr
                  coll Mar 29, 2013 03:44 PM

                  I agree, they are the best! You're not going to get that home made very easily.

                  1. re: flavrmeistr
                    t
                    Tom34 Mar 30, 2013 08:58 AM

                    Love them too. More surface area to fry & holds condiment better.

                    1. re: Tom34
                      DuffyH Mar 30, 2013 01:31 PM

                      Del Taco in SoCal have (do they still?) some really tasty crinkle cuts. Order a bun taco (off the menu, but they'll make one for you) and you're in fast food heaven.

                  2. re: coll
                    t
                    Tom34 Mar 30, 2013 08:55 AM

                    Agree, and the cases stack perfect for hand truck movement and stack to the ceiling in the corner of the walk-in. Labor is limited to removing them from the box and placing them in the fryer. From there oil quality, temp & time are the only variables. Since they are frozen there is little if any waste or damaged / defective product.

                    1. re: Tom34
                      coll Mar 30, 2013 09:18 AM

                      When it comes to fries, consistancy is king.

                      1. re: coll
                        t
                        Tom34 Mar 30, 2013 01:05 PM

                        Your right. I have had frozen fries that ranged from pretty good to Great but better that 1/2 the in-house cut fries I have had were terrible.

                        1. re: Tom34
                          DuffyH Mar 30, 2013 01:29 PM

                          Couldn't agree more.

              2. coll Mar 29, 2013 10:21 AM

                To make fries right, you have to cook twice, so there's an extra labor cost there, after peeling, cutting and par-frying. Frozen is grab and fry.

                Last I checked you could get french fries for 20 cents a lb, with the really fancy/expensive maybe 45 cents? That's about as cheap as you could buy raw potatoes by the lb, so why add labor costs to your bottom line?

                1. E Eto Mar 29, 2013 10:36 AM

                  Making french fries from from fresh cut potatoes usually doesn't result in better tasting fries. There's a lot of science that goes into making the perfect crispy french fry, and you can't do that just by cutting up potatoes and dunking them in hot oil. See here: http://aht.seriouseats.com/archives/2...

                  7 Replies
                  1. re: E Eto
                    l
                    lemarais Mar 29, 2013 10:40 AM

                    Sure, but even without the science, fresh just tastes better. I've made them at home in a skillet, single, not double cooked, and they are infinitely better than frozen.

                    I don't want the perfect french fry, just not a frozen one at a restaurant with the main dish prepared with such care.

                    Like the joints on Diners Driveins and Dives...

                    1. re: lemarais
                      f
                      foodieX2 Mar 29, 2013 05:10 PM

                      I have to disagree. Fresh do not always taste better than frozen.

                      Take 5 guys. If you are lucky to get them fresh out if the fryer and don't take them to go they can be awesome-crispy and delicious- for about 5 minutes. As they cool they get soggy, they stick together and the grease becomes very pronounced. Take them to go and they are inedible by the time you get home. Get batch that sat in the drainer too long? Yuck

                      I don't have a fryolater so I make them in my cast iron pan. When they are good they are *really* good. But they are inconsistent. Depending on the potato, the oil, the temperature and the moisture one batch might be fabulous but the next not so much.

                      OreIda traditional fries and their steaks fries are consistently good every time. They are inexpensive and I know I am going get a quality fry that's crispy and tender every single time. I'll take those over a poorly prepared fresh one ant day

                      1. re: foodieX2
                        DuffyH Mar 29, 2013 05:49 PM

                        Too true. Some of the worst fries I've had were at restaurants that use fresh potatoes. Soggy, greasy, gack! I've not been to 5 guys, it's a 20-minute drive, but I know there's not much better than a 2-minute-old McD's fry.

                        1. re: DuffyH
                          t
                          Tom34 Mar 30, 2013 07:58 AM

                          I don't know if it is the beer I often consume before devouring a McDonald's LG fry but they sure seem good at the time.

                        2. re: foodieX2
                          monkeyrotica Apr 4, 2013 11:41 AM

                          Five Guys is a perfect example. Fresh cut, inconsistently fried, uneven temperature, lousy consistency, almost always a greasy, steamy mess. Even if you get them out of that damn bag ASAP, they're still horrible compared to the krinkle cut Ore Idas from the Chinese carryout across the street.

                          1. re: monkeyrotica
                            t
                            Tom34 Apr 4, 2013 05:36 PM

                            Had the same experience. McDonalds LG fry any day over 5 guys.

                        3. re: lemarais
                          jgg13 Apr 14, 2013 09:03 AM

                          Disagree. To echo some of the other sentiments, I'd take a bad frozen over a bad fresh any day. And most fresh fries are done poorly

                      2. raytamsgv Mar 29, 2013 11:38 AM

                        There are a number of reasons for using frozen fries. Even Thomas Keller uses them in his restaurants. Here is an interesting article:

                        http://newyork.grubstreet.com/2007/01...

                        3 Replies
                        1. re: raytamsgv
                          l
                          lemarais Mar 29, 2013 11:52 AM

                          Well, seems like Keller is rather eccentric in this matter. In the same article you linked to is this quote from another chef:

                          "The frozen ones have a strange edge to them from all the things they add — like sugar and starch and hydrogenated oil — to make them crispy. It’s so easy to make fresh French fries, I can't imagine why anyone would do anything else"

                          'Nough said. I have a feeling the reason a lot of these mom n pop places that turn out home cooked food use frozen is just plain ignorance. Irvine has turned up a few on his show, and got them to switch immediately to fresh.

                          1. re: lemarais
                            Will Owen Mar 29, 2013 05:28 PM

                            "I have a feeling the reason a lot of these mom n pop places that turn out home cooked food use frozen is just plain ignorance."

                            I will bet you that a solid majority of people selling "Home-Cooked" food have never made a French fry in their own homes that wasn't frozen. Ignorance? Okay, call it that, but I've shown my fry cutter to people who've assumed it must be from the Olden Times, when folks couldn't get normal frozen ones.

                            1. re: lemarais
                              Will Owen Mar 29, 2013 05:35 PM

                              I would also like to point out that that other chef obviously was unaware that Keller had said the frozen fries he uses are "100% potato, no additives."

                          2. p
                            pine time Mar 29, 2013 11:51 AM

                            Fresh-cut potatoes for fries are the one kudo I give to In 'n Out burgers. Keep the burgers, just give me a platterful of their fries.

                            4 Replies
                            1. re: pine time
                              d
                              DWB Mar 29, 2013 01:50 PM

                              In 'n out fries are almost universally despised, never crisp and get "rigor mortis" quite quickly. One of the best fries I ever used to buy blew my mind 20 years ago when my "to go" order was presented in a empty commercial frozen french fry carton. I went on to investigate, and there is good science why pre-blanched frozen FF's might be better than fresh, in many cases.

                              Caveat: We keep a fryer full of oil on the counter always, but always use fresh potatoes for fries, which we always properly double fry with a rest/cooling between fry's. Mainly because fresh potatoes are $1/10lb. This does not mean that there is not a sack of tater-tots in the freezer.

                              1. re: DWB
                                g
                                GH1618 Mar 29, 2013 04:54 PM

                                I tried ordering the In-n-Out fries "light well" last time, on the recommendation of someone here, and I liked them better.

                                1. re: GH1618
                                  p
                                  pine time Mar 30, 2013 05:10 AM

                                  Yup, agree on "light well," and well as eating 'em within 2 minutes, while hot. But then, I've never eaten any fry cold or cooling, that I'd recommend.

                              2. re: pine time
                                Chemicalkinetics Mar 29, 2013 01:52 PM

                                I like the fries from In N' Out Burgers too. It took awhile for me to like them, but I ended up likening them alot.

                              3. mrbigshotno.1 Mar 29, 2013 03:50 PM

                                Frozen fries are pre "blanched", if you thaw (they call it "slacking" in the biz.) them prior to frying they will come out very compairable to properly prepared fresh potato fries. Unfortunatly, in most fast food joints, procedures aren't followed and the fries go hard frozen right into the fryer. In & Out fries are ok if you eat them within 2 minutes of them being cooked, they are not blanched and go into the fryer from the raw potato stage, they turn to crap as soon as they start to cool.

                                1. MGZ Mar 30, 2013 05:42 AM

                                  To make really good fries, there are really four steps (if you don't peel). First they must be cut - by hand or machine. Second, the cut potatoes need to be soaked in water to remove some of the excess starch. Third, after drying some, the cuts then need to be blanched in 250 degree oil. Fourth, after permitting the blanched potatoes to cool, they need to be fried properly at 350 to 375 degrees. A good French fry is pretty labor intensive.

                                  I spent my summer breaks from college makin' French fries on the Boardwalks here in Jersey. I spose I've probably fried thousands of pounds of Rusetts over the years and I still do the same whenever asked. In fact, every Thanksgiving, I fry a turkey and then use the oil to make fries for the kids (although, the grown-ups seem to get into the act too).

                                  1. p
                                    Puffin3 Mar 30, 2013 07:38 AM

                                    I used to make them the 'Les Halles' way religiously. I was a 'fanatic'!. Then I saw 'Chris' on ATK. He said that in fact you can "teach an old dog new tricks". ATK had been making fries like everyone else for ever. This is the "new trick" and it works BETTER than the Les Halles' method IMO and it's fundamentally easier all round. It's the only way I make fries now: Large pot half full of COLD oil. I think they used peanut oil but I use sunflower oil ($). In goes the unsoaked room temperature, peeled or not, russet potatoes cut into about 5'16th inch-3/8's inch fries. Now turn up heat to just bring the oil to a gentle boil. DO NOT PLAY with the fries thinking if you don't the fries will stick together. They won't. Now the fries are happily cooking away and the oil is bubbling. But how do I know when they are done? Genius part: When the oil stops bubbling the fries are cooked perfectly b/c the 'bubbling' was water being given off by the fries. Use a 'spider' to remove the fries and 'Bob's Your Uncle'. Perfect Dead easy 'fries.' These fries are not greasy or limp BTW. Just nice and golden brown and crispy.
                                    Seeing how you aren't soaking the fries first to wash off only the surface starch while giving the fries time to be little water sponges which does nothing to help the fries become crispy. The opposite being true you need to get a move on when cutting the potatoes so they won't sit too long and start turning brown. 'Timing' is important. Enjoy!

                                    4 Replies
                                    1. re: Puffin3
                                      DuffyH Mar 30, 2013 01:28 PM

                                      For those who care, fries cooked in cold (really room temp) oil absorb 1/3 less oil than traditional twice-fried fries.

                                      1. re: Puffin3
                                        r
                                        RedTop Mar 30, 2013 01:39 PM

                                        WOW! Thanks for sharing this instruction.

                                        1. re: Puffin3
                                          JayL Apr 4, 2013 12:07 PM

                                          I can just see a restaurant with multiple pots of cold oil sitting around waiting for their turn to "fry the potatoes". Once used it'll take several hours to cool back to room temperature and be able to be used again.

                                          LoL

                                          1. re: Puffin3
                                            e
                                            ElizabethS Apr 4, 2013 12:13 PM

                                            I tried this the other night after seeing your post - I confess I was really skeptical but followed the directions to the letter....and was stunned at the outcome. I love fries and make good ones at home by double frying and these were delicious, held their crisp all through dinner and I also noticed the house had very little odour, which I attributed to the slow boiling as opposed to the initial steam blast when you drop fries into hot oil. Thanks for posting!

                                          2. r
                                            RedTop Mar 30, 2013 01:43 PM

                                            Does "twice dropped" do anything to the quality and taste of a frozen potato?

                                            1. l
                                              lemarais Mar 30, 2013 07:30 PM

                                              Consistency is king? What about consistently mediocre? Like most places serving frozen fries are?

                                              No, I'll always prefer fresh. And, according to most experts, fresh are much cheaper to serve.

                                              3 Replies
                                              1. re: lemarais
                                                g
                                                GH1618 Mar 30, 2013 08:06 PM

                                                Yet you haven't provided a link to even one "expert."

                                                1. re: GH1618
                                                  monkeyrotica Apr 4, 2013 11:38 AM

                                                  Zing.

                                                2. re: lemarais
                                                  t
                                                  Tom34 Mar 30, 2013 08:58 PM

                                                  Fresh = more variables = less consistency + more labor. I don't think most restaurants want to pay a chef to over see this end of the operations.

                                                3. KaimukiMan Mar 30, 2013 07:39 PM

                                                  Say what you want, but until McD's changed to vegetable oil, even food purists had a hard time arguing with their french fries, including Julia Child. And McD's has always used frozen fries. Like many other things in life, if you treat them properly frozen fries can be just great. If you abuse them, they are the pits.

                                                  As for cost, go to the market and check the per price pound of potatoes and frozen fries. Then factor in the amount of waste you are going to get using fresh, probably about 1/4 of the potato. Unless you are living in Idaho, I'm guessing the difference isn't all that great. I know it's not here in Honolulu.

                                                  1 Reply
                                                  1. re: KaimukiMan
                                                    t
                                                    Tom34 Mar 30, 2013 09:10 PM

                                                    Oh yeah, those old McDonald's fries cooked in animal fat were the $#!t. Still good but not like back in the day.

                                                  2. g
                                                    GH1618 Mar 30, 2013 08:08 PM

                                                    Does anyone know if Nordstrom Bistro pommes frites are fresh or frozen? I don't know, but I think they're the best.

                                                    12 Replies
                                                    1. re: GH1618
                                                      g
                                                      GH1618 Apr 4, 2013 04:12 PM

                                                      I just had the pommes frites at Nordstrom Bistro again today, and asked. They are not prepared on site, meaning they are undoubtedly frozen. That settles it for me. Nordstrom Bistro pommes frites are the best of those I eat. I don't care that they are frozen.

                                                      1. re: GH1618
                                                        v
                                                        Violatp Apr 14, 2013 09:33 AM

                                                        I don't know where Nordstrom Bistros rate on the foodie scale, but I have had some really good meals at different ones across the country. Delicious salmon, too!

                                                        1. re: Violatp
                                                          MGZ Apr 14, 2013 09:35 AM

                                                          What's a Nordstrom's Bistro?

                                                          1. re: MGZ
                                                            v
                                                            Violatp Apr 14, 2013 09:41 AM

                                                            I don't know if they all have one, but it's an in-house cafe at the department store Nordstrom.

                                                            Probably started to cover the "ladies who lunch" set!

                                                            1. re: Violatp
                                                              m
                                                              mpjmph Jul 1, 2013 08:30 AM

                                                              Any time my mom and I go shopping, we have lunch at Nordstrom (both in NC, DE and PA). So yes, ladies who lunch. And their fries are pretty good.

                                                            2. re: MGZ
                                                              g
                                                              GH1618 Apr 14, 2013 09:41 AM

                                                              Nordstrom is a (mostly west coast) department store akin to a Bloomingdale's (only better). "Bistro" is what they call their restaurant. The one where I go is in downtown San Francisco.

                                                              1. re: GH1618
                                                                MGZ Apr 14, 2013 09:46 AM

                                                                I actually googled "Nordstrom" after I posted that. I originally thought it was a chain restaurant of some sort. I spose I need to shop more?

                                                            3. re: Violatp
                                                              Bill Hunt Jul 1, 2013 08:11 PM

                                                              I have never done their "Bistro," but we have had many lovely meals at their Mariposa, on O`ahu, Honolulu, overlooking the Ali Wai harbor.

                                                              Hunt

                                                              1. re: Bill Hunt
                                                                KaimukiMan Jul 1, 2013 09:07 PM

                                                                sorry bill, mariposa is Needless Mark-up's restaurant.

                                                                1. re: KaimukiMan
                                                                  Bill Hunt Jul 1, 2013 09:21 PM

                                                                  Oops, my bad, and mahalo for that correction!

                                                                  I cannot keep my higher-end shopping destinations separate.

                                                                  Maybe Pineapple Room?

                                                                  Hunt

                                                                  1. re: Bill Hunt
                                                                    KaimukiMan Jul 2, 2013 07:51 PM

                                                                    Pineapple room (by Alan Wong) is nice, don't get the ocean view from the mauka side of Macy's, and its much smaller than Mariposa at NM. Nordstrom at Ala Moana does not have a "Bistro", there is a coffee/smoothie bar called Ebar, a Gelato Bar, and the Marketplace Cafe. If anyone is talking these places up, I haven't heard about it. It gets pretty good reviews on yelp, but that doesn't really say much does it?

                                                                    1. re: KaimukiMan
                                                                      Bill Hunt Jul 2, 2013 08:00 PM

                                                                      Dang! I just cannot keep my retailers separate. I promise to do better, but need time to dine in Honolulu more often.

                                                                      Macy's eh? Double-dang.

                                                                      Sorry,

                                                                      Hunt

                                                        2. g
                                                          gomer53 Mar 30, 2013 09:18 PM

                                                          I remember working at McDonald's back in 1967. I had to carry 50 pound sacks of large, fresh potatoes up to the fry station. They were peeled in a machine, placed over the fat, and cut right into the boiling fat. Then, after they were cooked, tossed on a counter and well salted. FANTASTIC! Nothing like them since.

                                                          1 Reply
                                                          1. re: gomer53
                                                            t
                                                            Tom34 Mar 30, 2013 09:40 PM

                                                            OOOOOHHHHHH.

                                                          2. ipsedixit Mar 30, 2013 09:25 PM

                                                            Fry them in beef fat, lard or duck fat and I could care less if the fries were frozen, fresh, dehydrated and rehydrated astronaut potato sticks or whatever.

                                                            Heck they could be styrofoam packaging peanuts but as long there's enough saturated fats in that tub of hot oil it's all good.

                                                            1. emglow101 Mar 30, 2013 10:23 PM

                                                              Take frozen pre cut french fries. Microwave them until thawed . Let cool for a couple minutes. Then fry in hot oil .Sprinkle with salt.The frozen are easier to make than fresh cut,and as good.Try it.

                                                              1. l
                                                                lemarais Mar 31, 2013 08:34 AM

                                                                French fry cutter, about $175 for restaurant, similar one for home $65 at Amazon. Takes a skosh longer than frozen. Absolutely NO reason for a joint with otherwise homemade with care from scratch food (like those on Triple-D) to use frozen!!

                                                                http://www.centralrestaurant.com/Commercial-Fry-Cutter-7-16-in-Slice-c83p12957.html

                                                                http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/ree-drummond/perfect-french-fries-recipe2/index.html

                                                                http://www.amazon.com/Weston-Restaura...

                                                                11 Replies
                                                                1. re: lemarais
                                                                  KaimukiMan Mar 31, 2013 02:53 PM

                                                                  But lemaris, what you don't seem to acknowledge is that about half the people believe fresh are superior and the other half of us believe frozen are superior. so there are good reasons to use frozen, because in my mind they are absolutely better than fresh and no self respecting restaurant should ever serve anything other than frozen. I think I'll get mayor Blumberg to work on this. Only frozen fries in NYC.

                                                                  1. re: KaimukiMan
                                                                    l
                                                                    lemarais Mar 31, 2013 04:07 PM

                                                                    Is this a scientific study? Based on my circle of foodies, it's about 98% to 2% for fresh.

                                                                    Frozen fries, most of the time, suck.

                                                                    And folks here are arguing prep costs, not taste for the most part.

                                                                    1. re: lemarais
                                                                      s
                                                                      Steve Mar 31, 2013 06:41 PM

                                                                      "circle of foodies"

                                                                      That says it all.

                                                                      I am arguing taste. Fries should be twice cooked, and it's all the better if they are frozen in between.

                                                                      1. re: lemarais
                                                                        t
                                                                        Tom34 Mar 31, 2013 06:52 PM

                                                                        Irving and the other Food Network stars did not invent fresh cut fries. They have been around for well over a hundred years. Frozen fries came about because of all the consistency problems associated with fresh cut fries and the additional labor involved.

                                                                        1. re: lemarais
                                                                          t
                                                                          Tom34 Mar 31, 2013 06:57 PM

                                                                          ""Taste "............if everything is done perfectly fresh fries are very good. Unfortunately, my experience has been that less than 25% of the time they are done perfectly and they were downright horrible.

                                                                          1. re: Tom34
                                                                            f
                                                                            foodieX2 Mar 31, 2013 07:03 PM

                                                                            exactly!

                                                                          2. re: lemarais
                                                                            c
                                                                            charlesbois Apr 1, 2013 01:47 AM

                                                                            Ah anecdata. Fresh homemade fries that have been scrubbed, peeled and treated with care are delicious. You can rarely get the same small batch quality in a restaurant as you do at home. You can't just plop a potato into a fry cutting machine as you seem to advocate, without having a lot more labor involved. Someone has to scrub and cull bad ones from a lot of 50# sacks.

                                                                            1. re: lemarais
                                                                              c
                                                                              calumin Apr 1, 2013 08:26 PM

                                                                              I agree with Steve. It's way more important that the fries are cooked twice than that they are never frozen between the two fryings.

                                                                              1. re: lemarais
                                                                                monkeyrotica Apr 4, 2013 11:37 AM

                                                                                I think you got that backwards.

                                                                                Fresh fries, most of the time, suck.

                                                                            2. re: lemarais
                                                                              b
                                                                              Brandon Nelson Apr 3, 2013 10:19 PM

                                                                              It is business planning like this that causes restaurant failure.

                                                                              You don't just need a chipper, you need kitchen space to put it. You also need prep storage as those cut potatoes need to be stored in water because they start to oxidize quickly. Ice water is best, so there is another cost, and more space. Those raw fries need to be blanched in cool oil for @ 7 minutes then drained before they go into 375 peanut oil for their second fry. In a busy kitchen it will require 2 deep fryers with different oil temps filled with expensive cooking oil.

                                                                              Now for the food cost. Potatoes are cheaper that frozen fries right? Sure, but you will get different spuds from different producers and different growing areas through the course of a year. They will simply be called "premium russet potatoes" in your order guide. Those taters show in 40 lb cases they need to be stored in a cool, dark, dry place. Walk in fridge is too cool, it will mess with starch content. Those suckers are dirty, gotta scrub them before they go in the chipper. Can't store the clean spuds with the dirty ones, health department hates that. I could go on,

                                                                              Point is raw spud to fry takes 5 steps. Each step requires storage space. A busy kitchen that turns a lot of fries will need a person that is pretty much just "the fry guy"

                                                                              Or...

                                                                              Frozen fries go straight from the freezer to the fryer. Many people don't know the difference. It is faster, requires less prep, much less space, offers a more consistent finished product, and reduces the labor at the most dangerous station in the kitchen.

                                                                              There are a lot more factors than you seem willing to address. Frozen fries aren't a single compromise.

                                                                              1. re: Brandon Nelson
                                                                                t
                                                                                Tom34 Apr 4, 2013 06:19 AM

                                                                                Couldn't agree more. Much of the stuff shown on Food Network shows is great for TV but simply would not happen in the average commercial kitchen.

                                                                            3. t
                                                                              tastesgoodwhatisit Mar 31, 2013 07:55 PM

                                                                              My guess would be that the labour factor and consistency is the key.

                                                                              Good home-made fries are really, really good. Good home-made fries, as others have mentioned, are also labour intensive, (peel, cut, soak, first fry, second fry) and need to be eaten very quickly after being cooked.

                                                                              Three of the steps need to be done well in advance of the fries being ordered, as well. You could do the final fry after ordering, but not the whole process. So there may be more waste, because running out of fries is going to make your restaurant look really foolish.

                                                                              It's also very easy to make bad home-made fries. But frozen fries are hard to screw up and can be cooked after being ordered. They're also generally processed in a way that produces the kind of fry the customer is expecting.

                                                                              And looking at this thread, there isn't a consensus that fresh fries are actually preferable to the frozen variety, even among foodies. So a restaurant might be swapping higher labour costs, more food waste, and an uncertain result for something that is of acceptable and consistent quality.

                                                                              And yeah, old school McDonalds fries were fantastic. My favourite fries are actually fresh cooked, from chip trucks in Quebec. But this was from a business that did nothing but french fries.

                                                                              1 Reply
                                                                              1. re: tastesgoodwhatisit
                                                                                coll Mar 31, 2013 08:08 PM

                                                                                The good factory fries are coated, in potato powder or whatever, in a way that you can never duplicate. PLease note: they are coated in POTATO, not something scary. That is the crispiness and yes, it lasts for a long time, even after they're cold. And why is that a bad thing?

                                                                                French fries are a commodity item and for good reason.

                                                                              2. Antilope Mar 31, 2013 08:22 PM

                                                                                About a year or two ago, near us on a Sacramento, CA freeway, a semi-truck full of fast food french fries crashed and burned. Everyone survived the accident. True story.

                                                                                1. l
                                                                                  lemarais Mar 31, 2013 09:06 PM

                                                                                  Nobody has been to Belgium, I presume. No peeling. No frozen fries anywhere. Street carts everywhere, fresh potatoes ONLY. And they have much higher labor costs for food workers than in the US.

                                                                                  Why fresh only in Belgium?

                                                                                  6 Replies
                                                                                  1. re: lemarais
                                                                                    ipsedixit Mar 31, 2013 09:12 PM

                                                                                    But do they taste better?

                                                                                    1. re: ipsedixit
                                                                                      linguafood Mar 31, 2013 11:20 PM

                                                                                      Hellz yeah. Especially with good mayonnaise.

                                                                                      1. re: ipsedixit
                                                                                        eastofnevada Apr 1, 2013 08:47 PM

                                                                                        I love frozen fries, but yes. They really are much better in Belgium. They definitely do peel the potatoes though. These are from a shop in Ghent.

                                                                                         
                                                                                        1. re: eastofnevada
                                                                                          ipsedixit Apr 4, 2013 08:18 PM

                                                                                          @linguafood and eastofnevada,

                                                                                          If you were to unknowingly eat frozen french fries *in* Belgium, you wouldn't know the difference me thinks.

                                                                                          1. re: ipsedixit
                                                                                            linguafood Apr 5, 2013 08:53 AM

                                                                                            Probably. I've only had Belgian-style fries in the Netherlands, anyway, never in Belgium.

                                                                                      2. re: lemarais
                                                                                        t
                                                                                        tastesgoodwhatisit Apr 1, 2013 03:16 AM

                                                                                        I've had similar fries in Quebec. The advantage they have is that they do one thing, and do it really well. So they have the demand to justify constantly preparing new batches, and can train staff to be really good at making fries.

                                                                                        I think of it as similar to handmade noodle stands. Because they do nothing but fresh noodles, it's worth the investment to get someone who is really good at making them.

                                                                                      3. w
                                                                                        wayne keyser Mar 31, 2013 11:02 PM

                                                                                        I have had bad cut-from-fresh fries and excellent (as well as bad) frozen fries - there's a diner I would go to for the fries alone, and they use frozen.

                                                                                        1. s
                                                                                          Steve Apr 1, 2013 05:33 AM

                                                                                          I am very familiar with the idea that there is a 'foodie' mentality that looks down upon using frozen. Once people find out that a place uses frozen, they suddenly find the fries suspect, and food critics will definitely put down frozen or risk being scoffed. They are 'forced' to turn to using fresh or risk humiliation.

                                                                                          In DC there is a prominent Belgian restaurant that used frozen. Once it was 'uncovered' by the food critic, they went to using fresh, though everyone seemed to be quite pleased with the fries before all that came out.

                                                                                          I am sure that any place that takes great care with their fries will produce good results, either way. However, I know for certain that there are flabby french fries out there that get rave reviews simply because they come from fresh. It is seen as a mark of quality or badger of honor even before they are tasted.

                                                                                          I guess some people like it that way, but I don't.

                                                                                          1 Reply
                                                                                          1. re: Steve
                                                                                            t
                                                                                            Tom34 Apr 1, 2013 05:25 PM

                                                                                            Corporations have been known to get many things right & frozen french fries are a good example.

                                                                                          2. f
                                                                                            flavrmeistr Apr 1, 2013 09:45 AM

                                                                                            I dunno. The best fries I ever had were my mom's. She would slice up a few big potatoes and fry them in small batches in a cast iron skillet with less than an inch of vegetable oil. They were excellent. Haven't thought about them in years. I'm going to try her method myself next time I get the hankering.

                                                                                            1 Reply
                                                                                            1. re: flavrmeistr
                                                                                              mrsfury Jul 1, 2013 09:34 PM

                                                                                              That's how my mom did it. She only removed the eyes, no peeling. And don't fool with them too much. Just cook until brown and stir a little otherwise they fall apart.

                                                                                            2. e
                                                                                              Erika L Apr 1, 2013 03:53 PM

                                                                                              A friend who studied hospitality in Germany demonstrated the diff between frozen processed fries and freshly cut ones. Cut or break one, then dig out a little scoop with the tip of a knife. If it looks like mashed potatoes, it's been refined and process with who knows what. But if the inside looks like, well, potato, then it was cut from a whole potato and then left alone.

                                                                                              My guess is that there are frozen fries that have been processed and frozen ones that are just frozen, cut potatoes.

                                                                                              This does not, however, explain OP's query about WHY restos use frozen fries.

                                                                                              1 Reply
                                                                                              1. re: Erika L
                                                                                                coll Apr 1, 2013 05:29 PM

                                                                                                There are so many levels of frozen fries, it would be hard to simplify it like this.

                                                                                              2. l
                                                                                                lemarais Apr 3, 2013 11:48 AM

                                                                                                So let's get this straight. Here's a mom n pop joint featured on Triple D. They do homemade short ribs from scratch, pork tenderloin from scratch. Homemade coleslaw. Homemade macaroni salad. But then they use FROZEN french fries because they are "too labor intensive"??

                                                                                                Nah. I still say it's just french fry ignorance. Fresh take a little more prep, maybe 10-15 min, but the taste is infinitely better.

                                                                                                7 Replies
                                                                                                1. re: lemarais
                                                                                                  MGZ Apr 3, 2013 11:56 AM

                                                                                                  Fresh take at least two hours extra prep to do properly.

                                                                                                  1. re: lemarais
                                                                                                    KaimukiMan Apr 3, 2013 01:06 PM

                                                                                                    Again. It is your opinion not fact. FROZEN fries always taste better in my opinion. And I am not alone. Restating your opinion a million times will not make it factual.

                                                                                                    1. re: lemarais
                                                                                                      s
                                                                                                      Steve Apr 3, 2013 01:06 PM

                                                                                                      Some places cut their own, flash fry them, and then freeze them. Have you ever had those - or should I ask, can you tell the difference?

                                                                                                      1. re: lemarais
                                                                                                        coll Apr 3, 2013 01:21 PM

                                                                                                        Ignorance is bliss. Have you actually worked in a commercial kitchen, or or you just guessing based on home cooking?

                                                                                                        1. re: coll
                                                                                                          porker Apr 3, 2013 01:35 PM

                                                                                                          I agree, homecook/commercialcook are apples/oranges. At home, its a "little more prep". In a commercial setting, the logistics become a factor.

                                                                                                        2. re: lemarais
                                                                                                          t
                                                                                                          Tom34 Apr 3, 2013 02:09 PM

                                                                                                          You made the counterpoint to your own argument, specifically, there are too many items that HAVE to be made from scratch and somewhere you have to draw the line. Like ketchup, french fries often don't make the cut.

                                                                                                          1. re: lemarais
                                                                                                            b
                                                                                                            Brandon Nelson Apr 3, 2013 09:31 PM

                                                                                                            10-15 minutes of prep?

                                                                                                            I know where the "french fry ignorance" lives in this thread.

                                                                                                            Lemarais, do a little experiment; buy a russet potato. Take that spud home cut it in half and toss it in the fridge overnight.

                                                                                                            Look at the color in the morning.

                                                                                                          2. porker Apr 3, 2013 12:27 PM

                                                                                                            Many good issues already raised.
                                                                                                            I ran a "mom&pop" take-out joint for quite a few years. I served BOTH frozen & fresh.
                                                                                                            Lets just say the fresh was a pain-in-the-ass; you have to better plan your inventory, you need storage for the potatoes, ya gotta peel (and clean the pealer), ya gotta cut (and clean the cutter), ya gotta pre-fry enough for the various rush periods, it ties up your fryers, requires MORE fryers, it eats through your oil quality (requiring more filtering/cleaning), and depending what time of year (I'm thinking mid- to late summer), quality can be sketchy (new potatoes aren't out yet and the cold-storage from last year is rough or the new potatoes are in and the old are out).

                                                                                                            When faced with these issues, many places simply go with the frozen.
                                                                                                            I never broke down the fresh vs frozen costs, but at the end of the day, I don't think its a huge issue.

                                                                                                            I prefer fresh so always kept it on the menu despite the PITA factor.

                                                                                                            1 Reply
                                                                                                            1. re: porker
                                                                                                              coll Apr 3, 2013 01:20 PM

                                                                                                              I forgot about the seasonal factor, the quality going into fall can be dismal.

                                                                                                            2. b
                                                                                                              Brandon Nelson Apr 4, 2013 09:56 AM

                                                                                                              I will also offer this.

                                                                                                              Food network hosts typically know jack @ running a restaurant, including the costs. I would love to ask Rachel Ray or Sandra Lee the cost per serving of hand cut Kennebeck or GPOD 70 fries vs a serving of commercial packed Simplot Classics. The blank stare coming there.

                                                                                                              Back in the days when folks with real industry experience like Sarah Moulton or Mario Battali were giving us content worth seeing that was true. Today most FN personalties are just that, personalities, not industry alum.

                                                                                                              1 Reply
                                                                                                              1. re: Brandon Nelson
                                                                                                                t
                                                                                                                Tom34 Apr 4, 2013 05:50 PM

                                                                                                                WOW....somebody who had the stones to say what most of us already knew. Couldn't agree more!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Thank You :)

                                                                                                              2. rockandroller1 Apr 4, 2013 11:27 AM

                                                                                                                I've wondered about this for years. My mother worked for quite a while at a very, very tiny diner we regularly went to when I was growing up. As recently as last year, I confirmed with my server that they were still frying fresh cut fries (and grinding their own beef for burgers) after being open for something like 50 years. There is a little french fry cutter on the wall. Wash the potato, chunk it through there, fry the fries. They taste great, they're almost like the fresh cut fries you get at the fair and those are produced in a teeny, tiny food trailer by one or two people, max. And restaurants say they don't have the space or the people for it? P'shaw, I say.

                                                                                                                Here, I found a picture of the fries next to one of their coneys on the internet:
                                                                                                                http://sunnysideshlee.com/category/bl...

                                                                                                                2 Replies
                                                                                                                1. re: rockandroller1
                                                                                                                  t
                                                                                                                  Tom34 Apr 4, 2013 05:47 PM

                                                                                                                  Fresh ground burger is dear to my heart and worth every penny but not the fresh cut fries.

                                                                                                                  1. re: Tom34
                                                                                                                    v
                                                                                                                    Violatp Apr 14, 2013 09:21 AM

                                                                                                                    Agree here. Fresh cut fries are long skinny fried potatoes, but, to me, they're not french fries.

                                                                                                                    Most places that brag about doing fresh cut don't bother with the double fry and I hate that limp, burnt, bland, soggy mess with which you inevitably are served.

                                                                                                                2. monkeyrotica Apr 4, 2013 11:35 AM

                                                                                                                  Because frying a potato properly so it's moist inside and crispy outside requires skill, practice, and training. Any line cook can throw frozen in a fryer that's set properly then hit a timer.

                                                                                                                  Having spent hundreds of dollars on "fresh hand cut fries" that were fried by idiots, I will gladly take the frozen item. Pro tip: find a urban Chinese carryout, the kind with lots of bulletproof glass, and order fried chicken wings and frenchfries. If the place does decent volume, not only will the fries be perfectly crisp, they'll take on the subtle, bewitching flavor of the eggrolls and springrolls that just came out of the fryer.

                                                                                                                  1 Reply
                                                                                                                  1. re: monkeyrotica
                                                                                                                    t
                                                                                                                    Tom34 Apr 4, 2013 05:45 PM

                                                                                                                    "Bewitching flavor of eggrolls & springrolls" ..........thats too funny but its true!!!! :)

                                                                                                                  2. Bill Hunt Apr 4, 2013 08:10 PM

                                                                                                                    This has been a major profit-center for decades.

                                                                                                                    Much has been done, regarding frozen French fries, and actually, some of those examples are not all that bad.

                                                                                                                    Now, they pale, compared to freshly cut potatoes, prepared correctly, but most diners would not know the difference.

                                                                                                                    What was once very obvious as a "frozen French fry," has been muddied, and as most diners have NEVER tasted a freshly cut and fried French fry, they would never recognize the frozen vs the "real."

                                                                                                                    Hunt

                                                                                                                    18 Replies
                                                                                                                    1. re: Bill Hunt
                                                                                                                      monkeyrotica Apr 5, 2013 04:20 AM

                                                                                                                      The growing number of Belgian eateries, French bistros, and gastropubs that take the time to deliver freshly cut, properly prepared frites certainly raises the bar for every other upscale purveyor of deepfried potatoes. Unfortunately, for every perfect order of moulles frites or steak frites or duck fat fries I've tried, I've had dozens of ineptly prepared "hand cut fries" that manage to be both soggy on the inside, burnt on the outside, and expensive to boot. And yet every time I get a $5 order wings & mambo sauce & krinkle cut frozen fries at the Chinese carryout, they are always fried consistently hot and crispy. I for one have grown tired of the perfect being the enemy of the good enough.

                                                                                                                      1. re: monkeyrotica
                                                                                                                        s
                                                                                                                        Steve Apr 5, 2013 04:49 AM

                                                                                                                        I agree with your premise, but not your conclusion.

                                                                                                                        No need for an online bulletin board to talk about who has 'good enough' krinkle-cut fries. If that were the tone of Chowhound, there would be no sense of community, and folks who are knowledgeable would leave.

                                                                                                                        1. re: Steve
                                                                                                                          f
                                                                                                                          flavrmeistr Apr 5, 2013 06:10 AM

                                                                                                                          Would that be a bad thing? Is Chowhound strictly about "the very best", or is it about being honest in one's assessments?

                                                                                                                          1. re: flavrmeistr
                                                                                                                            monkeyrotica Apr 5, 2013 06:25 AM

                                                                                                                            It's also about setting appropriate expectations given one's location, price point, and a host of other variables. Would people rather eat a most-super-plus-authentic version of a dish that doesn't taste all that good, or an inauthentic version that actually tasted better?

                                                                                                                            1. re: monkeyrotica
                                                                                                                              s
                                                                                                                              Steve Apr 5, 2013 08:18 AM

                                                                                                                              Ignoring your False Dichotomy for a moment:

                                                                                                                              If I had never tasted a particular food before, I'd much rather have the 'real thing' to understand what it is supposed to taste like. I can't know beforehand that I won't like it, and I might stand a chance in developing a taste for it. The 'fake stuff' is all around and can be purchased on almost every corner. I'll try it in my spare time.

                                                                                                                              1. re: Steve
                                                                                                                                monkeyrotica Apr 5, 2013 09:08 AM

                                                                                                                                Now we're entering a dangerous Foucaultian territory of what is "real" and what is "simulacra" and there's just too many variables in taste, style, technique, and language to even begin to dig our way out of what is a "real french fry." Hand cut? McDonalds? Belgian? Your grandma's? At a certain point, for me, the hide-and-go-seek for "authentic" became an expensive and disappointing. "Obsession is a young man's game," quoth Alfred Pennyworth. I just want it to taste good.

                                                                                                                                1. re: monkeyrotica
                                                                                                                                  g
                                                                                                                                  GH1618 Apr 5, 2013 09:26 AM

                                                                                                                                  "Dangerous"? Hardly. "Foucaultian"? Oh, please — we are discussing French fries here.

                                                                                                                                  I think "classic" is a better adjective than "real" where food is concerned. It is useful, and not obsessive, for someone who is interested in food to know what a dish is like in its classic form, so as to know better which modifications are improvements and which are not.

                                                                                                                                  1. re: GH1618
                                                                                                                                    monkeyrotica Apr 5, 2013 09:44 AM

                                                                                                                                    Can we define "classic?" Are we talking about the fries that Thomas Jefferson brought back from France? Because I think those are kinda different from the ones Five Guys serves. That's the problem with using terms like "classic" or "most authentic." You're dealing with a moving target. At what point did it start becoming less authentic?

                                                                                                                                    Case in point: the "classic" DC fish sandwich served at the Maine Avenue fish market in the 1950s was about 8 croaker filets fried in pure lard. Today, the "classic" DC fish sandwich is 4 whiting filets fried in peanut oil. Is one less "authentic" than the other?

                                                                                                                                    1. re: monkeyrotica
                                                                                                                                      g
                                                                                                                                      GH1618 Apr 5, 2013 09:58 AM

                                                                                                                                      We don't need to define "classic" because it is already well-defined and can be found in any good dictionary. Here are two definitions from the Oxford American Dictionary which fit the context of this discussipn:

                                                                                                                                      "1. having a high quality which is recognized and unquestioned"

                                                                                                                                      "4. famous through being long established"

                                                                                                                                      Classic designs, including prepared food, hold up over time. They never go out of style.

                                                                                                                                      Civilization is a moving target in all it encompasses. Nevertheless, most of us do not have difficulty with understanding terms like "classic" because we do not allow ourselves to get distracted by European philosophers.

                                                                                                                                      1. re: GH1618
                                                                                                                                        monkeyrotica Apr 5, 2013 10:05 AM

                                                                                                                                        Finally, we can agree that frozen fries are classics: they're of unquestioned high quality and have been around since the 1940s, and will never go out of style.

                                                                                                                                  2. re: monkeyrotica
                                                                                                                                    s
                                                                                                                                    Steve Apr 5, 2013 10:02 AM

                                                                                                                                    You gave me a choice, I told you what I'd rather have, and you are saying that's not true?

                                                                                                                                    Yes, if I am looking for something authentic, please don't recommend fusion or at least if you do, warn me about it.

                                                                                                                                    If you want to continue this side discussion, I have started a new post on Site Talk:

                                                                                                                                    http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/897219

                                                                                                                              2. re: flavrmeistr
                                                                                                                                s
                                                                                                                                Steve Apr 5, 2013 08:30 AM

                                                                                                                                If someone is asking for the 'best,' that is their prerogative. You should certainly give people an honest answer.

                                                                                                                                If someone from Philly, but living elsewhere, is desperate for a taste of home, my guess is they will not be amused if they drive halfway around the city for a cheesesteak on supermarket bread. Especially if they could have gotten the same thing a block form their house. If that is all that is available, then the honest answer would be to say so, not pretend otherwise.

                                                                                                                                1. re: Steve
                                                                                                                                  f
                                                                                                                                  flavrmeistr Apr 5, 2013 10:36 AM

                                                                                                                                  What sort of miscreant would "pretend otherwise"? All anyone can do is offer their honest opinions and suggestions. That's about it. This is a public forum for the exchange of information. There's nothing proprietary about it
                                                                                                                                  within the bounds of public decency. As such, anyone who posts here is part of the "community". Nobody has to agree, nobody has to care, and nobody's opinion is any more or less valid than anyone else's. Enjoy it for what it is.

                                                                                                                                  1. re: flavrmeistr
                                                                                                                                    s
                                                                                                                                    Steve Apr 5, 2013 12:54 PM

                                                                                                                                    "All anyone can do is offer their honest opinions"

                                                                                                                                    You may recall a few posts back that some people on Chowhound are tired of others searching for that sublime taste of home: they'd just as soon recommend something 'good enough.'

                                                                                                                                    1. re: Steve
                                                                                                                                      f
                                                                                                                                      flavrmeistr Apr 5, 2013 01:26 PM

                                                                                                                                      My honest opinion would be: If anyone really wants a taste of home, then I suggest home is where they'll find it. If they're looking for something in particular in an area I'm familiar with, I'll do what I can to help them out. I offer no guarantees that my tastes are consistent with theirs.

                                                                                                                              3. re: Steve
                                                                                                                                monkeyrotica Apr 5, 2013 06:22 AM

                                                                                                                                And yet people continue to ask for the very best Philly cheesesteak and NY slice outside of Philly and NYC. The "knowledgeable" folks will tell you such animals don't exist outside their habitat. The rest of us want to know what's "good enough."

                                                                                                                                1. re: monkeyrotica
                                                                                                                                  s
                                                                                                                                  Steve Apr 5, 2013 08:04 AM

                                                                                                                                  People can ask for whatever they want: it is up to you to come with up your favorite recommendation.

                                                                                                                                  But if someone is looking for a great crabcake, it's a ridiculous waste of time and money to follow a recommendation for one that is half-filled with shrimp, or if it is, at least say so.

                                                                                                                                  As you know, this is not a hypothetical example.

                                                                                                                                  1. re: Steve
                                                                                                                                    monkeyrotica Apr 5, 2013 09:21 AM

                                                                                                                                    Agreed. Just as it's a waste to find that the "best soul food" in town is on par with what I'd find in a gradeschool cafeteria, only at white tablecloth prices.

                                                                                                                          2. w
                                                                                                                            wavsurfer Apr 5, 2013 04:58 AM

                                                                                                                            not to defend bad restaurants, but NOT ALL FROZEN FRIES ARE BAD!

                                                                                                                            I've worked in several well respected restaurants that make their own fries from scratch. Hand-cutting skin-on Russet potatoes, blanching, draining, first-frying, freezing...then 2nd frying to order. The end result is a crispier fry that isn't overcooked. Golden brown crispy outside and light n fluffy inside. It's a little faster on the pick-up (important if you've ever worked as a line cook during a busy dinner service).

                                                                                                                            Now...I have yet to see a restaurant make their own tater tots...

                                                                                                                            1. l
                                                                                                                              lemarais Apr 5, 2013 09:20 AM

                                                                                                                              Dup.

                                                                                                                              10 Replies
                                                                                                                              1. re: lemarais
                                                                                                                                m
                                                                                                                                mpjmph Apr 5, 2013 09:28 AM

                                                                                                                                Care to provide a link to the blog so we can all read it in context?

                                                                                                                                1. re: lemarais
                                                                                                                                  monkeyrotica Apr 5, 2013 09:28 AM

                                                                                                                                  "Serve fresh-cut fries, and you will soon get a reputation for having the best fries around."

                                                                                                                                  TWo words: Five Guys. Fresh cut fries, ineptly and inconsistently prepared, inedibly greasy final product.

                                                                                                                                  Advantage: frozen fries.

                                                                                                                                  1. re: monkeyrotica
                                                                                                                                    l
                                                                                                                                    lemarais Apr 5, 2013 09:32 AM

                                                                                                                                    5 Guys sucks. Period. Their well-done only burgers are greasy and overcooked. To use their fries as an example is as ridiculous as using McD's as any sort of food experience.

                                                                                                                                    In several responses here I've used the mom n pop example of places that are family run and prepare all of their food from scratch. (except the fries!)

                                                                                                                                    1. re: lemarais
                                                                                                                                      monkeyrotica Apr 5, 2013 09:44 AM

                                                                                                                                      But McD's fries are better than Five Guys. They're also frozen.

                                                                                                                                      1. re: monkeyrotica
                                                                                                                                        l
                                                                                                                                        lemarais Apr 5, 2013 09:47 AM

                                                                                                                                        They both suck. To include places like these in a "good food" discussion is ludicrous. Ever read about how McD's processes their ground beef? (Average burger contains meat from over 100 animals). Yuk!!

                                                                                                                                        1. re: lemarais
                                                                                                                                          monkeyrotica Apr 5, 2013 09:56 AM

                                                                                                                                          I think a lot of Hounds would disagree with you.

                                                                                                                                          http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/862084

                                                                                                                                          As for their fries, even though they're not fried in beef tallow anymore, I still prefer them to the ineptly prepared fresh-cut fries that are foisted off for $8 a serving.

                                                                                                                                          1. re: monkeyrotica
                                                                                                                                            l
                                                                                                                                            lemarais Apr 5, 2013 10:10 AM

                                                                                                                                            Lots of people disagree with me. McD's have sold billions of burgers and are very busy and profitable. But it just doesn't belong in a food discussion. Popularity doesn't signify "good". If you like McD's and patronize them regularly, that's fine. But the food is really really bad, ALL frozen. Sure, it tastes good, but in reality, it's just AWFUL. Shows the poor judgement and laziness of lots of Americans.

                                                                                                                                            1. re: lemarais
                                                                                                                                              E Eto Apr 5, 2013 10:17 AM

                                                                                                                                              Re frozen fries: "Sure, it tastes good, but in reality, it's just AWFUL."
                                                                                                                                              I see that we're finally getting to the heart of the matter here.
                                                                                                                                              Using real potatoes: "It might not taste good, but they're GREAT." Did I paraphrase that correctly?

                                                                                                                                              1. re: lemarais
                                                                                                                                                DuffyH Apr 5, 2013 01:03 PM

                                                                                                                                                <But the food is really really bad, ALL frozen. Sure, it tastes good, but in reality, it's just AWFUL. >

                                                                                                                                                As opposed to food that tastes really bad, but is made from fresh, never frozen and therefore wonderful ingredients?

                                                                                                                                                McD's burgers may hit the griddle frozen, but they're still 100% USDA-inspected beef, seasoned with salt and pepper. In what way is that "awful"?

                                                                                                                                                It seems that you deem all frozen foods "awful". Too bad, because with the advent of IQF technology, a lot of food that used to be bad when frozen is now quite good. Pity the poor folk who live places with really short growing seasons, as they have no choice but to eat "awful" food.

                                                                                                                                        2. re: lemarais
                                                                                                                                          t
                                                                                                                                          Tom34 Apr 5, 2013 05:16 PM

                                                                                                                                          McDonalds fries have consistently ranked as favorites in taste test after taste tests for over 50 years. Please site a longer favorable record than theirs or a better balance sheet year after year after year.

                                                                                                                                    2. l
                                                                                                                                      lemarais Apr 5, 2013 10:19 AM

                                                                                                                                      From a restaurant owner's blog:

                                                                                                                                      "did my own fries this summer and space really was not a problem. dishwasher cut three buckets every AM and they got blanched and set aside for service. The cost was about the same but the selling point is, to quote, priceless!"

                                                                                                                                      "Fresh french fries are much much better than any frozen product. Yes, they take more labor to produce but the customers will notice the difference. Serve fresh-cut fries, and you will soon get a reputation for having the best fries around."

                                                                                                                                      "I used hand cut fries last summer to great reviews. We were the only place in town that did offer and boy could we charge for that option. As for extra labour, if your dishwasher is standing around it only takes 20 mins to chip three bucket and that includes clean up!!
                                                                                                                                      This year, at a different hotel, I have found a product from my produce supplier, blanched fresh fries, the price vs. frozen is the same. As for the quality-guests are giving positive feedback and I now have space in my freezer to move!"

                                                                                                                                      http://www.jesrestaurantequipment.com...

                                                                                                                                      5 Replies
                                                                                                                                      1. re: lemarais
                                                                                                                                        monkeyrotica Apr 5, 2013 10:28 AM

                                                                                                                                        The link you posted contains only the middle paragraph. Where did the rest come from?

                                                                                                                                        1. re: monkeyrotica
                                                                                                                                          m
                                                                                                                                          mpjmph Apr 5, 2013 10:38 AM

                                                                                                                                          Never mind that the link is to a restaurant supply company website, and appears to be selling a french fry cutter.

                                                                                                                                          Edit: I did a little googling. Both the first and third quotes come from a single poster on discussion threads on foodservice.com.

                                                                                                                                        2. re: lemarais
                                                                                                                                          porker Apr 5, 2013 10:41 AM

                                                                                                                                          I didn't surf the site very much, but it seems to be a commercial "blog"...coming from a company that sells french fry cutting equipment, the quotes seem dubious.

                                                                                                                                          1. re: lemarais
                                                                                                                                            g
                                                                                                                                            GH1618 Apr 5, 2013 10:58 AM

                                                                                                                                            Besides the quote being a testimonial for selling French fry cutters, there is nothing here to identify which particular frozen French fry product the fresh fries are being compared to. There is obviously a large range of type and quality of frozen fries available to restaurants, so it doesn't begin to answer the question of whether freezing is detrimental to making French fries.

                                                                                                                                            1. re: GH1618
                                                                                                                                              monkeyrotica Apr 5, 2013 11:02 AM

                                                                                                                                              Come to think of it, the only thing better than frozen frenchfries are deepfried tater tots. OMFG those things are freaking awesome: pork crackling crisp outside, potatoey goodness inside. I can't begin to imagine what a fresh, handcut tater tot would taste like. Probably like Five Guys fries only greasier and more burnt.

                                                                                                                                          2. l
                                                                                                                                            lemarais Apr 11, 2013 08:36 AM

                                                                                                                                            McD's fries. Wheat & milk added. OMG. Rough stuff. And I "attacked an icon?" Just bad food, McD's is. And the public loves it. Yuk.

                                                                                                                                            42 Replies
                                                                                                                                            1. re: lemarais
                                                                                                                                              monkeyrotica Apr 11, 2013 09:24 AM

                                                                                                                                              Now you're bashing wheat farmers and the dairy industry? And what do you think those hamburger buns and slices of American cheese are made out of?

                                                                                                                                              1. re: monkeyrotica
                                                                                                                                                l
                                                                                                                                                lemarais Apr 11, 2013 09:29 AM

                                                                                                                                                Yes I know what you mean. Not wanting wheat in my potatoes is a great bash of wheat farmers. And wheat makes a really great french fry. Well established fact.

                                                                                                                                                Ever try wheat in your burgers? Might be really really good, and a big boost for those farmers.

                                                                                                                                                1. re: lemarais
                                                                                                                                                  monkeyrotica Apr 11, 2013 09:40 AM

                                                                                                                                                  Well, you've pretty much answered your own question above: restaurants use frozen french fries because the public loves them. Now, what that says about the public is open to interpretation and not terribly germane to this thread.

                                                                                                                                                  1. re: monkeyrotica
                                                                                                                                                    l
                                                                                                                                                    lemarais Apr 11, 2013 10:33 AM

                                                                                                                                                    Popularity does not translate into quality.

                                                                                                                                                    And you bring up "germaine"?? "Attacking an icon" and the economics of wheat farming were germaine? Hmmm.

                                                                                                                                                    1. re: lemarais
                                                                                                                                                      JayL Apr 11, 2013 12:09 PM

                                                                                                                                                      "Popularity does not translate into quality."

                                                                                                                                                      Amen...just look at Chick-Fil-A...ick

                                                                                                                                                2. re: monkeyrotica
                                                                                                                                                  Bill Hunt Apr 11, 2013 06:00 PM

                                                                                                                                                  I think that the "American Genuine Imitation Processed Cheese Food Product," might be petroleum-based, but could be wrong.

                                                                                                                                                  Hunt

                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Bill Hunt
                                                                                                                                                    monkeyrotica Apr 12, 2013 03:38 AM

                                                                                                                                                    I heard a rumor that the FDA has broadened the definition of "American" to include Venezuelan Beaver Cheese.

                                                                                                                                                    1. re: monkeyrotica
                                                                                                                                                      DuffyH Apr 12, 2013 06:43 AM

                                                                                                                                                      Ewww!

                                                                                                                                                      1. re: monkeyrotica
                                                                                                                                                        Tripeler Apr 15, 2013 12:37 AM

                                                                                                                                                        Does one purchase the Venezuelan Beaver Cheese at the Monty Python Cheese Shop?

                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Tripeler
                                                                                                                                                          monkeyrotica Apr 15, 2013 04:42 AM

                                                                                                                                                          Sorry. We're fresh out of Venezuelan Beaver Cheese.

                                                                                                                                                          You haven't asked about Limberger, sir.

                                                                                                                                                        2. re: monkeyrotica
                                                                                                                                                          Bill Hunt Jul 1, 2013 08:13 PM

                                                                                                                                                          That would not surprise me, in the least.

                                                                                                                                                          "American, authentic, imitation Venezuelan Beaver Cheese-like product... "

                                                                                                                                                          Yes, I could believe it.

                                                                                                                                                          hunt

                                                                                                                                                      2. re: monkeyrotica
                                                                                                                                                        f
                                                                                                                                                        foiegras Apr 14, 2013 09:07 AM

                                                                                                                                                        glue and plastic???

                                                                                                                                                        1. re: monkeyrotica
                                                                                                                                                          f
                                                                                                                                                          foiegras Apr 14, 2013 01:37 PM

                                                                                                                                                          I can certainly see why an antifoaming agent would be necessary ... I've always deplored the foam in homemade fries.

                                                                                                                                                          1. re: foiegras
                                                                                                                                                            monkeyrotica Apr 14, 2013 02:08 PM

                                                                                                                                                            I suppose it's only a matter of time before some molecular gastronomy wag tries to serve his $39 deconstructed burger with a side of frenchfry foam. All that "whimsical reimagining" doesn't come cheap.

                                                                                                                                                            1. re: monkeyrotica
                                                                                                                                                              f
                                                                                                                                                              foiegras Apr 14, 2013 06:02 PM

                                                                                                                                                              Now that you've put the idea out there, it will certainly be happening momentarily. But uh ... doesn't sound very good.

                                                                                                                                                              1. re: foiegras
                                                                                                                                                                monkeyrotica Apr 15, 2013 04:37 AM

                                                                                                                                                                I don't think a little thing like flavor has ever stood between a dedicated restauranteur and a customer's wallet.

                                                                                                                                                                1. re: foiegras
                                                                                                                                                                  Bill Hunt Jul 1, 2013 08:14 PM

                                                                                                                                                                  I would guess that the "Frencfry Foam" would be some sort of cryo-treatment?

                                                                                                                                                                  Hunt

                                                                                                                                                          2. re: lemarais
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                                                                                                                                                            flavrmeistr Apr 11, 2013 11:39 AM

                                                                                                                                                            Wheat and milk? Godfrey Daniel, what is the world coming to?

                                                                                                                                                            1. re: flavrmeistr
                                                                                                                                                              l
                                                                                                                                                              lemarais Apr 11, 2013 12:35 PM

                                                                                                                                                              They've had it in their french fry potatoes for years, apparently. Great stuff.

                                                                                                                                                              1. re: lemarais
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                                                                                                                                                                flavrmeistr Apr 11, 2013 01:14 PM

                                                                                                                                                                Apparently. Next...!

                                                                                                                                                              2. re: flavrmeistr
                                                                                                                                                                monkeyrotica Apr 11, 2013 12:56 PM

                                                                                                                                                                I know! It's like I woke up in the "Mirror, Mirror" universe, Spock has a goatee, and all the female crew members are in thigh boots and miniskirts.

                                                                                                                                                                Actually, that's pretty awesome! But the fries are fresh cut by Klingons and therefor suck.

                                                                                                                                                                1. re: monkeyrotica
                                                                                                                                                                  Bill Hunt Apr 11, 2013 06:01 PM

                                                                                                                                                                  At least the female crew is not sporting goatees!

                                                                                                                                                                  I also shudder at Dr. Spock in thigh boots...

                                                                                                                                                                  Hunt

                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Bill Hunt
                                                                                                                                                                    g
                                                                                                                                                                    GH1618 Apr 11, 2013 06:05 PM

                                                                                                                                                                    I think you mean Mr. Spock. Dr. Spock was somebody else.

                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: GH1618
                                                                                                                                                                      PotatoHouse Apr 11, 2013 07:35 PM

                                                                                                                                                                      no I think he had it right, you ever seen a picture of Dr Spock??

                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: GH1618
                                                                                                                                                                        Bill Hunt Apr 11, 2013 09:01 PM

                                                                                                                                                                        Ah, you are probably correct. Not being any form of a Treckie [SP?], I am anything BUT an authority.

                                                                                                                                                                        Thanks,

                                                                                                                                                                        Hunt

                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Bill Hunt
                                                                                                                                                                          g
                                                                                                                                                                          GH1618 Apr 11, 2013 09:59 PM

                                                                                                                                                                          It's "trekkie," but they prefer "trekker."

                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: GH1618
                                                                                                                                                                            Bill Hunt Jul 1, 2013 08:15 PM

                                                                                                                                                                            Thank you for that clarification. As one, who does not know, I have to rely on Google for such, and they are often incorrect.

                                                                                                                                                                            Hunt

                                                                                                                                                                2. re: lemarais
                                                                                                                                                                  DuffyH Apr 11, 2013 03:22 PM

                                                                                                                                                                  Wheat and milk? Here's McD's ingredient list, as of 4/11/2013:

                                                                                                                                                                  French Fries: Potatoes, canola oil, hydrogenated soybean oil, safflower oil, natural flavour (vegetable source), dextrose, sodium acid pyrophosphate (maintain colour), citric acid (preservative), dimethylpolysiloxane (antifoaming agent) and cooked in vegetable oil (Canola oil, corn oil, soybean oil, hydrogenated soybean oil with THBQ, citric acid and dimethylpolysiloxane).
                                                                                                                                                                  Salt: Salt, silicoaluminate, dextrose, potassium iodide.

                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: DuffyH
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                                                                                                                                                                    flavrmeistr Apr 11, 2013 03:32 PM

                                                                                                                                                                    I don't see wheat or milk in there. What gives?

                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: flavrmeistr
                                                                                                                                                                      monkeyrotica Apr 11, 2013 04:56 PM

                                                                                                                                                                      Probably came from that "restaurant owner's blog" that was actually a deepfat fryer company.

                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: flavrmeistr
                                                                                                                                                                        t
                                                                                                                                                                        Tom34 Apr 11, 2013 04:58 PM

                                                                                                                                                                        Yeah, I didn't see it either. No matter though, I wouldn't care if there was dust in them, they taste great IMHO.

                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Tom34
                                                                                                                                                                          monkeyrotica Apr 11, 2013 05:16 PM

                                                                                                                                                                          Had a burger and fries at a local gastropub recently. The $12 chuck/round burger was excellent. The handcut shoestring fries were horrible: a greasy, burnt tangled mess. I sent them back. On the way home, I got a medium fries at McDonalds: fresh, hot out of the fryer and perfectly crisp.

                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: monkeyrotica
                                                                                                                                                                            t
                                                                                                                                                                            Tom34 Apr 11, 2013 05:31 PM

                                                                                                                                                                            Yeah, getting a burger that has the right blend cooked perfectly to order should be the more difficult part, not the fries.
                                                                                                                                                                            They probably lost a repeat customer because of crappy fries. How stupid and unnecessary is that?

                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Tom34
                                                                                                                                                                              monkeyrotica Apr 12, 2013 03:25 AM

                                                                                                                                                                              They're going for an artisanal, locavore, cruelty-free, buzzword-friendly bistro experience. Frozen fries kills the illusion that what you're getting is excusive and super-most-better than anything the other guy is serving. Which brings us back to my original point, learning how to fry food properly is more than just pointing at the Fryalator and saying, "Spongebob! Where are my fries?"

                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: monkeyrotica
                                                                                                                                                                                Bill Hunt Jul 1, 2013 08:19 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                Unfortunately, the best "fries" in my long life, were hand-cut, rather large ones, deep-fried in a big, cast-iron pot, with boiling lard. Never have had better, and even my wife, the cook (I still think that she could be a chef, if she left healthcare behind), has yet to duplicate them. Fortunately, she got to taste "Elsie's Greasy Fries," so she knows what the target is. She keeps working on them, but has only come close - so far.

                                                                                                                                                                                Hunt

                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Bill Hunt
                                                                                                                                                                                  monkeyrotica Jul 2, 2013 03:42 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                  There's a lot to be said about frying in lard. Mom used her Lodge iron dutch oven to do her catfish dredged in cornmeal. Unfortunately, her fries weren't nearly as good. There are still a few walking the earth who wax nostalgic for the '50s era Maine Avenue Fish Market fish sandwiches fried in cauldrons of lard. I remember a long-gone roadside fish fry in Southern Maryland where they did same, with handcut fries on the side. And another in rural Louisiana north of Lake Pontchartrain, where the speciality was thin-fried catfish. You can't swing a dead catfish in Northern Virginia without hitting mediocre sushi, but a good catfish fry is as rare as hen's teeth. 

                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: monkeyrotica
                                                                                                                                                                                    Bill Hunt Jul 2, 2013 07:39 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                    There ARE certain elements, like cast-iron, and then some form of lard, but I also feel that there is some alchemy, involved too.

                                                                                                                                                                                    Ah, Fried Catfish - something that too few will every encounter. That is a culinary shame. I keep seeing "Master Chef," "Chopped," etc. episodes, where the contestants are given catfish, and have zero clue. They usually fail horribly.

                                                                                                                                                                                    Too bad,

                                                                                                                                                                                    Hunt

                                                                                                                                                                      2. re: DuffyH
                                                                                                                                                                        monkeyrotica Apr 11, 2013 04:58 PM

                                                                                                                                                                        Facts, schmacts. You can use "facts" to prove things that are even remotely true. Truth, schmooth.

                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: DuffyH
                                                                                                                                                                          j
                                                                                                                                                                          Jenny Ondioline Apr 14, 2013 01:41 PM

                                                                                                                                                                          Goddammit, I was promised wheat and milk, and I'm not leaving until I get them!

                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Jenny Ondioline
                                                                                                                                                                            Bill Hunt Jul 1, 2013 08:20 PM

                                                                                                                                                                            If you don't eat your meat, you can't have any pudding...
                                                                                                                                                                            http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n5diMI...

                                                                                                                                                                            Hunt

                                                                                                                                                                        2. re: lemarais
                                                                                                                                                                          PotatoHouse Apr 11, 2013 07:32 PM

                                                                                                                                                                          you know what they say, trying to get health food at McDonalds is like trying to get your prescription filled at a crack house.

                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: PotatoHouse
                                                                                                                                                                            Bill Hunt Apr 11, 2013 09:03 PM

                                                                                                                                                                            Hey, THEY are cheaper than my local Walgreens!

                                                                                                                                                                            Hunt

                                                                                                                                                                        3. k
                                                                                                                                                                          kengk Apr 14, 2013 02:00 PM

                                                                                                                                                                          I actually like frozen french fries straight out of the bag. Still frozen. Seriously.

                                                                                                                                                                          2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: kengk
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                                                                                                                                                                            foiegras Apr 14, 2013 02:06 PM

                                                                                                                                                                            Help is available.

                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: foiegras
                                                                                                                                                                              monkeyrotica Apr 15, 2013 04:40 AM

                                                                                                                                                                              In addition to frenchfry "foam," the upscale urban gastropubs of the future will serve frenchfry "pops," a playful, whimsical reimagining of the classic popsicle, albeit made out of frozen potato. $18 each. Available in Classic Crinkle Cut, Shoestring, Extra Crispy, and Tartar-Control.

                                                                                                                                                                          2. m
                                                                                                                                                                            MichJeep Apr 18, 2013 07:01 PM

                                                                                                                                                                            Basically there are only so many hours in a day, you pick your battles. Do you want to spend time and labor on fries, or do you want….soup from scratch…homemade pies and desserts….great seafood…take your pick. Today there are many French fry choices available from food service suppliers, some are good to great and some are not so good. You draw the line some place.

                                                                                                                                                                            2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: MichJeep
                                                                                                                                                                              t
                                                                                                                                                                              Tom34 Apr 18, 2013 07:34 PM

                                                                                                                                                                              Well said. Thank You!

                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: MichJeep
                                                                                                                                                                                Bill Hunt Jul 1, 2013 08:22 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                Or, you can buy your sirloin, have it double-ground, season it, then create the patties for perfect burgers... or you can go to McDonalds. The choice is there.

                                                                                                                                                                                Hunt

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