Otago Polytech Students all the wiser with the fryer.


In the month of September down in the mighty south an eager group of students from Otago Polytechnic were equipped with the best deep-frying knowledge in the country. A group of twenty Level 2 Bachelor of Culinary Arts students were put through their paces, completing the Chip Group’s comprehensive chip training program.

The training was run by Kate Underwood, Training and Education Manager of The Chip Group with David Gillespie, Culinary Arts Lecturer from Otago Polytech, watching on. The class was guided through a series of best-practices frying principles, discussing and challenging the way in which to deep fry, better tasting, lower fat chips.

As with most chip training sessions, the practical element is the highlight for the students, because they get to cook and the chips using the new skills they have acquired. Best of all they get to sample their chips afterwards! Training involves a comprehensive process of scooping, weighing, timing, checking, watching, shaking, banging, hanging, draining, salting sparingly and finally eating their healthier chips.

Having this hands-on experience is an invaluable asset for these students (and their future customers) as they will undoubtedly end up deep-frying at some point in their culinary careers. It was great to see such an enthusiastic group of young people, genuinely interested in their potential role to improve the state of New Zealand’s health. The students’ understanding around the importance of following Industry Standards, and the positive impact this can have both within the food industry and on a population scale was admirable.

The realisation of ‘shoestring’ fries being highest in fat, was of interest and surprise to many students, as they got their head around the surface area to potato ratio. Learning the concept that the thicker the chip, the less fat it absorbs. As well as the idea that chips over 13mm can have less than 9% fat – if cooked according to the Chip Group’s Industry Standards.

It was The Chip Group’s first training session with Otago Polytechnic – who have a strong and impressive history of producing top NZ talent amongst the culinary scene.

David’s fellow tutors Steve Ellwood and Richard Mitchell are providing an inspiring learning environment which involves a range of practical real-life cooking experiences and projects.

Working alongside Tertiary Institutes has become a key focus area for Chip Group training – as it is essentially the future of our kitchens, and by training them early, we can hope for increased knowledge, awareness and a flow on effect toward better frying practices throughout the industry for years to come.

Potatoes NZ are also thrilled to be supporting Otago Polytech and these talented upcoming students in various potato-centric projects – to be revealed soon.

A big thanks to Otago Polytechnic for including The Chip Group as part of their course work for the year. We look forward to working alongside a range of other culinary providers to throughout the country.