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 deep­fry­ing knowl­edge in the coun­try.

NZ Grower - - PRODUCT GROUPS - Kate Un­der­wood, Train­ing & Ed­u­ca­tion Man­ager, The Chip Group – Pota­toes NZ

A group of 20 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 Polytech­nic, watch­ing on. The class was guided through a se­ries of best prac­tice 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 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 of 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 that ‘shoe­string’ fries are the high­est in fat was of in­ter­est and a 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 New Zealand tal­ent in 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 is also thrilled to be supporting Otago Polytech­nic 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 course­work for the year. We look for­ward to work­ing along­side a range of other culi­nary providers through­out the coun­try.

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