Keller Cops to Using — No! — Frozen Fries

Keller: Also frozen?Photo: Patrick McMullan

In his cookbook Bouchon, Thomas Keller explains how to make the perfect French fries, instructing readers to hand-cut and then refrigerate russet potatoes submerged in water for several hours. As it turns out, Keller isn’t going to quite so much trouble at his Bouchon Bistros: A tipster told us he uses Sysco fries, and though a rep from the restaurant didn’t offer the brand name, she did confirm, after speaking with Keller, that he favors frozens.

And why would that be?

One of the top reasons Bouchon uses frozen French Fries is consistency. The quality of the frozen fries we use, and that of frozen fries in general today, is very good. We use fries which are 100% potato, which do not contain additives. The consistency in these fries is often better than that of fresh potatoes.

The second reason is capacity. Bouchon would need to use over 200 pounds of potatoes a day to fulfill French Fry orders. In addition to space in the kitchen, it would require an exorbitant amount of manpower to process this large of an amount of potatoes into useable French Fries.

Frozen is better than fresh? Tell that to Telepan owner and Haute Barnyard guru Bill Telepan. “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. The only possible reason is cost.” —Daniel Maurer